Thursday, April 13, 2006

False Dilemmas II: Urinals vs. Unions

On more than one occasion, ignorant students will ask me to reconcile resource conservation and job preservation. Typically, the question is along the lines of, "Dr. Kurgman, if we conserve and recycle, then what will happen to all those union jobs that used to manufacture these items?"

Yes, yes, the naive pupil can be quite concerned about such matters, as they are drawn to the ideals of resource conservation (and even better, resource non-use), and also good, high-paying jobs for the working class.

Here's a recent illustration of how this is done. In Philadelphia, Liberty Property Trust is building the LEED-designated Comcast Center with waterless urinals. (LEED, incidentally, is an acronym for "leadership in energy and environmentally designed".) Now, this is terrific, because no water means no water waste. Ideally, we would all be urinating on the soil, as that would require even fewer resources -- but still, the concept of waterless urinals is worthy, and should be extended to toilets, showers, and drinking fountains. (Or, at least we should recycle the waterless-urinal waste into the showers and drinking fountains.)

Anyhow, the plumbers union (justifiably!) objected. They pointed out that since these urinals require no pipes, they would not have work! What to do? Cooperative community committee consensus!

Solution: Install the pipes anyway!

A Liberty spokeswoman said it was "always our intent" to run the pipes.

I'll bet! I think it is obvious that the racist-pig ruling class was ready to go ahead without any pipes at all until the union led the way to social and economic justice.

In the end, we all win. Waterless urinals and good union jobs.

In class, we will explore methods to reinstate union telephone operators, union bank tellers, and union elevator operators.

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