There is an unfortunate lie being insinuated and pedalled by some in the media that being part of a union somehow makes you dodgy, criminal, and untrustworthy.
These pathetic members of the media are too incompetent or too lazy, or perhaps a bit too much of both to actually do what they are paid to do and research their subjects. Perhaps it may be the case that there is just no dirt of any significance to shovel on their targets. Either way for some it is far easier to belittle them with name calling, and the popular choice these days for sloppy reporters is “Union Hack”.
However it is a title that those using the term are selective about whom they bestow it upon. You won’t see the childish name calling used to describe someone like Bill Shorten, or even Bob Hawke for example, they save the displays of their own laziness for when it comes to people they don’t like, or people they don’t like writing about someone from the union movement entering politics, as we have seen recently.
So what is a hack?
Well conventional dictionaries describe it in terms of what happens to a computer when the Liberal Party take over responsibility for the census. The Urban Dictionary however describes the most commonly used definition as being;
“a person who is a professional at doing some sort of service, but does crappy work”
That’s pretty much the description I’d use for all those who are in fact using the term. Certainly the one pictured above fits the mould as he rarely does anything that doesn’t involve the opportunity to publicly stroke his own overinflated ego.
One of the great ironies is that many of those making these comments are in fact members of a union, that being the MEAA.
The MEAA (Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance) is an excellent union that represents several industries. The MEAA was formed in 1992 when several unions merged.
The MEAA is also a Labor Party affiliated union in NSW and SA.
The MEAA also organise the Walkley Awards, which include awards for journalism that those who are seeking to belittle unions self-nominate for.
I wonder if these reporters won an award, as some have done, if that would make them a “Union Hack”?
So what does it take to become a Union Hack?
Being a union hack is hard work, it its most basic it means dedicating most of your time and energy to improve the lives of others around you. Now I know that sounds positively evil, but it gets even more sinister.
Being a union hack means that you have to work long hours for low salary to try and gain better pay for others. Whilst doing that you will have counsel, console and represent people who have been driven to despair by some of the cruellest bosses on earth. In some cases with some unions you will have to attend workplaces accidents that may involve young men or women that have been killed at their place of work in some of the most grisly circumstances one could imagine.
A union hack means you have to take all the criticism and abuse from people for being that union hack and then be expected to be their critics best friend when they are suddenly threatened with redundancy or caught up in a pay dispute.
As a union hack you may be called on the negotiate with bean counters from multi-million dollar companies to try and get a 2% pay rise for workers struggling to pay the mortgage or feed the family. Other union hacks have the pleasure of dealing with politicians to secure award rate increases which is a thankless task when dealing with a Coalition government who would rather see profits go to their fat cat mates and party donors.
Being a union hack means you don’t have time to be a part of the “latte society” where some of these critics sit haunting inner city cafes and passing judgement on others who are trying to make workplaces safer and give workers a much-needed voice.
Being a union hack means working tirelessly on improving the lives of the many rather than the few. For a union hack working for the community is not a line to seek to be elected, it is a life commitment. It is a commitment that has been made by an enormous number of union employees who will never run for parliament and will never seek glory or congratulations for the commitment they have made to serving the community.
People like Bernard Keane may think he’s the bigger man for putting these people down, but the reality is he is only showing us all the little man he actually is.
The union hack is the very thing our parliament and society needs more of.
It’s the self-obsessed tossers we can do without.