The Washington Examiner‘s Conn Carroll sent out two tweets this morning about state unemployment and labor unions and Greg Sargent, who mans WaPo‘s liberal Plum Line blog, saw it as the perfect opportunity for some trolling.
“FACT: 8 of the 10 states with highest unemployment have unionization rates above the national average,” Carroll tweeted. “FACT: 7 out of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates are forced unionism states.”
Sarcastically, Sargent tweeted back, “FACT: 9 of the words in your last tweet had the letter ‘e’ in them.”
Sargent told FishbowlDC his intention…
was to “drive home a point about how [Carroll's] previous tweets cut the data.” Meaning, arbitrarily.
Sargent then asked Carroll if he could provide examples of states with “forced unionization.” Carroll offered up Michigan, which, until a right-to-work law is passed today, is a state with a large union presence.
Changing the subject, Sargent told Carroll it was “odd to see self-described conservatives encouraging the free-riding off other people’s negotiations.” Carroll replied, “Only liberals would call Americans who show up on time and work for a living every day ‘free riders.’”
We asked Carroll to elaborate on what he meant. He simply referred us back to his tweets.
Our explanation: Right-to-work legislation gives employees who don’t join their company’s labor unions the benefits of being in said union without actually having to pay any dues. Understandably, this weakens the incentive for there to be unions in the first place. Opponents (Sargent) of right-to-work laws believe it leads to unfair treatment of employees, ie. lower wages, less benefits. Proponents (Carroll) say they lead to more job creation because employers are given more flexibility in wages and hiring.
Despite their mini feud, Carroll tells us he and Sargent are friendly. “We have tried to meet for lunch a couple of times, but we are both parents with small children and busy schedules,” he said.
Phew. After all that, it appears no love has been lost.