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October 14, 2004
Look For The Union Label, And Disinfect Accordingly

The rank-and-file of Swedish labor will not be pleased to learn where their dues money went in Trollhattan, in every sense of the word:

Union leaders in the Swedish industrial town of Trollhattan, which is threatened by huge job losses, have quit after allegations they used membership dues to buy liquor, porn and sex toys, the union says.

An internal audit by Sweden's second-largest union, Metall, unearthed expense abuses by branch 112 in Trollhattan, where about 6,000 workers at a Saab car factory fear they might be hit by European job cutbacks by Saab owner General Motors.

As if that wasn't bad enough, listen to the description of the malfeasance reported by a former union branch employee about the disposition of the items in question:

A former cashier at the branch told public radio Ekot of drinking bouts and sex shop sprees during official visits to Denmark and Belgium, using cash from union subscriptions.

"The branch did not pay for sex services -- that was up to individuals -- but the costs surrounding those visits were paid for by the branch," said Tommy Larsson. "I can confirm they bought dildos with union money and shared them out [emph mine -- CE]."

What, they didn't buy enough to go around? Or is this some weird bonding ritual among union brethren? Perhaps the union membership should also check to ensure that the equipment purchased was manufactured in an organized shop, and not just some cheap import that seeks to eliminate unionized Swedish sex-toy workers. (Now that's an outsourcing debate we all don't want to miss.)

If substantiated, not only should the union officials be prosecuted for theft, they should be tested for diseases. Trollhattanites should also look into why their union leadership was allowed to focus more on sex toys than saving the jobs of the people who paid them. More than 20% of all Swedes -- men, women, and children -- belong to a labor union. Maybe all of them should push investigations into leadership in every union to see if they're getting screwed in the same manner.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 14, 2004 6:14 AM

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