The Downsizing of Unions

Unions are in turmoil.  It seems that state by state they are disappearing. And for the record, it is about time.  People complain how upper management gets rich because of greed.  I can say the same about the unions. There are many aspects up for discussion and I believe it leans toward a free work state.

I agree that in the early 19th and 20th centuries, the formation of a union was to protect the workers against the burden of manufacturing for little pay.  It placed the worker on an even keel with the economy.  Sweat shops were dealt with and laws were put in place.  For these reasons, the union was in its glory.

It’s a different story today.  Yes, some companies do take advantage of the workers, but not to the point of keeping the worker in poverty below economic levels.  There are a few negative aspects to the unions and it is unfortunate that the whining members cannot fathom the plethora of issues today.

Often unions keep negotiating for higher wages and better medical packages including pensions, and other benefits. A company by the name of Catapult manufactured earth moving vehicles and parts.  This large plant was manned by many workers.  It was time again (1991-1994) for union negotiations and eventually the workers went on strike.  Over the years the company always negotiated a decent contract. But it asked just too much to be reasonable. 2400 workers went on strike. The company threatened to lock out the other 5700 union workers.  After 17 months the union workers went back in without a contract.  Eventually a contract was negotiated.  Whose fault was it?  I’m sure there was fault on both sides, but what is a reasonable wage to live on with the economy the way it was during that era? If there was no union, there wouldn’t have been a problem.

I personally have seen a union protect a worker who has been documented for many infractions in the work environment; not working, too many breaks, drinking, etc.  The worker should be fired as it puts a burden on others that have to take up the slack.  Most often the union ‘mediates’ the issue to get that individual back to work.  It doesn’t change their character and that worker’s presence always creates animosity within the ranks.  The union was created to defend a person who was maliciously wronged by the management not to protect the person needed to be fired.

The union does not create a product.  It takes money like the government and call it protection of the worker’s rights.  Yet it needs money for all those executives who run the unions, and I mean big bucks.  And because they take dues, they do not have the right (which contractually they do) to give money to the candidate of their choice even though some members do not want to support the union choice.  Workers could have use their fees and individually donate it to their own candidate of choice.

Lastly, I think it is absolutely wrong for unions to represent teachers and government workers.  Most often, they keep the taxpayers as hostages since we pay their wages through the government.  Here is a thought; if you don’t like your wage, find another job that will pay to your satisfaction.  That is the rule in the private sector.  I advise to those two entities is to learn to offer a decent wage to attract workers and keep within your budget. Oh, and stop wasting money on superfluous projects and feasibility studies.


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