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Unions good for killing geese

I’m not a fan of unions.goose

I simply don’t see the need for unions today. Safety in the workplace is enforced by law. Wages, salaries, and benefits are determined in and by an open job market. Unions serve no purpose but to intimidate employers into paying more than they might otherwise. Give the union what they want or they’ll strike! (Sure, who wouldn’t like to get paid more, but where’s the logic in threatening the very existence of the employer who pays you?)

The UAW (United Auto Workers) comes to mind. Our Big Three automakers are begging for financial aid from Washington to keep them afloat for a few more months. And part of their problem is the UAW having wrested/negotiated/extorted from them wages higher than were justified in today’s market.

The UAW also has a “jobs bank” whereby, as the media explain it, laid-off workers continue to draw up to 95% of their salaries.  What kind of deal is that? You get paid for not working — and with the understanding that you’ll be rehired at some point? Give me a break.

In the real world you’d be taking a pay cut in order to keep your job, if you were lucky, or you’d be getting fired outright. You might get cut because you have less seniority or didn’t perform as well as the next guy. Or maybe because you’re a thief, a drug user, or just a total incompetent. Or because your employer is “right-sizing.” Employers have the right to hire you or not; you have the right to accept their offer or not. They have the right to fire you; you have the right to quit. Employers have these rights because it’s their company, their investment, their job to offer — or not. You’re the employee; you don’t get to call the shots. You don’t have a “right” to a job that otherwise wouldn’t be there or that an employer can’t afford to make available.

Now the UAW is offering concessions to the automakers. It’s a little late, isn’t it? The union may finally have managed to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs (not to be confused with “laying an egg,” which is what American automakers seem to have been doing).

I suppose I might feel differently if I’d grown up in a family of union workers, or if I were currently drawing a fat union pension fund check. But I didn’t and I’m not. So shoot me. I still think unions are outmoded institutions whose only purpose today is enriching their members at everyone else’s expense.

2 Comments »

  1. I hear you, particularly about the UAW. On the other hand, I can see the usefulness of a union for certain fields and professions. My mother worked for the water authority and she belonged to one, and my man is in law enforcement and he belongs to one. Hers made sure that their benefits were on par with the rest of the civil service. His makes sure that those who risk their lives every day make a fair wage and have appropriate disability should they get injured on the job (like he has). Neither one of them rake(d) in substantial amounts of money. He just does okay because he works nights (night differential) and puts in overtime. And in all honesty, the folks at Wal-Mart could probably use one if they don’t have one, as that worker was put in harm’s way to act like a security guard when he was a temporary janitor, and Wal-Mart is notorious for treating its employees like garbage. But it does indeed cheese me when I see people getting paid for standing around, or charging for 3 hours of work when they stayed an extra 15 minutes “because they’re union.”

    Oh my, this comment is long. Sorry!
    ___________
    No prob. I know your guy’s in law enforcement and was looking forward to your comment. I’d like to think he and your mom would have been fairly compensated without the existence of unions, but maybe that’s just my unrealistic idealism. I’ve no idea how we’d get rid of unions, either, since no one is going to willingly give up what they think are union-assured benefits.

    (BTW, I believe cops and firefighters are not and cannot be paid nearly enough for the dangerous, self-less jobs they do.)

  2. P.S. Don’t get me started on the Teamsters. Yo. What do you mean I’m funny? Like I “amuse” you?
    _____________
    As my sibs and I used to say, “Funny ha ha, not funny peculiar.” (You may be funny peculiar, but I’ve no evidence of that … yet.)

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