Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Why Unions are a Bad Idea

There is a fundamental problem with labor unions that cannot be ignored: a person can't answer to two masters; somebody has to be in charge.

Just think of all the inane junk that happens because of labor unions. Consider that people are paid outrageous amounts of money to perform non-skilled tasks--often just grunt work--and the resultant price increase is borne by all. You can't tell me that it makes sense for a company to pay somebody 14 bucks an hour in 1984 to put cans on a grocery shelf. That's what I was paid back then.

Or how about the way labor is divided? I know a friend who wasn't allowed to pick something up and carry it from one part of the warehouse to another because it was the job of a union employee. Never mind what works best for the company who pays the bills; "protecting jobs" for the unions is the only thing that matters.

And the situation in our schools is a joke too. Administrators who are paid to make sure students achieve have little power to do anything to make sure that happens. I can give you many examples of the whining, silly demands that teachers have that run counterproductive to helping students.

The rebellion of the people against the owners of a company or against authority is as old as Adam and Eve--it was wrong then and it is wrong now.

Oh, and spare me the balony about unions being needed to ensure workers are not taken advantage of.

Somebody is taken advantage of if management is in charge and somebody else is taken advantage of if the union is in charge. The person who has right of ownership and who is held accountable should be the one with the right to take advantage of the other party.

Now of course we have laws in this country that won't allow the owners to take advantage of the workers, but none that keep the workers from taking advantage of the owners. Isn't that kind of backwards?


Dennis said...

Great post. The unions have a strangle-hold on the legislature in Jefferson City, preventing Missouri from participating in the economic expansion that has taken place throughout the South. Why locate your business here, when you can find much more favorable conditions in Arkansas or Tennessee? But we'll all sleep better paying higher prices for goods and knowing that the union members aren't being taken advantage of!

Bastardironhead Union Ironworker said...

I am sure glad that you like to whine and moan about how the worker is taking advantage of the owner. If you enjoy your weekends off, thank the unions. If you are glad that you got to go to highschool instead of being put to work in a sweatshop, thank the unions. I am not saying that unions are perfect, far from it, I am saying that without unions big corporations would run rampant and destroy what you would call a decent living. If you need an example of corporate corruption just take a look at Enron, worldcom, and the likes. And I am not even going to begin on the oil companies ... Need I say more.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Hey, BUI:

Thanks for dropping by. I love to talk about these things and I am glad you could contribute to the discussion.

I work for a union, so I am aware of their contributions, which, I imagine were probably necessary at one point in our history.

The funny thing about my post and your response is that I thought. I had an unassailable point: someone has to be in charge and obviously that someone should be the owner of the company, not the people he hires.

I especially thought I hit a home run with the last line where I basically said that current laws protect the worker, but don't protect the owner. If you eliminate unions, those laws would still exist.

Well, I have found there are certain arguements that you can not win, and this is one of them.

badassiuoe said...

the union is why america is the way it is. you couldnt get no one else to do what we do. like the iron workers are on crazy sob. i am a operator we have the lifes of many people in our hands i dont want to here that stuff about unskilled labor. not just anyone can get in a crane, back hoe, or dozer and run it good. we are highly trained thats why were highly paid!

Calico*Whitney said...

Great post! There are other reasons unions are a bad idea, too. Like the fact that by artificially raising wages beyond the value of the work done, you create/support a black market of cheap labor, which is currently being exploited by illegal immigrants and other "under the table" employment. Also, unions take away a person's ability to make his or her own employment decisions. If the union wants to strike, but the individual is happy with the current situation, s/he has to, as a union member, strike anyway. Likewise, if the individual is disgruntled, but the union is happy, the union will not support the individual in seeking individual gains.

Bottom line: if you don't like your job, talk to your boss. If a compromise cannot be reached, quit and find another job. You as an individual are more disposable to a union than you are to a business who relies on your skill to produce its product.

badassiuoe said...

so your going to tell me your going to let all the corporations run america and tell you what your wages, benifits, and retirement are going to be thats a bunch of bull. we the union people elect reps. to run the unions so we can get great pay and bennys. why would you trust anyone else with that. we all stick together if one union isnt getting proper treatment of wages or they bring in rats we strike! that is the only way to get our agreed wages and bennys so if we strike the whole job site shuts down. If you dont want to be in the union be a rat but we will see how far that gets you and how well you can support your family then. UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Dear Mr. Badass:

I understand completely that you think the union works best for you. I am not saying that it doesn't.

My point, however, is that unions have no right to tell a business how it is to be run because THEY DON'T OWN IT.

I am very clear on the fact that unions want this power that doesn't belong to them--the U.S. has wrongly given it to them--but I am arguing the fact that unions are flat out MORALLY WRONG.

Now, if you are the type who doesn't really care about right and wrong, then good for you--I just hope you are not my neighbor.

badassiuoe said...

what i was trying to explain is that it is the companys business but we need rights without them the company can pay you minimum wage and no health insurance. the union push for those issues. they dont tell the business how to do you job the just want the common blue collar joe to have a fair shake. there are alot of states that are non union, but their wages and benifits suffer. that was the point i was trying to get across. and i saw dennis saying that the all the prices go up that is inflation we do make a good buck but everything goes up. i dont know about other unions but i am a heavy equiptment operator we have alot of trainging and are very skilled there are some unions that do take advatage of that though so i can see both sides a little but i am union so i will have to go with the union side

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Ugly Naked Guy:

I first want to state that you make some very valid points!

My father has been in the Carpenters Union almost my whole life. Shopping at Walmart is a sin in our house. Needless to say I was raised on Union wages so that is what I support.

I want to let you know if a company doenst want to join a Union they dont have to. It's a choice they make. It's a freedom we have living in America. If you dont like the Union dont join!

Simple as that! No one holds a gun to the big wiggs at Kroger and tells them they have to be Union. They choose to do so.

Ugly Naked Guy said...


I sure that being a union company or not is not the choice of the company. I am sure that Kroger would rather NOT be a union company. My understanding is that the laws are such that if a certain percentage of employees vote to go union, the company has no choice. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I am fairly certain that most companies go kicking and screaming in unionhood.

badassiuoe said...

you are right on that if the employees want it they will get the union brand but its for the better though now those employees will get a voice of many instead of kiss ass supervisor speaking for them they have everyone

Calico*Whitney said...

My mom is part of the teachers' union where she lives, and guess what: She's not even a teacher! She's an administrative secretary, and she is paid hourly, not on salary. When the teachers' union strikes, she has to -- HAS TO -- strike too. She has a few days of paid strike in her budget, but oftentimes, she simply doesn't get paid for the days she has to miss because of someone else's work objections. This is not fair.

Additionally, badassiuoe said, with regards to unions telling coroporations what to pay workers, "who else would you trust with this?" How about myself! If I am capable enough of getting a job, I am capable enough of negotiating proper compensation with my employer. If my employer doesn't want to cooperate, I can quit and get a new job. More than likely, though, my employer would try to reach an agreement with me. ME, the employee. Not a huge union with bulldog attorneys that tell the company what I'm worth, what I should be paid, what conditions to provide me. It's not fair to the company, and it isn't fair to me. I'm not a helpless stooge -- I can obtain and retain my own employment.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Yes, how, pardon the expression, assbackwards can we be? Of course you let the company decide how much they pay and what the benefits are. That's why they are the company; that's what company's do. If the employee doesn't want to work for the company, no one is holding a gun to his head.

Union People: We get that the union makes sure that you get good pay and benefits--that is not my point. My point is that there is no moral right for a group of non-owners to tell the owners what to do. In this country they have the legal right, but that doesn't mean it is moral.

Anonymous said...

Dear Calico Whitney:

If your mom doesnt like being part of the Union and making the hourly wage that she does then maybe she should quit!

Im not saying everything about the every Union is perfect but this is a democracy and everyones vote counts. The majority rules. If you dont like it get a different job!


Anonymous said...

A union wage provides me with a small home, food and clothes for my family, a vehicle to shop and travel to work with, and the securety of knowing that I have some legal entity to make sure that I am treated fairly. I definately don't think that I am over paid or under paid. I do, on the other hand feel that unions are corupted with dishonest non brotherly type fat cats, who take huge wages from my union dues. It takes a lot of convincing for any of our industry just to get these guys to come out and look at issues that crop up between management and members.

We are now looking at decertifying for lack of servicing by our union.

Anonymous said...

the right to organize is about the only freedom we have left.The corporations own the media so there goes our right to free speech(fox news).Calico whitney needs to read a book about how miners were shot in the face trying to organize by the same employers she said would be happy to help the employee.Or they could quit and let an immigrant get worked to death for very little.Those union people have more heart than "calico whitney" could ever dream of.Do they call you calico cause your a pussy?

Anonymous said...

Hey BUI, what kind of comment is "prices go up that is inflation we do make a good buck but everything goes up." Prices going up are caused by expenses. If wages go up that means expenses have gone up which will cause prices to go up. Inflation is the rise in prices so when you get those "good bucks" raises you are causing prices to go up. Unions were needed at one time, but in most cases not needed. I am tired of hearing people say that you have the unions to thank for your weekends and for this and that. The only people I have to thank for any thing is the men and women who fought in WWI & WWII and keep fighting to keep this country free to have the choices we have to make. Laws have changed to protect the workers now. Unions have become so corrupt and have companies to go out of business. Look at the Car Industry in this country. The unions drove the wages up so high that the US Auto has become so high priced it could not compete. People have lost their jobs because the union wanted the high wages not caring that it would force companies to cut jobs to stay a float. Stop talking about how unions did this and that back when most of you people saying this weren't even born. Get your heads out of your asses and look how far our country has fallen in regards to jobs being lost because of unions demanding higher and higher wages for jobs that require little work to do.

dd said...

If it was left up to Corporate America, they would have the backbone (blue collar) of America get paid minimum wage. There is no conscience on their part. Its easy to say "if you dont like it, leave", but what about the people who cant leave, the ones without a higher education, without social/political connections? Dont they deserve a wage that they can live on? Have a house with a white picket fence, 2 kids and a dog? Have a right to health benefits for him/herself and their children? And where is the thanks for the weekend, or the 8 hour day, or overtime, or sick leave, or vacation pay, or holidays, or a pension? We must organize so we dont get fu**ed by corporate america. The less fortunate need some help in getting what every person deserves, a decent way of life.

dd said...

As a retort to "anonymous"
The car industry cant compete because of cars manufactured in other countries where they get paid in garbage. the jobs are leaving the us because car companies say hey "we can pay alot less if we move to mexico" how do you think the auto worker in mexico lives? then lets go back to first base, "if you dont like it, leave" somebody has to do it!!! You have to acknowledge without representation these people wont get anything.
And its nice that you thank the troops, so do i, but when did they have anything to do with getting an 8 hour workday?

on another note, what union jobs require little work to do? less work than sitting at a desk all day? Face it, most union laborers do more back breaking work in a month than you probably have done all of your life.

Anonymous said...

to quote bb:
"but what about the people who cant leave, the ones without a higher education, without social/political connections? Dont they deserve a wage that they can live on? Have a house with a white picket fence, 2 kids and a dog? Have a right to health benefits for him/herself and their children? And where is the thanks for the weekend, or the 8 hour day, or overtime, or sick leave, or vacation pay, or holidays, or a pension?"

This my friend, is what we call communism. Not everyone is created equally, therefore, why should everyone be given equal treatment.
I know it sounds bad, and I hate to break it to you, but maybe you made a big mistake back when you decided not to get a higher education.
Everyone voting against a union has made a valid point, so I won;t restate that. The real deal is that the "little guy" or the "uneducated, proletariat, working class" want to be equal to the higher ups, and honestly, it just doesn't work like that. It's nice that you want to be communists, maybe you should move to China, then you could learn what real suffering is. Instead of crying over health care, consider your government crushing you with tanks when you protest.

Anonymous said...

What came first in the auto industry -- higher union wages forced by unions or out sourcing jobs to other countries?

As for office work being less demanding that of nonoffice work. BS. I work for a garbage company and I agree that there are a lot of drivers that deserve high pay. There are also a few drivers who don't pull their weight, but whose jobs are being protected by the union. In fact, there was one driver who was doing such a poor job they promoted him to come work for the union.

As for my wife, she's a school teacher. Her wages are fair, but a little low. The union does an aweful job negotiating health benefits that my lame non-union customer service job has better health benefits.

Unions were a necessary evil once upon a time, but it is time for them to go.

Anonymous said...

the working class doesnt want to be equal to their bosses, (mansions, summer homes, boats, mercedes benz) they just want to be able to have a place to live and raise a family on a decent wage.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

I stopped writing this blog a while ago, but still love seeing all the responses to this post.

I still have the same question for all the union supporters out there (BTW, I am in a union, but not by choice): Who is the boss? The union or the owners of the company? NO ONE can serve two masters. Who is really the boss and who has the right to be the boss?

Anonymous said...

Union workers dont have 2 masters or 2 bosses. A union member works for the union. The employer hires the services of the union. Union labor is a sub contractor to the general contractor (the company). Nobody has to hire union labor. I know, generally in the construction industry, employers hire union labor because they are highly skilled, every construction union has an apprentice/training school, safety programs and such. Union laborers are constantly training. I know because I am one (if you havent guessed by now). Construction is becoming very safety and training oriented, and that is why union labor has a leg up on non-union labor.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Re: the last anonymous...

Thank you so much for explainig that! I have waited for someting like that in countless debate such as this and no one ever says that.

I did not really ever look at it that way before. I especially like how you out and out admitted that the union is the boss. Personally, I have a problem with that, but at least that solves the problem of it being impossible to have two bosses.

However, I disagree that if a company does not want to hire a union it doesn't have to. I am sure you know better than i (and perhaps can explain) that there are laws that give workers the rights to unionize. Many times those laws make it impossible for the company not to have a union. If a certain percentage of people want the union, that's it. Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Your right, workers can vote to have a union. But in most states, they have right to work (for less) laws. So somebody can work at a normally union job and not have to join the union. My point is, nobody is forcing unions on anybody. And personally, why is it wrong for a union worker to work for the union? If your a general contractor and you hire a subcontractor, your not the boss of the subcontractors employees, you simply hired the subcontractor to do a job, regardless of who he uses or what methods he uses to get it done in most cases.

Anonymous said...

dd, Were you part of the group to get weekends off, 8 hour days? I doubt it so enough with the "And where is the thanks for the weekend, or the 8 hour day, or overtime, or sick leave, or vacation pay, or holidays, or a pension?" crap. I am tired of union members saying that like they were around or were part of those things being instituted. I am also tired of the "Back breaking work union members perform". Last time I checked not all unions were in "Back breaking" industries. Come up with some better arguments as to why you think unions are so great.

Anonymous said...

Not back breaking? Try riding a rumbling bulldozer for 30 years, see how your hearing and kidneys feel after that. Try digging with a shovel or using a jackhammer so much that when you come home your hands are twice the size they were when you left the house. Try laying bricks on your knees for 20 years. Most brickies have at least one knee replacement in their lifetime. In essence, any union argument is really an argument about socialism vs. unrestricted capitalism. I just dont think that there is anything wrong with a bluecollar worker having a slice of the American dream along with any manager or business owner. I pick socialism.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

"I pick socialism." Well, there you have it! Unfortunately, it appears much of America picks socialism too; they just aren't as honest about it as you are. We are being coming more socialistic every year.

Anonymous said...

Im glad we have an agreement!

Jak said...

I'm so glad someone else has noticed this hold that an archaic institution has on our country. To those who posted comments to the contrary, it shows how easy it is for an individual to be generally short-sighted, especially in matters of industry and economics. Costs *are* driven up by unions, which, through their dues, demand higher and higher wages. (In fact even such "necessary" regulations we take for granted (like ever-increasing minimum wage laws) serve only to exacerbate inflation as well.) And, anyone who has EVER worked with unions in Chicago-land, will understand all too clearly the personal risk to their health and family if they choose to be non-union. At least out here, the unions are unabashedly violent, threatening, and generally in poor taste.
To those "raised on union wages" (I am one of them), it may be beneficial to do some actual independent research on the topic instead of using your personal nostalgias to formulate an intelligent opinion. To simply acquiesce to the labor-gang mentality of a brutal and antiquated past, in lieu of measured re-evaluations, is a lazy and dangerous choice.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of valid points above, but the bottom line is unions only benefit the people who are in them (slightly) and are very dangerous to the rest of the country. As for who is the boss... the unions are, which can be VERY costly to the business owner. One example: I am the "boss" (no, i don't live in a mansion but I do drive a 20 year old mercedes)at a facility that utilizes union labor for overwater bulkliquid transfers. All the union has to do is hook up a hose that should take two people 20 minutes (non-skilled). Instead, they have 11 people on-sight during the entire transfer (normally over 30 hours) with seperate crews for hose set up and break down. 100% insane!!! On top of that, I cannot tell them how to do their jobs... even when they are doing them wrong! I have to call the Port, who then contacts the foremen, who then directs the labor... all the while I am paying over $20K an hour for the ship to sit idle. What a joke! This is the biggest sham I have ever witnessed. (I have some great stories of what these guys do while "on the clock" - including drinking, doing drugs, sleeping and playing cards.) The average salary for these guys is equal to or more than mine...

To address some of the comments earlier.
1) Unions were very necessary many years ago... In my opinion the only jobs where unions provide benefits are highly skilled jobs in large industries where quality is #1, such as pipefitting. They provide training, which is very valuable for the employers. But you have to take the good with the bad... for as many good trained employees you get from the union, you also get the slackers that are there just to get a paycheck and could care less about how effecient he/she is.
2) The American Dream is just that... A DREAM! Not everyone can afford these things and that is life. You have play the hand your dealt as well as you can... People's decisions in life determines their outcomes. If you want socialism, either move to Europe or elect Obama. Artificially raising the wages of blue collar workers stiffles the economy in several ways. The marketplace should determine the wages not unions.

I am done writing for now... I will check back for comments because I like to hear others opinions.

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Thanks for that very interesting example. I love hearing about the stupid things that get forced upon companies because of unions. I would love to write a book filled with examples like you just ga ve.

Sean P said...

Let's leave the fate of the workers up to someone whose number 1 priority is to bring in as much money as possible while giving out as little as possible.

What could possibly go wrong?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand unions at all. If you don't like the way your employer treats you, move on. It is the way a free society works.

If an employer doesn't treat employees well, he will get an unmotivated always changing workforce. His business as a whole will suffer and he will have to change to be successful.

The employer that takes care of their people gets better quality employees because people will compete for the prized jobs. Isn't that the way capitalism works?

Obviously, I'm not a union member and I refuse to be bullied into being one. There are already laws that protect workers and these laws are not enforced by these bloodsucking unions.

I consider unions and lawyers the biggest parasites to our society. Funny how the two are always together.

Take care,

Ugly Naked Guy said...

Fortunately, the exterminator of common sense is eradicating more and more union parasites!

Now, if we could just make some headway with those lawyers!

Matt said...

The bottom line is this.

You deserve what you work for... but nothing more.

Creating jobs for the sake of creating jobs doesn't make sense. Unions might have been helpful 80 to 100 years ago, but right now, they are one of the main reasons America cannot produce a decent automobile at a decent price.

Unions are partly to blame for the financial ruin our country is in.

You want to make a decent living? Get a damn college degree! You simply do not deserve to make as much or more money than someone who has more education than you.... and it was your choice to have a family.... that's your problem.

BoatsnHelicopters said...

I worked at Dow Checmical in Freeport, TX, in 2003 when the International Union of Operating Engineers refused Dow's best, last and final offer. They went on strike which lasted about 3 weeks until they accepted the same best, last and final offer. Dow never budged because they had taken six months to train all of their non-union employees how to operate their chemical plants, repair their equipment, operate trucks, operate fork lifts, etc.

I agree with UNG that at one point in America's history, unions made sense. Many companies were out of control. Mining companies forced people to live in the company owned housing if they wanted a job. These same companies would only pay employees in company script that could only be used at the company store to buy goods. The people who lived in those remote locations were taken advantage of and the unions did help them. These types of crimes would not be possible today because the Americans has become so litigious. CLearly, all one has to do is look at the UAW as an example of what happens when a union is left unchecked. The UAW also started out with good intentions and did stops the abuses at companies like Ford. However, the greed of these same unions along with the weak leadership at the big 3 have left the all parties involved fragile, vulnerable and hollow, instead of being a in the strong position where they should be.

adawgalvi said...

Nice comments from all. You all seem very passionate towards this issue that is why I would like to get your input on the following. In the near future, I will be participating in a debate with the topic being "should unions be abolished"? I will be for it and was wondering how I could rebut certain arguments.

1. Protect workers
2. Promote better working conditions
3. Bring forth collective democratic involvement in workplace
4. Promote higher pay

I would greatly appreciate your comments!!

Mike Scully said...

adawgalvi, here are your four topics you wish to rebut:

1. Protect workers
2. Promote better working conditions
3. Bring forth collective democratic involvement in workplace
4. Promote higher pay

Here's how a person could rebut those points:





Superbia Parti said...

Unions are a thing of the past. Here in Tucson, we're doing something about it. Check out http://dump933.blogspot.com/ and read what is said about the IAM933.

This lame union is under the gun because of poor leadership. They don't represent and have lost the hearts and minds of their workers. www.iam933.net has a comprehensive list of reasons why IAMAW Local Lodge 933 is a relic of the 20th century.

And http://iamnot933.blogspot.com/ keeps the truth pouring from the keg of honesty.

There is a decertification effort going on right now at Raytheon Missile Systems, where the union is made up of a bunch of crybabies, and misled loyalists. The decert effort began on http://oust933.googlepages.com/home and has grown over the years. This fall will be the showdown in the desert. The union won't walk out of the OK Corral. But they will be leaving Raytheon!

Oust 933

allah said...

i am in full support of my union , the international brotherhood of electrical workers.
At his point in history large corporations dominate the majority of all employment opportunities
in our country , and the average worker has little leverage to secure a living wage and favorable working conditions. When workers unite , we can use our collective pool of available labor as a bargaining chip i.e. , if you give us a 1% annual wage increase we will supply skilled manpower to your job / give us a raise next year and we'll work @ 2005 wage rates for you this summer etc.
then we all vote on those types of things and we have our new agreement. corporate america cannot stand unions , do you think they want to pay their employees a decent wage? no , they will get what they can on the bare minimum ; thats part of the problem in our country right now , most of the wealth is concentrated at the top,
the middle class has been living off credit and the general public has been duped into regarding unions as crime syndicates.
I am proud to be a Union member , i was never bullied or pressured ,
nor do our representatives employ those tactics. It is important to recognize that the corporate sponsored anti union lobby in this country is extremely well funded , and has an effective PR apparatus. Sorry that you got into a crummy union UglyNakedGuy ; perhaps you should not base your judgement of all unions on your experience as a grocery store clerk.

Anonymous said...

yes unions have faults! without unoins and there political spending what will counter the big business dollars? say good buy to minim wage. starting in the 70's instead of more money they asked for better benifits. wrkr to ceo 40x. now 300-400 times the wrkr. job security, retirement, overtime vacation, ect. these things are what we need unions for. most companies are only out for the bottom line and market share. if the product suckes spend money on adds then send production over seas to cut cost ect. the ceo's only care about the stock price today so the get there bonus if the company fails they are set for life and can walk away. workers sadly need a voice so as to not be exploted! if you have a better solution than unoins lets hear it but if not unoins still are a nessacy evil. that or all the wealth will stay at the top and the bottom will just get lower.
yes the bad should get fired! but fired on the spot for somthing thats not their fualt by the new manager that does not like them? their needs to be balance good unions to protech good workers from bad employers! and to work with good employers to make a stonger company with fair compensation for all.

Anonymous said...

To DD,

"Dont they deserve a wage that they can live on? Have a house with a white picket fence, 2 kids and a dog? Have a right to health benefits for him/herself and their children?"

Short answer. No. If a person isn't willing to work hard they should have nothing. Why should an uneducated person be granted a chance to earn more than a person with a higher education? Why should the rest of the world have to pay huge amounts for merchandise because union joe is making $40 an hour to put on lug nuts? Fuck that. Buy foreign. Kill American sales and service. That is what the unions are going to end up doing. You can't leverage a huge price without quality. A Suburban is not worth $45-$50K when I can buy a Toyota for half.

Get fucked, union pussies.

Anonymous said...

I see you union types talking about insurance and other benefits ("bennys" I believe is the term you use) as if your employer owes them to you. Please tell me where it is written that an employer is responsible for providing you with health care. That's the problem most people have with union workers, you're all like spoiled children that think something is "owed" to you.
I have been a non-union ironworker most of my life, I have stood on my own two feet and worked my way from a bolt punk up to a job foreman, I currently own my own company, and I have never asked for anything more than a decent wage equal to my responsibilities. I sleep well every night, and I take great pride in what I have accomplished in my life, because I know I have done it all by MYSELF, not depended on a professional extortionist to "negotiate" it for me. In short, I am a capitalist, you are a socialist.

R. R. said...

I pace the floor thinking about stuff like this. There is a staggering amount of wrong information re labor unions. The justification for unions is Karl Marx's labor theory of value- the sole source is profit is from underpaying workers. If wages were fair, the profit would have to be zero. The truth of the matter is that profit is a transfer from losing investors to winning investors, and HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH RIPPING OFF WORKERS. Unions get monopoly powers from laws, like the Wagner act of 1935. Here is some truth I want you to never forget- UNIONS GAINS ARE DUE TO SUPPRESSING THE WAGES OF NON-UNION WORKERS. Yes, unions STEAL from the non-union. The supply of labor is less in the union areas, and is increased in the non-union areas, thus lowering their wages.
The "war" between labor and capital is a smokescreen to justify the gangster tactics of the unions. The actual war is unions against non-unions. I imagine that fewer than one in ten-thousand know this.

Joebear said...

ALl i can say is that collective bargaining works. I work in the catv industry which is primarily contractor ran, but the corp(i.e. charter comm. comcast etc) calls all the shots. In turn since there is no collective bargaining, you jsut take the hit and if you dont like then leave. A good example is when i recently had my wages dropped 20% (20 dollars for every hundred i make) but hey thats okay, i can work a 6th day for no over time. Basically unions are there to make sure we dont revert back to 1800s. One thing alot of people dont realize is that without unions, corparations would litteraly turn us into a third world country. Its all about checks and balances. IF you cant see that you must not work for a corparation, but jumping on the remove all unions/unions suck bandwagon will eventualy lead to a corporation either outbidding your small company, or elimnating your ma and pop construction company. You have to think about the future damage not the current situation.

Anonymous said...

Collective bargaining is only good in some cases. I've dealt with two unions in my life, and both of them were terrible.

I worked as a technician in a school district. I had the local police bring a laptop into my office and had me sign that I was receiving it again. When I asked what was up, they said it was sold to a pawn shop, then the cash used to buy drugs. You would think the person doing this would be fired on the spot. Nope. They have to go through a lengthy disciplinary process because of the teachers union and their lawyers.

After that job, I went to work in a call center. They voted to unionize while I was there (due to lies and propaganda spread by the union). The company I was working for offered me 3 weeks vacation, a generous attendance policy (call centers are rough on attendance) and most importantly merit based salary. The union they joined took my vacation away (1 week after 6 months and then two weeks a year after that, so God help you if you get sick in the first 6 months), took my seniority away (it became time with the company vs time in the department for shift selection. Never mind the people coming in from other groups were coming in because our group was growing, and they were being replaced by a software program. Sales groups should be able to do the same thing experienced technicians do, right?), screwed the attendance policy (regardless of circumstances, you were forced to be fired after X number of absences), and made my pay even with everyone else's, including the morons who didn't know how to do their jobs. Now I could have left, and chose not to, so it is partially my own fault, however the union made things worse, and they lost a lot of good technicians because of it. Not only that, but they’re so mismanaged that I still get their e-mails and letters sent to my house after not working there for over 2 years.

The bottom line is that there are companies out there who will try to screw you over with unsafe working conditions (which will generate lawsuits which will hurt the company), low wages (will attract poor candidates which will hurt the company), poor vacation time (leads to overstressed employees which will hurt the company), etc. Don’t work for those companies. There are plenty of others out there, and they will be able to let you excel and recognize you individually. If you want to blend into obscurity so you can just get by doing the minimum you need to do to get a paycheck, by all means, find a job that offers the protection of a union.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately just because American workers have come to expect a level of income that allows them to support a family, own a home, have access to healthcare, and lead a relatively lavish lifestyle, that does not imply that they should be entitled to this sort of lifestyle. American union workers have obtained this level of prosperity by means of coercion. By exploiting monopoly power which corporations by law may not possess, they had over the course of a century driven up prices to levels which were absurdly inflated. Recent years have seen the power of unions unwind alongside low inflation caused by the outsourcing of overpaid jobs to emerging economies. A union salary can support easily 10 or 20 workers in a poor country where they work longer hours, but they also obtain a chance to survive and move up the ladder. As their economies grow, the entire world benefits from new markets and cheaper goods. Unions would interfere with free markets and free trade to ensure their own prosperity over the prosperity of the rest of humanity if they had their way. More often than not, these unions are oligarchical institutions that support the interests of the bosses over the people they unionize anyway. Beyond that, they bully other workers who want to maintain their individual rights through legislation like the card check.

Anonymous said...

Additionally, I would add this pithy remark: without unions (and other such obstacles), corporations would turn third world countries into the US.

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Anonymous said...

Alright, I can not help but point out a small few things... To "create" jobs, there must be work. To Organize work, there must be a boss, and to be a boss, you need an employee... So its the Employee who should be in charge. And to avoid being replaced, the employee deserves the rights to unite and strike against their boss, if being treated unfairly.

There is no means of "finding a new job" if every company out there is mistreating their employees all the same. The saying "It takes money to make money" is not far from the truth.

If you are a boss, you can increase the price of the goods you are selling, to compensate for the cost of your employees.

Those who "choose" to not get a better education, often times, don't really choose, because many are in a position where they have no choice but to work with what they are given. If I am of a family of a bed ridden mother, four younger siblings, and the rest of my family is dead, I haven't the time for college.
Really, Unions are beneficial to the workers, because The Bosses call most of the shots, but should not be able to call all of them.

Anonymous said...

In order for an employee to have a boss, the boss has to start the company. For the boss to start the company, he has to invest his own money. If the employee wants to be the boss, he has to invest his money into the company as well. Therefore, the employee who invests his money would become a boss. So why should an employee be in charge of a company when its not his money on the line? Would you start a company, hire employees, then let those employees decide what happens in that company? That sounds like an utterly terrible idea.

How are you suppose to raise costs to pay for wage increases if your competitor can keep his costs down? That makes your company uncompetitive which will, in the long run, cause the company to fail and then jobs are lost.

And I'm sick of hearing all this shit about the big bad boss. I'm a business owner and I take care of my employees. If one of my shop workers comes and talks to me about his struggles, I do my best to help. I have had employees come in talking about how they aren't sure if they can pay the bills this month. So I loaned them the money and said you can pay it back when you can. So this generalizing about bosses being dicks and only care about themselves is bullshit and it really pisses me off.

And you can choose to go to school. I was the middle child of seven and my parents were poor farmers. My father died when I was young and we didn't know what was going to happen. But I put myself through college on loans and now I have a successful life with a wonderful family, nice house, decent car, and great life. I started at our company, worked hard and moved up to where I am now. So the "little man" can achieve the American Dream...if you're willing to bust your ass and work hard.

And the earlier posts are right. Who should Johnny who graduated from high school and joined the workforce make as much money as Jimmy who went through college and got his degree? If this is how it should be, then why the hell do colleges exist in the first place? Just join a union. They'll get you what you want. Just whine and cry enough and that will suffice for a college degree.

God Bless The USA!! said...

I would just like to say, I absolutely love the last post by anonymous on Feb 23, 2011. That is by far the "Fundamental Right" people have in this country. Work for what you get. Now there’s a concept. Many blessings to you, that you worked through your adversities and made something of yourself. Now that is something to instill in our youth. Your determination is what was used to drive and build this great country. It’s the lack of will and determination that has hurt this country. Wonder how many people actually still think that?
I am 37 years old and it is so sad that my generation and the ones after have the "Everything Needs To Be Handed To Me" mentality. I have two wonderful non-union working parents. My dad was once in a union in West Virginia while working in a coal mines. From what I can remember as a child, times were scary when the mines went on strike. If a "Scab" crossed the picket line they were subjected to verbal harassment and sometimes physical violence. My dad along with all the other Union workers, had to strike. When Jimmy Carter was the President back in that time, the economy was in the tank. My dad wanted to work to provide for his family, not argue and bicker. But back in the 70’s it seems that’s all the mining unions done. My dad had to go from mines to mines just to keep working. Thank goodness my dad left the coal mining industry to become a police officer in the early 80’s. He is not in the union with his job now. I know he is proud of that at this point in his career.

People have the right to work, not the right to be compensated for work they cannot perform to the best of their ability. When people to choose to have something for themselves, they are a much better worker. Showing up for a job because they pay union dues and someone negotiated their job requirements is what's wrong with the "I'm Entitled To What You Have" mentality of this country. My husband is a truck driver. He had many years of college as an electrical engineer. At the end of college, we had an opportunity and WE decided to own our own trucks. We decided not to pursue the engineering field. We have had a very nice comfortable life. (Except for the rise in fuel prices) We do not try to live beyond our means. We have our own authority which means we can lease trucks in under our name. We have survived 17 years without a union and thank goodness we have.

We also homeschool because our local school system has to protect the tenure of worthless teachers that could care less about educating our children. Care to guess why? Right, they are backed by the unions. This is what is wrong, people getting paid, then able to collect a pension for jobs they do very poorly.
Thank you to those who will stand against Unions. I don't care about your vacations or what you think your entitled to. If you have a job to do then do it. Don't whine about what you think your entitled to. Your job performance should determine the “Extras” your employer deems fit. Just do your job and do it well.

I know there are a lot of haters out there just waiting to tear "Non-Union" thinkers apart. Go right ahead. I stand by my convictions and don't care what you say or what you think.

Anonymous said...

Education is not big business and should not be conducted as such.

Anonymous said...

"Education is not big business and should not be conducted as such."

What does that mean?

Anonymous said...

To Matt who believes an educated, do nothing asshole should make more than someone who actually works for a living. You are the exact elitist scumbag I enjoy punching the shit out of. Of course this is after spending some of my hard earned union money on a few beers. I hope your cushy office job has good dental coverage cause if I ever run into you.... youre going to need it. Now put your education to good use and correct my spelling dick breath.

James said...

I know of 343(FDNY) and 13(NYPD) union members who gave there lives on 9/11 trying to save non union employees who were trapped in the trade center.

Were they being lazy? Were they doing it for a pay raise? Do you honestly believe that they did not deserve the benefits they were getting at the time of their death? Would you do what they did?

They were just doing a dangerous job for mediocre pay. These are the union members you are chastizing. Whether they are coal miners, iron workers, firemen or police officers they are doing a dangerous job that needs to be done and they deserve representation and every benefit they get.

Anonymous said...

all of you who complain about the unions can keep doing so , as a member of the IBEW (electricians union) we have got business's balls in a vise.
thats why we ALWAYS get fair pay and safe work conditions.otherwise its lights out. If you dont like it too F'n bad. business is a rough affair and corporations and big companies play hard ball. Ha Ha we get to stick it to them from time to time though;otherwise theyd crush us under their gucci
dress shoes.

Anonymous said...

Your employer controls your wage. Your wage is the lifeblood that you use to support yourself, and you base you entire life on that inflow of money. Hence, when someone controls your wage, they control you.

I'm not one to preach unions as some divine organizations, as they obviously have their problems. That aside, let us get the obvious out of the way. Our nation was founded on the principle of freedom and democracy. The concept that everyone is allowed their equal input, is evident in the very soul of our country.

A corporation is a large hierarchy with a chief executive officer at its apex. It is essentially an autocracy. At the bottom of this autocratic hierarchy, we have the average worker. Because of this autocracy that workers are subject to, they must find a way to protect their interests from the whims of their superiors. Thus, the need for unions, or some effective alternative becomes apparent.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that anyone could be proud of belonging to a Union. I understand that there was a time when Unions where neccessary. 150 years ago. Workers rights laws are now in place and the bad that Unions do to our society cannot be outweighed by the good they once did. Unions don't benefit workers, they benefit Unions. What we are seeing in todays world is a part of the larger problem of the death of self reliability and responsibiliy. If you are too lazy to find another job or take care of yourself, just let the government (ie, other taxpayers) or Big Labor fight your battles for you. I'm embarrased by the state of affairs in America.

Anonymous said...

Endless debate that will never stop.
Mainly because those that have want to justify and keep it and those that don't are against it. You can mostly always tell who is union protected worker and who is not.
Equality is a communist concept, it goes against Law of Nature.
The whole $y$tem is a lie, yes Smithers let all these fools think democracy and freedom exist so they are not busy with us the real ruler$ which can be elected because we are the real ones making the rules

CT said...

Those who support unions will never see our point. This argument is almost that of capitalism vs. communism. Were any of you listening during economics? If an employee does not want to work for the wages being offered and the wages are so low that no one is willing to work for, let’s say two dollars/hour, the corporation would not be able to make the product it is in business to produce. The corporation would therefore be required to raise wages in order to find employees to make this product. An employee negotiates its benefits and pay by either taking the job or seeking employment elsewhere. One person made a comment that everyone deserves to live in a house with a white picket fence and a dog. If these are things a person wants then they need to plan their lives accordingly. If there is no incentive for a person to work hard, they won’t. Unions create lazy and unproductive employees who take full advantage of a corporation which by the way they have no ownership rights over. If union members want to be able to call the shots then why don’t they all pool their money together and create their own corporation? If one of you union member was in the position of a CEO who worked extremely hard their entire lives to get to the position they are now in, wouldn’t it would be really frustrating to have someone else tell you how to run your business? It’s yours! You worked for it! Do you people not realize that you make your living off of the ideas of others? If we were all equal, we wouldn’t have jobs or be able to make a living at all. When a person has an idea and they work hard to turn that idea into a product, this creates jobs for SO many of us. If a product is ridiculously expensive to produce and the profit is minimal, what gives that person who has that idea any incentive to produce at all? If labor unions organize and say that this guy needs to pay his employees $15 dollars an hour and there are people abroad willing to work for $1 an hour does it make any logical sense to pay $15? And you complain about jobs being lost? What would you do? We need incentives. It’s human nature. I don’t understand why this picture isn’t crystal clear to everyone.

Anonymous said...

CT, I couldn't have said it any better. Bravo

Anonymous said...


You wrote, "I don’t understand why this picture isn’t crystal clear to everyone." Logic evades many folks and I doubt that many union members and union organizers have any business administration degrees or experience. I also notice that a poster threatened physical violence against another poster (Matt), but isn't that what bullies always do when they lack the knowledge to have a decent conversation? Unions are bullying in Wisconsin, Chi-town, and most metro areas in the States because they know union thuggery usually goes unchallenged. (Remember Seattle's water port was overrun by union thugs last week and guards were held hostage? But the union was only making sure the common man could have health insurance and weekends off!!!)

A worker should be "free to join a union if he desires, and free not to join or support a union if he is so inclined. The choice is his, and his alone. Take away the right of choice … and you take away his freedom. For when choice is denied then so, too, is freedom," Hon. John L. McClellan (U.S. Senator – Arkansas, 10/7/1965).

Many railroads require a worker to join a union as a condition of employment. Most unions hold people down, preventing them achieving their full potential. It is socialism, pure and simple. Instead of a big, bad corporation (do these people ever stop quoting the same tired talking points?) it is a big, bad union boss and his cronies LEGALLY taking away THE WORKERS' hard-earned money.

GM and Chrysler have the people's friends at the UAW to thank for their troubles (now America's taxpaying citizens' troubles). The UAW forced those companies to manufacture too many vehicles as per contract even though the cars could never be sold (supply and demand ring a bell?).

I guess some Americans are waking up if only 12% are unionized (as purported by a previous poster). It's about time America woke up!

Great post CT!

Anonymous said...

Every manager in my unions office has a college degree, among them are MBAs and lawyers.

Anonymous said...

It seems that only the union workers like the unions. Go figure. If I am incorrect, I do apologize. CT has it right.

Anonymous said...

This whole conversation is ridiculous. Union members make a decent amount of money. Not a ton of money. It seems everyone is blind and thinks all union members are driving around in bmw's and living in mansions. My father is a union member and he chose to join a union after working over 40 years in a non union company. He lives very conservatively and drives an old piece of junk car Money isn't tight. But the money doesn't flow in like many of the people seem to believe. Do you guys know that union members only make up 12% of the American population. You should show more concern with the rest of population. Be concerned with all the business across the country who employ illegals who do not pay taxes and then send the money they make back to their countries. You should concern yourself with your business owner friends who employ these people. And don't call me a racist because I am not. I am Hispanic and I do not agree with this. What's even more funny is that if the many people on here were given the opportunity to join a union to better their lives they would. Is it so wrong to feel you deserve to be paid for the work that you do? I too am part of a union and I break my back working to do the best job I can. You people are generalizing and calling us lazy. I take offense to that. I always let people know when they are not pulling their weight. I work my ass off and sometimes come home feeling sick from the environment I work in. The money we make makes sense. I would love for some of you people to do what I do for a week and see your paycheck at the end of the week and tell me you would do it for less. And many of you would jump at the chance to be a union member. Unions fight for our rights, proper wages, working conditions, and discrimination. I am a single female who works extremely hard and gets paid occordingly. I get paid and I too live conservatively. I pay my taxes and if there is some leftovers I put it back into this country by trying to buy goods from small businesses. Everyone makes their own decisions in life. My decision was to work hard and live a good life. I don't think it's fair to call us lazy. Sure there are lazy people, but there are lazy people everywhere. There are very hard working people who are part of unions including police force. Like someone wrote above, we work in dangerous environments where when something happens its big. If something goes wrong people die. We aren't talking about paper cuts or stapling your finger on accident. People can lose their lives in a second and that is why we fight for our rights.