Friday, February 25, 2011

Could I Support a Union?

If a union actually was what they pretend to be I could support them. The reality of what they are is unsupportable by enlightened people of integrity. The idea of collective bargaining and grievance handling is, in and of itself, not a bad idea, but this is not what unions are really all about.

They would need to make some changes.

1. Get out of partisan politics. The union is not a major voice in the Democratic Party; they are a lapdog that lets the party set the union agenda. The union may speak out on issues and remind officials from all parties that they have to earn the vote of the individual worker who can see what's going on and can think for themselves. The GOP is NOT anti-worker but they are forced to fight the UNIONS (as opposed to the individual workers) as a purely defensive manner.

2. Clean out the corruption. Break the connections to organized crime and have a no-quarter-given policy of dismissing and disowning, with all funds and benefits lost, any union official who is discovered to be knowingly associating with organized crime. End the cronyism and nepotism. Term limit all union officers to a total of 16 years of full time, paid union position with no more than 8 years in any given office and after they serve in that office they must return to the floor as an hourly for at least 5 years, at a regular hourly rate of pay and no special pay, in order to receive a union pension. The whole idea is that the unions should led by actual working people.

3. Get a realistic economic policy. Read Adam Smith as well Maynard Keynes. Understand that socialism is impossible and Utopia is also beyond human possibility and the pursuit of Utopia will destroy much more good than it creates and cause more misery than it eliminates. Understand what your labor is truly worth and go for a fair and reasonable pay instead of as much as you can squeeze out of the company. Also make sure that any long term promises are workable in the long-term and won't financially cripple your employer; don't just assume that the money will be there. Without profit there is no company to hire you and you have a very real interest in the survival of the company. Of course you should remind the employers that if employees can't afford their own product (in consumer products and services) others can't either and they won't sell much. Loving employment while hating employers makes absolutely no sense.

4. Police your own. When an employer has problems with workers punching in and not working the employer loses which means the union loses. It is also a reflection on all the workers. Get after workers who are non-productive, especially those who are habitually so. Also be ready to help protect the majority of workers from their co-workers who for whatever reason (intoxication, violent behavior etc.) are a threat to their safety. The union needs to take pride in the work done by their rank and file and needs to embarrassed by those who don't produce.

These are the problems I have seen with the unions and they need to be fixed. Until they are I cannot support them. It's too bad because organizations that actually do look out for the welfare of the workers, without crippling the economy in the process, might actually be useful.

18 Comments:

Blogger christian soldier said...

There was a time when the original purpose of unions (individuals coalescing in a loose bond to achieve a mutual goal) was a good one- now they are top heavy w/ "bosses" making big $$$$ and wielding power--
C-CS

5:38 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

organizations that actually do look out for the welfare of the workers, without crippling the economy in the process, might actually be useful

The problem is that unions get power drunk and greedy. See Hard Times by Charles Dickens.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

I'm with you, I could support unions if they did what they were supposed to do.

My biggest beef with the teacher's unions is that they prop up bad teachers.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

You are aware the Adam Smith in any conflict of interest between Kapital and worker favored the worker, I assume.

Of course you don't, because like most any other fringe write winger you have never read him.

10:57 PM  
Blogger dmarks said...

Shoprat's on no fringe.

Anyway, shop, you left out an important requirement for me to respect unions: unions must respect the workers!

Unions now love to force workers to join them against their will. This must end. No "closed shop".

5:13 PM  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

I'm neutral on the subject of labor unions....until someone tries to ban them.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

BB-Idaho: Unions, as they exist today, SHOULD be banned, and I would be happy to take the lead in banning them, only I don't know how.

They have enslaved workers, not to their bosses, but to them!

They force members to do what some of them do not want to do.

They disavow an employer's right to offer a salary and/or benefits package that will allow the company to continue to exist, even if the company has to receive government money to continue paying their workers (a-la GM).

How many American based steel plants no longer exist in America because the market rate for steel did not support the wage/benefit requirements of the steel unions?

Shoprat is correct. If unions are to continue to exist, they must become more economics friendly.

In other words, they must change.

Call in President BO...he's an expert on change...right?

1:54 PM  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

Well, Joe, the steel industry went overseas for a few reasons, union labor one of them, failure to modernize another and then the one thing that has probably ruined the US economy more than any other:

Country
Ratio of CEO pay to average worker pay
Japan
11:1
Germany
12:1
France
15:1
Italy
20:1
Canada
20:1
South Africa
21:1
Britain
22:1
Hong Kong
41:1
Mexico
47:1
Venezuela
50:1
United States
475:1

7:10 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

If you assume that economics is a zero sum game, you are correct. But it is not a zero sum game, therefore 475:1 is meaningless.

Michael Moore says "...there is a finite amount of money..." (which, of course, does not include HIS). But there is not.

Money is generated by productivity and profit, and is not static, it is dynamic.

I'm not certain why you were never taught that, but how much a CEO makes is totally unrelated to the economy.

"But it's millions of dollars!"

Well, in our economy, millions of dollars is less than a drop in the bucket.

It is, in fact, the government backed industries (GM, some banks, Freddie and Fannie Mae, etc.) whose CEOs are paid disproportionately to earnings that affect the economy...not because of what they make, but because their corporations are not earning at a rate supporting those salaries, thus requiring government bail-outs and such.

When a corporation's payroll exceeds about 40% of its operating budget, that company is in trouble, and that's where unions have taken us.

10:49 AM  
Blogger dmarks said...

BB: That's entirely irrelevant. For those huge companies, if you pay the CEO $0, and disperse the money to al the workers, it won't make a huge difference.

Also, it is none of our damn business, unless we are on the board of the company. They determine CEO pay. They are aware of what a proper value is, not outsiders.

10:08 AM  
Blogger Z said...

Happy Easter, dear man.
I hope you're okay.
xxx z

3:54 PM  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

"I'm not certain why you were never taught that, but how much a CEO makes is totally unrelated to the economy."
"Also, it is none of our damn business, unless we are on the board of the company. They determine CEO pay. They are aware of what a proper value is, not outsiders."
Your points are well taken.
I only speak as someone who was a manager in private manufacturing for
40 years and knew quite a few CEOs. I could be mistaken.....

7:51 PM  
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