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OnePimpTiger
09-06-2011, 11:34 PM
The Role of Unions in a Free Society (http://freedomandprosperity.org/2011/blog/the-role-of-unions-in-a-free-society/)


Labor Day is a good opportunity to consider whether unions help or hurt ordinary workers in America.

The answer is yes and no, depending on circumstances, but that’s actually the wrong question. The real issue, at least from a public policy perspective, is whether government should be a neutral referee in labor matters...

...In a free society, people obviously should be free to join unions and companies should be free to negotiate with unions. But that also means that companies should be free to resist union demands and hire non-union workers. There is no right or wrong in these battles, just as there is no right or wrong when McDonald’s decides to sell french fries for a particular price. The market will reward good decisions and penalize bad choices. The only appropriate role for policy in this area is to enforce contracts and protect public safety...

A good article.

theonedru
09-07-2011, 02:58 AM
Unions exist to make the union leaders rich men on the backs of the workers

Star_Cards
09-07-2011, 09:08 AM
I personally don't see the need for unions these days. There are more industries that have non union workers than union workers and we are fairly treated within the work force... at least in my experience.

Joncamburn
09-07-2011, 09:15 AM
Unions exist to make the union leaders rich men on the backs of the workers

Not in all cases, the union came into my business and turned all of our workers into union guys and new we have to pay them almost 3 times what they made before. None have any college experience, and some don't even have a high school diploma. Not they are making as much, if not more once you consider overtime as the managers in the office. I am sure the union leaders are doing well also, but I know for a fact that the union employees aren't hurting at all.

duane1969
09-07-2011, 09:27 AM
The only time I support union involvment is for legal/labor issues. Often having a union rep or legal aide involved will keep the employer from taking advantage of a situation.

Unions having say in what a business pays it's employees is a conflict of interest IMO since the unions profit from the salaries that the members make. I put that in the same category as politicians voting on their own raise.

mrveggieman
09-07-2011, 09:47 AM
The last job that I had when I was living up north was a union job. The pay was pretty decent and whenever we had a issue with the supervisor or discipline the union was always there for us. When I moved down south I worked jobs that were similiar to what I did up north but none of them were not unionized. You could tell the difference. The pay was not as much as it was up north and the supervisor or the job could do whatever the wanted and change the rules right in the middle of the game and your only option was to either deal with it or find a new job. In my experience unions are good for the worker and keeps the employer in check.

jeeptrader
09-07-2011, 09:51 AM
the last job that i had when i was living up north was a union job. The pay was pretty decent and whenever we had a issue with the supervisor or discipline the union was always there for us. When i moved down south i worked jobs that were similiar to what i did up north but there were not unionized. You could tell the difference. The pay was not as much as it was up north and the supervisor or the job could do whatever the wanted and change the rules right in the middle of the game and your only options were to either deal with it or find a new job. In my experience unions are good for the worker and keeps the employer in check.
+1

Star_Cards
09-07-2011, 10:05 AM
The last job that I had when I was living up north was a union job. The pay was pretty decent and whenever we had a issue with the supervisor or discipline the union was always there for us. When I moved down south I worked jobs that were similiar to what I did up north but none of them were not unionized. You could tell the difference. The pay was not as much as it was up north and the supervisor or the job could do whatever the wanted and change the rules right in the middle of the game and your only option was to either deal with it or find a new job. In my experience unions are good for the worker and keeps the employer in check.

There are also lots of instances where unions have ultimately hurt their workers because they were not willing to adjust wages to help keep the business alive. Ultimately causing the workers to not have jobs at all. I think each situation has it's differences, but there are plenty of examples of non union businesses taking very good care of their workers.

duane1969
09-07-2011, 11:55 AM
The last job that I had when I was living up north was a union job. The pay was pretty decent and whenever we had a issue with the supervisor or discipline the union was always there for us. When I moved down south I worked jobs that were similiar to what I did up north but none of them were not unionized. You could tell the difference. The pay was not as much as it was up north and the supervisor or the job could do whatever the wanted and change the rules right in the middle of the game and your only option was to either deal with it or find a new job. In my experience unions are good for the worker and keeps the employer in check.

By the same measure, I worked with a guy this fall that did NOTHING. He was a total slacker and loser. He would sneak out half way thru the day, he never got his work done, he took very long lunch breaks, just a total waste.

When they tried to write him up and get rid of him he brought in a union rep. He kept his job and actually has his duties reduced because he claimed that he had too much work to do to get it all done and the union insisted that his duties be reduced.

He resigned a few days later because his new duties involved him checking in on a regular basis and having his work monitored, so he wasn't going to get away with slacking anymore and was actually going to have to work.

There are certainly cases where unions help the labor process and cases where they hurt the process.

mrveggieman
09-07-2011, 12:01 PM
By the same measure, I worked with a guy this fall that did NOTHING. He was a total slacker and loser. He would sneak out half way thru the day, he never got his work done, he took very long lunch breaks, just a total waste.

When they tried to write him up and get rid of him he brought in a union rep. He kept his job and actually has his duties reduced because he claimed that he had too much work to do to get it all done and the union insisted that his duties be reduced.

He resigned a few days later because his new duties involved him checking in on a regular basis and having his work monitored, so he wasn't going to get away with slacking anymore and was actually going to have to work.

There are certainly cases where unions help the labor process and cases where they hurt the process.

Instances like that may occur but I promise you that they are few and far in between. Some unions will actually displine their members for comining to work late or other workplace infractions. Unions do far more good than harm.

duane1969
09-07-2011, 12:07 PM
Instances like that may occur but I promise you that they are few and far in between. Some unions will actually displine their members for comining to work late or other workplace infractions. Unions do far more good than harm.

I work in education and the unions are a total waste. In some industries unions are a big plus, in others they are a stumbling block. Thanks to the unions it is pretty much impossible to fire a teacher unless they sleep with a student or bring drugs/weapons to school. Firing a teacher for being a bad teacher is pretty much impossible.

OnePimpTiger
09-07-2011, 12:40 PM
Instances like that may occur but I promise you that they are few and far in between. Some unions will actually displine their members for comining to work late or other workplace infractions. Unions do far more good than harm.

Like bringing entire industries to their knees with outrageous pensions? Like refusing to take a pay cut to save thousands of jobs? Like crippling productivity by severely limiting what employees can do? I believe it was on here once where someone told the story of hours of productivity in a factory wasted because he was not allowed to change a light bulb at his station...he had to wait hours for someone who was "trained" to change a light bulb to come do the job, all because of union regulations. In some cases, unions serve a valid purpose, very few in today's world...most of the time they hamper productivity, demand unrealistic pay, and could care less about "the workers" if they don't pay their dues.

By the way, only 11.9% of Americans are in a union (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/01/21/2601545/union-membership-falls-below-12.html), only 6.9% of private sector employees...does that mean 88.1% of Americans and 93.1% of private sector are working in unacceptable conditions?

You know what industry has a large percentage of union workers?


Collective bargaining strength continued to be most dominant among government workers, among whom 36.2 percent were union members last year, down from 37.4 percent in 2009.

How's their industry doing? Look at the industries that are in greatest decline and those that are doing the best and see which ones have high union participation and which don't...it's not a coincidence.

pghin08
09-07-2011, 01:59 PM
I work in education and the unions are a total waste. In some industries unions are a big plus, in others they are a stumbling block. Thanks to the unions it is pretty much impossible to fire a teacher unless they sleep with a student or bring drugs/weapons to school. Firing a teacher for being a bad teacher is pretty much impossible.

Pretty much balls on.

sanfran22
09-07-2011, 02:02 PM
Like bringing entire industries to their knees with outrageous pensions? Like refusing to take a pay cut to save thousands of jobs? Like crippling productivity by severely limiting what employees can do? I believe it was on here once where someone told the story of hours of productivity in a factory wasted because he was not allowed to change a light bulb at his station...he had to wait hours for someone who was "trained" to change a light bulb to come do the job, all because of union regulations. In some cases, unions serve a valid purpose, very few in today's world...most of the time they hamper productivity, demand unrealistic pay, and could care less about "the workers" if they don't pay their dues.

By the way, only 11.9% of Americans are in a union (http://www.kansascity.com/2011/01/21/2601545/union-membership-falls-below-12.html), only 6.9% of private sector employees...does that mean 88.1% of Americans and 93.1% of private sector are working in unacceptable conditions?

You know what industry has a large percentage of union workers?



How's their industry doing? Look at the industries that are in greatest decline and those that are doing the best and see which ones have high union participation and which don't...it's not a coincidence.

Yeah, I had an instance at the Post office about a month ago. The lines were real long and they were not moving. The manager came out and asked if anyone had any questions she could help with. One guy asked if she could sell him one stamp for his letter so he could get back to work (he was far back in line). She said she wasn't allowed to do that because she wasn't union. She could only answer questions. That's insane.

jlzinck
09-07-2011, 02:16 PM
My company has both union and non union.

I had to drive something from Cape Cod to Syracuse for an important time sensitive project.

I called my contact in the other plant and said I would drive up Sunday morning and give it to him. He said I could not do that because the shipping/receiving was union.

So I drove up Sunday, stayed there and went to the shop on Monday morning.

I handed the package to the union receiver, with my contact sanding next to me. The receiver logged the package. THEN all 3 of us had to walk down to the contact's area where the receiver then put it on my contact's desk.

That, per union rules, is how it has to be done.

How does this make sense?

mrveggieman
09-07-2011, 03:51 PM
My company has both union and non union.

I had to drive something from Cape Cod to Syracuse for an important time sensitive project.

I called my contact in the other plant and said I would drive up Sunday morning and give it to him. He said I could not do that because the shipping/receiving was union.

So I drove up Sunday, stayed there and went to the shop on Monday morning.

I handed the package to the union receiver, with my contact sanding next to me. The receiver logged the package. THEN all 3 of us had to walk down to the contact's area where the receiver then put it on my contact's desk.

That, per union rules, is how it has to be done.

How does this make sense?

Yes I agree that unions are not perfect and there is a lot of red tape to go through. However I have worked for non unionized companies and some of them are like comparing night to day. For example my unionized job gave us a steady pay rate with peridioc raises. No weekend work was required either. One of the non unionized jobs started off with no weekends then required us to work weekends. It didn't matter if you had no one to look after your kids or no transportation to work on the weekend. If you wanted to keep your job you had better come to work. Another non union job that I had was a inbound sales job. The pay was decent but but you wern't getting rich. All of a sudden the company decides that they didn't want to pay out a lot commission anymore and restructered the commission forumula to make it almost impossible to get . Since we wern't making a botload of money per hour most of us relied on the commission to pay our bills. Again since there was no union to fight for you if you didn't like it find another job. The job knew the economy was down and it was hard to find other jobs. So yes unions may go to far at times but I would rather have a union have my back than to fight with the job on my own.

duane1969
09-07-2011, 05:23 PM
For example my unionized job gave us a steady pay rate with peridioc raises.

Raises based on time with the employer and not quality of the work? Yup, that's a union job...

OnePimpTiger
09-07-2011, 11:10 PM
Speaking of how beneficial unions are, what did the American Postal Workers Union do to help the USPS that is about to collapse?

(from 11 Things You Should Know About The U.S. Postal Service Before It Collapses (http://www.businessinsider.com/11-things-you-should-know-about-the-us-postal-service-before-it-collapses-2011-9?op=1)...read the whole thing)


Despite the agency's economic woes, the 250,000-member American Postal Workers Union negotiated a cushy labor deal with the USPS in March.

The four-and-a-half-year agreement extends the no-layoff provision and provides a 3.5% raise over the period of the contract, as well as seven uncapped cost-of-living increases. A USPS spokeswoman told Businessweek in May that the agency agreed to the terms because it feared an arbitrator might be even more deferential to the union.

Surely they must have been terribly underpaid before this, right?


Eighty percent of the Postal Service's annual budget goes toward employee salaries and benefits.

By contrast, 61% of the United Parcel Service's budget goes to employee-related expenses. FedEx spends 43% of its annual budget on personnel costs.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate the average hourly compensation for postal union members is $41 versus $28 for the private sector.

http://static5.businessinsider.com/image/4de52fad49e2aefb15100000-400-300/eighty-percent-of-the-postal-services-annual-budget-goes-toward-employee-salaries-and-benefits.jpg

Even in the face of imminent doom and massive job loss, unions will only try to pad their pockets more. Is it better to have an over-paying job for 6 more months or a slightly less-over-paying job for 6 more years? Unions obviously don't care what happens to their members beyond 6 months.

mrveggieman
09-08-2011, 09:00 AM
Raises based on time with the employer and not quality of the work? Yup, that's a union job...


Let me clarify you must do a satisfactory job performance in order to get your raise. I worked for a non union company on my last job that flat out refused to give you a raise no matter how good of a job that you did or how long you been at the company for that matter. That was the same job that got tired of paying commission so they restructured the commission formula to make it impossible to make any money. :confused0024:

Star_Cards
09-08-2011, 09:45 AM
in the long run companies that work under the thought that they don't need to give raises are going to end up with lesser quality of employee than if they gave raises. Most people that don't get raises are going to move along and find a better job. Working for a company that doesn't or can't give raises is a tough pill to swallow. I still think they should have the right to not give raises if they want to or have to.

By the way, what exactly was the job you did where they didn't give raises. Was it a job or more of a career type of position? Was it a position that required lots of experience or was it entry level?

duane1969
09-08-2011, 09:55 AM
in the long run companies that work under the thought that they don't need to give raises are going to end up with lesser quality of employee than if they gave raises. Most people that don't get raises are going to move along and find a better job. Working for a company that doesn't or can't give raises is a tough pill to swallow. I still think they should have the right to not give raises if they want to or have to.

By the way, what exactly was the job you did where they didn't give raises. Was it a job or more of a career type of position? Was it a position that required lots of experience or was it entry level?

Bingo. Beat me to it.

Companies that do not take care of their workers will not keep workers for very long. In contast, companies that take care of their empoyees with regular merit raises, health insurance and a quality work environment will attract the best and brightest employees.

mrveggieman
09-08-2011, 09:56 AM
in the long run companies that work under the thought that they don't need to give raises are going to end up with lesser quality of employee than if they gave raises. Most people that don't get raises are going to move along and find a better job. Working for a company that doesn't or can't give raises is a tough pill to swallow. I still think they should have the right to not give raises if they want to or have to.

By the way, what exactly was the job you did where they didn't give raises. Was it a job or more of a career type of position? Was it a position that required lots of experience or was it entry level?

It required some experience but was not a career position.

OnePimpTiger
09-08-2011, 09:58 AM
Let me clarify you must do a satisfactory job performance in order to get your raise. I worked for a non union company on my last job that flat out refused to give you a raise no matter how good of a job that you did or how long you been at the company for that matter. That was the same job that got tired of paying commission so they restructured the commission formula to make it impossible to make any money. :confused0024:

I notice you use a lot of past tense when describing this job...why are you no longer in that position?

I have two thoughts on that. The first is what was already said: A company that does not treat its employees well, whether that is working conditions, pay, benefits, raises, etc, is going to have high turnover. People will constantly be looking for another job and jump ship as soon as possible. So that company will either have to constantly deal with turnover or restructure their incentives.

The second is what makes a company required to give raises? You talk like it is an inalienable right...the people running the company can decide to do whatever they want or what is necessary regarding raises. My wife worked for a doctor's office for 3 years that had not given any raises in about 7 years. They were also always behind on their bills and were constantly a few weeks away from having to shut the doors. A union would have demanded raises regardless and drove that office out of business. As it was, we realized they could not afford raises and were just thankful for the job at the time.

mrveggieman
09-08-2011, 10:35 AM
I notice you use a lot of past tense when describing this job...why are you no longer in that position?

I have two thoughts on that. The first is what was already said: A company that does not treat its employees well, whether that is working conditions, pay, benefits, raises, etc, is going to have high turnover. People will constantly be looking for another job and jump ship as soon as possible. So that company will either have to constantly deal with turnover or restructure their incentives.

The second is what makes a company required to give raises? You talk like it is an inalienable right...the people running the company can decide to do whatever they want or what is necessary regarding raises. My wife worked for a doctor's office for 3 years that had not given any raises in about 7 years. They were also always behind on their bills and were constantly a few weeks away from having to shut the doors. A union would have demanded raises regardless and drove that office out of business. As it was, we realized they could not afford raises and were just thankful for the job at the time.

The reason why I left is because I was sick and tired getting cheated out of commission money that I earned and I could not support my family on the little bit of money that they felt like paying me. It was a large company with offices on the east and west coast so they had the money they just didn't want to give it to their employees.

AUTaxMan
09-08-2011, 11:09 AM
I don't think there is much of a need for unions any more, but there is some need. However, we cannot have government employees unionized, since they elect the people with whom they "negotiate."

duane1969
09-08-2011, 12:30 PM
The reason why I left is because I was sick and tired getting cheated out of commission money that I earned and I could not support my family on the little bit of money that they felt like paying me. It was a large company with offices on the east and west coast so they had the money they just didn't want to give it to their employees.

That's why you get it in a contract. I never accept anything an employer says at face value. If they put it in writing then you are good. If they say it with a smile and a handshake then you are gonna get screwed.

mrveggieman
09-08-2011, 12:57 PM
That's why you get it in a contract. I never accept anything an employer says at face value. If they put it in writing then you are good. If they say it with a smile and a handshake then you are gonna get screwed.


Unfortunately the only thing we were guaranteed was the hourly. The company sold us a dream on how much commission we would make. We did make some decent commission at first until they made it next to impossible to acheive commission. If we would have had a union to fight for us the company would not have been able to change the bonus structure to whatever they felt like paying us.

Star_Cards
09-08-2011, 01:04 PM
Unfortunately the only thing we were guaranteed was the hourly. The company sold us a dream on how much commission we would make. We did make some decent commission at first until they made it next to impossible to acheive commission. If we would have had a union to fight for us the company would not have been able to change the bonus structure to whatever they felt like paying us.

I definitely get the frustration with that, but at that point it is up to you to move along or take it. As bad as you say it was, they weren't making you do anything that was jeopardizing your health or paying you less than a mandated wage. I can't say what their motivation for cutting your pay that way but they should have the right to do that if it's needed.

mrveggieman
09-08-2011, 01:10 PM
I definitely get the frustration with that, but at that point it is up to you to move along or take it. As bad as you say it was, they weren't making you do anything that was jeopardizing your health or paying you less than a mandated wage. I can't say what their motivation for cutting your pay that way but they should have the right to do that if it's needed.


Yes the were within their legal right to do so. The reason why the cut our pay was pure greed plain and simple. They even had the gall to say that we would make more commission under the new plan. Yeah right. Why would a company just make up out of the blue a way to pay their employees more commission money if they didn't have to? The company also knew that the economy was shot and their wern't a bunch of jobs that were beating down the door to hire people. It just would have been a nice to have a good union that would have had our backs.

Star_Cards
09-08-2011, 01:34 PM
Yes the were within their legal right to do so. The reason why the cut our pay was pure greed plain and simple. They even had the gall to say that we would make more commission under the new plan. Yeah right. Why would a company just make up out of the blue a way to pay their employees more commission money if they didn't have to? The company also knew that the economy was shot and their wern't a bunch of jobs that were beating down the door to hire people. It just would have been a nice to have a good union that would have had our backs.

do you know if this company is still operating?

I definitely get the frustration. Don't get me wrong. I just think that unions introduce a lot of bureaucracy.

mrveggieman
09-08-2011, 01:41 PM
do you know if this company is still operating?

I definitely get the frustration. Don't get me wrong. I just think that unions introduce a lot of bureaucracy.

They are still in business but they have an extremely high turnover rate. What is the point of a company investing all of that money in recruiting, hiring and training someone only to see them leave because they dont want to pay a livable wage? :confused0024:

OnePimpTiger
09-08-2011, 05:04 PM
The reason why I left is because I was sick and tired getting cheated out of commission money that I earned and I could not support my family on the little bit of money that they felt like paying me. It was a large company with offices on the east and west coast so they had the money they just didn't want to give it to their employees.


They are still in business but they have an extremely high turnover rate. What is the point of a company investing all of that money in recruiting, hiring and training someone only to see them leave because they dont want to pay a livable wage? :confused0024:

That's exactly the point. It's a poorly ran business and they're paying for their mistakes in other areas and they will continue to do so. Until they pay their employees in a competitive way, employees will continue to leave for better jobs. Paying for continuous recruiting and training and constantly having sub-par employees due to high turnover is their punishment. In the end, they're still spending the money, but their company and their reputation suffers. If they want a better company and better reputation, they have to start by treating their employees better. If they want to continue their current practices and run the company into the ground, who's to say no? That's how the free market works.

dfr52
09-09-2011, 07:05 PM
The last job that I had when I was living up north was a union job. The pay was pretty decent and whenever we had a issue with the supervisor or discipline the union was always there for us. When I moved down south I worked jobs that were similiar to what I did up north but none of them were not unionized. You could tell the difference. The pay was not as much as it was up north and the supervisor or the job could do whatever the wanted and change the rules right in the middle of the game and your only option was to either deal with it or find a new job. In my experience unions are good for the worker and keeps the employer in check.

Great post!