Unions

So the unions have put together a nice little video telling you how evil your employer is and how you need to sign the petition to pass the employee free choice at. You’ll find my commentary after the video.

There are several problems with this video.
1. It doesn’t mention the fact that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would do away with secret ballots. What it would do is allow people that were seeking to unionize a workplace with a petition only. “Why is this a problem?” you might ask. Well the answer to that is that it opens up people who may not want to unionize their work place to coercion, threats, and violence. Under the current system, you get employees to sign a petition for a secret ballot vote on unionization. Once you get over 50% signers in favor of a vote, you then have a secret ballot vote to determine if you actually unionize. This allows the workers who may oppose unions to voice their opinion without the worry of upsetting fellow employees who disagree with them. If they pass the EFCA, the petition would be if you want to unionize or not, and once they got 50% signatures on the petition, then its a union work place. In this system, people that didn’t sign could seriously alienate themselves from their fellow employees.

2. Salary is based on how much it costs the company to keep you in your job. You get raises for being profitable to the company. In a union system you get paid based on a position, everybody in X position gets paid the same amount regardless of productivity.

3. You don’t own your job, the company does, the extent of your agreement with them is “I work X length of time, you give me X number of dollars at X intervals.” You don’t necessarily need a contract. And, oh by the way, CEOs and other executives get fired before their contract is up, just like regular employees.

4. There are currently laws in this country that prevent employers from firing employees due to pregnancy, and child birth.

5. Health care should not be the responsibility of your employer. If health care was our responsibility, and we could get paid cash from our employer what they pay for our health care, and we could get the same tax breaks our employers get for providing us health care, it would tremendously increase the level of competition in the insurance industry, and thus increase the quality of insurance, as well as decrease the cost. Lets face it, how many people are really satisfied with their employers health care plan? How many people would rather have the money, than the health care plan from their employer? (I would.)

6. Counter productive contracts with Unions are detrimental to the existence of jobs at all. One of the big reasons for the current state of the American auto manufacturers. If GM, for example, replaces a worker with a machine that is faster and in the end more profitable, they still have to pay the employee to come in and sit in a room for eight hours a day, because of the Union contract. As I addressed in another blog GM is currently the largest single producer of Viagra in the country, is that really necessary? The average hourly rate for a GM employee, on straight time only is $26/hr which works out to $54,080/yr. but many work at least 10 hours over time per week at $39/hr., which when added to straight pay comes to $74,360/yr. Then if you add in benefits at approximately $30,000/yr, the average GM employee has a net gain over $100,000/yr. To see a comparative of cost/hr for the big three versus cost/hr of the non-unionized Japanese auto makers, go here. So, if the big three go belly up (which they look like they may do), there won’t be any more jobs. So, how then is unionization making things better for those workers?

7. Unions in other industries also cause problems. New York City public schools have rooms in the school buildings they call “rubber rooms” where they send teachers that perform poorly, but can’t be fired to sit and collect a pay check for doing nothing every day. Some of these “rubber rooms” end up with as many as thirty teachers (read: union members) that would be detrimental to student learning if they were in a classroom, but cannot be fired because of union contracts. In the city of Philadelphia, union plumbers forced the installation of unnecessary piping at the newly constructed Comcast center, which is using water-less urinals. Granted it provided work for those workers for that period of time, but what about the people that will work for companies that lease space at Comcast Center, who have to pay for those pipes in there lease, and therefore will have to cut costs somewhere else, like maybe the most expensive resource a company has, WORKERS!

Bear in mind, unions aren’t all bad, all the time, they’ve served their purpose well at various times in our history, but when they are the ones telling executives how to run a company based on whats better for the union, not whats better for the company, it may help the union workers in the short term, but it hurts the company (and in the case of the big three, and teachers unions the whole country) in the long run.

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