Thursday, January 29, 2009

All About Labor Unions

It has been a while since I spoke up about politics. The politics part of my brain got kinda numb after the elections, and I haven't really felt like writing about it for some time. Time's up.

My good friend Geoff recently wrote a post on his website about labor unions, and I wrote him a response that is just awesome enough to repeat here. So here is what I think about unions:

On one hand, I'm generally in favor of unions. I would likely be in one if I could, but they don't really exist in my line of work, which is kind of sad considering how poorly we've been treated over the past six months or so. However, I don’t by any means see unions as bastions of awesomeness. On the contrary, many of them are led by bloodsucking crooks. However, I would rather have a bloodsucking crook on my side and a bloodsucking crook on the other side than just one on the other side.

On the flip side of the coin, part of what gives unions so much excessive political power is the fact that they have agreements with some employers requiring that low level workers be members of the union. This should be illegal. It can dissolve quickly to having two bloodsucking crooks against you. This happened to another friend of mine. One crook was keeping his wages low, and the other was demanding excessive membership dues and not really using it for any benefit to him. Just as I would be likely to join a union right now if I could, I would think twice about working anywhere that required me to be a member of a union.

What I’m getting at here is the legal framework surrounding unions needs to be changed. It should be easy for someone to join a union no matter where they work, but just as easy for someone to refuse union membership no matter where they work. If people could join or drop out on a whim, unions would have a lot more incentive to help members out and keep them paying dues. Also employers would have more incentive to treat people well and stave off their feeling of a need to organize. Maybe I'm being a bit simplistic here, but I think lot of this crap would change for the better on all sides, except maybe for the bloodsucking crooks, wherein lies the problem.

And yes, I'm totally allowed to profusely plagiarize myself.

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Telcontar said...

You should look to Norway where unions and employers don't see each other as enemies, but rather partners in the effort of creating a happy and productive working environment.

Here anyone can join a union and anyone can quit a union wherever you work. If the union you join have an agreement with the employers-union that your employer is a member of, you are entitled to the benefits of that agreement.

Joe Space Tourist said...

I've always said Norway is an awesome place... this is yet more proof!