Do Unions Have a Choke Hold on America?

Well? Do they?

(Warning: Rant ahead)

Do we not agree that one of the biggest reasons jobs are being outsourced overseas is because American workers are demanding to be paid an unacceptable dollar amount for the work they have been hired to do and the companies simply can’t justify, or afford, paying those salaries and are forced to go elsewhere or go bankrupt?

And if employees know they can’t be fired, or that it will be difficult and/or costly to fire them, will they have the motivation to do the best job they can possibly do? Or will they simply do what is absolutely necessary and really not care what sort of impact their poor work performance will make on the product or person they work for?

Also. Businesses actively avoid states where unions are strong. They simply don’t want the headache of having to deal with union demands and terms or have to deal with repercussions if they propose change. (Like the tantrums being thrown in Wisconsin right now). This in turn hurts commerce in the affected state which trickles down to less revenue (i.e. taxes) and fewer jobs.

Because I don’t know a lot about unions, have never had any experience with a union, I decided to do a little research (as opposed to just taking the word of the media – both conservative AND liberal).

A labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The labor union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labor contracts (collective bargaining) with employers. This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies. The agreements negotiated by the union leaders are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers.

Over the last three hundred years, many labor unions have developed into a number of forms, influenced by differing political objectives. Activities of labor unions vary, but may include:

* Provision of benefits to members: Early trade unions, like Friendly Societies, often provided a range of benefits to insure members against unemployment, ill health, old age and funeral expenses. In many developed countries, these functions have been assumed by the state; however, the provision of professional training, legal advice and representation for members is still an important benefit of trade union membership.
* Collective bargaining: Where trade unions are able to operate openly and are recognized by employers, they may negotiate with employers over wages and working conditions.
* Industrial action: Trade unions may enforce strikes or resistance to lockouts in furtherance of particular goals.
* Political activity: Trade unions may promote legislation favorable to the interests of their members or workers as a whole. To this end they may pursue campaigns, undertake lobbying, or financially support individual candidates or parties (such as the Labour Party in Britain) for public office.

I’m all for protecting the worker. There are indeed companies (*cough-Wal-Mart-cough*) that treat their employees unfairly from time to time. (And I used to work for Wal-Mart. I KNOW what goes on there, first hand. Though to be perfectly fair to Wal-Mart, it’s not as bad as people make it out to be, either. You have to take into account that the majority of people nowadays? Don’t want to work, period. They simply want to be paid to show up – come on now, you know it’s true).

But here’s where I have a problem with unions – they get too big, too powerful and if one chooses to work for a union, individuals are pretty much forced to sign their rights away. The unions dictate their benefits, their salaries, and who they should vote for in elections. This in turn, “buys” politicians. Unions pour money into a Democrat coffer, (do unions ever back a Republican? I’m just asking), helping that candidate to get elected, and in turn, the Democrat votes in favor of union demands in Congress. The classic, “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” scenerio. (And I’m not just targeting Unions [I can still say, “target,” can’t I? I’m trying hard to keep a civil discourse here], I know that lobbyists do the same thing for Republicans and I have to say, I think the whole thing stinks and just another reason why politics are crooked). I, for one, am not willing to give up my personal rights all in the name of “protection.” My “protection” is doing the best job I can do and impress my bosses enough that they WANT to keep me, not because they HAVE to keep me or risk World War III.

I’m not knocking unions. It’s a free country. If someone chooses to join a union, be my guest. Just understand that by doing so, one is pretty much forfeiting his/her voice, too. But again, if someone is okay with that, then who am I to judge?

I’ve been reading a lot about the Teacher’s Union fight in Wisconsin.

But before I go any further, let’s clear up a few issues:

  • Right-to-Work means:

    The principle that all Americans must have the right to join a union if they choose to, but none should ever be forced to affiliate with a union in order to get or keep a job.

    In essence, the employee has the option of joining a union, but not doing so doesn’t mean they won’t get the job. Missouri is NOT a right-to-work state. (Which hurts Missouri because most companies will not look twice at a state that is not right-to-work. However, “the Missouri Senate is expecting a floor debate on right to work legislation around the March spring break for lawmakers.” I predict the same sort of reaction as Wisconsin. This should be interesting). I wonder if there is any quality of education correlation between right-to-work states and “forced-unionism.” Doesn’t it make you wonder?

    Right-to-work advocates say states with those laws on the books are more conducive to economic growth. A recent report in the libertarian Cato Institute’s Cato Journal written by Ohio University economics Prof. Richard Vedder found that about 4.7 million Americans moved to right-to-work states between 2000 and 2008.

    The article said pay is higher in non-right-to-work states — but, employing an economic model, Vedder estimated that right-to-work states saw economic growth increase 23 percent faster between 1977 and 2007 than non-right-to-work states. Source

Whereas …

  • Collective Bargaining:

    Collective bargaining is a type of negotiation used by employees to work with their employers. During a collective bargaining period, workers’ representatives approach the employer and attempt to negotiate a contract which both sides can agree with. Typical issues covered in a labor contract are hours, wages, benefits, working conditions, and the rules of the workplace. Once both sides have reached a contract that they find agreeable, it is signed and kept in place for a set period of time, most commonly three years. The final contract is called a collective bargaining agreement, to reflect the fact that it is the result of a collective bargaining effort.

    In essence, the employee is completely out of the loop and relies solely on the union organizers to negotiate the above conditions. Let’s hope those union organizers have their members’ best interest in mind.

In case you’re not sure what the teachers’ union is up in arms about, here is what Governor Walker has proposed:

The long and short of it is, Wisconsin is dead broke, and Governor Scott Walker is looking to put an end to the gross fiscal mismanagement that got us to this bad, bad place. One of the ways he aims to do that is to ask the state’s public employees to start chipping in toward their benefits. They currently pay not one thin dime toward their pensions (for which there is zero vesting period) and a teeny, tiny little contribution toward their healthcare coverage. This would be bumped up to a 5.8 percent pension contribution (in line with the national average) and a 12 percent healthcare contribution (half the average paid by a private sector worker).

If you think the unions are unhappy about that, you should hear them on the following provisions:

Collective bargaining – The bill would make various changes to limit collective bargaining for most public employees to wages. Total wage increases could not exceed a cap based on the consumer price index (CPI) unless approved by referendum. Contracts would be limited to one year and wages would be frozen until the new contract is settled. Collective bargaining units are required to take annual votes to maintain certification as a union. Employers would be prohibited from collecting union dues and members of collective bargaining units would not be required to pay dues. These changes take effect upon the expiration of existing contracts. Local law enforcement and fire employees, and state troopers and inspectors would be exempt from these changes.


In essence, Governor Walker is asking the Teachers to pay toward THEIR OWN RETIREMENT BENEFITS AND HEALTH CARE. How unreasonable is that?? (That was sarcasm). Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. The state is broke. The tax payers have been taxed to the brink of bankruptcy, in fact, many people are unemployed and yet these teachers have the audacity to complain because they have to pay into their own retirement and health care? At least they HAVE jobs!! Talk about insensitive and selfish!

Let’s not forget the alternative here: Governor Walker is trying to help these teachers out because if something isn’t done, the government will be forced to layoff thousands of workers because they simply don’t have the money to pay them. What’s the lesser of two evils here?

And yet, they somehow expect the state to come up with the money it needs to pay them. Where do they think the money is coming from? Though some people honestly don’t believe the state is broke, that it is, in fact, just a ploy to somehow punish them what they’re due (??), most people understand that the state is broke and most people assume, because it’s always happened this way in the past, that the state will kowtow to their protests and rob Peter to pay Paul. In other words, the state will cut other programs in order to pay them off.

THIS is what is wrong with unions. THIS is why people are getting sick of unions. Because when they don’t get their way, they throw temper tantrums, bully and walk off the job leaving the children of Wisconsin high and dry. If they TRULY cared about the children, they would go back to their classrooms and teach them, not flood the streets, with some of the children in tow, I might add (and coincidentally, how despicable is that?? Most of those kids have no idea what they’re even picketing).

Whatever happened to the tax payer? They are, after all, footing the bill. Why doesn’t the tax payer have any say in this? Because the unions won’t allow it, that’s why. Taxpayers are just the money machine – screw ’em.

And what about the weenies (Democrats) who left town so they wouldn’t have to weigh in on this controversial topic? They fled because they owe the unions for electing them, which puts them between a rock and a hard place. And they’re staying away so the chaos can build because that’s how the Democrats operate. They thrive on chaos because they like to take advantage of people’s confusion and cash in on high emotions to bully people into doing what they want to do.

It’s sickening.

And here are two more things I find sickening about this whole ordeal:

The Democratic National Committee’s Organizing for America arm — the remnant of the 2008 Obama campaign — is playing an active role in organizing protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to strip most public employees of collective bargaining rights. And Obama’s political wing — an extension of the SEIU, it would appear — is still hawking the protests. According to Politico’s Ben Smith, it has published at least 54 tweets promoting the rallies.Source

With all due respect, Mr. President, butt out. This is a state issue, not a federal issue.

And the “alleged” fake doctor notes that teachers are collecting by the fistfuls so they can lie to their employers and excuse themselves from their duties. If true, what a great example we’re setting for our children, eh?

I don’t know guys. This is messed up. I know that unions CAN be a positive thing, but it seems, over the years, they’ve gotten too big for their britches and they are just more trouble then they’re worth, not to mention, they’re hurting our country with their unreasonable, and self-entitled demands.

Maybe we’ve reached a point where it’s time to get rid of the unions. Or at the very least, get rid of what exists now and go back to the drawing board. I wonder how that would affect jobs and the quality of our education system?

At any rate, I predict this is just the tip of the iceberg. If (and that’s a big IF), Republicans stay strong, this country might actually see some positive change.