Political Rant

Unions, Good or Bad?

There is a new bill coming up in the Ohio Senate and I am torn with this. On one hand, I hate the government getting involved in anything that really isn’t their business. From all appearances, that is what SB-5 is all about. Breaking up a unions ability to collectively bargain for the benefits/rights of all the employees working within said union. Specifically, the unions dealing with public workers. This means Police, Firemen, Teachers, and yes those folks at the DMV that we love to hate. There are many others affected by this bill and I recently, incorrectly summarized the bill as impacting relatively few people. I was wrong in this, and though it is no defense I had only glanced at the issue at hand.

Why did I only glance at the issue? Frankly, I hate unions. I think they promote laziness and have created much of of our society’s expectations of the world oweing them just because they exist. Unions are a blight on the nation and from what I know about economics, are one of the reason cost of living keeps jumping every few years. ¬†Yes, I am generalizing but I am sure you get my point. The people that I know that work for unions complain about their co-workers not working anywhere close to their potential. We complain about the DMV because they are so slow and inefficient. We complain about the price of automobiles, yet it is cheaper for a manufacturer to pay someone to fix cars after the line than to pay overtime to make sure the cars on the line are done right the first time. These are only a few examples. I am sure you can come up with more, and probably better examples of how union workers are counter-intuitive to real productivity and progress. Especially when talking about jobs that should be made obsolete by technology and are kept around only because unions force the issue.

I understand the purpose of unions and I agree with that purpose. This is why I am torn. I truly believe that without unions, many employees would be left without a living wage, and/or benefits. I would hate to see our country without unions no matter how I personally feel about them. Without the ability to collectively bargain for their employees, the union has no value.

When Unions and Companies go to the bargaining table, the companies are demonized for not wanting to pay more, or offer more benefits, or more time off, etc. Yet many times, the company comes to the table with all of their statistics of how little actual work gets done by the average American employee compared to how much productivity they get from workers in other countries earning a criminal pittance in comparison. We hear from union employees about buying American, but who can really afford to.

My proposition to resolve this issue is to hold the unions responsible for holding up their end of the bargain. Too often, union employees are lax in their productivity because they have no incentive. They can’t really get fired, they will get the same raise as everyone else when they hit a certain amount of years worked, and there is a precedent set as to the minimum amount of work that can be done without getting in trouble. Let’s find a way to hold the unions responsible for the productivity and efficiency of the employees they represent. Let’s have union stewards that understand what productivity statistics really mean. Let’s find a way to incentivize union employees to do the absolute best job they can rather than incentivizing just being a union employee for as long as possible.

Ayn Rand said that communism was “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”.

I would like to see a happy medium found in this, but there is a saying about wishing in one hand…