Unions haven’t been necessary or positive for 80 years. When unions first came into being, there was no EPA, no Workers Comp, no minimum wage, no OSHA… guys were worked in dangerous conditions for pennies.
Unions had a point in the beginning. It was workers banding together and saying “hey, we deserve to be safe and to earn a living wage.”
Since then, a lot has changed. Working conditions are monitored by government agencies. Workplace injuries are the responsibility of the employer, so there’s more incentive to keep things safe. Minimum wage means employers can’t just shaft people who are down on their luck. Thousands of other labor laws mean employers have to follow strict guidelines for discipline and firing.
To make a long story short, unions are no longer necessary. The government intervened to correct all of the problems that unions were created to fight.
Unions have evolved over the past few decades. Now, unions are powerful political lobbies. They are lucrative businesses with a bottom line of their own. Union members pay dues and line the pockets of union bosses who claim they’re just there to defend the workers.
Nowadays, union strikes are completely ridiculous. SEPTA, the transit authority in Philly, just had a transit strike. SEPTA offered the local 5,100 TWU 234 members an average increase of 3% guaranteed for the next 5 years, increased pension funding, and NO increase to healthcare costs, and GET THIS… a $1,250 bonus to workers just for taking the contract. The union said no, and went on strike.
Now, keep in mind, there is currently a deep recession. SEPTA wasn’t able to run, which put the city of Philadelphia on foot. That meant that the 89% of the people in Philly who still have a job were stranded. Many had to miss work, or were late, or had to walk 2 hours… a total mess.
The union claims it’s not about greed, that SEPTA made money last year so the workers are entitled to a bigger slice of the pie. To me, that’s the definition of greed, but hey – I am one of those people who has to actually EARN my paycheck.
But I digress.
10.2% of Americans have NO job. The average SEPTA driver makes $24.00 an hour, plus benefits AND pension. Could you live on that? I could.
Most Americans will not get any raise this year, including COLA, because there wasn’t any inflation. In fact, most Americans will just be happy to have a job when it’s all said and done. If you lose your job right now, it takes an average of 6 months to find another job. And those figures don’t include discouraged workers or underemployed.
So to summarize – in a time of economic crisis, the transit workers union 234 decided that guaranteed raises on top of their already too high pay, plus a signing bonus, plus pension, plus cheap healthcare – that wasn’t enough for them.
The school down the street from me is getting a facelift using “bailout” funds. Naturally, the local electrician’s union decided to go on strike, and like lemmings, all of the other unions walked off the job as well. All that “not crossing a picket line” crap.
There are millions of unemployed Americans who would happily take those jobs at those wages. I think it’s time for the “scabs” to inherit the Earth. I’m ready for unions to die the death they so richly deserve.