Saturday, March 12, 2011

Victory Through Intimidation Or The Demise Of The Union

What will it be, victory through intimidation, or the demise of the unions in America?
Unions in America have in the past made great strides in worker safety, fair pay, and job security.
The results however, have not always been beneficial to their members. The sign you see at the right is often times more right than wrong. Unions are like every organization that gets too big, and too powerful through membership and of course membership dues. Over time, unions fall into the greedy hands of their leaders. Soon the representation of the individual workers, becomes lost in the shuffle. Individual members lose their voices, not only with the companies they work for, but with the union hierarchy themselves. Suddenly the members are just part of the collective. Just as suddenly the individual member loses track of why they joined the union in the first place. That was to have a voice, a seat at the table. The union takes care of that now, and once again the member at the bottom of the totem pole is forced to go along with the collective. Once in a union, disagreement with the leaders is not an option, individual members are forced, either by intimidation or sanction to go along with the collective. This is not at all what people really want. This is not what America was built on, remember freedom of choice, the chance to make good through one's own efforts. The opportunity to succeed or fail, the pursuit of happiness. With union membership, none of these are possible.
I was employed with a small west coast commuter airline, it was non-union when I was hired, but shortly after, we did ratify a union contract. It was a good contract, my wages instantly increased by 50%. My uniforms were now being paid for at company expense, my health care insurance only required a small share of my paycheck. Our hours were adjusted, overtime increased to time and a half, many of the rules regarding pay, and pay scales, days off and of course vacation accrual and holidays were also negotiated into a nice neat little package. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? It sounded good to me too, and it was for awhile. Then, the union dues increased, and they increased almost every year whether or not new contract raises were negotiated. I moved to a right-to-work state, the small airline I worked for was purchased by a big international and domestic airline who, for the time being will remain nameless. Along with the new airline, there became the reality of the huge union. It was about this time that the downside of union membership, and working under a collective contract with a company came to light. When I worked for the smaller airline, we were like family, everyone worked together, union members and management were still friends, although the relationship became strained at times, especially when union and contract grievances were filed against management, who only a year prior could have been worked out, without threats or animosity. Cordial relationships between management and bargaining unit employees were falling by they wayside. You see unions do not want the individual to be friendly with the management. Any differences and or ideas had to go though channels now, first the shop steward, then the president of the local, and then if the local didn't find your idea or difference worthy of their attention, you were shut down and shut up faster than if you had approached the management on a one on one basis.
The bottom line here is this, unions were originally formed to represent the voice of the individual worker, but what happened was the union became the controller of the individual worker. Union's care about numbers of members, the more members, the more dues are paid. The more dues, the richer union executives become. Many union presidents and vice presidents have salaries well above that of the CEOs of companies that their membership is employed by. That's right, most union members have no idea what their mandatory membership dues are paying for, and who is getting filthy rich off the membership. Keeping the membership under contract, keeps the membership quiet, in essence, union membership is just another entitlement.
Anyone who has ever been a member of a union for any length of time knows that one of the biggest downsides of membership is that they protect the deadbeat employee working along side you, or at least sometimes working along side you. Most often union members who have learned how to work the system, won't be doing the same amount or quality of work you are, and yet they can not be fired, and they can not be reprimanded, the union protects them, as well as you. But, you don't need protection, you have an excellent work ethic, you work hard, you do quality work, and now you're picking up the slack for that deadbeat. I didn't like that scenario, most people wouldn't. Most people don't! I also found that the member who did the least and the poorest work was also the union bully, the intimidator, he had the loudest mouth in the shop. He was 100% pro union. He had to be, because if he had no union, no union contract, he would also have no job. That never sat well with me, and it actually never sat well with most hard working members. Did anyone say anything? NO. Union shops have a twisted form of social justice, they will intimidate their members with as much zeal, if not more than non-members. Good little union members, do not make waves.
In Wisconsin, I'm sure there are many teachers that know, perhaps deep in their hearts that many members they share protest signs with aren't worth their salt, but those good teachers won't speak up for fear of retribution from the teacher's union, they are forced to belong to. It's really kind of sad, how so many educated men and women can find themselves in the union trap. Thinking individuals, whose job it is to teach children about honesty, integrity, self worth and self esteem, are now following along like lost sheep, while their union leaders laugh all the way to the bank.
What ever happened to the stand-up, straight forward individual teacher in America? I'll tell you what happened, not unlike many professionals, they've been swallowed up by the unions that were formed to protect their individual free speech. It's time for teachers around the country to look deep inside themselves, find that individual that lies within, and take a stand for individuality instead of collectivism.
"The Watchman"

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