Work Unions are another reason for polarity in this country. Democrats usually support unions whereas, Republicans are for the most part against them. There is no arguing that unions have provided a valuable purpose in the past. Unions continue to fight for workers rights and more pay. This is certainly a noble cause, but it is my opinion that unions are no longer needed. Unions are essentially another layer of government and bureaucracy. Unions are special interest groups that donate to political campaigns. Thus, they are not immune to scandals and wasteful spending. Jimmy Hoffa is a good example of union corruption, scandal, and racketeering. He led the Teamster Union (The Trucker’s Union) upon its inception. Hoffa was imprisoned for bribery. The Teamster Union was investigated for its ties to organized crime during Hoffa’s tenure as the Teamsters’ Leader. As I stated, unions provided a valuable function in the past. As the U.S. led the world into the industrial revolution, companies and businesses did not always provide their workers the best wages, conditions, or benefits. Hence, unions helped to put a stop to “slave labor” and “sweatshop” practices. Today, there are U.S. governmental laws in place to prevent such behavior thus, unions do not necessarily help. Also, today, unions are only beneficial to American workers whose employer does not compete globally. Once U.S. businesses compete on a global scale, unions are no longer helping the American worker or U.S. corporations. Take for example, the U.S. auto industry, and their union the United Auto Workers (UAW). The car industry started in the United States and prospered for decades. However, once the car industry globalized with foreign competition, the U.S. auto industry has been steadily losing market share. Today, the U.S. car industry is nearly extinct. There are many reasons for the U.S. auto industries failures, and the UAW is one such reason. The UAW fought hard for higher pay and better benefits for auto workers and retirees. Today, the average U.S. auto worker costs its employer fifteen dollars per hour more than its competition. It is great to have better pay and benefits, but if that is inhibiting the company from competing with foreign competition, then what good is it? It is no good, especially if the company has to lay off workers, send jobs overseas, and downsize to compete. The U.S. auto industry simply cannot compete with the labor costs of its competitors such as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Thus, the UAW is certainly doing more harm than good because its policies are aiding in the collapse of the U.S. auto industry. As China and India enter in many commodity markets, this will further mitigate the effectiveness of U.S. unions that try to compete in these same market segments. U.S. unions need to look at the big picture, and not just what is best for its members. Unions need to understand the business model and competition of their employer. Today as the U.S. auto industry accepts a bail out, the UAW offered absolutely no concessions. Thus, the UAW is not willing to offer concessions, but is willing to watch the U.S. auto industry enter bankruptcy. This is idiotic, and why the UAW is failing to fully support its members.
My former employer competes on a global level. They have never had any union representation for its workers. In fact, any mention of starting a union would be a good way to lose your job. They are completely against unions, and for good reasons. They understand that it nearly impossible to compete in a global environment with unions driving up manufacturing costs. My former employer certainly has its flaws and problems, but this is one area that I one hundred percent agree with them. Their benefits and pay is not only fair, but competitive with any Fortune 500 company. Thus, a workers union would only hurt their competitive advantage. Even without a union, my former employer, is having a tough time competing globally. They have already started to outsource many of its manufacturing jobs and are moving more jobs overseas. This problem would have only been exasperated if a workers union had been involved. Unions can still work for U.S. companies that do compete globally. For example, player unions for professional athletes are working out great for its members. The NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB are not competing globally, thus their unions have been successfully helping its members with pay and benefits.
My Book: Is America Dying? (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)
My Blog: The Theory of Mediocrity (http://patrickbohan.blogtownhall.com/)