Thursday, December 1, 2011

I guess it's time I shit on Unions

I guess I'm kidding myself in thinking that I'm going to offend a bunch of my readers by writing this.  I can probably name each liberal that reads this trash heap (probably only Jersey, and your readership and participation are very, very much appreciated).  Anyway, since I haven't really stated my position on unions here, I suppose it's time I do so. 

The inspiration for today's article comes from none other than Political Realities.  Really, if you haven't visited there, I strongly urge you to do so.  Larry is an excellent writer, and he takes a civilized approach to debate and discussion.  Also, I contribute there from time to time =D

How do I feel about unions?  Well, I think the original concept of the union was a good thing, but modern unions, in my opinion, are total horse shit for several reasons.  We all should know why unions even came about in American history.  During the Gilded Age, from about 1876-1900, workers were shit on pretty hard.  Working conditions were extremely dangerous for many in manufacturing, and you were lucky to make a wage that could support your family.

I think everyone deserves a fair wage for the type of work they do.  Does that mean that some guy at McDonald's should be paid as much as a doctor?  No.  Does that mean a janitor should be paid as much as someone that works in manufacturing?  Absolutely not.  And should businesses be pushed to make sure that conditions are safe?  Absolutely.

But unions don't limit themselves to doing that.  Nowadays, they've gained so much power that they're actually able to force a company to keep its facilities open, even if it's better for the company to move elsewhere.  Why?  Because unions operate under this warped perception that a business is not just responsible for treating its workers fairly, but it's responsible for providing jobs to the people.

What is the real purpose of a business?  Why does anyone ever start a business?  The answer is simple: to provide a particular good and/or service to consumers at the lowest price possible (depending on all sorts of market factors, of course).  The jobs and the workers that fill them are just the means to the end.  Jobs are not the goal of a business.  No one creates a business because they just want to give someone work.  In fact, a job that requires a human being is what a businesses wish they could do without.

Why?  Because business is all about providing a product that is superior and/or cheaper than your competition.  Why is Wal-Mart so successful?  Because they can give the consumer the same products you can get at any other store, but at a cheaper price.  If Wal-Mart had to pay every one of their employees $10 an hour, do you think they'd still be able to offer consumers those cheap prices?  No.  There's a cost to doing business, producing and distributing goods and what not.  Part of that cost is how much you pay your workers.

It's tiring to listen to union people and liberals go on and on about how immoral it is for a business to close shop and set up somewhere else, as if they would do anything differently.  If in your own household you would not do something that wastes money, because you want to have the most freedom to do with your revenue as you please, then why would you expect a business to be wasteful and inefficient?

Also, it's maddening that unions have such a tight grip on certain industries that you can't work in said industry unless you join its respective union.  How fucking fascist is that?  Oh right, everyone has a right to work . . . so long as you join our union.  If you don't, then go fuck yourself, because in that case you DON'T have a right to work.  You only have the right to work if the union says you do.  Nevermind all that freedom and fairness stuff they talk about.

Larry wrote about how Boeing was stopped from moving their plant to another state because of a union.  Of course they think it's unfair that their jobs are getting taken away, but who doesn't have to deal with that?  If you're a doctor, you go into it knowing that the job market for it is pretty good, and you'll have good job security (because we always need doctors).  If you go into teaching, you know your prospects are only as good as the demand for teachers in your district.  If you go into an admin assistant job, you know you're a dime a dozen.

So if you go into a technology job or manufacturing, you have to understand that you may one day be obsolete.  Technology is rapidly advancing, and manufacturing jobs are becoming increasingly mechinized because it's safer and cheaper.  So just like everyone else, you have to deal with the market factors that affect your line of work.  You're not special just because you and a bunch of other people say so.

And oh by the way, they also force you to pay dues every year.  So the union bosses and what not are actually forcing you to give them a job and pay their wages.  Funny how that works out, right?


Silverfiddle said...

Unions are corporations and the government should treat them as such.

Abolish the dept of labor and all the other anti-capitalist infestations of out government.

Let them operate in the open market like everyone else. No special privileges.

If some union thinks it's unfair that Boeing builds a new plant, let the unions bring a lawsuit on their own standing, without the government taking sides.

Unions are responsible for America bleeding out manufacturing jobs. Look at Detroit, they destroyed that city.

Michigan lost over 80,000 jobs over the past 12 years. George Bush's fault? "Free trade?" Nope!

These jobs went to other, non-union, parts of the US. Toyota, Nissan and other non-union car companies manufacturing here in the US didn't need a bailout.

Jersey McJones said...

You guys would be surprised how with just how much I do agree with you about unions - and not just the unions we have today.

Silver added, "Unions are corporations and the government should treat them as such."

The street-level labor movement in this country never meant to create the (essentially) corporate union sector we have today.

Unions have failed, and are smaller and smaller a part of our lives every day. If the destruction of the public sector unions is successful, unions will become a thing of the past.

That would be an omen.

That we do not have a string grass-roots labor movement in this country anymore, portends disaster for the working, middle, and future upper classes of our society. It is the mechanic who begets the accountant who begets the teacher who begets the engineer who begets the next great inventor. Without upward mobility, we will stagnate. The upper class rests on it's wealth. It is the rising class that makes progress.

Unions, as best as could have been hoped or expected, helped build the middle and professional classes of this country as we know it today. The multitudes of highways, and streets, and public structures and commercial - the sidewalk we walked when we're children to get to school, the water and gas pipes underneath it - was literally physically built by union workers, and they were damn glad they had their unions, and deserved it at the very least.

We, as a people, should be proud of that. But it was the unions who looked out for the workers to make sure they got a fair price for their work. Today, unions can only be concerned with existing at all.

It's a shame.

But all in all, all that matters is this: The labor movement was never able to break into the service sector.

If they can not do that, and can not remain in the public sector, they will die out, and we all will be very much the worst for it.


Harrison said...

I don't know if you saw the story on a local news station about union workers making parts for military vehicles while drunk and stoned. The company, Tower Defense, said they were "investigating" the matter while the report was going on but I saw an interview with the guy who did the story and he said these workers drank and smoked weed in front of the company and he watched them for a month as saw no company officials looking at it.

Union guys...

KP said...

I saw that Harrison. That was ugly. I don't have a boss other than the IRS and my own fears. I don't have a boss because I don't like "the man". I don't like authority. But I pay my taxes.

I am going to be really honest: union bennies look pretty good to us sole proprietors when we are struggling or think about getting old and sick or have family members do the same. It's hard to watch three guys in vests stand around a cone and a hole.

Sometimes I feel people like me are the only group of Americans nobody gives a shit about -- but we are the ones that make many things work. And provide services. I know, so do the guys around the cone, I'm sure.

My bitch with unions is not about coveting what they provide. It is when unions stop doing what they were intended to do, protect workers, and become destructive.

Jersey, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always enjoy them.

Harrison said...

KP makes you want to say "screw it" and travel around in a VW Bus, doesn't it?

KP said...

Yes, man, it does :-)