Common Sense Dictates

Common Sense Unions

Union-busting is a thing of great debate in America today. On the one side we have those arguing that unions are driving up the costs of living and reaping benefits, in all its forms, from the taxpayers. On the other side, we have those arguing that without unions companies would be able to hire at the most minimum of wages without being compelled to offer employees benefits or retirement.

Truth is, and what neither side wants you to know, their both right.

There is a stark difference in the multitude of unions. As an example there are teacher’s unions, labor unions, teamsters, steel workers, operators, and auto workers. Each and every one of these various unions has their own separate and distinct contracts. These contracts are not only different between the different unions, but also differ from state to state or region to region.

Before delving into the common sense of unions it should be noted that there is one rather large non-corporation with the same taxpayer-supplied benefits as that of a union, yet they are not union members – the federal government.

What the greatest majority of people in America consider to be unionization consists of a high salary, medical benefits, and a retirement plan at a huge cost to the taxpayer. All of these things are incorporated within the government’s official package.

It could be stated that the main argument is not actually against unions but against what they represent to outsiders. Since the media states the greatest majority of citizens believe unions and their taxpayer atrocities should be foreclosed on, then too should the federal government’s higher-priced union-like package be done away with. There is one major difference between organized unions and our federal government, though – unions bargain for their wages with employers as where the federal government gives themselves a raise and tells their employers to deal with it.

As for the unions themselves, it is true that the National Education Association is the nations largest labor union in the United States. The greatest majority of NEA members oppose any sort of testing for the teachers that are hired to teach our children. The NEA has a bargaining unit that allows teachers to strike in order to increase their taxpayer funded salaries. They also enjoy the benefit of not being fired on the spot, unless committing a heinous act, without having first been written up ‘x’ amount of times within ‘x’ period of time.

It is also true that the United Auto Workers has a collective bargaining unit where they argue for their wages and benefits. They are also the country’s highest paid union force. Not getting a foothold into the foreign manufacturers within America, the UAW has been declining in membership. Foreign automakers in the U.S. pay fair above-the-board wages and offer employer-paid pension plans.

With the Teamsters there is a long history of organized crime and corruption, as well as workers being expected to work long arduous hours for little pay. Today, United Parcel Service is part of the IBT (International Brotherhood of Teamsters) and delivers parcel post at a reasonable cost to customers within an adequate time frame. Amongst the IBT there are heavy highway workers that build our roads and bridges and dig our ditches for laying pipes. The IBT also has bargaining units vying for fair wages and benefits but instead of only working for direct taxpayer money fed through the federal or state government, or for large companies and corporations, they also work for small businesses.

The truth about unions runs deeper than the rhetoric being espoused that all union workers are driving up the cost of living while retiring on taxpayer dollars. There are many diverse levels and organizations, most having diverse benefit packages, salaries, wages, and various income sources.

It is a fallacy to believe that shutting down all unions will help America’s economic crisis. It is also a fallacy to believe that ‘some’ unions are not overstepping their bounds and usurping money from the taxpayer. Common sense would then become paramount in deciding what is best for company, employer, and taxpayer alike. But before common sense can be used, common sense should be applied to more complex issue of union-busting or union-building.

Before a decision can be made about busting all unions and believing that unions have outlived their time, it would behoove the thinker to take into consideration – without certain unions and without certain aspects of other unions, companies would be left free to hire slave-like labor acting just inside the boundaries of the workplace laws. All the while, employees not sitting in high-rise air conditioned buildings wearing tailored suits, are sweating and working hard to keep the foundation of this country running.

Some unions work, some don’t. That’s the common sense of not only unions, but all workplaces, including our very own federal government.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Common Sense Unions

  1. “When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren.”
    -Albert Shanker

    -President of United Federation of Teachers from 1964-1984 as well as President of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974-1997

    -There is a reference to Albert Shanker in the Woody Allen movie ‘Sleeper’. The protagonist is transported to the future, where he is told that the old world was destroyed when “a man named Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear warhead.”

    Posted by siilas | August 17, 2011, 4:55 AM
  2. Albert Shanker is definitely an example of what is wrong with, not just unions, but the corruption with elitists in general… if it doesn’t serve their personal agenda, then it serves no purpose at all.

    Posted by Kyouri | August 19, 2011, 1:50 PM

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