I love the Union bashers, especially when they come to see me when they are suffering RSI, sexual harrasment, racial harassment, sexual orientation discrimination, working in unsafe environments, being ‘expected’ to work unsocial hours for no extra remuneration.
How about having someone see that promotions are handled fairly and openly ? We are all aware of the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
Unions offer a huge range of services, right now in the UK we have a large number of companies who are effectively reneging on their contracted pensions commitments. This will leave many facing an uncertain retirement, and yet those same companies took pensions contribution breaks when the going was good.
Any sensible investor will tell you that when the going is great then you put more money in, 'cause sure as eggs are eggs there will come a time when the investment envirnamet is not so good, so who will fight for the rights of those who have been so badly let down?
How about employers who delibrately give out bad referances so that they can make sure their best workers find it difficult to get placement elsewhere ?
I could cite a particular company who has it written into contracts that their employees cannot work in a related industry for five years, and all they do is make fitted kitchens, do you think that is about commercial secrecy or making sure that these employees are kept working with their only skill at lower wages than the competition pays ? I think that is pretty unfair, and guess what, they ain’t unionised.
How many disasters have been caused by managers taking short cuts, and disregarding safety procedures ? There was at a chemical plant just two miles away from my home, it blew up because risk assessments had not been carried out on a particular operation, fortunately only four died.
The railways in the UK have seen a series of disasters over the past couple of years, the workforce was split up and contracted to commercial track maintenance companies, it now turns out that there is very little union solidarity, and company managers have signed and been paid for work that has not been done. Had there been a more cohesive union this would not have happened, the dead so far is less than 200 passengers so I guess that price is too low to consider having effective independant monitoring of company methods.
When you are faced with a pressing safety matter and a manager who is threatening your job, who do you go to see? yup your Union rep.
How about unions who provide you with free legal advice ? Those such a bad thing?
Those unions who provide social and recreational facilities, that such a bad thing ?
Unions who give you crisis advice on all sorts of matters from finance, to sudden deaths in the family, or just educate you how to do your job better, yes some unions actually provide skill training.
Being a Union rep on the shop floor is a thankless task, you get idle workers trying to make bullets for you to fire(if you are naiive enough), you get managers trying to blame you for lower productivity rates, you are expected to wave a magic wand and solve the most intractable disputes, and then you get people saying that unions are self-interested, encourage laziness, are extreme in political outlook and all manner of unjust accusations.
FTR, the overwhelming majority of union reps are trying to represent fairly their members best interest, sometimes that might be recommending unpoplular viewpoints in order to help keep a struggling company going, yes sometimes pay cuts are negotiated, sometimes redundances are recommended, and often its a case of making the most of bad situation.
It amazes me that folk can be so shortsighted, in the UK banking unions considered themselves to be part of the middle classes and as such had little in common with those whose jobs were replaced by machines, the result was that this group of eployees had little sympathy for worker in other industries.Turns out that advances in technology have replaced huge numbers of bank staff.
The message here is that even in modern times you just never know when the bear is going to bite your ass.
It is easy to point out bad union policies or the smothering hand of union interferance in company matters, but most unions are not like that, and most companies are probably not shyster practitioners either(but the recent event at ENRON etc makes me wonder), but, there are plenty of individuals within companies who behave in a disgraceful manner, and workers need protection from them.
Unions are like insurance, you hope you never need to claim, but you keep paying your subs just in case.