Sunday, August 14, 2005

Have Unions Outlived Usefulness?

This is a fundamentally stupid letter to the editor, but to the extent that he may not be the only person in the country to feel this way, there are a couple of points I want to make.

First, the writer states that
Union workers are finally beginning to wake up. A July 26 article ("Two unions leave AFL-CIO") depicted the "bolting" of the Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union from the parent union of the AFL-CIO as a "stunning exodus." In fact this isn't "stunning" at all. It is simply individuals waking up and realizing that it is their skills and drive that dictate their worth in the work force, not a union that convinces them that they are nothing without joining its ranks and paying a fee or "dues."
Reality Check: The Teamsters, SEIU (and UFCW) didn't leave the labor movement; they left the AFL-CIO. And the intention of their action (without judging the wisdom of it) was to organize more, not fewer workers into unions.

Then there's this:
A business is in business to make a reasonable profit, not for the purpose of providing workers with a paycheck. That is simply a cost of doing business in pursuit of profits. There is no entitlement in the law of supply and demand. If workers do not possess the skills the business needs, they are not employed. Can it be any simpler?
That's right. A business is not in business to offer jobs (benefits, safe workplaces, bathroom breaks, vacations etc., etc.), which is exactly why unions have been needed and are still needed today.

And finally,
Partially due to union efforts, fair labor practices and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were born. However, they have now basically outlived their usefulness in providing real benefits to the working force of America.
You're right, fair labor practices, OSHA and much more wouldn't have existed without unions. But you know what, they won't survive much longer without unions either.

Thanks, just had to get that off my chest.