Union worker pay and benefits, are they too rich? That is open to debate. I say the union mentality is the biggest force working against the union itself. Seven ways I’ve seen unions go astray:
- At the state level, work is slow, travel is long: a state-employed repairman traveled 300 miles north of his home near Detroit in order to change a light bulb in a state building. He was next on the list to do this work and the only one allowed to do it.
- At one of the Big Three automakers: during an afternoon shift of an auto plant, some workers would sneak out shortly after punching in and go home while others would punch them out. They each took turns sneaking out.
- At one of the Big Three automakers: workers meet only their quota of parts for their shift. They never exceed quota. Once the parts are produced, they go to their cars and sleep the rest of the shift. If a manager expects more work out of his employees, next time they make sure the machinery gets broken which creates a standstill thereby not even meeting the quota.
- At a small automotive parts factory: a small union shop, paid union dues that contributed to the Big Three union worker wages when they went on strike. The Big Three workers stayed home on strike and got close to full pay for their non-effort. When the small union factory workers wanted to go on strike they expected reciprocation. The lower-tier union employees were told that during a strike at their small shop, they would get no strike pay. Some workers are more equal than others.
- At a public sector job: told by another employee that when done with your work, be quiet, don’t look for more work and don’t tell management. Look busy. It ended up that looking busy is more work than being busy.
- At a public sector job: your college degree brings up the expectations of management and makes it unfair for regular workers to get ahead.
- At college, mid 1970’s: 19 year old college student boasts that her job as a grocery store cashier allowed her to buy a car cash. The grocery store union was strong at the time and she made twice as much as the average college student. She couldn’t believe her good fortune and felt that she made more money with less effort. The other struggling students couldn’t believe their poor fortune.
The union spin is that they protect the working class. The reality is, unions protect union labor first and foremost; protect them to the point of stagnating the work process. More than anything else, do away with the union mentality; it’s too much bad public relations for unions.