Sunday, December 12, 2010
Outside of my workplace recently, there have been some union demonstrators. The company I work for is not union, and apparently that bothers the people in the union. I get it. We all want everyone to see things our way. Unions have been around since the 1600's (they were called guilds then). Along came the cotton gin and the steam powered loom in the 1800's and the modern labor movement was born. These machines were costly and their operation was less than smooth. Ownership knew that of the two pieces of the production equation, workers and machines, workers were the more fragile and the cheapest to replace. Men were replaced by women and children who were paid less. Machines could be repaired but a beaten up worker could be dismissed and replaced.
The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was the first modern union and it was founded in 1886. Their founding principle sounded like this: "The various trades have been affected by the introduction of machinery, the subdivision of labor, the use of women's and children's labor and the lack of an apprentice system - so that the skilled trades were rapidly sinking to the level of pauper labor. To protect the skilled labor of America from being reduced to beggary and to sustain the standard of American workmanship and skill, the trades unions of America have been established." I am not going to list all of the accomplishments of Unions during the late 1800's and early 1900's. But I will say this: Unions played a major roll in providing freedom and equality for workers, no longer allowing them to be treated as lesser beings. We can't fathom for the working conditions of that time today, BECAUSE of the work of unions.
Today unions don't protect their members as much as they protect themselves. Once a union takes root in a company they are nearly impossible to remove. States like Maryland are not "Right to Work" states, which means if you are hired by a union company you must join that union. You don't get to choose for yourself. Members are required to pay monthly dues and are forced to have a union representative handle all of their interactions with management. For all the good that unions have done, they are now just collectivism in it's worst form. The herd knows whats best for you and you couldn't possibly take care of yourself. What's that you say? You want to go to management with an issue or make your case for a wage increase based on your performance? That's madness!!! You need the help of the pack for something like that. You can't stand on your own. Not against the evil of ownership. Of course, a company becoming union doesn't guarantee more money or better benefits for workers. But it does guarantee that you will give up one of the few true freedoms we have in our country. The freedom to form your own relationship with a company and earn an honest living for yourself and your family. Unions also make it hard for a company to get rid of under performing employees (if you doubt this, go to American Education Week next year and see how the Teachers Union protects those who are attempting..and failing..to teach our children). We should never forget what unions have done for us. But we should NEVER let anybody; a union, a government or a person, take away our freedom.
Thats all. But, in an unrelated comment...the Caps SUCK right now!!! They've lost five in a row. They are looking more like The Crapitals than the Stanley Caps that I was hoping for. Hopefully they get back on track in New York today.