Monday, February 21, 2011

Week of 02/21/2011

The Union Problem
– by David Matthews 2

A very rich man was once troubled by what he called a “serious security problem”. Strangers would just waltz into his wealthy home uninvited and steal things. All sorts of animals and insects would come in. He would spend endless amounts of money on exterminators and security consultants to come up with ways to keep the “undesirables” from ruining his home, but, as he told his friend, he feared he may end up having to move.

His friend was very understanding of his plight, and after showing up - invited, of course - to the rich man’s house and was given a tour of the whole place and the money spent on it, he told the rich man that he had the solution to his “security problem”.

“Give me seven days,” his friend said, “and by the end of that week, you’ll see that in that time you won’t have a single intruder or unwanted pest.”

The rich man was intrigued by the offer and told him that he had seven days. Sure enough, the following week, the rich man was pleasantly surprised by not having a single intruder or pest or stray animal in his home.

“How did you do it?” the rich man asked.

“I closed the front door,” the friend replied.

Yes, sometimes IT IS that simple.

It’s no big surprise that the GOP doesn’t really like unions. Sure they’ll suck up to certain unions like the Police Officers union and the Teamsters, but their loyalties are clearly in the back pocket of Big Corporate, and Big Corporate has NEVER liked unions… AT ALL!

For the GOP, it’s a matter of political power. They’ll suck up to unions that give them votes, and then when they get in power, they do everything needed to get rid of those unions that don’t give them votes. Ronald Reagan did that with the air traffic controllers in the 1980’s.

Democrats, of course, LOVE unions. Again, it’s a matter of political power. They’ll suck up to the unions that give them power, but unlike the GOP, they don’t want to destroy the ones that don’t give them power. They’ll just let those groups twist it the wind, knowing that the GOP will screw them over eventually because of that party’s fidelity with Big Corporate.

And so the matter becomes one of political struggle. Who has the bigger wallet? Who carries the bigger political stick? It’s the rich versus the not-as-rich.

But somewhere in the discussion a HUGE “front door” issue is left gaping open.

WHY do the unions exist in the first place?

That doesn’t really get too much attention, does it? We can figure out WHEN the unions got started. We can figure out HOW they got to where they are, but we don’t put too much thought into WHY they originally came to be.

Does any businessman worth his salt actually wake up one morning and have a union magically appear in his workplace? No. Nobody wants to have a third party come into their business, no matter who that third party is. Government, lawyers, special interest groups… never mind that the third party is claiming to represent your own employees!

So WHY was the need there in the first place?

That’s something that the conservatives and neo-conservatives and their friends in Big Corporate don’t want us to think about. But the truth of the matter is that the only reason why the unions exist is because the business world screwed up! Unions exist because some in the business world treated their operations as miniature fiefdoms at a time when any form of repression was met with revolution.

In other words, there WOULD NEVER have been unions if not for the abuses of the employers!

That’s the deep, dark, unspoken secret from Big Corporate that you’re not supposed to know. Big Corporate essentially CREATED the need for unions through their actions!

And now Big Corporate and their friends in government want those unions broken. Not just removed, but physically, mentally, and politically shattered.

The problem is they don’t have a clue as to how to really do it.

“Breaking” a union through strike-busting programs and “starving” them out of a workplace may work in that one instance, but it doesn’t stop the union from eventually returning. And starting a new business doesn’t mean it’ll stay union-free. There are instances where a new business would open up in a community that would be fiercely anti-union, and five years later that place would BECOME a union shop. How? What happens to change the minds of people who USED to be anti-union? Two words: bad management.

Let’s get brutally honest here… the only way to get rid of a union or to keep one away is not do the things that would WARRANT one! In other words, it is high time that the business world got a clue and cleaned up their own act!

Unions exist and crop up because the seeds of discontent are already planted in the workplace through bad or abusive management. All that needs to happen, then, is for someone to ask questions like “When was the last time you had a raise?” “When was the last time you had a day off?” “When did your CEO get a raise?” “How often is he able to take a day off?” These need to be answered positively. But if you as an employer are fostering an environment where those answers are negative, then you only have yourself to blame for the results.

Having a union is not an ideal situation. It is a poor substitute for good management. It is a glaring symptom of bad management. All of the consultants and political brinkmanship going on doesn’t solve the problem that CREATED the need for the union in the first place. If you want to get rid of them, then you need ACTUAL good management. That’s the only way for you to close that “front door”.

1 comment:

Chuck Doswell said...

Bravo!! This is exactly why unions exist and why they continue to exist! Nicely done, David!!