Why Unions Are Bad For Companies, Employees and Customers

by Michael Haberman on June 25, 2009 · 51 comments


If you have ever read my blog you know that I am no fan of unions. They may have had their place in the past but not in today’s world. I have mentioned in my blogs on EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act) that unions cost a company. Not just in direct costs, but in indirect costs as well. Slowed work process, lessened productivity, poorer employee relations, and more have been cited as the costs associated with unionism. A study by the Heritage Foundation puts a bit more concreteness to this argument. What Unions Do: How Labor Unions Affect Jobs and the Economy can be read by clicking the title.

This study finds:

  • “Unions function as labor cartels. A labor cartel restricts the number of workers in a company or industry to drive up the remaining workers’ wages….. Companies pass on those higher wages to consumers through higher prices, and often they also earn lower profits. Economic research finds that unions benefit their members but hurt consumers generally, and especially workers who are denied job opportunities.
  • The average union member earns more than the average non-union worker. However, that does not mean that expanding union membership will raise wages: Few workers who join a union today get a pay raise. ….The economy has become more competitive over the past generation. Companies have less power to pass price increases on to consumers without going out of business. Consequently, unions do not negotiate higher wages for many newly organized workers. These days, unions win higher wages for employees only at companies with competitive advantages that allow them to pay higher wages, such as successful research and development (R&D;) projects or capital investments.
  • Unions effectively tax these investments by negotiating higher wages for their members, thus lowering profits. Unionized companies respond to this union tax by reducing investment. Less investment makes unionized companies less competitive.
  • Economists consistently find that unions decrease the number of jobs available in the economy. The vast majority of manufacturing jobs lost over the past three decades have been among union members–non-union manufacturing employment has risen. Research also shows that widespread unionization delays recovery from economic downturns.
  • Some unions win higher wages for their members, though many do not. But with these higher wages, unions bring less investment, fewer jobs, higher prices, and smaller 401(k) plans for everyone else.
  • Economic theory consequently suggests that unions raise the wages of their members at the cost of lower profits and fewer jobs, that lower profits cause businesses to invest less, and that unions have a smaller effect in competitive markets (where a union cannot obtain a monopoly).
  • …..union contracts compress wages: They suppress the wages of more productive workers and raise the wages of the less competent. Unions redistribute wealth between workers. Everyone gets the same seniority-based raise regardless of how much or little he contributes, and this reduces wage inequality in unionized companies… But this increased equality comes at a cost to employers. Often, the best workers will not work under union contracts that put a cap on their wages, so union firms have difficulty attracting and retaining top employees.
  • Studies typically find that unionized companies earn profits between 10 percent and 15 percent lower than those of comparable non-union firms.”

Much more can be read in this study. If you truly want to know the costs, ALL THE COSTS, that are associated with unions read the article. It talks about how unions have cost GM and the US.

Probably the item I find the most disagreeable is this following statement on individualism. It is why I have never belonged to a union, it goes against how I was raised.

“Final union contracts typically give workers group identities instead of treating them as individuals. Unions do not have the resources to monitor each worker’s performance and tailor the contract accordingly. Even if they could, they would not want to do so. Unions want employees to view the union–not their individual achievements–as the source of their economic gains. As a result, union contracts typically base pay and promotions on seniority or detailed union job classifications. Unions rarely allow employers to base pay on individual performance or promote workers on the basis of individual ability.”

Just does not suit me.
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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous July 3, 2009 at 1:15 pm

There was a time the working population was oppressed and needed someone or something to champion their cause. Today it is about greed and frivious complaints. The structure of the hierarchy makes Madoff look like Santa Claus.

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Anonymous October 6, 2009 at 7:32 pm

Join a Union first and then talk crap on them. Most construction is done by mexican's that do not even belong here. I have worked non-union in my trade, and have been treated horrible , no raises, no vacation, no family leave. Since I've joined a union. I have been trained in my field of work. I have been given pay raises every year. I have a great relationship with my employer , and so do many others , I might add. Go ahead and continue to continue your political nonsense. You are not based on fact your based on your own opinion. Sounds like you have never been in a union. Book smarts equal nothing without being involved with what your talking about. Join a union and then talk smack. You never even been on a job site and that's fact. Sure, union's have things done thing's that are hurtful to member's. But, how many non -union companies do worse than the unions. Let me put it this way. We are in a state financial chaos. I work for a company with over 500 hundred employee's and 5 different labor union's. We are having our best year. We are making him million's of dollars! Do yourself a favor and just put down your pen…..

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db June 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I don’t have to join a cult to know they are bad.

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Anonymous December 21, 2013 at 8:24 am

I don’t understand how you can make those points about Mexican immigrants and unions. I for one say we should be more excepting of immigrants so that they can give some competition to our lazy, overpaid, unionised, unskilled workers. Businesses cope with foreign competition, and indeed letting foreign competion compete with our buisnesses has been vastly healthy for the economy… How is it any different for workers?

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Anonymous October 11, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Its all about labor. If Our country doesn't have a decent labor force then we are going to fail as a country. Unions allow people to move into the middle class. Without unions, the people who do the work in our country would be paid the lowest wages a company can legally pay, do to the bottom line. No company will pay somebody 20$ an hour when they can get another more willing person to do it for less. The union allows our labor force to become home owners and be part of the economic process. If corporations aren't checked we would have super rich and super poor just like Mexico. For example; If you lay off an auto worker who is making 50,000 a year and replace him with two part time employees then you have three people who no longer can buy your vehicle.

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Anonymous October 13, 2009 at 3:09 pm

You can go screw your self with your anti union retoric. Believe it or not it is true that the business enviroment has changed, but not in the good way. The labor force is more competitive with less jobs and less willing companies to hire at a liveable wage. But on the contrary the mantality of business people (administration and management) has remaind the same, to make the company more money and screw the worker. a perfect example is the working poor in China and the growing millionare and billionare population over there. It just goes to show how selfish CEO's are when in 2009 you can have scandles like bernie madoff (intentionally not capitalized) screwing investors for there own personall greed. By the way don't forget about small companies like Enron, Arthur Anderson, Tyco, Worldcom, and Halliburton. Now I know there are more that should be and could be listed. But don't forget one big fact administration does not make a company money it is the workers who sweat on the line, while they hang out in the A/C in there offices. One last thing if all you know how to do is save you'll eventually go bankrupt with out earning more.

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Anonymous November 25, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I used to agree with a lot of this, but now with the ecomony my place of employment is forcing us to work holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, they force unusual schedule adherence with no set day off, you can't assume you will be able to get days off for your wedding and honeymoon or be at your childs graduation…things are getting worse again, I'm not asking for much higher wages, I just want to be treated like a human!

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Anonymous December 30, 2009 at 12:12 am

I have worked in companies both union and non-union. In the company that work force was unionized, it seemed like people spent more time trying not to work, for example, lazy people standing around complaining. The biggest thing the union advocated was equal work for equal pay. Coming to work, not pulling your weight and watching others work is not equal work for equal pay. Equal treatment for all, yeah right! Not to mention the moral was horrible. I prefer companies where the work force was non-union because everyone pulls their weight and they terminate the dead weights. Everyone should have earn their pay, not get a handout for doing nothing!

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Anonymous February 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm

All this crying about how unions are so great… Why don't you all cry some more how your jobs don't give you vacation, make you work holidays, don't give you a raise, etc, etc, etc. Hey, here is an idea, go get an education! That way, you don't have to work construction with the mexicans. You don't have to flip burgers on Christmas. This thread just solidifies what I already suspected, unions are for the weak, lazy, crybabies that just want handouts.

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Anonymous April 29, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Lazy crybabies. I think not. I have worked both union and non-union jobs. No comparison. The union job had better pay, benefits, time off, etc. An education is fine. So I guess according to you anyone who flips burgers and works construction are undeserving of a fair wage and deserve bad treatment. You sir are an ass. And are why this country is going down hill. Did you know that companies like Walmart who are anti-union here in the states have unions in other countries like Germany. They are very happy with their jobs. I bet you never have been in a union to see the benefits. And if you have than I believe you need your sanity checked.

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Anonymous March 10, 2010 at 11:31 pm

to the comment made at 6:20…
hmmm. why would i pay someone $20 an hour when someone else would do it for less? Well, i wouldn't. It is the same thing as saying that not only is it better to buy a car for $20,000 when you could get an identical model for $15k, it is saying that it is RIGHT to pay more for the same and should be REQUIRED. Doesn't feel so hot on the consumer end does it? Business 'consumes' the service of labor, if you're wondering how that fits together. The lowest they can pay? Really? Then why doesn't EVERYONE get minimum wage? Surely greedy hospitals get together and drive down brainsurgeon wages… If workers are truly underpaid in a field, lets say McD's workers should make an extra $5/hour, then why doesn't Burger king step in and hire them all off for $1/hour more? This process happens until workers are generally paid what they are worth, which is how the median income is far ahead of the minimum wage.
to the guy below him… oh but the admins do make the company money. To say that workers are the sole source of revenue would also mean they are the sole source of failure. Now, I don't recall the last time a company shut down and asked its employees to pay the shareholders for the pathetic performance of labor, in fact I think the GM fiasco ended up giving the union more of the company.

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Anonymous October 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

In my job we have tried to set up a union and even with this threat it has changed a lot of things for us. The company I work for are one of the biggest in the world and are notoriously anti union.Unions have their faults but after many years of listening to the company's mumbo jumbo and constant lies something had to be done.its not about going on strike and being a thorn in their side,its about being treated and paid fairly.

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Anonymous November 22, 2010 at 7:56 am

I am employed by a company that is union and I must say, it makes the company lenient on certain actions like if you call in a couple of times even if you don't feel like going in, but the dead weight is a problem. Now with the way things are, and how difficult it is to get another job, I work the best I can, while one guy barely does the job, wastes time etc. And no one can do anything about it. Irritating as all hell.

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Anonymous November 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Do we like to watch and support Union Pro Baseball players? Unions DO pay per performance. The Union Bagger at Krogers doesn't make as much as a union Sheetmetal Worker. To bunch all union work under one umbrella just shows a closed mind. Union contractors have the luxury of a large workforce base of well trained craftsmen who can walk on to a job site and perform at a profesional level on their first day. They also have at their disposal, an endless wealth of resources. When a union member has a challenge on the job, he doesn't call the project manager first. He can call on one of his 100+ craftsmen brother/sisters for advice. You can bet one of them has had the same challenge.

To say that unions protect the lazy is BS. I have seen a lot of guys come and go. I've seen foremen with a company for 10 years layed off. Some situations where performance, some relations based and none had a thing to do with sinority.

To say all unions are bad for buisness is to say that all buisness men sleep with their secretaries.

Unfair?

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Anonymous November 6, 2011 at 1:05 am

I work in a school and I am a union worker. I am not proud of this. My union does protect lazy workers and workers with real bad attitudes. They fight, they bitch, and they whine. They take unpaid leaves for over year and think nothing of it. One went back to college, two couldn’t bare to leave their babies, and another wanted to try another job (which required her to show up on time, not miss any days, and to work. Needless to say, she came back to school after 6 months).

The thing that bothers me most is when there job positions cuts. Always the goods ones go and the grumpy ones (who hate their jobs and think they are untouchable) stay due to seniority.

Another problem with unions is the guarantee pay increase. Now if you want a raise you need to show up to work on time, call in sick only when you are truly sick, follow through with your job responsibilities, and be respectful to co-workers (even the ones you don’t like). However, with a union in the work place, you don’t have to do any of this and you will still get your pay increase because it’s in the contract.

I am a taxpayer who is not happy with how my dollars are spent! I am a union member who would love to stop paying weekly union dues.

Thank goodness, not all of America’s companies employ union members. If we did, we would end up like poor Greece. BROKE!!!

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areyousure November 18, 2011 at 11:52 pm

Not true. Not all union workers can walk on a jobsite and perform their duties in a professional manner. I happen to work in a field where I have the opportunity to supervise union and non union workers. I’ve had many instances where they’ve removed skilled non union laborers from my jobsites and forced union laborers on that were far less skilled and did one fourth the work. Unions absolutely cost a company far more money. They absolutely decrease production. They breed corruption. Are the all that way? No. But far too many are.

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John September 7, 2015 at 8:58 am

I have belonged to 5 different unions. They all supported the lazy workers. To say there are no real craftsmen that are none union is a false. I have worked mostly non union and have been paid more. You did not do the work required, you were gone. I am 80 now. I got tired of all the strikes and violence connected. I needed to put food on my families table without the unions interruption. You believe in a dictatorship union, you are a moron.

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AMDGuru709 December 26, 2010 at 11:14 am

@Anonymous:

You said that this author is just passing biased political opinion, BUT if you actually READ the blog, you would have read "A study by the Heritage Foundation," thus FACT through STUDY. You're experience is one of the FEW good outcomes of a union that is being mildly effective.

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anonymous February 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm

according to your opinion, unions kill new job creation. Unions have been a thing of the past for many years now. Even in the coal industry, union mines account for only 28% of working mines in the last 8 years. However non union mines are responsible for 85% of coal mining fatalities. If you are right about unions killing new job creation, how did non union mines get such an advantage when it comes to operating coal mines.

JUST FIGUIRED IT OUT…..COMPANIES CAN NOT MOVE COAL MINES OVERSEES!!!!! ALL OTHER JOBS LIKE CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS, ENGINEERING SERVICES…….ETC….ETC….ETC….ARE MOVING OVERSEAS

With this being said, just maybe unions are not the all of the blame. I think lower taxes, lower wages, lower epa standards, and COMPANIES WANTING TO INCREASE THIER PROFIT MARGIN ARE MAJOR REASONS FOR LOW JOB CREATION.

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Wtf!!! March 10, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I HOPE WE GET RID OF ALL THE UNIONS!!!!
If we got rid of them maybe then people will see how bad we need them. Then the well protected job you thought you had would be filled with a more qualified person making half as much as you. People say the unions hurt wages, I really have to disagree. The unions create competition between non-union and union employees. If we had no unions then we would see a change in wages and wages would drop. You think you are valuable, you think your four year degree means something. How close are you to the CEO of your company?? Do you have lunch with them 2-3 times a week, does he say hello to you in the hall, or do you see him at all??? Tell me how valuable this looks to him?
YOUR WAGE- 80,000.00 WHEN there were unions around to compete with.
YOUR WAGE-20,000.00 WHEN there are no unions and he knows he can hire three more people to work so he will be getting 3 new employees for free, for the same amount, and you’ll do it if you want to eat.
Of course they offer a little more because the grass is always greener. But when the anti-union people win then let’s see what happens then.
I wish they would do away with unions because I want to see this country go down and maybe then people will stop being so ignorant.
The lazy people of the world want unions, no I think that hard working people want unions like ME.

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klove October 21, 2012 at 3:10 am

Amen brother

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patriot December 21, 2013 at 12:13 am

its your responsibility to better yourself not a business owners. this isn’t france were everyone stands around smoking instead of working. technology dictates salary not a f’n union.all the demoncats taxed the hell out of corporations wich caused many companies to go over seas.unions chase away companies because they can’t compete with high labor and corporate welfare or pensions. its your responsibility to save your own money for retirement not someone else’s.the problem with unions is they are corrupt and use dues for lobbyists and demon cat agendas.thats why they are shrinking and they want mexicans here so they can negotiate lower wage contracts but get more people employed wich equal more dues! wake up people.

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Anonymous June 16, 2015 at 11:11 pm

the gross majority of professionals have no unions and their jobs are only secure by their skills and hard work. You’re an idiot that makes no sense. Knowing the CEO has zero bearing on a hard working person that becomes invaluable to a company. A college degree facilitates you to move from company to company or even industry to industry because you have shown the ability to complete something. Most union workers stop at the journeyman level because they’re lazy and have a sense of entitlement.

Unions hold business hostage. Unions are nothing more than a gang of idiot lazy caniving uneducated socialists. How ignorant is it to be unionized and claim to love America. Amercia is a republic and capitalist. For you union workers, let me dumb it down for you so you understand. America is a free country and free enterprise. You are free to opens business and your are free to work in any company that will hire you. If someone comes in and works harder for less money, the company has the right to save money. It’s called smart business. If you’re so against saving money, then you should pay more for less. It’s only fair. That way you support a small business.

No. You are a Walmart shopping hypocrite. Grow a pair and open a business and see how your Union will manage it, get you work and protect you.

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kevin August 3, 2011 at 3:59 pm

All you union supporters, look no further than GM. Spot welding hoods on cars on an assembly line is NOT an $80,000 a year job, its a $35,000 a year job. Factory workers with no more education than a HS diploma should not be making that kind of money. Unions are destroying this country and sending jobs over seas and sending them to illegal immigrants. There will be a time when unions no longer exist because you’re greedy.

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jscottu October 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Unions stink. I just heard a friend tell me his experience. He quit his job as a supervisor because the union workers were reading newspapers when they were suppose to be working. When he told them to work they cursed at him and said “tell it to my union rep”.

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Steve LaCroix January 22, 2012 at 8:52 am

There is one very basic concept that so many people cannot comprehend.

If employers would simply step up and pay a living wage, and provide a decent working atmosphere, workers would not seek union representation.

So many union bashers here without the benefit of knowledge.

Yes, there are abuses within the union system, but there are far mor abuses of workers by unethical, shady, lawbreaking employers. These employers want everything, and pay nothing, and actually increase our taxes through low wages as those underpaid workers in most cases are on public assistance.

Wan’t to git rid of the unions? Step up and pay people a living wage.

Look at Wal-Mart. The single largest employer in our country, and single largest labor violator, and exporter of jobs. Approximately 70% of Wal-Mart workers are in poverty, and most are getting public assistance.

How many union workers are on public assistance? How many “retire into the welfare system? The answer to both questions is VERY FEW.

Time to take the blinders off and get a reality check. As of today, approximately 58% of our population is on food stamps. And, I would guarantee that those are not primarily union workers.

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Michael Haberman January 22, 2012 at 9:20 am

Steve you need to check your facts. As of August 31, 2011 only 15% of the population is on food stamps. Hire than it should be? Certainly, but it is not 58%

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Joshua January 31, 2012 at 9:11 pm

In August of 2006, the New York Times reported that Federal Reserve study showed that, “Wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross national product since the government began recording data in 1947; while corporate profits have climbed to their highest shares since the 1960.”

Wake up man, seriously. That kind of brainwashing is why we are in this economic predicament
Unions are the only thing between us and SLAVE LABOR

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Dad of five July 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I noticed you want to make $20 an hour for what a unskilled and uneducated person can do (Mexican Immigrant). It is simple economics, if your getting a union to force your employer to overpay you for your value. Then others will do it for cheaper and put your company out of business, meaning no job for you, no pension you suck because your skill set is only worth $10 an hour not $20+ like you want. Unions can only inflate your value for so long before you get outsourced. Solution, improve you skill sets, good empoyees do not need unions, because they are valuable to thier company and make themselfs unfireable.

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klove October 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm

WwwwwwwwEvery job I have had has done me wrong, my first job I came in early stayed late came in on off days got employee of the month I call offone day and I get fired, the assistant manager told the store manager that didn’t call or show then second they didn’t pay me what I was suppose to be paid third job the manager kept trying to prvoke me into hitting him by getting in my face spitting on me when he was in my face the reason he did that was cause I said I wouldn’t spot backstock and I said that cause it was taking up too much time to spot it all I even showed him that by working both ways and I got more done without spot they still didn’t listen now I never cared about having unions but know I see the roll they play in the workforce if I had to I would sacrifice they pay because a dollar above min. Wage is not worth it

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klove October 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I worked at mcdonalds walmart and winn-dixie, they all say they have a open door policy where you can report your mangers, without fear of retaliatio…that’s bullcrap cause this guy named pat that worked for winn_dixie called the w-dail for winn-dixie’s policy and they were trying to fire him for it so you can say all day that unions but when you have people like that in management then unions will always be needed

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Darris November 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm

you’re so right! maybe we should just pay everyone 2 cents an hour then our products will be really cheap!
“thus lowering profits.”
that were too high to begin with because the value added to whatever item was put there by the workers in the first place. Profit is skimming off the top.

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Borah November 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Well, I think that both sides of the question can be weighty. It just depends upon which side of the see-saw you want to lean on. The major point of all this rhetoric is value addition. If the union can add more value( financial, ethical, practical,directional) then they are required but where the value addition by the employer is more, the union makes no sense. Besides, a owner-worker’s union relationship does not have to be confrontational. Once it becomes passive, aggresive or passi-aggresive, it becomes politics.
Just my 2c in.

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Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus February 21, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Damn it people. Before you voice your bigoted opinions and vehemently extol the virtue of unions with some pseudo-logics , please study some basic economics: demand, supply, wages, productivity, compensating differentials… As a matter of fact, the incentives in politics are not to tell you the truth but to get your vote. Take gas-tax holiday as an example.

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Tim Bryant July 20, 2014 at 10:02 am

Don’t use my name. I live in the good ol boy south.
I’m niether for nor against unions. I am pro work. Out of necessity I have belonged. It afforded me a higher education in a underhanded way. I went to school evenings, toward the end of my studies I had to attend full time during the day. I relayed this info to my B.A. he sent me to a do nothing night job. No one is at fault here. The position had to be staffed. It was an easy job but someone had to do it. I’m not racist. I’m certain my being a white male played a factor. Don’t be upset with me. I didn’t write the music I just play in the band. I am not proud of this. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down. Finally, I once waited 2 days for an IBEW to “drop” me an extension cord. If my drill would of had 2 more feet of cord to reach the outlet I would have finished my project in about 15 minutes. If you have suction unions are great if not your thru.

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Tim Bryant July 20, 2014 at 10:05 am

If you unionize they will leave

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James February 24, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Union are good half the time they are susceptible to the same problems as corporations greed goverment job unions are disgusting in southern NewEngland they get paid 3 times more on the tax payers dime that means higher rent costs fewer job growth and more ethnic nepotism to put it simple human beings are corupt rich or pour so you just can’t put to much stock in anything I worked in a union and remember everything has a cost.

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John Finess June 7, 2015 at 6:38 am

Sir may ask what your yearly income is before taxes? I am pretty sure it puts you in the very upper class financial category. Just curious your getting paid handsomely to write this manipulative propaganda and knowingly as willfully misleading your readers on purpose for your own financial advantage. The American people are far from laymen’s and I am afraid that hopefully you will find this out first hand the hard way but most of the people like you are leaving your children and future grandchildren as marked individuals who will probably have to suffer for your crimes against the American people. I will not visit this worthless page of non-sense again and I encourage anyone reading this to follow my lead. This man reminds me of a GOP/Corporate America puppet named Bill Whittle. If we don’t come together and form our own groups & unions than our children will not have any hope of a chance to live a fruitful productive life with any sort of happiness.

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Tracie December 27, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Thank you! Exactly!

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Lily June 20, 2015 at 8:06 pm

There was a time in our country when a union was very important and served a purpose. I’m certain there are a few instances in our current state that warrant a union. HOWEVER….my husband works as a manager in a union house. Every day he has employees call out sick, refuse to work, and are majorly unproductive. I’ve seen him pull 16 hour days because of lazy unionized employees. I believe the company he is in will go out of business one day because of the union. I would vote for any politician who voted to get rid of unions.

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Tracie December 27, 2015 at 4:36 pm

I see this is at least 7 years old and I haven’t always worked at a job with a union. However, when I did work at a job without a union I made minimum wage and was an “at will” employee who could be let go for what every reason the company deemed me to do so. Right now I work for a company with many plants. I work security for one of their plants that’s unionized and we make $17.15 an hour with lots of personal and vaca days, benefits etc., while security employees at their other plant who do not want a union and said they don’t need a union make $9.00 an hour doing the same job as I do with barely any benefits, vaca time or any of the perks we unionized people get. I’ll NEVER leave my union, regardless if I am offered a supervisors position. NO way! Not in a million years. Unless the supervisors become unionized, I won’t be leaving my spot anytime soon.

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Michael Haberman December 28, 2015 at 11:34 am

Tracie:
I am glad it has worked out for you. You say you won’t leave your job, but what if you job leaves you? That is the point of the article, that in general unions do not serve the various parties well. It did not say that was the case in every situation. Some people never experience a layoff, just as some people never get let go “at-will.”

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Randy ::::;;;; January 4, 2016 at 8:05 pm

I have been a union member for 17 years. I’ve been in leadership for the past 10 years. Just recently, I got offered a company position doing what I’ve been doing with the same company for years. They shot me an offer considerably less than what I’m currently making now (higher insurance, less pension, and lower wages). I’ve received a great deal of training through my local and my wages reflect that. I always entertained the thought of going company and not paying high dues. After seeing what they offered on the company side; I’m happy to pay dues. If we had to rely on big business to decide our wages, we’d all be working for minimum wage. It’s very sad that you can judge the union without ever have been a member of one. I proudly wear the union sticker on my hard hat! They have provided my family a decent living with excellent benefits!!!

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Mark March 23, 2016 at 11:15 pm

To all you union members and supporters, I have one very simple question. What are you going to do when the company you work for either closes because of unprofitability or moves to a more friendly business environment? Belive me when I say it can and has happened time and time again in the past. Recent examples of this would be Evinrude and Hostess not to mention GM that was saved by the government. When a company is no longer profitable because it’s saddled with higher union wages and massively expensive health care insurance for union employees, they either close or move. Otherwise, what’s the point of being in business in the first place? The so called affordable care act has made health insurance so expensive that companies with union labor contracts are losing money faster than the national debt is rising! This is not a statement bashing unions, it’s a statement of fact. What I find curious is that in almost every situation where a unionized company outright closed or moved, the labor union was given and opportunity to to respond to contract negotiations. In almost every single instance, the labor union voted to reject a small cut in pay or a slight bump in what members had to pay for their health insurance. Then two weeks later, the company closes, files bankruptcy, and the union worker is now unemployed. I don’t know about anybody else but I would take a 5 or 10% cut in pay or 5 to 10% hike in health insurance contribution to keep my job. I love how after the company closes, we all get to listen to union workers complain about how unfairly they’ve been treated and what are they going to do now without emoyment. Seriously?! They were told the company was in financial trouble, given the chance to do something about it, chose not to, and then complain when they no longer have a job. Wake up. The 80% of us that aren’t in a union that actually have to work hard and provide our employers with good skills and a good work ethic, not only are mind boggled by this but we’re laughing at you people as well. Literally laughing at you. As in Hahaha, instead of taking less money and having to pay a little for your health insurance, which by the way would still put the average union job wages and benefits well above a non union job, your now jobless. I seriously think it’s hilarious! And why can’t you pro union people see that GM failed because their workers were paid to much to produce a substandard product? Look around on the roads and tell me how many Toyotas and Hondas you see. And the worst unions of all are the ones that employees are directly with tax payer dollars such as teachers and politicians. How in the world is it fair to everyone that pays taxes to have government employees be able to unionize and basically strong arm their way to higher wages and better benefits compliments of the tax payers?! And just in case anyone reading this is wondering, I’m from Wisconsin where Gov. Walker passed act 10, was recalled as a result, and was elected again during that recall. The point is, most of us are clearly sick and tired of the union rhetoric so go ahead and say your nasty things about me and the facts I’ve stated here. In the end, I know I’ll still have my job. It’s the union workers job facing uncertainty. That my friends, is also a fact!

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Whatever April 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

GM failed because of the butt ugly cars it was making…. Aztec? Monte Carlo? Just to name some

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Valentine April 15, 2016 at 7:47 pm

I’ve worked union/non-union, the training I got as an Union worker and the safety in the construction sites is far better in the union. I went to school for 5 years as an apprentice in order to attain my license. Being in the union is just far better than working in unsafe job sites, with untrained people all around you, compromise your safety all you want, Unions do it better. The days of lazy people in unions has come to an end, the lazy ones get laid off and essentially find work and repeat! They are far and few between in the field that I am. I would love to see a non-Union pipe fitter working in a power plant. I had to clock a total of 8000 hours to become a journeyman. Those hours I learned with books and teachers/instructors and my peers how to build and repair the power plants which provide us with electricity. It’s practically like going to college, in fact I got college credits due to my apprenticeship… Because it’s that hard! I remember when we signed up, and made our way into our class. We started out with 28 students, but after the 5 yr program (Apprenticeship) only 8 made it to get their license. Mainly because we have to go to school and learn the engineering, physics, code, and science required to understand our field of work. So, the day an illegal immigrant can walk into a power plant and do my job, safely and productively… I’ll agree that unions are not needed, but until that day… I will support all the hard work we do to be the best at our field of work! Sometimes it’s a power plant, other times it’s a hospital, or a school or casino! We build the wonderful stuff that makes this country the best country in the world!

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Michael Haberman April 18, 2016 at 10:48 am

I am glad you had such a positive experience. Many have not. Not all unions are equal and some are good ones. It all depends on leadership.

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Tom sims August 30, 2016 at 12:59 am

unions at least in the trades are in bed with politics you want to rewire your home you need to get a permit once you do that the inspector wants to see all union workers but to get union workers you have to be a contractor you can not hire from the union directly as a simple home owner but in some areas the local politics do not care and you can hire non union and pay them a higher wadge because you are not going through a middle man so a non union worker can earn more on his own then a union worker that can only work when a middle man hires them unions are a one size fits all if you have 1 electrician who sleeps in crawl space and we have another one who works a real 8 hour shift guess what they both get paid the same if its union some workers are faster some are slower some make less mistakes some more mistakes in a union they all get paid the same i have seen work from a union electrician on his x girl friends house at the time the work was done she was her girlfriend and the home in question was lived in by her sister long story short most of the juction boxes were octogon boxes the smallest boxes they make but so many wires in each of theses boxes that a 1900 box with an extension would be needed and some of the wire was not even in couduit and not talking romex just simple thwn wire going from one open box to another none of these boxes were covered some had a temporary light fixture look it up on google images its a rubber coated bulb socket with 2 wires hanging out that gets tied in with wire nuts and hangs and no switches in the whole place even the few outlets that exist half of them are not even screwed into a box grab a hold of it plug something in just be sure to grab in it the right spot and ya this guy was union doing side jobs i also do work non union and i will never leave a site unless all the box covers are on and wire nuts on unused wires i also almost never use anything except emt conduit no romex no bx this union jerk has some bx has hanging down 8 inches from bumping my head and i am 5ft,6in tall he also has some romex going through rigid conduit that terminates without a box but the romex exits via raw end with a sharp edge looks like it was cut with a simple pipe cutting tool and not reamed the work this guy did is pretty bad the only way it could get any more dangerous is if he used sections of copper water pipe as wire then used pipe insulators to insulate it as an after thought then ran water through them to put so do not take a shower while the kitchen light is on type of deal short of that this is the worst work i can imagine

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