The over influence of unions in America

Unions in America

Unions are a necessary evil in America now. A hundred years’ or so ago unions were lifesaving necessities. Working conditions were horrible, safety was almost non-existent, and wages weren’t enough to sustain a family. This was especially true in the coal mines, steel mills, and garment industries. The fight for union representation was hard fought and resulted in many deaths for the organizers of unions. The unions brought safety standards, health insurance, training, and decent wages to the American worker. Life was good … for a time.

After a while many workers and especially the union bosses learned that they could extort companies into raising wages far beyond the ‘value added, value produced’ positions of the workers. The higher the wages the more for the unions and their bosses. Soon, hourly workers were earning more than engineers with college degrees. This writer has worked as a welder, gone to college (ending up with an Engineering Degree and an MBA), and worked as a welding engineer. I know what I am talking about. Rank and file feel that they are the only ones bringing in profit for the company due to them being the ones actually producing the finished product.

This mindset is brought about by the union representatives. Little to no thought is given to the 20 to 90 percent of support workers who are necessary for manufacturing a product. Don’t get me wrong, unions are very necessary because without them companies would still try to exploit the workforce. But, as we have seen over the past 50 or so years, companies have made the decision to move manufacturing to places where the labor costs are much cheaper. The quality is not even close to American standards but that doesn’t seem to matter to the American consumer. They would rather pay 50% less for a product that lasts for 20% of the time that an American built one lasts.

Labor unions have called strikes and incited violence on many occasions; too numerous to mention here. Many unions say that company’s profits be shared among the workers. The workforce and everyone else already have the opportunity to share in the profits; it’s called buying stock. I am not suggesting that we do away with labor unions but I am suggesting that a different approach be taken.

At one time I owned my own business. When I interviewed people for a job one of the first things I asked was how they were going to help me make money; which was the reason I was in business in the first place. What I think needs to be done is for both sides to show some respect to each other. The laborers need to understand that because the engineer doesn’t actually produce product that he is a valuable member of the team. They need to see the value of the shareholders. If the company goes out of business the shareholders lose everything. The laborer just loses his job. This missive is just the tip of the solution iceberg.

I could go on for several hundred pages but you would not have time to read it all and I am hoping that this gets read at all. My mission here is to give a general idea of how to solve the wage issue while being able to bring manufacturing jobs back to America. A discussion board must be set up to resolve these issues. It is not ‘Them against us’ it is all for the success of The United States of America.

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2 Thoughts to “The over influence of unions in America”

  1. Art

    i too once was a welder and worked for a union company. when i first got the job i thought “wow, i finally made it”. i join the U.S.N. shortly after the iranian held 52 Americans hostage, i enlisted so i could choose what my rate would be. i wanted to be a welder, when i went to the recruiting office i was told H.T.’s ( hull tech ) do all the welding, and Navy trained welders are the best welders. so when i got out and got a union job i was a happy camper. but my joy didn’t last long. i had worked very well and hard for this company till one day my union rep came to our shop and asked me what my work duties where. after i told him he said we are going to have to file a grievance against the company because they had hired me as a “new hire rate”??? not sure if that’s the right name, i thought i was working my way up the chain. my union rep said “nope your doing Jorneyman work so you should be getting Jorneyman pay”. well to make a long story short the company fired my shortly after we filed the grievance. my union rep said don’t worry we will fight this. we went to arbitration meeting and got nowhere. my rep said “don’t worry, we will go to another arbitration meeting.” that meeting never happened, instead i got a letter in the mail saying the union see no reason to pursue this and left me hanging. thats the first and last time i was in a union.

  2. Robie Houser

    I agree with the author very much that unions are necessary but at the same time the union should consider the engineer or any other person in the organization as a team member and not create the usual divide that has harmed our US jobs.
    Great read!

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