Most people who work hard for a living understand that unions are bad. Maybe once they helped prevent worker accidents and so on, but no longer. We have agencies in place that do better for less money. And trade unions, for the most part, do a great job of training their members to do good quality work (as opposed to non-union trades that do not teach their grunts anything). Beyond this, unions are a sucking parasite on capitalism, and are of course inherently communist. Non-trade unions (your teachers, healthcare workers, police and fire, and municipal employees) serve no function other than to bilk their members for money. Talk to any union members far away from listening ears, and ask them whether they are better served by their unions, or by putting that twice-weekly dues payment in the bank. Guess what? They take the money.
Okay, if you are a Gormogon reader, this is all preaching to the choir. So the question is, what do you do about it? How do you kill a union? The Czar has spent the last hour looking up all the possible suggestions on how to simply and effectively dismantle a union. Know what? Nothing came up.
Yeah, lots and lots of conservatives all agree that unions are bad, and we should immediately implement ways to slow, stop, and eliminate unions. What are those implementations? They must be someone else’s problem to solve, because no one is producing good suggestions.
A couple suggest increasing minimum wage or paying prevailing wages so that unions do not get a foothold. Wrong answer! Unions want prevailing wages because it drives up the costs so much that an organization cannot compete; they wind up throwing in the towel and sticking with the unions. And to make the wages higher than the union guys worsens the nightmare considerably. Why do you think unions insist on prevailing wage clauses in contract bids? Because it almost always works out in their favor.
Another popular suggestion is the Reagan way. You either bankrupt the company and thereby get out of labor contract requirements to use union employees, or simply fire the union personnel and replace them with scab labor. Except both solutions will not work for the majority of organizations. Imagine firing all the teachers and shutting the school systems down. The whole gimmick of the unions is to exaggerate that effect and screw up the economy. No, the union gets it: you are damned either way. This plan is like killing the patient to kill the parasite, in hopes you can resusciate later.
Now, on the other side, the unions know all about how to destroy unions. Reagan nearly killed them…apparently. Bush tried very hard and came close, allegedly. Right now, in some dank GOP laboratory, Republicans are hatching plans to eliminate unions carefully and methodically…somehow. Of course, this is all fear-mongering: unions never seem to provide their members the specifics as to how these methods worked or would work. Here’s why you cannot find a single plausible example: there are no methods.
Labor, union, and socialist websites do not admit this: they instead turn every action by Republicans (“The GOP wants to improve relations with Burkina Faso”) into something labor-busting (“…so they can ship your jobs over there. Get ready to watch your kids starve!”). As the Czar scans through their literature, the same words and phrases pop up time and again; this always indicates someone is writing the material for others to copy and paste. And the Czar suspects it was written a hundred years ago and updated with new pop culture references to sound Recent and Impending. Scary!
One might conclude that there is no bona fide way to decrease union influence. Of course, the unions would argue that they are about as crippled as it gets: total American union membership is by some estimates as low as 8%. That sounds good, but remember just 8% significantly damaged the economy: American manufacturing cannot compete with overseas advantages—GM, Chrysler, and Ford are the result of union moneygrabs, sure, but look what happened to steel, mining, and oil. More and more states are unable to pay their unionized employees because benefits, pensions, and salaries are through the roof; skyrocketing taxes becomes the fastest-returning solution. Kids are leaving schools unprepared for the real world because inadequate teachers are compensated and protected just as strongly as the good ones. And so on. And that is due to 8% of the workforce.
So the Czar will make a stab at it. How can unions be dismantled safely?
One. Less than 100 years ago, one-third of Americans were unionized. How did we go from 30% of Americans to only 8%? As new industries emerged, particularly service-based jobs, the unions could not get a foothold because the new industries required specialized, fairly compensated people. Eventually, these new service jobs became the lion’s share of the economy, squeezing the last few union employees into that 8% gap. Encourage investment in new industries and new service jobs, and these employees will have no interest in forming or joining a union.
Two. Method one works for new industries. What about the existing ones, like education, police and fire, and government employees, and so on, with whom we are stuck? This is easy. Make it illegal for unions to require membership. Outlaw closed shops. The union can recruit these folks as actively as they like, provided that the individual workers are not harassed, subjected to uncomfortable working conditions, or coerced. This is not a tall order: sexual harrassment cases already provide some fairly black-and-white stipulations as to what these conditions would constitute. The litmus test is there, waiting to be used. Mess with a non-union employee? The union pays damages. Block a scab’s entry? Damages. Pro-union literature pasted up on his locker? Damages. Arrange a secretly sweet quid pro quo deal if the scab plays ball? Damages.
Three. With closed shops a thing of the past, employees can choose whether to join a union or stay non-union. At this point, employers should eliminate benefits for union workers in exchange for union pay. Would you take a $45,000 job with benefits (non-union), or a $65,000 job with no benefits (union)? Either is a tempting offer—your average employee will seriously want to consider both. Of course, the expectation is that the union will provide its own benefits. That’s right—just as the trade unions provide training to their members! Health insurance, disability, bonuses, relocation costs, pension and retirement plans, paid vacations, paid sick days, severence packages, buyouts, early retirement…all this becomes the union’s responsibility. Of course, as a result, that $65,000 a year job becomes a $43,000 job after the member pays his or her dues. Yeah, this is a pay cut (net), but on the plus side, if you ever get laid off, fired, or injured…you still draw a check until the union can re-train, relocate, and place you with a new employer. So it still benefits the worker to consider the union. And it only hurts the corrupt, lazy, non-competitive unions who put themselves first, as they will run out of cash in no time. A fair, efficiently run, and genuine union could profit well under this system.
Four. This all seems simple enough to you, but to a new company starting out, this can be very confusing. Therefore, just as there are new business survival kits to help out fledgling employers, there can be accessible bilingual information pamphlets on preventing unions from taking root. List the primary reasons people join unions and provide tips on countering them. Collective bargaining? Ensure your employees have a voice in your company and can fairly bring concerns and suggestions to you. Pay them what they are worth, and avoid surprise pay cuts or missed raises or empty bonuses. One thing unions hate about unions, by the way, is the increased democritization of unions…in which union members can raise their individual voices and be heard and take popular votes: this creates disarray and disunity within the union. On the other hand, this is very good for business. Avoid ridiculous work schedules. Avoid punitive actions. Establish a strong HR presence in the company. Provide training at your expense and lots of it. Basically…be a good employer.
There you go. Four basic steps to repairing the American workforce and turning her into a sleek, ultra-competitive team in which competence and excellence is rewarded and stupidity and arrogance is eliminated. Profits go up, costs go down, and the American work engine becomes parasite free.
Other ideas? The Czar would love to hear them: why should this list stop at four? Whatever ideas you have, though, make sure they are simple, executable, and practical. Avoid bellyaching that your drivers’ license facility closed at 4:59 on you. We get it that unions upset you. The question is…how do you get rid of them without killing the patient?
P.S. One union we should keep? The Hollywood guild. Every time the actors or writers go on strike, the world’s freaking IQ skyrockets up for a couple months. The Czar thinks they should stay and go on strike a lot.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.