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Re: Union or not?

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Bill Davis
Re: Union or not?
on Dec 11, 2009 at 1:16:42 am

Have to agree with a lot of this.

Nobody should ever forget the incredible great good that Unions did (and can continue to do in some cases) particularly with regards to basic issues like child labor - unsafe working conditions - and basic fairness. Unions have saved countless lives and have increased standards of living for many, many working people.

But they also have a well-documented history of growing into bureaucracies that can be as inefficient, venal, and even criminal as what they originally were set up to fight. Heck, Teamsters originally drove teams of horses - a necessary, and, yep, dirty and dangerous business. At some point, the union management understood that horse (or truck) driving skills weren't really very relevant to the job at hand. - especially when the union dues accounts grew to the level where money management and manipulation expertise was a LOT more important than the affinity skills of the membership. So rich, fat, soulless corporations spawned rich, fat, soulless unions. Not all, surely. But certainly some.

In my estimation, their biggest problem is like all large human organizations, they're slow to adapt and change. And unfortunately, the industries they once regulated so effectively are increasingly less relevant. Like it or not, those dangerous, union jobs of yore are largely moving off-shore. Today's market forces change so rapidly that ideas like setting rates by negotiation and codified contracts simply can't keep up with the current pace of change in human dynamics.

Heck, today a contract for work is as likely to be a couple of emails exchanged after a Craig's list posting - so the effectiveness of constantly adding a third party to the contracting mix seems kinda out of date. Plus rates are much more efficiently set by posting a survey post HERE - instead of looking it up on some schedule of union rates.

So much change. So little time to deal with it. Sigh.



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