Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Unions - A Government Entity

Unions have passed a milestone that has been a long time coming. There are more union members working for the government then for private industry. This has been trending for years but the scale has been tipped. Why would this be the case? Unions extract better working conditions and pay from the employer. A private business will be constrained by the dollar value of any increase by the limit in revenue. The governments are in no such position. When government employees demand more pay, governments simply raise taxes. Whether it is the air traffic controllers making in excess of $125,000 a year working 32 weeks. They still work forty hours a week but eight hours are overtime. Sweet Deal, anyone have something like this in the private industry? Or if it's TSA, who is about to unionize it's workforce. Currently airport security costs ten times what was spent in 2001, and that is about to rise when the screeners get bargaining rights. We will all pay through higher taxes. Every dollar spent on security is a wasted dollar for the economy. Security produces nothing. Terrorists win when we cripple ourselves through the idea of being "safe".
Unions helped build this country and created the middle class. That was then, but this is now. How did unions help drive GM out of business? Is there a place for unions in the modern world where business has evolved to a point where it is the business's best interest to treat the employee well. Private employers learned the lesson from the union of old and I do not think there is one instance of a business taking advantage of it's workforce because there is no union. As most of you know, I own a Restaurant and Comedy Club, and my corporate background includes time working with Unite Here. There was no advantage for the staff in having the union, as a matter of fact, it made my job easier because I did not have to worry about my employees, just he contract rules. In the end the contract was used against improvements for the staff more then it helped the staff. Unlike some managers I embraced the union's contract and it made my job easier, not having to worry about the staff since everything I was allowed to do was written out in contract form. I knew the contract better then the shop steward and it showed during grievances. I never lost one out of dozens filed against me. I know for a fact that hiring is hampered in a union setting. Managers are very reluctant to hiring new employees where a union is involved. Excellence is not something the union wants to talk about. They much prefer the discussions stay on minimal performance levels. If one employee does better then another, everyone will be expected to perform at that level so there is no incentive to excel. The incentive is to do as little as possible to keep every one's hours maxed out.
What purpose do unions play in the future world? In developing countries where working conditions are horrible, unionization will help the people. Where ever there is a missing middle class, a union would take workers from the lower class and create a middle class. Unions really helped build this country into what it is today. That does not mean that they are still fighting for good. It seems unions today are all about entrenched power and money for the elite. Sound similar to the political class we have created also.
Ask any person involved with unions (even teamsters) and ask what is most corrupt union today? The answer is Service International. Happens to be the number one visitor to the White House averaging 1.1 visits per week. Does he have an office there or something?
Union Leadership and Washington's Political Leadership are fighting for their survival in a battle that is just beginning. The loser will be the American taxpayer. We need to clean house.

True for union leadership or elected office. Get elected, do what you need to do, return to your life. How many union leaders actually work in a union job now? How many politicians know how to run a business? Prove it, like Mark Warner from Virginia, one term as governor, did an excellent job, went back to his family, then decided to run for senate, won and is currently working hard for Virginians. Will he run for reelection? Should he run for reelection? He is someone whose opinion I greatly respect and I would like to ask him his opinion on one term and gone.
It takes a great man to take himself out of office. George Washington was offered to be king of the new land and turned it down and insisted on transfer of power through the executive branch. That single act has changed history. GW proved that man can overcome his nature and do what is best for everyone and not be selfish. How hard would it of been for Ted Kennedy to not seek reelection? Patrick Kennedy has done it and he is going to use his life to help others. Does that mean he will never serve again? Not a chance, this is the way it was meant to be done. Serve, go home to work, possibly serve again in another position, do the job and go home to do again if the situation warrants. Would Massachusetts been better served by eight different senators with eight different sets of ideas and experiences or one man for forty eight years?


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