I'm going to start off by saying I'm not an anti-union guy. My family runs a union company and I have family members who belong to unions. I see how unions did good things in America's history. However, anymore the ugly far outweighs the good.
Unions were a way for workers to be one voice when an employer was unfair. When the members thought there was a problem, it was the collective group who stood up for the few, or the one, who was being mistreated. That's a good thing. We should stand up for what right. And, we should stand up together. I would, have have, stood up with unions when it was the right thing to do.
Then, unions realized how powerful they were and they used that power to push for laws, compensation, and other powers. The more powerful the unions became, the more they demanded.
Today, some of what the unions demand and continue to push for are unbelievable. In Chicago, my company attended a convention where we setup a vendor booth. The booth was about 10-feet by 10-feet. The hotel was unionized, which meant I had to follow their rules. First, I couldn't carry-in my own equipment. I had to pay a union person to push the cart from my vehicle to my booth. There was $100 for less than 10-minutes of work. I just walked next to him while he pushed the cart. Next, I needed an extension cord and a power strip for my equipment. I brought both with me, as I always do. But it was against union rules and I was forced to “rent” their extension cord and power strip. $275 out of my pocket just to rent these two products. I can buy them for less than $10 at any store. Oh, then moving the stuff back to the vehicle after the convention was another $100 for a guy to push my stuff around on a cart. It's no wonder conventions are leaving Chicago.
How can the union impose such ridiculous rules? Because if they don't get their way, they will shut down the hotel. So, the hotel buckles under the union pressure and tactics. What did the hotel do to the union that was so unfair? Nothing. Unions have moved beyond just standing up for the membership. Now, they fight to screw employers and rip-off the public taxpayers for their own personal gain.
Remember Hostess? An American icon wiped out by union greed. That's all it was. The company was hurting and one small union held out. Sure, the owners had huge salaries, but they own the company. Don't like it, then don't work for them. But why is that a union fight? The union was willing to toss their own members out of jobs, rather than work with a company to keep the jobs in the worst economy in our lifetime.
Public unions do the same thing, but they go after you and me and our tax dollars instead of a private employer. I'd love to be the union worker that stands on the highway with a “slow” sign while I'm texting my friends and making $45/hour plus benefits.
Again, unions do have positive roles. But those roles should be limited and conducted professionally. Instead, public unions took to Springfield last year and showed how stupid they can be. They held signs that called themselves “union thugs.” They shouted slogans that I can't repeat in this blog. They called the governor and legislators names. They even had a huge blow-up rat. These demonstrations remind me of the anti-American marches we see in countries that hate us. Springfield's union march last year was just one American flag burning away from being just that!
What makes the unions think these tactics work? I, for one, think it makes them look childish. If my children acted that way in public, they would have a good spanking coming.
I realize not all union members think this is appropriate behavior. Many union members that I know are really good people and they don't like how their own union acts. But they are stuck. They are forced to be in the union to keep that job. Again, union power has removed your right to work for employers who are unionized, unless you join the union's ranks and give them their dues each month. You have no say. You have no rights. The unions, who were some of the first organizations to fight FOR worker's rights, have now taken away your rights.
The tactics unions employ are also unbelievable. I'm all for a good fight for what's right, but when you misrepresent, lie, and turn dirty, then you've lost me.
A good example is the current fight to save Dwight and Tamms prisons. For full disclosure, I think closing these two facilities is the wrong thing to do. Governor Quinn is making a mistake. And I believe the unions have a right to fight for keeping them open. But the tactics the unions take just ruin their own image and destroy their argument.
An example is how the union, or some of the union's members, are misrepresenting themselves on Facebook. Today, I came across a post that someone shared. The Facebook account said “Illinois Department of Corrections.” I found it interesting that the Illinois Department of Corrections was taking the union's side.
I went to this Facebook page and it's all union propaganda. Some of it, of course, is colorful and nasty. I knew this couldn't be from the actual Illinois Department of Corrections. When I looked into it further, I found the people running this account are doing everything to make it appear as if it's the real Illinois Department of Corrections. They use the logo, it's listed as a “Government Organization,” and it's described as “Homepage of the Illinois Department of Corrections.” As I always do, I called the Illinois Department of Corrections to verify that this was not their Facebook account, and they confirmed it was not.
This is clearly misrepresentation. It's a lie. It's twisting things to make it appear favorable for the unions by playing dirty. Yet, nobody is opposing it! It has over 600 likes, and not one posting saying anything about how the page is not actually the Illinois Department of Corrections. Where are all the good union members who want to do what's right, instead of supporting this? They just allow it to continue. Perhaps they are afraid of their own union and hard-core members? And where is the union itself? Where are the union leaders telling their members (I'm assuming the Facebook page is one or more union members) to not do things like this? Why isn't the union speaking up? Right and wrong be damned.
I'm all for the unions, or anyone for that matter, starting a Facebook page to support their cause. Even if I don't believe in their cause, they have a right to voice their opinion. However, they don't have the right to misrepresent themselves as a department of the Illinois Government. In fact, this may be illegal. For sure, it's just wrong.
In recent years, unions are surely facing an increasingly angry public. People are starting to question unions. Unions fight for their membership without question. Union members can smoke pot and drink over lunch, then return to work to build the cars and trucks that our families ride in. The unions fight for their jobs. Who cares if the workers are doing illegal drugs and drinking just minutes before they install your future vehicle's safety airbag? The unions don't give a hoot. Right and wrong be damned.
Some states have become right-to-work states. Unions went crazy. The public unions stand opposed to people having the right to work without being forced to join the union and pay union dues. Why? If the union is so great, the workers will join. If the workers don't want to be part of the union, then it's their choice. I'm good with this. It's called freedom.
Unions are afraid they will be destroyed. If workers aren't forced to join the union, then the union could fall apart. True. However, that means the unions didn't offer the workers anything they wanted. The unions don't want to be accountable or have to produce any results. They just want to collect their dues and pay the union bosses big bucks. It's a good gig for the unions. No wonder they don't want it to change.
If unions are so great, then right-to-work should not be relevant to them. If unions are so wonderful, workers would be flocking to unions. But unions are scared to death when workers have a choice. Apparently, unions realize workers (at least a good portion of them), don't want to be part of the union. And that demonstrates there may no longer be a need for unions.
In a way, unions have put themselves out of business. Unions push for all these laws, which are now the backbone of making the workplace “fair” to workers. Individual workers can take legal action and allow the law to protect them. What's left for the unions?
There is good and bad with unions. Mostly, there is the ugly. Underhanded tactics, name-calling, and tantrums seem to be their playbook. It's about power, control, and bullying. It's been about fighting employers and squeezing them for everything possible. And now it has turned to fighting the workers. It's about greed and self gratification.
It's about all those things that unions fought against, but now embrace to ensure their own survival.