Union! Union! Useless!

Unions were great back in the day, from what I understand. They fought for you, stuck up for your rights and union employees were often paid better than non-unionized workers. That was the extent of my union knowledge.

I remember my older brother getting a job at Safeway as a teen and my parents making a big deal that he was part of a union.

Now, my union knowledge is that I laugh at anyone part of a union that tries to strike to make a point. Why? Because within a few days the union will have pissed off enough people (meaning government) that the workers will be forced back on the job anyway.

Most recently we saw it with train workers, airline workers and postal workers. They are fighting mad but even madder when the government says, “Um, shut up and do your job.” (Don’t get me wrong, this column isn’t about politics, it’s commentary about unions.)

While I appreciate the purpose of unions – as far as my understanding of them goes – I am beginning to think they don’t have as much clout as they used to. Or (there is a second reason here) that it is getting so easy to complain and thinking that by using the U-word workers can play hardball and bully their way into something better for them.

Don’t get me wrong, if I had the opportunity to have the “protection” of a union behind me – though the amount of that protection seems to be a debate right now – I would be all for it. But in today’s world where few people stay at one job for the rest of their life, temporarily working for a union is almost irrelevant.

Coming from someone who doesn’t completely understand unions or the inner workings of a union deal, my uneducated and ignorant opinion is that unions are pointless since the government just overrules it anyway. And yes, that leads to a whole new debate about the power of government, but we’ll save that for another column.

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