Since I worked at a closed shop where I was forced to join a union for a $6.40/hour job, I am personally bitter towards them. Instead of making the working conditions better, they made them worse because they came up with rules that managment followed to the letter, but not the spirit. If you averaged so many hours a week for so many months in a row, you got full benefits... so needless to say you were always scheduled just short of that. The union required that you have at least 8 hours off in-between shifts, so it was pretty common that 2 or 3 times a week you'd only have exactly 8 hours in-between shifts (like working until 7pm the night before coming in for a 4am freight shift) The only real benefits I got were a discount on perscriptions at the pharmacy, and a discount on merchandise, but those weren't because of the union. I was paying around $40 a month in dues, which was a painful chunk of my limited income. Because it was a closed shop deal it seemed like the union didn't feel pressured to actually do much for the employees unless they contacted specifically by an employee facing termination or probation. I would have opted out of the union if I had been given a choice, and would have had an equally crappy employment experience but been a tiny bit less poor every month.
I have to agree with the necessity for unions in our history and in certain areas of industry. The service industry, however, is not one of these... and frankly I'm a bit of a capitalist. I don't want to pay more for my goods so that the bagger at the grocery store can make 18-24 dollars an hour and not have to pay medical deductables.
Originally posted by CerebusUnions can help a low waged worker make more money.
Unions help those same workers keep jobs and stop large companies from firing them and hiring some other guy to do it. They also help you get another job pretty quickly if you lose a job or if a job is finished.
Unions also look out for you in helping you get health benefits and stuff some large companies would rather make you pay for out of your already low income.
Getting a good education, continuing to develop skills, pursuing training opportunities, being proactive in finding new challenges, adding value to your employer commensurate with your pay, and a free flow of information do the same things far more efficiently. And, these same things also provide a much better reward system for employees.
"Teach children that they have great potential because they are human." -Warrior