I am often called to, for my opposition to labor unions, and labor unions for government employees in particular. Labor unions are necessary, I am told, because they protect “workers” from the unfair practices of “capitalists”. But that’s not really true, is it? Those protections are all Federal law and have nothing to do with unions. Besides, not all of them are really “protections”–what about people who WANT to work more than 40 hours per week, but can’t–because of labor union interference? What about the long-standing tradition of children helping their parents in family-run businesses–once a way to teach responsiblity and keep interest in the family business, but now a “child-labor” issue?

But here’s the real harm that labor unions do: they create a false divide between ‘labor’ and ‘management’, and use it to extort money from ‘labor’. Once upon a time, trades operated in what were known as ‘guilds’. One entered the guild as an ‘apprentice’, who did the majority of busy work, with the objective of eventually becoming skilled enough to earn the rank of ‘journeyman’–a recognized craftsman who could generally work where and when he liked. With both diligence and talent, some eventually became ‘masters’, and ran their own shops. While these categories were all separate, there was no ‘apprentice class’ in which one would expect to spend their entire lives. The concept was one of progression through improvement.

Enter socialism, and the ‘labor union’ (didn’t know unions were socialist? Oh, yes.). Suddenly, we have a ‘labor class’ and a ‘management class’, and people increasingly expect to spend their entire careers in entry-level positions, taking on no additional responsibility, and yet to still have regular pay raises and benefits simply because they have stayed in place for a long time. In fact, in many places (such as the federal GS system), getting promoted can actually reduce your income–and that’s without even figuring in the income ‘tax’ (read: ‘penalty for working’).

In a free society, as the United States of America was created to be, exploitation of workers would result in the death of business. Free workers can always find employment elsewhere, or simply go into business for themselves. Instead, we have a society based on the labor-union ideal that promotions and pay raises should be based on how long you have worked somewhere, instead of how hard and how well you work. A society where unproductive workers are protected by ‘collective’ bargaining with productive workers–who cannot opt out because union membership is often required for employment at all (how ‘free’ is that?). And a society where fear of being ‘exploited’ by the person who has actually hired you and is paying you to work, is used to actually exploit you out of 25% of your earnings, which then go almost entirely either to union bosses (who produce nothing), or politicians who keep unions in power.

Do I think that we should return to a guild system? Certainly not. But we do need to get rid of labor unions, and the ‘us versus them’ mentality inherent in their existence. Or, at least get rid of compulsory membership, and put the same onus of ‘negotiating in good faith’ on the unions as has been put on the actual companies for which they work. As a free American, I protect myself. Certainly, if there were an instance in which I needed someone else’s protection, it would not look anything like a labor union.

Published by Little-Known Blogger

I spent the first years of my life in a trailer park outside of a tiny town in rural Missouri. I grew up to be a long-haired, gun-hating, military-hating, Presbyterian super-liberal. Well, perhaps the “growing up” happened later. While in high school, I was on the cross-country and wrestling teams, and actually won my weight-class in a State powerlifting competition. I went on to attend college on a Bright Flight scholarship, where I promptly became an atheist. I trained for a few years in Shotokan karate and Cheng-system taijiquan before training in my first real martial art, Hwarang-Do, under the late Franklin Fowlkes (later the Founder and Grandmaster of the Five Elements Martial Arts System). I married an older Taiwanese woman my junior year, got divorced in short order, and dropped out of college. After completing my AA in Psychology, I decided I needed a complete change of scenery and joined the U.S. Marine Corps (having early been assured that there was no way that a skinny liberal like me would ever survive Boot Camp). Contrary to what the Hipster Zombies will tell you, this did not “brainwash me into being a Conservative”. Instead, it made me a very unhappy, short-haired liberal, surrounded by guns and the military. However, I spent my whole contract (after schools) on the island of Okinawa, where I was exposed to points of view not dominated by the American liberal media. During this time, I taught ESL classes as a side-job, trained under some of the highest-ranking masters of karate on Okinawa, and discovered the practice of Buddhism. I also spent some time in Korea, where I got to train in hapkido. It was during this period that I came gradually to realize how stupid and evil American liberalism actually is. This was partly due to my Military Police command sending me to Small Arms Instructor school, which gave me more exposure to guns than I could ever have imagined—thus negating my idiotic liberal distaste for them. After the active-duty portion of my Marine Corps contract was over, I worked several jobs, from security contracts to operating a forklift in a warehouse. In 2002, however, when the invasion of Iraq was getting under way, I signed up with the Missouri Army National Guard, and have remained with them since, continuing as a Military Policeman. I am also full-time corrections officer, a member of the Anglican Church, and at one time was an Instructor Candidate in Dekiti-Tirsia Serradas Kali (until my instructor moved away). My hobbies (beyond blogging) include strength training, shooting sports, martial arts, creating digital art, and being a huge science and science-fiction geek.

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3 Comments

  1. ot sure if they’re unionized.)

    But if you are a full time employee at a company, totally unskilled and hired to do menial tasks, a union is a slap in the face to everyone. Either negotiate your own stuff or take what they give you. Or find a new job. Mass overpayment for unskilled work is a detriment to everyone, especially when it anchors workers to entry-level for the rest of their lives.

    I wouldn’t actually mind an apprentice system making a comeback either. It’s dumb to expect a plumber or a mechanic to spend two years at a tech college in order to be qualified for an entry-level job. And in an apprentice system, people tend to work for themselves more, which I fully support.

      1. Looks like some of my reply got cut off there – didn’t realize. My first paragraph just talked about how the film industry and super dangerous jobs (like crab fishing or mining) are the only fields I could be convinced to unionize. Mostly because dangerous jobs deserve high pay (and often don’t get it) and short-term jobs in film ought to have a centralized benefits system.

        But as you pointed out, unions don’t neccessarily provide the best services for what they charge their members, so I still feel like there’s a void there which another system should replace. It’s weird how most people accept that temp agencies are a scam, yet unions are pretty similar in operation and they manage to be glorified.

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