by Daniel Brown in Work, May 30, 2010
A union is a group of workers. Their purpose is to try to gain rights for the workers by teaming up. Of course, this sounds like a worthy cause. More money for hard working families is a good thing. Stop! I do not want to downplay people who work extra hours, scraping together every penny just to feed their children. Hard workers are admirable, but I believe that unions are not.
First of all, I would like to point out America’s most important feature: liberty. Liberty means a lot. It means citizens can do what they see fit, provided they retain the rights of others. Liberty means you can believe what you want, say what you want, and most importantly: do what you want. The economy of America is also [supposedly, I feel compelled to add] a free market. This means that people can buy and sell as they please. It means you can employ or be employed as you please. Wait, liberty and a free market gives people the right to employ as they please? It gives people the right to work for whoever they please? Then how come America forces people in certain professions to join a union? If a worker is willing to work, and an employer is willing to employ, what can stop them from making a contract? The government can, of course!
So there you have it. The government removes a significant amount of freedom by this single requirement. It is not right to force someone to join a union. The only thing the government can force people to do for no reason is pay taxes. Anything else the government forces us to do is conditional. Many people think we are forced to buy car insurance, but we are not. We only have to get car insurance if we choose to own a car and operate it on the government’s roads. The government does have that right, because we use their roads. That’s fair enough, but the same concept does not apply in employment. The government is not working for us when we get hired (as they are when they maintain public roads) so why do they feel they can interfere? They can’t.
This is just the beginning. The government has no right to endorse unions, but what is wrong with the unions themselves? Lots. First of all, why do they feel they can demand higher wages? (Unions also fight for other benefits, but they all have the same effect in that they cost the employer more.) This is greedy. Almost always, the union’s main goal is to achieve higher wages and more benefits for less work. Greed, greed, greed. Although these things are pleasing, there is no need for them. Many union members believe that they cannot survive without these things, because goods are expensive, and they have to have food, and a house and whatnot. But imagine workers actually worked hard, instead of complaining, and asking for more money. Then, the company would have more money (because they didn’t have to raise their wages) and more workers (because the worker kept working, and didn’t strike). So now, the employer gains a lot. They have more profit, so they can lower prices.
A worker might complain though that the company is the greedy one. Just because they have more money doesn’t mean they will lower prices. They will keep them high to increase their profits even more. But this is impossible. Remember that worker? The one who kept working, even with low wages? He now has less money, so he can’t buy the product. The company then has no one to sell to unless they lower their prices. But since the wages remained low, and the worker kept working, they are able to. They have to, and they can.
You see? In a truly and fully free market, a natural balance will always occur. Now this example is just with one worker and one company, but it would be widespread. If everyone worked for whatever wages they could, prices would easily fall to accommodate less money. So unions claim they are making things better. They claim they are helping people, but they only make things infinitely more difficult. Unions, instead of letting each person agree on what is acceptable, they force everyone to fight for what is unacceptable and unnecessary.
So the existence of unions is plainly pointless, but they don’t just exist. Unions also do things. Often they strike. Striking is awful in so many ways. Since the businesses don’t have workers, their prices are bound to rise. How does this help the workers? It doesn’t. They have to pay more for things, which makes the pay raise they’re fighting for useless. Strikes hurt both the companies and the employees, but not only the ones involved. Strikes also hurt other businesses and other workers. If one business is temporarily out of commission, other businesses will have no one to trade with. They could not buy from or sell to that business, so then other businesses are at least hurt, possibly worse. Their employees are in turn dealt the same hand. Their employer goes down so the workers suffer, and it could potentially start a long chain of business injuries. Strikes hurt consumers just the same. Prices rise to compensate for the lack of production, and that’s money out of the consumer’s pocket. The consumer might then seek a raise from his own employer. There’s another deadly chain.
During a strike, the government also limits the number of other workers that can be brought in. That is after all, part of the point of picketing during a strike: to prevent the company from hiring other workers. But the government also plays a part in this action. There are laws that put limits on hiring during a strike. This is a massive violation of rights. Just as before, if people are willing to work, and the employer will hire them, then they have every right to act.
So unions are entirely uncalled for. They are just greedy (or lazy) people who want more stuff. They hurt both the parties involved as well as external groups. And the government supports them! This is just so wrong. Even if unions really did help things, the government needs to stay out of it. The only way an economy will really be free is if this is the case. Government intervention throws off the natural balance and hurts everyone. This is unacceptable.
This is my stand. Feel free to challenge me, but you will be wrong.
Read more here.
H/T Gary Donato