Home > Recruiting > Random Thoughts On Recruiting – Unions, A Good Concept Taken Too Far

Random Thoughts On Recruiting – Unions, A Good Concept Taken Too Far

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

So today we celebrate the contributions of the American worker and of course the organized labor movement. Much of what I hear today about Unions and labor in general is really scary. The concept of a Union, the right for workers to get together to demand better pay or conditions is good. However, when you involve powerful Union bosses and government, the system has a very negative effect. If we want things to be better, and not worse, in this country then we need to get a grip on this.

Let’s say you have a company, and Joe Bossman runs the company. He has several workers; Jimmy, Sarah, Don, and Sue. The workers feel that Joe is not paying them enough, so they want to demand that he pay more. They should absolutely have the right to do that. In addition, the workers should have the right to get together and go in and tell Joe that they are all leaving unless he raises all of their pay. All good so far. However, Joe is the one who provides the jobs and he has rights too. He should be allowed to tell them all to take a hike and he will just replace them all. If he doesn’t pay enough, then he won’t be able to replace them. He should also be able to go to Sarah and tell her that she brings more to the table than the others so he is willing to pay her more and not them. Of course she can decide to leave with the others or stay for the higher pay. Still, all good here.

Where the problem comes in is when James, calling himself a Union leader, comes along and says he will organize the group and negotiate for them. James collects dues to pay himself and then tells the workers what to do. So let’s say James says to strike. The workers spend some time not getting paid at all (which they never recover), the business suffers making it more difficult for Joe Bossman to pay good salaries going forward, and James makes a good buck. Now James, hungry for more power to solidify his place and make himself more money, goes to the government and says we have to put rules in place to make sure that Joe can’t take advantage of these people, so nobody can decide to work for him unless they negotiate with us, minimum pay requirements, guaranteed benefits, etc……and you need to make all companies follow these rules so they don’t have an unfair advantage. With all the regulations now in place, it is much harder for Joe to do business. It is also much harder for someone else to start a competing business and provide a better place for the workers to go. The regulations make it equally tough on all who are in the business and those not already in it are all but shut out.

Is this good for the workers? No, it’s great for James and it’s great for those in government who get to make rules and buy votes by telling the workers that they are helping them. Can we not see that a system set up this way is bound to fail, that it is a recipe for corruption and abuse, and that it is a system that kills the the golden goose? Just in case there is any confusion, Joe is the golden goose not the government and we’d like more golden geese like Joe. If we tell James to go get a real job, and tell Joe that he can run his shop the way he’d like…….if we tell others that want to compete with Joe that they don’t have to deal with James and we’re going to make it easy for them to compete with Joe……..then the world is going to be a much better place for the workers. They’ll have jobs and they’ll demand that they be paid what they are worth or they’ll go to the competition and get that pay. The new companies will create new jobs and without the regulations and roadblocks put up by James and the government, both Joe and his competitors will grow and create more jobs.

Workers should be celebrated and workers should be free to unite and demand what they are worth. But workers should be smart and should understand that strong businesses, strong Joes, are what they need and are what solve the problems of not enough jobs and not enough pay.

Todd Kmiec

Todd Kmiec and Associates


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