Thursday, May 07, 2009

Have Unions caused the Great American Decline?

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From Airlines to Newspapers and everything in between, once great industries and companies are collapsing in America. If you look at one of the common threads you'll usually see that each of these industries is heavily unionized. Is it a coincidence or a cause?

Right now, as I sit here writing this entry, General Motors and Chrysler may be near bankruptcy and an iconic newspaper, The Boston Globe, may be shuttered for good. Each of these companies is highly unionized, driving up costs unnecessarily. While the auto unions seem to be understanding the need to make concessions, it seems the newspaper union is "out to lunch". They'd rather their members be out on the street than work for less pay or benefits. Actually, it's only one of the newspaper unions that seems to be stalling on certain benefits (lifetime job guarantee). But either way, it's possible The Globe could go the way of the Model T.

For sure, it's not only the Unions that are creating issues - for example, the auto companies produced cars that nobody wanted. And, of course, the Internet (along with 24 hour news channels) has played a large part in the decline of newspapers all across the country. But, by driving up fundamental costs (wages, benefits, work restrictions), Unions have certainly ushered in a faster demise for their particular industries.

You may think that I want to destroy all unions and allow "unfettered capitalism" to run amuck. Well, not quite. I think unions do have a purpose - safety and health of their members. But that's really the only area, in my opinion, that unions should meddle in. Not wages, not onerous work restrictions or divisions of labor. Fight for, create and preserve a safe, healthy working environment for your members. Then, move out of the way and allow management to set wages and work priorities.

Together we can rebuild America.

What are your thoughts on unions - good or bad for America? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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