Ye Olde Swimming Hole

current, insightful, yet nostalgic

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Do we really still need unions?

Today NYC transit workers struck and millions of New Yorkers had to walk. An estimated $400 to $600 million dollars were lost and $1.5 billion could be lost this week if the transit strike continues. No doubt some needing medical attention died because of the traffic. And the city is in controlled chaos. The economic impact will affect millions of people. The stikers mantra is "we move NY, respect us." Okay, but you're not the only group that provides critical functions and no one is forcing you to work for the MTA. What if all medical workers suddenly struck? And what does the labor union want? Higher pay, lower health care costs and according to one source, retirement at 55. Wow. Wouldn't we all like that.

Perhaps someone can convince me otherwise, but I have heard few good things that come from unions. I understand their original purpose and I understand there's a need to keep big business in check, but the costs on society seem to outweigh the benefits. I chuckle everytime I see a local union sign saying "shame on (this or that business)" that they display in front of the business because it hasn't used union labor. I don't think there' s more hypocritical word some unions could use than "shame."

Now perhaps I'm completely wrong and there is a purpose and need for unions, but I have heard too many stories for companies who have to hire additional employees for a job, not because the job requires it, but because the union requires it. Then those union workers often end up just sitting around. There's got to be a better way. Perhaps this incident will be a catalyst to encourage our lawmakers to take another look the problems caused by unions. Keep in mind there are states where unions are weak, unemployment is low and the economy thrives.


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