It is not that I don’t support the writers of The Office. I do. But I also think their situation is different than most other industries in the private sector. When I look at the issue of unionization from a more global perspective, I firmly believe that most employees and companies are better off without a union. Not to say that there aren’t some workplaces out there were a union isn’t the right choice. It is just that those instances are few and far between.
Some have commented that employees need unions to obtain better pay. This is a fallacy which is easily dispelled. A union cannot guarantee better pay: it can simply try to negotiate for it (much like employees can do without a union – and without paying union dues). And when the union and the company do negotiate there are three possibilities: (1) wages and benefits go up; (2) wages and benefits go down; and (3) wages and benefits could stay the same.
A union also cannot guarantee jobs or benefits. Jobs are protected only as long as a company continues to operate profitably. Unreasonable union demands, if granted, could make the company uncompetitive or unprofitable and this could hurt both employees and the company. If the union calls a strike to enforce its demands, it means lost revenue to the Company and lost wages to employees. As Jerry said a few weeks ago, strikers are not paid. And, in most states, they can’t get unemployment. Worse, if a worker does decide to cross the picket line in order to earn money to support her family, the union may fine her.
Employees absolutely deserve respect and dignity. I just don’t think that the best way to get it for most employees is to vote in a union. Respect and dignity can only be achieved by employees and management working together toward a common goal of making their business as efficient and productive as it possibly can be to remain competitive.