Just in case anyone out there really wants to know what I think ...
I've worked both 'union' and 'non-union.' Neither was ever by choice; the decision was made long before you ever applied for the job.
Then again, it makes no more sense to group all 'unions' together than it is to group all employers. Some are great, and some are terrible.
It's interesting to note that in the union places, all my problems came from other union members- rather than the 'evil' management. "Seniority" seemed to protect all the wrong guys. The union also seemed to tolerate inept managers but was pure hell on any that appeared competent.
So ... what do I like about "unions?" Well, as I see it, a union can do a lot for both the worker AND the employer. There's no reason for it to be 'us' vs. 'them.'
A union is in a very good position to train workers, and provide them with the credentials they can carry from job to job. NEC? RRP? OSHA? Asbestos? BICSI? Document it once with the union, and you have something of value to employers. No need for every employer to pay to have you recertified- or to doubt what the past employers really trained you to do.
A union is in a very good position to screen employees, providing the employer with guys who are already drug-free and background-checked. They're also in a great position to efficiently place workers in jobs as they are needed.
Finally, unions are in a position where they could, if they wanted, take a lot of the regulatory and benefit burden off the employer. Think "Manpower" on steroids.
I agree with Amish as he stated above, I'd like add my experiences.
I'm over 50 and have worked since 14 at many differant kinds of jobs. Never been a union member.
I know plenty off union brothers that are every bit as good or better then non union brothers. That works both ways. There are good and bad in both.
My situation currently is unique in that before I was hired by this company there were 6 unions here.
Granted that is almost 20 yrs ago. There were 100 or more employees here then also.
Over the yrs departments were done away with, or relocated, people retire and thier positions were not restaffed to the point now that only 3 unions remain with 23 workers, that includes subs, full timers, foremen, managers, office staff.
Having said that, my department was also another full union until right before I was hired, like 1 yr before. When it was a union shop it had 2 people, a foreman and a journeyman. Both joined a union and worked here until they retired. The foreman retired 1 yr before I was hired. His replacement didn't want to join, 1/2 the membership of a union agrees not join they don't have too? Now it was 1 union guy and 1 non-union guy. 6 months after foreman retires the journeyman retires. That is when I was hired and had the choice of either joining or not., I chose not to join the union. We remained a 2 man shop until 10 yrs ago when a 3rd man was hired. Situation is same to present time.
To sum this all up, I work with these 3 differant unions everynight, days, whatever it takes to get the job done. I have not had even 1 serious confrontation with any of them. Not to say we don't get in each others face from time to time, that happens in both union and non union.
I too agree with Amish. The whole us vs. them mentality leads to disaster for everyone. I've never worked union, but have worked along side of a lot of you union brothers and sisters. I honestly have to say we are all the same.
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