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Old 2012-04-18, 07:57 PM   [Ignore Me] #4
Lieutenant General
Re: Unions

Originally Posted by Noivad View Post
Unions do more harm then good. The purpose of unions was orginally for people who learned a trade and demonstrated through aprenticeship quality work. but that happens no more. Its who you know, how well you know them, and how much you suck up to the system.

hows that for a start.
What you describe is a guild, which tended to monopolise the trade of particular craftsman in a city as a form of job guarantee by controlling the competition.

Trade, worker or labour unions were founded to protect the worker's from exploitation.

They're good, also for a company, as long as they don't overshoot their goals. By ensuring good working conditions, they help preserve the health (physical and mental) of the workforce and ensure that the workforce can participate in the economy as consumers. By making sure workforce earn a decent amount of money, they keep money circulating in society, meaning more people can make a decent living (also off the workforce by providing goods and services to them as they're capable of paying for said services).

What I don't like about unions, particularly those in southern European countries, starting in Wallonia but especially in nations like France, Greece, Italy and Spain, is that they often use strike (aka blackmail) too early and on very trivial topics, rather than in extreme conditions or as a last resort. In doing so, they really hurt the companies and shoot themselves in their own feet. Often when a company is in trouble and therefore cuts are made on the workerforce or on the salaries, or even if they're frozen, unions will strike to demand no employment losses and a salary raise on top instead.

There are unions that are so full of themselves that they even go against the wishes of a local workforce they claim to protect, because they want to show other workers that the union does stuff for them. Similarly, a lot of unions only want salaries to go up without considering the bigger economical picture. Worse, strikes are often at the cost of the public and general economy. Holding the general public and economy hostage for your own gain is not just counter-productive (also in creating empathy among the populace for your cause).

That's just bad economics. If they were really social when budget cuts for a company have to be made and people may lose their jobs, they could also offer to work for slightly less if it retains jobs for others and get a bigger return in the future when profits are up as compensation.

Of course, when you make budgetary cuts, one should do so on management as well. For it's only logical that you look at your own incomes as well in dire times. Unfortunately, contracts are often badly written regarding management and they get a lot better deals then they should in situations like these. I fully understand people that accept budget cuts are needed, but are then pissed off if managers get a bonus in the millions after 'letting a lot of workers go'. Such a bonus could have been used to employ a lot of workers and that ultimately would have been better for the economy in general.

Personally find it betrayal if management sells of a company to an investor that's going to cut and sell the company for short term profits as well, where the one putting their signature on the deal personally get millions out of it. Unions are one of the few instruments to prevent that sort of damage to the long-term economy for personal short-term gain. Too many productive and profitable companies and corporations have gone belly up that way, often followed by the local economy.

Similarly, I also support unions that oppose the moving of work to another region if their current location is profitable. The economic impact and chain reaction of a factory closing or being sold off for the region is more than enough reason for this. As a company, just looking at profit margins on production and transportation costs is a bit too little reason IMO if you are still competitive and making a decent profit. If you have a holding somewhere (especially if it's been there for some time), you have a bit of responsibility towards that local economy and its suppliers that are dependent on you too. Those people for instance worked years for your company and that's not anything to be thankless for by just moving production to China, or whereever else. It may be very difficult for them to find new jobs.

To me that's more to do with mutual respect, loyalty and working ethics than socialism. But yeah, unions are sometimes a necessary evil that is too greedy, sometimes a very good thing. Just depends on who runs it and how they operate, IMO.

Last edited by Figment; 2012-04-18 at 07:59 PM.
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