To protect the people and secure their rights

Liberty and Democracy are not opposing ideas. The political center is where all change is made. Let's embrace reason and civility.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unions: The Real Issue

There is a lot of hatred toward unions.  Libertarians have a difficult time dealing with the issue and are easily lured into conservative thinking here.  Is the issue wages?  Budget constraints?  Working conditions?

There is one single function that unions serve to their members:  protection from wrongful termination.  An employer can fire, at-will, any person they hire unless they have a union contract.  The right of collective bargaining is the only protection these workers have.

I am not in a union.  Most people aren't.  Most people don't have this protection.  The ability of business owners and government managers to use termination as a means of intimidation cannot be understated.  The freedom of speech ends when your boss tells you to shut up, stop your political activities, or to support a particular agenda.

All of which has happened to me in my lifetime.

This threat is not possible in a union shop.  It is the primary reason that the civil service unions are under attack today.  The ability of a governor to terminate, without cause, civil service employees for their private or political activites is by-definition "tyranny".

The argument that union employees cannot be fired is simply not true.  Any reasonable cause can lead to the termination or suspension of any employee.  An unreasonable cause, however, is not so much a threat to a union employee as it is to the rest of us who are not unionized.

I have always found this condition of our society something that should be changed.  I cannot help but wonder if there is any true freedom when our livlihoods can so easily be threatened.

Honestly, I don't care so much about unions as I do about what they represent to their employees:  protection from unjust termination.  I would hope that in a better world, such protections would extend to each person, high and low.  It is something to consider.

In the military, soldiers are subjected to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  In that code rests the ability of the command chain to discipline individual troops.  Also in that code are some protections to limit the abuse of this judicial process for corrupt purposes.

A typical worker in our society has no such protections.  The only consolation prize they get is 6 months of unemployment benefits in exchange for the possibility of being secretly blacklisted.

"In the space below, please list your previous employers..."

The bottom line:  I stand with unions, including civil service unions, in their right to collectively bargain.  Yes, I recognize that government unions bargain, not against the profitability of a company, but against the taxing power of government.  But this is another issue entirely. 

I would never support a political party that sought to strip away protections against wrongful termination.  I would hope to support a party that would extend this protection to everybody.

Intimidation is not liberty.  Fear is not freedom.  A good businessman would recognize this.

No comments:

Post a Comment