For many of us who aren’t public/government employees, we have little understanding of what it means to be a part of an organized union – which first started appearing in the mid-19th century in response to the industrial revolution.
I’d venture to say if you asked anyone in America what their thoughts were on unions, they’d probably have something negative to say. Who could blame them when politicians have painted such an unflattering picture.
Admittedly I knew very little about unions until I met my wife – a dedicated teacher for the last 17 years. It was only then that I began to understand the fundamental difference between organized unions and its popular replacement known as the human resources department.
It led me to ask myself the question, “why would anyone NOT want to be a part of a union?”
Think about this: an HR department is employed by the company they work for. Their underlying interest is in protecting the company as a whole – NOT necessarily individual employees.
Because of this, the only person looking out for you is YOU. There’s no one to argue on your behalf the legitimate issues that plague us all at one point or another – no one to stand up against the powers that be regarding unfair wages, business practices or management. It’s that lack of involvement that causes many employees today to be unhappy and frustrated at their current work environments – bouncing from one job to the next in the hopes of finding a business model that probably doesn’t exist.
Kenneth Bernstein once said, “Without unions, workers will lose many of the protections against abusive employers. Wages for all will be depressed, even as corporate profits soar. The American Dream will be destroyed for millions. And we will have a government of the corporations, by the already powerful, for the wealthy.”
Teacher and blogger, in a 2011 CNN.com opinion piece on the Wisconsin measure to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights