It is commonly misunderstood that all conservatives oppose any kind of unionization. Many conservatives can agree that unions have played an invaluable role in our nation’s history, securing safe workplaces and fair hours for overworked and abused employees. The time when unions were needed to secure such gains, however, is rapidly fading.
Union leaders enjoy blaming capitalists and conservatives for their declining enrollment, however, they do so at the cost of ignoring changes in both the marketplace and the workplace that past years have brought about.
While unions have done a lot of good and have helped workers avoid exploitation, they also seem to have helped workers exploit employers. Perhaps it has been a gradual shift over time, with unions slowly accumulating more and more power. Unions can have the power to impede a company’s ability to compete and thrive. A firm might be in desperate trouble, yet its unions may be unwilling to bend or compromise in order to help the company survive. Many employers find themselves left very inflexible when they have union contracts to abide by.
Union membership rarely comes without the idea of equal pay for unequal work, an idea which is not overly problematic in the heavy manufacturing environment that originally produced labor unions, but which is certainly unhealthy to clerical and technical workers. Unions exist to promote secure wages, and will time and again fight against a system where increases in wages are used to reward talent or hard work.
One of the worst effects of labor unions is anti-competitiveness. According to Socialstudieshelp.com, “Unions are victims of their own success. Unions raised their wages substantially above the wages paid to nonunion workers. Therefore, many union-made products have become so expensive that sales were lost to less expensive foreign competitors and nonunion producers.”
In many union settings, workers cannot advance much or at all on their merits, but must generally progress within the limits defined by union contracts. Employers may have trouble weeding out ineffective employees if they belong to unions.
My final thought on the subject is this joke I found online: How many union members does it take to screw in a light bulb? Nine. One to fill out the form, one to get the ladder, one to get the bulb, one to bring the ladder, one to bring the bulb, one to take the bulb out of the box, one to climb the ladder and screw the bulb in, and one to collect dues.