Sun, 02 Sep 2007

Unions are not completely wrong

Richard C. Iannuzzi, president of the NYSUT (teacher's union) is not completely wrong when he says: After all, it's not because of the kindness, generosity and benevolence of employers that many workers enjoy benefits such as Saturdays and Sundays off, 40-hour work weeks, health benefits, paid vacations, a dignified retirement, and safety rules that protect us on the job..

It's true that employers don't do these things for those reasons. They do them because they have to. In order to get the employees they want, they have to pay them more. Worse than that, they have to pay the employee more than they might be paid in any other industry. They're not just competing for employees within their own industry, they're competing for them in every industry. That's how it is that productivity increases in one industry result in every other industry having to pay more for labor.

Like everyone else, they have to compete in a free market for labor. But oh, the point of a union is to not have a free market. The point is to force employers to employ union members regardless of their qualifications for the job. So the reality is that unions cause employers to have a less productive labor component. This can only result in lower benefits. So rather than praising unions for getting workers those benefits, we should be damning unions for getting in the way of workers having even larger benefits.

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