Why I hate unions, reason#47698

Why I hate unions, reason#47698

I have never been a member of a labor union, thank God, although my dad was a union man his whole life. However, Melanie was a member of the Mass. State College Association, a union of state college professors. Membership in the union, as usual, is not optional. Every one who teaches at a state college, no matter how many or few classes they teach, is required to belong and, more importantly, pay union dues.

Yet the union provides no benefits to Melanie or other part-time professors. Their pay is poverty level. They get exactly zero benefits, not even an opportunity to pay for their own health insurance. To top it off they support all kinds of liberal political initiatives which Melanie doesn’t just not support, but which she actively opposes. For such a “liberal” institution in a “liberal” state, it doesn’t exactly support the poor, working man or woman.

Pinky-ringed union bosses getting fat off poor part-timers

The reason I’m ranting now is that we’ve received a dunning letter from the union. They’re claiming that Melanie owes them $180 because she taught one 3-credit summer class last year. (The classes she had to quit mid-semester last fall don’t count.) So for the “privilege” of teaching that one class, the union—which provides her with no benefit—wants 10 percent of her meager earnings. Can you say rip-off?

Of course, she’s required to pay because mealy-mouthed state politicians looking to ingratiate themselves with their constituencies passed a law making it mandatory.

Oh but, she doesn’t actually have to pay union dues, they will say. Technically, you don’t have to belong to the union. Instead you can pay the “Non Union Agency Fee” for the collective bargaining agreement. And how much is that fee? One hundred forty dollars. A savings of $40. Ah, but that’s not all. If she chooses to pay the lower rate, the union representative says that she’ll get paid less for teaching classes. I’m not sure that’s legal.

At this point, we’re not sure Melanie wants to teach at Salem State in the future, but if she wants to keep the option open we have to pay the dues. I hate unions.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • I was born and bred in Detroit where union membership is pretty much mandatory. Supermarket checkout folk belong to, if I recall correctly, the Teamsters. Go figure.

    I hate unions too.

    But I’ve gotta say something…the Google ads machine AMAZING! Dom blogs about unions and hey, presto! What do I see in the comment box? An ad for the AFL-CIO and an ad for Labor Relations Services!

    I hate unions…but capitalism is pretty cool! wink

  • One of the things I do when I am not non-renewing coverage for catholic dioceses is I insure high value and dangerous construction projects.

    A Union job is a safe job. Especially now with all the illegal labor and off the books payments.

  • My introduction to labour unions came when I was 10.

    My dad had a good job, good pay . . . until some new employees were hired who were determined to unionize the place.

    They succeeded . . . as did the virtually annual strikes.

    When dad got fed up and began to cross the picket line, extreme security measures became the order of the day. Every morning the willing employees had to meet at a different spot to board the bus that brought them into the plant. Every day this trip enraged the picketers;  you’ve all seen news casts of what that’s like.

    One evening our living room window was smashed – someone had thrown a bottle full of dirty oil through it.

    Yes, the pay was hiked, but soon there was less and less work.  The company’s bids were too high to be successful. Dad had to find another job because he was laid off so much of the time that he could no longer support his family.

    BTW – no one was ever charged with the vandalism to our house (and others).  But the union paid for the repairs . . .

  • Dom:

    I agree with you to this extent: I am adamantly opposed to coercion in union matters.

    All too often, Catholic teaching on this subject is fuzzed up, to suggest two things that are flat wrong:

    1. That the Church thinks workers should be unionized. Wrong.

    2. That the Church endorses unions coercing people to affiliate. Wrong again.

    Actual Church teaching is always couched in terms of the right of working people to decide for themselves to affiliate with unions; therefore, the Church opposes interference with them exercising that right.

    Further, Church teaching all presupposes what Pope Leo XIII said in Rerum Novarum, where he laid down the criteria for workers to use in deciding whether to affiliate with a union. Pope Leo was clear that workers should not associate with a union if the union failed to pass muster on various things. In any case, Leo’s argument was couched, throughout, in terms of the worker choosing whether to associate with the union.

    It is beyond ludicrous to think that the Church’s position is that if someone wants to “choose,” why—all the worker has to do is quit the job where the union bosses have forced-affiliation arrangements, and go find another job! How’s that for workers’ rights! You have the right to your job, or your principles, just not both!

    (By the way—whose job is it? Whose labor is it? That’s right; the individual worker’s—not the employer’s, and not the union-as-a-collective! Leo was adamant in defense of private property rights, against a collectivism that negated the individual. John Paul II, too!)

    So the Church’s position is that workers get to choose if they want to form or associate with a union, provided their union is moral.

    Some might argue that this choice is expressed collectively, through a democratic process. But this is flawed, because Leo’s arguments were couched in questions of conscience, and we do not give a proxy for our conscience to the group; we retain both the right, and the responsibility, to act on our conscience as individuals.

    Dom, you are invited to go to my web site (by clicking on my name, below) and check out the National Right to Work Committee, which espouses freedom of choice for workers.