On What Side of the Line Do You Stand?

Posted: Apr 19, 2011 4:11 PM

Have unions outlived their usefulness? The answer to this question normally depends on which side of the line you’re on.

On one hand, you have those who either are or have family members or friends that a union members and will fight, physically if they have to, to preserver their way of life.

On the other hand, you have those with no union affiliation, who couldn’t care less about them, and actually see them as a detriment to not only business in general, but the welfare of our great nation.

I grew up in a union household. Both my grandfather and my father were in the Autoworkers Union as employees of General Motors in Buffalo, New York. I spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s, and when I think of the word “home”, it’s their house.

There would be times during my childhood when my grandfather would be home for a week or more during times of union confrontation with GM. As a 5 year old, I thought nothing of it; I was just glad my Papa was home all day. It wasn’t until later in life that I realized why he was home and what it meant for our family.

The funny thing is, my grandfather hated missing work: he was a hardworking man, and when he was home, he was antsy.

But after my grandfather died, and during the recent auto bailouts, I asked my grandmother how she felt about the situation. I asked her how she felt about a guy who moves parts from one room to another, getting paid over $100K a year for a job a monkey could do and how it contributed to GM losing its spot on the American Exchanges.

She told me that she supports the union. She told me about how the union got our family through some hard times, and while she didn’t get into exactly what they did for our family, I could see that we would agree to disagree.

In my opinion, unions have outlived their usefulness. They were created to keep things fair between the worker and the employer. Fair wages and safe working conditions are important, but that’s no longer on the back of the unions – the United States government is now responsible for that.

And as loathe as I am to say that, with the current practices we have in place, there is no place in today’s modern world for unions. The quicker they’re disassembled, the better.