Home > Politics > Unions > Should Principled People Join a Union? Part 1

Should Principled People Join a Union? Part 1

Published Nov 24, 2006

You own a small gas station that employs people who are members of your community. You have borrowed on your life insurance policy and mortgaged your home to pay the rent, purchase equipment, supplies and gasoline.
          
You also had to pay a franchise fee to one of the major oil companies. Your wife works at a local office to help supplement the family income because it is likely that there will be no profit for over a year.
          
You are paying your employees what you can afford and  what they agreed to accept. You plan to pay them more when it is possible. Maybe even some benefits such as health insurance in the future.
          
Those employees approach you one day and demand a raise in wages, but you don’t have the money to raise wages. YOU would even like to get some wages!  You are struggling to pay what you are paying now, and where did these employees get the idea that they can demand anything of you? They got that idea from federal law passed in the 1930s!
          
Question: Do those employees have a moral right to tell you how to run your business? They didn’t borrow on their life insurance  to put you in business. If your business fails, you will lose everything; they simply move on to another job. What sane person (federal bureaucrats not considered) would suggest that they have a right to force you to do anything?
          
Those employees can quit anytime they want and you can fire them anytime you want! But wait, that’s unfair to the workers, we are told. Wait a minute, if they have a right to quit, then you have a right to fire. The coin has two sides. But if they join a union, you lose your rights! So you do your best to keep them out of a union.
          
One day, you discover that your employees got organized and want to be represented by the Local Gas Pumpers Union and their spokesman, I. M. Thug informs you that you have to sign a contract with them. You refuse and in 30 days you get a letter from the National Labor Relations Board basically telling you that they have taken over your business. You are required to permit your workers to vote on whether or not they want the union to represent them. 
     
If the union wins, you lose. No longer will you be permitted to discuss with your workers conditions of employment, wages, etc. Only the  union  can  discuss with you any of the working conditions. 
          
When the union demands a salary increase, and you refuse, a strike will follow. The people you hired are now in front of your business carrying signs depicting you as “heartless,” “slave labor,” “capitalist pig,” etc.
          
Well, since you can’t operate by yourself, you call some men looking for work and replace the striking workers. Your former workers call you “union breaker,” and your new workers “scabs.” You have done right. How could anyone think otherwise?
          
“You mean a person should not honor a picket line and cross over to go to work or to patronize a business being struck?” Yea, that’s what I’m saying. In a heartbeat. “But that might break a union.” Too bad. That’s life, and it’s better to break a union than an honest businessman.
          
It is amazing that any principled people, not even considering themselves Christians, would consider using coercion against the person who has hired them and is paying them the wages they agreed on, but it happens all the time. Coercion is brute force.
          
If you can’t get a raise from your employer because of your value to him, you can quit and get better skills to procure a better job. Or better yet, start a competing business and do such a superior job that the free market will put him out of business in a legitimate, legal way.
          
All right but what if it is a huge corporation making millions of dollars of profit each year?” The principle is the same: you don’t have the right to force your boss to do anything. “But workers have a right to a decent wage.” Oh, do they? Where is that in the constitution? Note that you did not say “fair” but decent. What is a decent wage? Who decides, the employer or the employee?
          
“But workers have a right to share in the profits of a company.” Well, did they share in the risks? If they share in the   profits   in   a  good  year,  will  they accept a smaller wage in a bad year? And if a company loses money one year, will they return part of their earlier earnings? Of course not. It seems to be  a one way street. I won’t walk that street.

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