Trade Unions and Injustice LO7129

Michael Erickson (
Thu, 2 May 1996 09:22:44 -0700

Replying to LO7106 --

After reading Mariann Jelinek's comments about unions being "blissfully
un- aware of the effects of de-regulation" and the comment...

"Unions in their birth in the US sprang from the need to force power
elites (managers) to recognize the legitimate claims of workers. Now, it
seems to me, both managers and unions need to return to developing a
shared sense of what is just, what the market demands, and what they can
do together."

... convinced me that I could safely comment. I agree with Marianns
comments. I have always believed that "extortion plus counter extortion
is still wrong". I've always felt uncomfortable with what ever union
affiliations I've had to have in my various jobs because I felt that the
"us versus them" approach was no longer valid. Yes in 1914 when some of
the railroad, coal mine and other unionization battles occured it seems
there was no other way to go but form a union and force management to
recognize the workers rights as human beings.

I know that management has the inclination to view the worker as a widget
that can be replaced. But after successfully standing on my own and
negotiating for myself for a Win-Win situation, I feel the union way of
thinking needs a major overhaul.

I've noticed that there seems to be a natural human tendency to find a
groove (or rut) and stay there. Even if the old rutted road goes over a
cliff, people often follow it thinking that there is no other way. But in
the natural world, there are endless options and possibilities, and I
think our business environment is sitting in just that position (being
forced to deal with reality instead of our ruts on our imagined road).
Stepping away from the union may not feel "safe", but in truth-the whole
idea of safety is an illusion anyway. Taking responsibility for our own
self in the current reality is the only thought that makes any sense.
There is no one to "take care of you" (unless you consider deity-but that
is another discussion)... so we need to face up to the idea that: The
choice we make-we live with.

Let's get on with living. (and hopefully learn from the experience).


-- (Michael Erickson)

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