Now, don't get me wrong. I've generally been a pro-union guy. I know what working conditions were like before
unions, and we're better off in the long run having had them.
However, my wife recently became a member (or rather, was forced to become a member) of the UFCW and I'm starting to understand some of the hatred directed at unions.
We're big union supporters. She was actually a local union rep at her school for the teacher's union. We get
unions. But the UFCW is taking the same amount from her per month now, as a minimum-wage part-time worker, that her educator's union took out of her full-time salary (which was more than double what she makes now). Oh, and did I mention the $100 "initiation" fee?
So you're going to take a minimum wage worker and take an entire week
of their paycheck right off the bat, then take roughly 5% from every paycheck thereafter (the $35 fee is flat, and applies to any worker working more than 15 hours a week regardless of wage)? For a lot of workers, particularly those who are taking a minimum-wage part-time job (as either a second household job, or a second individual job) that's more than they'll be paying in taxes.
And it seems like the only benefit she gets from this union is "harder to be fired." Which is cool, I guess, though it seems a few of the workers there do take advantage of it in the stereotypical ways that I thought were just Republican talking points. She is hired at the absolute minimum the state allows a company to pay, she gets no benefits (at least not for the first year
), so what exactly is her $35 a month (plus an extra C-note, just for fun) getting her? What good is this union, really?
The best part is when she calls to complain, or at least get some of her more obvious concerns addressed, that pretty much anybody above the lowest levels of union employees are off on paid vacation this week. Note that many of the employees whose pay they are taking up to 5% of to pay their own salary do not
get paid vacation at all. Awesome, right?
So at what point do the unions become as bad as the bosses? What can we even do to restrain them? So far all I've got, at least in the obvious "how can you argue with this" category, is that they really ought to limit how much (as a percentage of gross pay) a union can take from a worker whose membership is a condition of employment. Or force it to be as a percentage of pay in the first place; my wife, who receives little to no benefit, should not pay the same rate monthly as somebody who is pulling several dollars above minimum, full-time, with benefits. We do all agree that a Flat Tax is retarded, no? How is this different?