Monday, September 24, 2007

Collectivism vs Individuality

This is why I don't understand union members.

Worker Anita Ahrens burst into tears as hundreds of United Auto Workers streamed out of a GM plant in Janesville, Wis.

"Oh my God, here they come," said Ahrens, 39. "This is unreal."

Ahrens has seven years at the plant, where she works nights installing speakers in sport utility vehicles. She waited outside the building Monday for her husband, Ron Ahrens, who has worked there for 21 years.

The couple has three children, including a college freshman, and Ahrens worried about how they would pay their bills.

"This is horrible, but we're die-hard union, so we have to," Ahrens said. "We got a mortgage, two car payments and tons of freaking bills."
We're die hard union, so we have to. Collective bargaining may be a useful tool but in this day and age I believe unions have flipped the tables from their balances in the early 20th century. At that point, corporations had all the power over a work force with limited options, mobility, and education.

In this day and age no job is a mandate. It costs less money than ever to move, and more people are educated to higher levels. There really isn't a need for unions to be as all-powerful as they are provided the employment market is allowed to fluctuate and adjust. Companies who mistreat their workers simply won't find employees to work for them.

Wal-Mart is a perfect example of the market in action. Despite having no union presence in their stores their employees are happy and productive, and the company is flourishing. If Wal-Mart suddenly cut benefits or wages, their employees would leave -- plain and simple. Employment at will keeps both parties honest.

What's the point of being in a union when you get no benefit -- but suffer through shortfalls -- due to being a member? Auto workers are no more than cogs in a giant political graft machine. The sooner they figure this out and break the cycle that's killing GM and hurting their own pocketbooks, the better.

And people wonder why factories are moving overseas...