Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Unions Don't Represent Their Membership

I don't do this often but I'll include the entire Instapundit post here:
AND YET NOBODY LEARNS: Walker’s Pro-Worker Law Has Crippled Labor Movement That Opposed Him.

Walker had vowed that union power would shrink, workers would be judged on their merits, and local governments would save money. Unions had warned that workers would lose benefits and be forced to take on second jobs or find new careers.
Many of those changes came to pass, but the once-thriving ­public-sector unions were not just shrunken — they were crippled.
Unions representing teachers, professors, trash collectors and other government employees are struggling to stem plummeting membership rolls and retain relevance in the state where they got their start.
Funny that you can “cripple” supposedly representative organizations just by requiring that they raise their money from people willing to be represented.
The laws that Scott Walker signed in Wisconsin weren't anti-labor, they were pro-worker.  It speaks volumes about the labor movement that those two are not synonymous.

If labor unions offered something of value, people would want to be members.  If labor unions were responsible to their members, they wouldn't be bought-and-paid-for arms of the Democratic extreme.  If labor union membership were voluntary, as it is in the 2-dozen right-to-work states, then labor unions would both offer something of value and be responsible to their members.

I choose to be a member of the Association of American Educators.  It's not a union, it's a professional organization--and one that provides me with, among other things, better liability insurance than the CTA would if I were a member of CTA, and the policy is in my own name (as opposed to CTA's).  AAE provides me something of value so I voluntarily give them my money.  There's an object lesson there for those whose minds are open enough to see it.


ObieJuan said...

There are some things CTA does for me - usually by lobbying at the state level for a bigger cut of the budget pie, and some things that are just downright cheap. Ever get an offer for a CTA endorsed credit card? Horrible rates and CTA should do better for their members. How about the CTA 403b "low-fee" retirement accounts? They are simple repacking mutual funds from discount brokerage firms such as Vanguard and tacking their own rates on top. Thus, members are paying double fees. Really CTA? At least be honest with your members and inform them they can save $ by buying the mutual funds directly from Vanguard (as I do).

maxutils said...

You are still so very wrong. I'm willing to accept that you, personally , might choose to voluntarily pay in to an association you don't have to … but for the same reasons communism never worked, that won't work for unions.

Darren said...

Yet it works that way in most industries in most states in the country. Unions aren't down and out (although many of them should be) even though only about, what, 11% of the US workforce is unionized?

You're letting your "druthers" distort your facts.

maxutils said...

It's not my druthers, it's mathematically provable economic fact, first suggested by ultimate free market capitalist Adam Smith. You just choose not to accept it, or explore it, and I find that frustrating since I know you to be highly intelligent and (in general) willing to learn new things. There is a logical basis for unions based on free market theory … because, unless you have a highly specialized skill, labor is NOT a free market -- which makes it highly ironic that professional sports have strong unions -they don't need them. Based on human nature, if you accept the premise that a union is better suited to getting better wages/working conditions for all -- then mandatory membership make complete sense. The parallel to taxation is near perfect … so, you can complain about what the union chooses to do and try to change it … just like you can with government and taxation. But if it isn't compelled, it doesn't happen. And yes, I know union membership is on the decline … and wages for the poor and middle class have been virtually stagnant for at least a decade, as the wealthy have cashed in.

Darren said...

If unions represented their members' interests--as determined by the members--unions wouldn't be in such decline. As unions get crazier and crazier left-wing, they turn off more and more potential members. They shoot themselves in the foot.

I'm required to give tax money to the govt, I shouldn't be required to give money to a union, which is a private organization.

I prefer accountability and free association to the *claim* that *maybe* unions get me higher wages than I could get otherwise. I have no doubt that unions get certain types of teachers higher wages than they would otherwise get, but a secondary math teacher? No.

It's because of a union that I, a competent secondary math teacher, make less than the CA average and less than my district average pay, solely because I don't (yet) have a master's degree. And it's a union that pushed through accepting a Master's in Education with an Emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction allows any random teacher to make more than I do.

Sorry, I'm not buying your "unions make things better" argument.

Darren said...

Max, perhaps you should read this short piece: http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/202847/

maxutils said...

You can remain being wrong as long as you choose. The primary purpose of a a union is not to be left or right wing … it is to promote worker's rights/ benefits. So yeah … all the political crap, which tends to be left wing? I'll agree with you there, but that's a campaign finance issue … not a union issue. So, let's fix the campaign finance issue: Constitutional amendment, no one ever gets to give any money at all to any campaign.Taxpayer generic amounts to those who qualify for the ballot.

As for the math teacher thing? Yes, math teachers are harder to find. but the union argument is that all of the people teaching, on average, make more. And if you want to go to a public stem where every teacher negotiates his own wage? Yeah, you win. and the English teacher who puts in double the hours you put in (trust me, I've done both) gets less? You may be okay with that, but I'm not.

pseudotsuga said...

Unions may make thing better for some of its members, but it's a myopic view. Teachers' Unions haven't helped education, although one could argue they helped teachers (especially those who are union leaders and activists).
As a member of AFT (American Federation of Teachers), I appreciate them sending me information on who they endorse in voting races...so I can use my self-interest and vote non-lefty.

Darren said...

Max, you know some economics--so you know that time isn't the issue, supply/demand is. There are plenty of jobs that are more taxing than being a teacher but will never be paid as much.

There's that Adam Smith again.

maxutils said...

You're right -- it's the classic example that both Adam Smith AND Karl Marx used, comparing the value of diamonds and water; water i necessity, diamonds are not, yet diamond sell for much more. So yes, I see that. but what you are not accepting is one of the premises that free m market economics is based upon, which is sort go like teaching geometry without accepting that the shortest distance between two points is a line (segment). To reach a free mark t equilibrium, there need to be many buyers and many sellers. In the labor market for teachers, given that most people send their kids to public schools, there are many fewer 'buyers' of labor (districts) than 'sellers (teachers) and, whether we like it or not, teachers are treated as if they are interchangeable. So … without a union, the district can theoretically hire each teacher individually at the lowest wage they can get them to work for, increasing it marginally until they reach the number that they need. They don't care that they COULD pay more, because they don't need to care. The purpose of a union is to prevent that from happening, and to force the district to pay everyone the same wage … which, yes, means that some teachers will be paid less than they might be in the competitive market. But given that I also support a full value voucher system which would essentially eliminate districts and make unions of teachers cumbersome and less necessary, I don't see any intellectual dishonesty on my part. As to other jobs being 'harder' but paying less … well, sure, in isolation. But if their are a whole bunch of people who can … carry rocks from point A to point B, and if there are not many people who need those rocks carried, their wage will be less. Although it still will be better if they organize a rock carriers union.

maxutils said...

And, I don't know why your suggested reading didn't show up on my feed more quickly … but it didn't. Having read it -- the idea that Wal-Mart workers don't unionize because they don't like how unions represent them is so patently false, it barely deserves mention. Wal-Mart has one of the strongest anti-union bents that exist. They have elected to drop expansion plans for communities which they felt might be likely to unionize… so, that's just not correct.