An employer determined that several of its employees were doing work at a level beyond what was anticipated. As a result, the employer decided to reward those employees with raises. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, not to everyone:
The raises would lift the pay of several junior employees above that of more senior union members. Instead of celebrating its members’ recognition, Local 23 filed a grievance.
The arbitrator sided with the union and ordered the pay increases rescinded. Courts upheld the ruling on appeal.
Local 23 got what it wanted — a uniform contract treating everyone the same.
Treating everyone the same, and yet treating a goodly number of the employees inequitably. Why? Because if the employees figure out that the employer is the actual setter and payer of salaries, then the value of the union is largely dissipated. Only if the union can hold on to its position of patronage for the workers (and that’s exactly what it is) will it be able to continue to be funded by those same workers.
As long as there are humans on both sides of employee and employer relationships, there will be problems. After all, the one side (employer) wants to get as much as possible for as little as possible, while the other side (employee) desires to get as much as possible for as little as possible. And yes, I realize that I’m painting with a very broad brush here. However, adding in a union which desires to get as much as possible out of both the employer and the employee does little to help, and much to hurt.
It is time for the labor unions of the 19th and 20th centuries to give way to the realities of the 21st. I may be a conservative, but that doesn’t mean I keep every old thing around just because it’s been around for a really long time.