- 28 февраля 2011, 18:38
- ZeroHedge. Alternative view on facts
This commercial from BMW is an awesome F*CK YOU to the UAW and all unions. While the Big 3 were all in bankruptcy and getting federal bailouts, BMW spent a billion dollars expanding a plant in South Carolina. Last I checked, most of these employees are non-union. Oh yea, and BMW - a luxury automaker - is actually profitable, and still was, even during the crisis. GM, Ford, Chrysler, friends (or frenemies) of the UAW? Saved only by the largess and questionably-legal bailout actions of the Government*.
Apparently, some workers at the plant want to unionize. Their rationale is, as almost always the case, retarded. Ok, perhaps that's too harsh. At best though, their rationale is painfully ignorant of things everyone should have learned by high school, if not earlier. Ultimately, as always, the rationale comes down to whining about how the firm has reduced benefits, asked more from their workers, etc. Big deal, it happens in every industry, especially when sales are down and unemployment is up. If you don't like it, quit. There's millions of un/under-employed people who'd LOVE to get paid $25/hour and get full benefits to do your job!
This one comment on the BMW forum thread illustrates some of the main the reasons why I am absolutely, positively anti-union (so long as a country has decent employee protection laws), emphasis mine:
I've worked with union workers over the years; my dad was a in a trade union all his working life. However, I've seen the downside. I've been to a place where it takes three people to change a simple part, because it required a plumber (for a simple air line), a mechanic (for two screws) and an electrian (for one electrical connector). This is not an exaggeration, but something I personally witnessed. Or, I've been yelled at for moving a pallet truck that someone left in front of the machine I needed access, so I broke union rules and moved it five feet. Also, I've seen companies unable to get rid of or even punish unproductive or damaging employees, again because of the unions. All the while watching unskilled labor getting paid significantly more than me. So don't mind me if I don't shed a tear for you. I live in a right-to-work state too, but I believe in earning my keep.
I'm not saying ALL or even most union employees are lazy and overpaid, but I, too, have witnessed hundreds if not thousands of times union employees slacking off, to put it mildly. Union rules and collective bargaining (etc) create perverse incentives and not only allow, but mandate waste and inefficiency, like in the above anecdote and my painfully countless personal experiences.
Critics (almost if not all of them union and union-affilianted) of right-to-work laws say unions protect workers rights and result in employees/members getting better wages/benefits and that their work is of higher-quality than that of non-union labor. The first assertion is true, but it just as much - if not moreso - a criticism of unions than an endorsement. Unions artificially drive-up wages and benefits while decreasing employment.
I think claims that union employees producer higher-quality work on a timely-schedule without cost over-runs versus non-union labor are probably grossly over-stated. If I hire and train an employee, how does his membership in a union in any way, shape, or form affect how good he is at his job? Is the argument that higher-paid union labor with better benefits work harder than non-union labor that supposedly has lower wages/benefits or something? I don't think I'm buying that...
Last I checked, the BMW Spartansburg plant employs thousands of non-union employees who all work there voluntarily, as in, they agreed to do the job, the pay, the benefits etc that came with it. No one is forcing them to work there for whatever they're getting paid. And the pay/benefits aren't that bad from what I've read. $24/hr to work on an assembly line with no college education (plus any overtime) in that area isn't that bad, especially considering the lack of required education/experience/skills and the investment therein and the fact that you probably drive a BMW for alot less than non-employees. BMW also gives employees at the plant some pretty good benefits, standard fare for non-union employees:
- Comprehensive medical, prescription, dental and vision plans
- Short-term and long-term disability benefits
- Life insurance
- 401K Retirement Savings Plan
- BMW Pension Plan
- Associate Car Use Program
If they don't like how much they're get paid in cash or benefits, they can ask for more. If they can't get it, either stay and deal with it or try to get another job that'll pay and give them the benefits they want. If they can't get a raise/get more benefits at their job nor find another one that'll give them what they want, then guess what: They're not worth any more than they're already getting and should be thankful to have a job at all!. If you want to make more, go get some more skills/education and stop your fucking whining about how management is screwing the "hard-working" employees.
Please, if you work 40-hours/week , if you take a cigarette/coffee break 10 times a day, if you have an hour for lunch, if you check Facebook/Twitter/whatever a dozen times a day, if you spend more time in the break room or around the water-cooler than you do at your desk, then you're probably not working that hard at all (unless your job involves doing such things). Instead of whining about people who DO make more than you, do the work, get the skills/education/experience/network you need so you can get there yourself! Otherwise, shut up.
Unions encourage people to do the least they can get away with doing until it's time to collect their pensions (that's probably unfunded, screwing over younger workers paying into it), which are not-unlikely to be over-inflated because of manipulating later-years wages upon which pension payouts are often based. I know of union employees whose pensions are based on their final-year's salary, so they work a ton of overtime that year et voila, artificially over-inflated pension! I don't think most union members do this, but the fact that they can get away with such things is yet another mark against unions in general.
Here's an interesting question: why don't people in the Financial Services industry unionize? Why isn't there a Back & Middle-Office Employees Union? How come there's no Financial Analysts & Investment Bankers Union? What about a Hedge Fund Employees' Union? How come there's not even a Bank Teller & Clerk Union? Perhaps its because many if not most if not all people in Financial Services understand it's a meritocracy (well, to some degree), and people are more attracted to higher wages/benefits that come with raising up the ranks than those that are the result of union extortion/blackmail, er, I mean, collective bargaining.
I've read the academic research and the "studies" from both sides here, and while these arguments presented herein are admittedly oversimplified, I think one would be hard-pressed to challenge most if not all of them, although I appreciate constructive criticism and discussion.
*I'm not solely blaming unions for ruining the Big 3, not hardly, management decisions since the 1950's ranging to making promises they had no way of keeping (ie defined benefit pensions), letting the bean-counters run design/engineering, etc all contributed as well, each in no small part.