A facebook friend posted this article by Penelope Trunk, which basically argues that unions are pointless in today’s society. I already kind of hate Penelope Trunk and the whole, privilege, upper-middle-class, I-should-let-my-boss-slap-my-ass-thing, but I also think she is totally and completely wrong. Here’s my facebook response:
I think that unions are SO important in a our society today. As corporate power and influence increases exponentially, collective bargaining is the ONLY way to give employees back some semblance of power so they don’t get shit in. Personally, the impression that I get from this poster is that they are incredibly privileged and spoiled.
Re: teachers can’t get fired – that isn’t a union thing. It’s an academic thing. Let’s not confuse tenure with unions. And OF COURSE the unions were pissed – who wouldn’t be. We need to stop and realize that for workers this is BUSINESS. Of course you want great benefits, great pay, and a guarenteed job. We need to stop thinking that employees should be so altruistic while corporations can shit on everyone because it’s “business.” I also have a huge issue with the way that teachers are blamed for our shitty education system. Frankly, bad teachers are a modicum of the problem.
Re: government jobs are cushy: Did you know that government workers have to pay out of pocket for work Christmas parties? Did you know that secret service agents make about $60K a year? Does it really bother you that cops and fire fighters, who risk their lives in public service, have awesome health benefits?
If we take government jobs as evidence of how likely workers are to want to be in unions (which we should, because the government almost never fights unionizing), 80% of workers would be in unions if they could. Maybe it’s not that unions are anachronistic, it’s just that you’re jealous. I know I am.