Unions – Just that one word is enough to get some people really uptight.
Believe it or not most who do feel that way have probably never even been affiliated to a union in their lives.
So why do they feel so against the unions?
It is my opinion that they see on TV or read so much that is anti-union that they believe what they see or read without questioning anyone who speaks in that vein nor do they realise that those who commission these TV programs may well have a vested interest in reducing union support.
Sometimes they have friends who have perhaps not been entirelysatisfied with their union or someone they know has a negative story and we all know that negative is far stronger than positive when it comes to memory.
Ask yourself how often you see news items where unions have become involved but you have hadlittle or no information with regard to the company, what happened before the union got involved, what the employees did before they took such action and how long the dispute has lasted. What the employees stand to lose and also what the management have offered – If they have made an offer at all. Most importantly how many employees will be affected by the present situation and how long will they be affected.
We must all be aware of one major fact, that fact is so important that it is always regrettably totally overlooked. That is that unions are run by human beings and not machines, they make mistakes and sometimes they do not make good decisions, even though often because those decisions are arrived at by their membership. Don’t be fooled into thinking that because unions are supposed to work on majority vote that it will always produce the best for all parties solution. Often decisions are made based upon facts that seem to be right at the time but things can change in a dispute very quickly indeed, one word at a management meeting or one persons attitude can create a totally different direction for the union or its members to have to take.
Unions can very much be worth their weight in gold if and when you become dependant upon one during a time of unrest in the working environment or they can often help with changing things in the work place, often making changes that the employee would have found difficult to negotiate, since the union represents its members- OR SHOULD -When there is a good relationship with the company with who’s members they are involved, unions in the main work well together. The problems really begin when the company does not want union involvement with their work force – Often due to a bigoted attitude sometimes one or more in the management field and also it can be the negative attitude of some of the workers themselves.
When management and or workers decide to go with the majority and consider that unions are not always about strikes and unrest, they can also assist in the field of safety in the work place too, good safety practices can actually benefit a company to the tune of many thousands of pounds/Dollar, processes for example that seem safe in the short term are not necessarily safe in the long term, because unions have skills and information readily availableto them they can often make very informed contributions to health and safety.
If you think about the usefulness of the unions and you do so in a open minded way, rather than the way some would have us think (That they are all about disruption and power) They can also be worth their weight in gold to the membership too, this has often been the case, it is like the old saying – People will take time to complain and mourn but how often do they actually take the time to thank and point out the good that they have got from the union and the support when they needed it!
And before you think that I am writing this article because I am some how involved with unions, first of all I am retired and secondly I was once seriously let down by my union but notall unions are create equaly, so choose wisely and help with the running of your union don’t just sit back and leave it to someone else.