Jonathan Brun

On Unions

Unions happen for a reason, to deny it is just ignorant. Unions usually form due to dissatisfaction with the employer, though local culture is very important. If you father/brother/mother were in a union and other nearby businesses are unionized, you are much more likely to get your card.

Some companies see their employees as tools to be worn to the bone – a sure fire way to mobilize workers into groups that can protect themselves. Treat others the same way you wish to be treated. Regardless of the reason of formation, unions are very bad for the individual and the company.

The best explantion I’ve heard of the negative aspects of unions was recently given by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, at a Wired conference. Unions create a two tiered work environment.

Part of the problem with Detroit, he [Elon Musk] says, is the union system. “It’s not out of the question to have unions, but if there’s going to be a union, they’d better understand that they’re on the same side as the company,” he added. “I’m against having a two-class system where you’ve got the workers and then the managers, sort of like nobles and peasants…

“Most of our experienced factory workers come from unionized environments, and we asked them what benefit did they see in unions,” he added. “They said, ‘Well, if their boss was an asshole, they had recourse.’

“I said, ‘Let’s make a rule: There will be no assholes.’ I fired someone for being an asshole. And I only had to do that once, actually.”

Not much to add, just no douches.

Published on July 2, 2009