Labor Unions

I was once elected as an officer of a labor union. I do not believe I would be willing to repeat that experience, for a large number of reasons.

Labor unions are divisive by nature. The justification for their existence depends on a division between company management, and the employees of that company, with the union standing between them. If that division does not exist, there is no need for the labor union.

Consider for a moment, a mountain stream. If you want clean water from the stream, and if the stream is currently filthy, what do you do? Do you extract the water and then clean it? That’s what a labor union is trying to do, but it’s not the best approach.

The wiser course of action is NOT to try to clean the filth out of the stream, but to instead move upstream and stop the filth from entering the stream in the first place.

If employees think a labor union is needed, to me it signifies the existence of a deeper problem with management. Management has some fundamental problems that they need to fix. Management needs to do a better job of communicating with the employees, and of involving the employees, and making them feel like they have a voice, and a place at the table. The company needs to COOPERATE with the employees, rather than DIVIDE from them via a labor union.

COOPERATION between employees and management is always the better answer. It also requires a one-ness between the employees and management where, if achieved, will make a labor union unnecessary.

I recently ran across an email I wrote in the fall of 2019.  I won't say who I wrote it to (it was someone that is active in labor unions), but I will otherwise share the entire email, below:


I am glad that your union has worked out for you. Conceptually the service that a union can provide seems good. I, however, could never get involved in one again. I don't have the stomach for it.

I think there was a time for unions, but in my opinion that time is over. Today the government provides much of the protection that a union provided in the past, making the union redundant and unnecessary. Every particle of overhead added to the production process, including the overhead of a union, ultimately has to be paid for via the production of the workers.

Total production divided by the worker population equals the average real wage on a per capita basis. Nothing can exist unless it is produced, and nothing can be consumed unless it exists. The total production determines the total size of the pie, and the worker population determines how many pieces it can be potentially be subdivided into (i.e, the "average" wage).

So, the only way to give people a *real* raise, on average, is to increase the production on a per-capita basis. Otherwise all you are doing is redistributing the sizes of the slices of the pie, and not contributing in any meaningful way to a real raise, on average.

Production is controlled by energy input into the production process multiplied by the efficiency ratio of that energy. For human labor, that energy in turn comes from the food that human's eat, and that energy in turn comes from plants (or animals that eat the plants), and the plants derive their energy from the sun.  This means the ultimate source of human labor energy is derived from the sun, making it a *very* bad overall efficiency ratio for production.

That is why we employ various tools for production. These tools in turn derive their energy primarily from stored energy of fossil fuels, with some nuclear, solar, and other energy sources thrown in the mix. Thus, when mankind first started turning to these energy sources, it resulted in increased overall energy input into the production process, which in turn produced the first *real* wage increases for humanity. These real wage increases occurred during the industrial revolution. Labor unions like to claim they are responsible for it. But they are not.

Unless we further increase the energy input, such as turning to nuclear energy, at this time the only way to increase real wages (on average) is to increase the efficiency factor involved in production. Cooperation has the potential to do just that, and Unions have the potential to aid in cooperation. But I've never seen it actually work that way.

No, I want nothing to do with unions again. But I'm glad that yours seems to be working for you.