Friday, June 10, 2011

Oh the Glorious Union…

I usually don’t rag on something unless I see the need for it to be ragged upon.  This time however, it’s personal.  It comes out of my check and I get zero say in the matter, because others have taken the liberty to remove my choice in the matter…needless to say this vexes me greatly.

It goes back to the idea of somebody else knowing what is best for me regardless of said person never even knowing me.  Forget the fact that I am a grown man who can do his own taxes (okay so the wife does it), ties his own shoes, and has managed to stay out of jail his entire life.  This person who doesn’t know me assumes I lack the above mentioned life skills.

Let’s do some math.  $1600 a month gross.  Not stellar, but it will suit my family’s needs.  The wife and I are frugal people who frankly don’t go out to eat or do much in the way of spending money on entertainment.  We entertain ourselves, but not to the point of financial risk.  It doesn’t take money to have a good time, in fact I can remember several times where I spent money and wanted a refund on my life.

The last job I had paid the exact same, only I had the privilege of paying about $350-ish a month in gas alone just to get there and back each day.  At first when I got this job we were thrilled because hey, we just saved 350 bucks or so a month by being able to walk to work.  We were elated.  That is 350 extra bucks towards our minivan payment.

They say the devil is in the details.  This just happens to be the insidious truth of this particular matter.  1600 bucks a month gross isn’t too shabby for pushing a mop at the facility in question.  My beef is when they said “union”.  I immediately felt my pulse and temperature rise.  However, I managed to keep my calm.

The wage was more than perfect, until the union takes their slice out of it.  Mandatory 125 dollar membership fee, plus 36 bucks every month until I find another job or quit, that is just to be a member of this….thing.  And thanks to the marvelous union bargaining nonsense I have to contribute 6.9% to a retirement fund which I never plan to see a return on.  I say this because apparently the states don’t know how to run one properly-check the news.  It gets better, now I also have to shell out 435 bucks a month for health insurance that I didn’t want in the first place.

You might say “Chill out Daniel, you’re getting a stable job with great benefits and two different pensions to draw on when you retire, ease up man.”.  I can see why others might say that.

Here is my side of it.  We all already have insurance coverage.  We don’t need to pay extra for something we already have.  And when you have two different insurance companies they love to fight over who has to pay the bill.  In the mean time the bill doesn’t get paid, and you the consumer, are left on the hook for the bill.  Any wife knows this, and almost inevitably the wife is left to call both insurance companies up and make them do their job.  More isn’t always better, but it’s almost always more complicated than it needs to be.

The retirement plan is a joke, a sick joke at that.  Let me decide what I will do with my money.  I am intruded upon continuously by their mandating the spending of my earned cash.  This really irks me to a degree which words fail to deliver.  If I choose to invest my money, I will do so.  Frankly I have seen just how reliable these pensions are in the news recently, I think I’ll wait for a better option.  State run pensions are a disaster when they are run improperly.  Unfortunately most are run improperly.  A perfect example is social security, a federal pension for everybody.  I received a letter from the Government regarding my pension where they openly admitted to being short of funds.  I could only expect 71 cents out of every dollar I was supposed to get.  So basically they screwed up with my money. 

Mistakes happen, I understand people are human and mess up sometimes.  Simply put this is my beef, they never asked me if they could take my money- they just took it.  If I don’t pay into social security men with weapons will come and take me away for a lengthy amount of time.

I’ll put it this way, a couple hundred years ago a bunch of people in colonies got pissed off about taxes being raised.  They killed people over it.  It isn’t about money; it’s about food.  When you reduce my income you reduce my food supply.  When I can’t feed my kids and wife gears start to turn.  Rarely when these particular gears turn do they produce anything kind or forgiving.  So we adapt.  My loving and industrious wife now grinds wheat and makes our bread to cut down on costs.  My point is that we can only adapt so far before I start feeding my kids poached meats and eventually Cannibal Big Mac’s.  Let’s face it.  I am a predatory creature.  My eyes are in the front of my skull for a reason.  I have canines and incisors for a reason.  When the young get hungry, the parents find food wherever they can get it and will eventually do anything to get it.
Back to the math. 1600 *6.9%= 110.4 that is for the mandatory retirement that I never wanted nor will I ever see.  1489.6-435=1054.6 for the health insurance that is going to complicate my life more and also another thing I didn’t want in the first place.  Lastly, the all-important-ever-invasive-dictated union dues. 1054.6-36=1018.6 being my taxable income per month.  We’ll say Uncle Sam is kind; we’ll say he only takes 5%. 1018.6*5%= 50.93,  which gives us a whopping 967.67 bucks a month to live on.  Keep in mind that I have a family of 5 including my grubby self.

The Union says it has my best interest in mind.  Sick thing is this, I believe that they really do believe they are doing what is best for me.  There is only one problem with their plan; They Are Wrong.  This might be tolerable for anybody who doesn’t have a family.  Even then they would struggle because 967 bucks a month doesn’t amount to much.

Not all unions are bad.

The unions have their good points too.  The formation of unions shows that the power is in the people and people can make things happen.  Kudos to the people.

People wanted to defend themselves from merciless capitalists who would chain children to factory machines. Unions gave people more family time, a better wage, protection from retaliation by superiors and so on.  These are all good things…within reason.

There are some employers out there who need to get thrashed for bad practices against employees.  I have worked at some places where I gambled my life everyday.  I have also worked at places where I couldn’t do my job effectively because of union mandates. 

Most unions have lost their way and corrupted their original purpose.  Unions seem like they were designed to work only for a while, flounder a little longer like a turd that just won’t flush and then finally meet its pre-destined demise.  Want some facts?  Here is a link to a government page that illustrates that private sector union membership is shrinking.  The private sector only does things when they are profitable, more effective, or because the laws dictate them to do so.  Anyways, here is that site.

Unions formed in response to something that needed combatting.  This was admirable and necessary.  However, once the dragon is slain, just get back to doing business as usual.  Unions should not invent problems to keep themselves in power.  If somebody has a problem at work now days they can just call any one of the abundance of lawyers out there and usually the problem will stop instantly.  Threatening somebody with legal action is fairly formidable these days.

These aren’t just my thoughts either.  Here is another site says that unions are basically job destroyers.  They harm the company which in turn harms the employees.  Backwards, eh?  Take a look over here for some enlightenment on the topic.  The video at the bottom of the page is very informative.

Forbes even pitched in their two cents.  And not surprisingly they predict the
demise of unions as well.  They too illustrate the job destroying practices of unionized work forces.  Sure you get paid more as a union worker but you squeeze the company.  Then the company hires less people and eventually the company can’t compete with others in its field.  Eventually, the workers (unionized or not) are pitched over board in massive layoffs in a desperate and futile attempt to save the company.  You can check out the article here.

And the fun fact is this- I bet you that the lawyer involved in correcting an abusive company is in…
…the non-union private sector.
Beautiful… just beautiful.


  1. Well I have to ask, why not work towards change? If you feel like this, feel free to make a difference. Start with your job now,and work your way up. Instead of being the person not happy,be the person changing it for everyone else.Everyone is so quick to complain and so slow to work for change.

  2. Yeah yeah yeah, all I see if your own opinion here.We get it,you hate union's and union ideal based organizations. So you dislike the deductions from your check.Is that all you can tell me about your opinion, That they are making the life of your family and yourself that much harder?
    But perhaps the job wasnt intended to support a family of 5.Perhaps it was intended for a single person,living in the parents basement.A person with no bills and no commitments.You cannot hate a establishment for not suiting your own needs. It is not profitable to be charitable.

    I fail to see how this is even tagged as liberty.You do have the choice to accept the terms given to you or to move on to another job.

  3. Technically incorrect. Being on unemployment I have to accept work when it is available. Regardless of the unions or not. If I don't, they audit and penalize me for milking the system.