Untrue Things People Believe
This is the thirteenth article addressing those things most people believe that are not true introduced in the article, "Most Of What You Believe Is Not True." To see all the articles, or any other one, please see the Index.
Labor unions are organizations that supposedly help workers have more success as employees. In fact unions only "help" employees who cannot (or will not) improve themselves and their position by their own effort while harming the truly competent and ambitious. Unions are essentially gangs that achieve whatever they achieve by intimidation and threats.
Labor Unions are organizations and have all the faults of organizations. The idea of labor unions is much more insidious than that, however.
Many others have pointed out how destructive unions are to good businesses. The United States was once the major producer of leather and of leather products, such as shoes, in the world. While the development of plastics had a very big part in the demise of those industries, the biggest destructive force and the one that eliminated those industries from the United States was labor unions. Through threats of force, demanding wages and benefits for employees that were impossible for employers to provide, those businesses were destroyed and the opportunity of all those who labored in those industries was lost with them.
The very idea of unions is an immoral one. The idea that one must be a member of something to achieve all they can achieve is wrong, and the belief that one can be or achieve more by being a member of something is immoral. No one has a moral claim on anything they have no earned or achieved by their own effort.
Why So Many Believe In Unions
The simple answer was given by Ayn Rand:
"Individualists have always been reluctant to form any sort of organization. The best, the most independent, the hardest working, the most productive members of society have always lived and worked alone. But the incompetent and the unscrupulous have organized." [Emphasis mine.] [The Letters of Ayn Rand, July 20, 1941, to Channing Pollock.]
Leaders of the labor movement since the the 1800s have been nothing more than, "community organizers." The community is all those employees or "laborers" that desired more than they could earn or achieve by their own effort and ability. (Another "community organizer" is the current president of the United States ).
The rhetoric of the labor movement is always the same: "Employers force employees to work long hours in unsafe and unsanitary conditions." "Employers force employees to work for unfair low wages." "Individual employees do not have the power to negotiate fair contracts and must therefore organize."
But employers have never been able to "force" anyone to do anything. Employers have only one kind of power, the power to offer financial reward in exchange for work. An employer has no power to take anything away from anyone or deprive anyone of anything that is theirs. All the rhetoric of the labor movement is lies, but they are lies that people want to believe.
Most people have very little confidence in their own ability and competence to risk being totally responsible for their own lives. They do not understand that employers are always willing to pay for real competence, responsibility, and productivity. Their own success depends having employees they can depend on and trust to make good decisions, to be self-motivated, and creative, and they will reward them to keep them.
[NOTE: In today's economy when so many supposed businessmen are neither scrupulous or honest, especially those in businesses and industries used by, protected by, or subsidized by government, the principles of good business will not be observed.]
The ignorant, the incompetent, the collectivist and all other individuals who fail to be all they can be as human beings readily believe the rhetoric of the labor movements, not because it makes sense, but because it promises what they want and believe they can have by joining a gang. While employers cannot force anyone to do anything, force is exactly what labor unions do use, from strikes, to destructive violence, to the force of government, the whole method of unions is coercion.
The influence of unions is waning, and there a fewer people who fall for the empty promises of unions, but there will always be people who believe the way to have what they want is to be a member of some group or organization that will achieve or acquire for them what they could never achieve or have by their own initiative and effort.
[NOTE: Though G. William Domhoff is a sociologist and obviously a collectivist and leftist, this history of "The Rise and Fall of Labor Unions In The U.S." gives a good picture of their real nature.]