Apparently, Lew Rockwell doesn’t like unions any more than I do. However, Mr. Rockwell’s feelings seem to be much stronger than mine, prompting him to call them evil. IMHO, he would do well to remember Napoleon’s wise maxim, “Never attribute to malice what could be sufficiently explained by ineptitude.” While some unions have certainly arrogated enough power to prove Lord Acton’s maxim regarding absolute power, I think in most situations unions are populated and run by ordinary, fallible people who fail to act in their own best interest or in the best interest of society in general. I don’t think it was malignant intent that priced the steel industry out of Pittsburgh; I think it was short-sighted, foolish selfishness.
“The [New York State teachers’] unions late Tuesday were successful in banning student performance in the classroom from the tenure process.”
Say what?! News stories like this drive me nuts. There should be no such thing as tenure for teaching faculty who are not also professional researchers. The latter need tenure to protect them from malicious firing related to unpopular research topics, methodology, or results. Educators who exclusively teach should be held accountable for how well they do their jobs, just like anyone else in any other job. If you are a poor teacher who fails to adequately educate children, your boss should have the right to fire you. Period.
On a tangentially related note, I hate the idea of closed shops. Unions should have to compete with other unions and individual workers. A monopolized workforce is as bad as a monopolized industry.
[The other day I was mildly annoyed by an email I got from Care2 asking me to sign a petition against Wal-Mart. Coincidentally, I recently had a conversation with a good buddy of mine about Wal-Mart, unions, and related topics. WhenI got the Care2 email, I forwarded it it to him and asked if he’d write an entry for my blog. He agreed. This fellow, who we’ll call Lightwave, earned an MBA in 2001 and an MS in MIS in 2002. – Funky]
I’ve heard a lot of talk lately of how awful labor practices at Walmart are unfair to works. I recently read about Walmart’s "ruthless" tactics where Walmart closed a store rather than negotiate with unionized workers. Indeed, there seems to be a lot of talk about how Walmart and other publicly traded organizations are treating non-unionized labor. I’d like to discuss this, but first, let’s get on the same page about some basics of publicly traded organizations.