Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

September 2013

I hear from time to time criticisms of unions.

“The teachers’ unions are hurting education of our youth by shielding ineffective people from the clean whiplash of meritocracy.”

“Oh my God! The auto industry unions’ bloated demands for benefits brought down the proud American auto industry to grovel at the feet of the imperial Japanese, the Swedes, the Germans, and even the French.”

“Any company saddled with a union workforce is doomed. The capitalists, and especially the small-business people, can’t and shouldn’t have to take on the socialist mobs (aka unions).”

Well, what is the reason unions are formed?

Slick organizers out to make a quick buck extorting both workers and employers?

Yeah, like the unionized marketing departments of the Big Three automakers who decided what the world needed was another gas-guzzling Detroit living room of a station wagon, muscle car, then van, then mini-van, then crossover, then back again.

Oh, right. The marketing department wasn’t unionized nor were the design and styling departments that came up with fins and fake portholes.

Let’s cut to the chase.

The reason unions are formed and collective bargaining begins is neither the paucity of wages for workers nor the capitalist pigs eating the seed corn. It isn’t the pinko commie fellow traveler trying to hitch a ride on a wildcat strike. The reason unions get organized is the lack of an effective grieving procedure at the nonunion organization.

If employees feel confident that they and their peers have access to a valid process for grieving, they won’t form a union. They won’t sign a card. They won’t call for a vote. Why would they? They have confidence that they and their peers have a process to grieve.

Do they expect every grievance to go the way of the griever? Actually, data show the mere existence of a fair grieving process is enough to satisfy fair-minded people. Fair-minded people are equipped with very sensitive and accurate bullshit detectors. Trust them: If they have a complaint, listen.

Happy Labor Day!