Labor unions have been there for as long as one can remember. Workers joined labor unions to compel their employers to better their working conditions which were deplorable (Hay, 2010). Others joined these unions to be guaranteed better pay for the services they delivered. For any labor union to achieve its intended goal, it has to be assertive and competent (Hantke, 2009). In as much as it is very difficult for incompetent unions to achieve success, intelligent unions must also amass the required numbers to be able to competitively bargain for its members. The numbers count when negotiations fail and industrial action is the only bargaining tool that remains at the disposal of these unions. Labor unions are credited with myriad gains in the lives of working class some of which might not have been achieved had it not been for these unions. This essay explains why trade unions are no longer necessary.
I am a convinced that trade unions have no role to play in the 21st century labor market. In as much as pundits would argue that employees enjoy their weekends in the comforts of their homes because of the labor unions, it should not be lost on people that having a weekend off does not mean workers never get paid over the weekend (Red State, 2013). In fact, most salaried individuals take work home. Labor unions should not intrude into workers' work schedule. What would become of the private sector enterprises profit margins if all workers were to stay at home over the weekends? Their profits would go out of the window (Murphy, 2011). In my opinion, labor unions, in this regard, breed non-productivity.
Labor unions are also credited for having specified work breaks and lunch breaks. This in my opinion disrupts workflow. Workers and employers should have the prerogative to take break or lunch whenever needed in a more natural way that increases productivity (Fitch, 2006). This enables the employees to focus more on work rather than the clock (Hantke, 2009). There are cases where workers literally sit counting the minutes to each break. Some go to an extent of nagging their co-workers to hurry up and cover them while they got their 15 union minutes (Red State, 2013). Very little work is therefore done before and after these union breaks.
Trade unions are credited for championing for sick leave where workers are entitled to long-term medical leaves when they have a child, are getting a hysterectomy, or are suffering from psychological conditions. Under this kind of leave, workers are also entitled to sick days for a longer time. In fact, under the Federal Government's industrial relations legislation, eligible workers are entitled to ten days of paid of sick or carers leave per year which can be carried over to subsequent years if not used. Workers are also entitled to two days of compassionate leave per year if they suffer death in the family or any other significant bereavement. This leave forces workers to use their sick days. If you are not in a union you can negotiate for a work-at-home agreement until you completely heal. Some unions have also negotiated situations where an employer is forced to hold open positions for as many years as a new mother would like to take off for up to even four years and then giving her the same position regardless of the hard work or talent of the replacement (Red State, 2013). This is unfair for the replacement. It also stifles competition and productivity.
Because of inflation and other micro and macroeconomic factors, it is only fair that minimum wage to be paid to employees is set at least to enable them cope with the changing economic times (Friedman & Friedman, 1979). This is an area that trade unions have scored fairly in (Red State, 2013). I, nevertheless, have problems with the government sitting somewhere and determining minimum wage to be paid to workers without regard for merit or quality of work that workers do. This not only encourages mediocre performance but is also the biggest impediment to economic job growth.
Some labor unions insist that work done by their members outside the 9am and 5pm should be paid for as overtime. This has got serious implications to companies as it means that businesses that do not have monies to pay their workers overtime cannot have their tasks and projects completed regardless of the…