Recently there has been a lot of news about unions not being happy about having to suffer along with the rest of us in this down economy.
We have all heard through the national media about the public service unions in Wisconsin. The teachers standing in the streets complaining that the state can no longer afford to pay for their health care package and retirement. The governor of that state has asked them to contribute to both, and even then, the cost to the individual would be the second lowest in their region. The real sticking point is the collective bargaining. The governor wants to remove this arrow from the quiver of the unions. In so doing it would take away the unfair advantage unions have over private sector employees and the government.
Well you don’t have to go halfway across the nation to find union members who have lost touch with reality. Right here in Delaware we have union members that don’t understand that they have priced themselves out of a job.
Recently Perdue Poultry announced that it would be outsourcing its chicken catching operations at two of its plants, including the one in Georgetown. This means that Perdue will be letting one hundred chicken catchers go and replacing them with a sub-contractor from North Carolina.
The current Perdue employees are union workers. They unionized back in 2002. The North Carolina company will catch chickens for half as much as Perdue is currently paying the union workers.
I have heard the complaints from the current Perdue chicken catchers, that the North Carolina company will be hiring nothing but illegal immigrants and that this is how they can keep down the cost. They also complain about the wages being paid to the sub-contractor will be leaving Delaware. They have also said that they have contacted the North Carolina company to seek employment and have been told that there are no openings.
First on the accusation of the sub-contractor hiring illegals. These union workers didn’t seem to have any problem working with the ones at Perdue. But if the sub-contractor is hiring illegals then that needs to be handled, just as I believe that Perdue should be held accountable for hiring illegals. It is a strawman argument ment to rally support for the union workers.
Second, the company from North Carolina will not be loading workers on buses every morning from North Carolina and sending them up to Delaware to catch chickens. The company may be based out of North Carolina, but they will be hiring people in Delaware. People who live here and spend their money here. So the wages paid will still have a benefit for the state.
Third, now this is where it gets a little fuzzy for the union workers argument. When Perdue proposed cuts the workers said they couldn’t afford to work for less. Yet they are now saying that they have sought out employment with the North Carolina company. You know the one that will be paying their employees less. So which is it?
We can almost be sure that Perdue was talking to union reps about the need to cut cost. We can almost be sure that the union reps were against any sort of cuts. This is a case of a company needing to make cuts to protect their bottom line. When it comes to the point of needing to make cuts, unfortunately employees are usually the first choice.
The company can’t do anything about the cost of energy or repairs to their equipment. In the poultry industry the cost of feed is rising, in large part due to the cost of corn being driven up by the government’s mandate of ethanol. There is rising cost to the business that they have no control over. So they must look to ways to hold down cost. Cutting the cost of catching the chickens is a good business choice.
Some of the union employees have said that this is just a way for Perdue to get rid of the union. Okay. That too is a good business choice. Why would any business want to have within its organization a parasitic sub-organization? Unions do not exist to benefit the companies they work for. They exist only to grow the size of the union. They blackmail the companies under threat of striking into paying wages beyond the average and into giving promises of pension packages with benefits better than some people who are still working can get.
This could explain why the North Carolina company is not interested in hiring any of the current Perdue employees. Why would you hire people who have already shown that they believe in unionizing?
Unions have outlived their usefulness. We are no longer living in the 1920s. Where children are chained to machines in sweatshops. There are wage laws and work place safety agencies that protect employees. Unions do nothing to contribute to the growth of any industry. Unions simply exist to promote unions.
I think that the chicken catchers may have been better off if they could have made the choice of taking a pay cut on an individual basis. Some would have chosen to take the cut and keep their jobs. Because some are wise enough to understand that half is more than nothing, isn’t it? But instead the union preaches to them that they have to stick together. Well now they will all be in the un-employment line together. Personally I would rather stand on my own merit, rather than be linked to every other worker. Here’s an idea, why doesn’t one of these people start their own chicken catcher company and compete for the business? I know where they can find at least one hundred employees.
From a business stand point Perdue made a good choice. I think that the governor of Wisconsin needs to make the same good choice. Stick to his guns and let the unions show their true colors. It will be the unions shutting down Wisconsin, not the governor. It is the teachers that have left the classrooms.
By the way, maybe the governor should force the teachers back into the classrooms much in the same way that Reagan force the air controllers back to work. The same that it is illegal for police and firemen to strike. Public safety. By having the teachers out on strike and in some cases actually bringing the students to the demonstrations, they are creating a public safety issue for the children, who would normally be in class. Instead of out on the streets doing who knows what.
We need only look to the auto industry to see the negative effect that unions have had, and are having on industries. We can no longer afford to carry the weight of the union demands.