As a student, I had the opportunity of working summer jobs at a company that was a union shop. I was not required to be part of the union, but I was required to follow union work rules, and this was my first taste of nonproductive union rules. In my zeal to be seen as a good worker, I started sweeping my work area, I was quickly told by my supervisor that someone else is paid to sweep the floors and I should not be touching a broom. Wow, what an awakening. This is when I vowed to never work under union rule.
I saw unions as a way to protect the less industrious while hindering the employees who truly wanted to set themselves apart from the pack. After I graduated, I joined a bank, no union, a pay-for-performance type of operation, and every year, they would cull the bottom 10 percent of performers. Was I worried? No, as I truly believed that my work ethic and skills would keep me from being at the bottom of the heap.
When I keep hearing the problems with union members, I keep wondering why a skilled person would willingly give their hard-earned money as dues to the union, in return for what? Unions offer protection for those who, in many instances, would end up in the bottom 10 percent and be culled from the herd, and these same unions stifle the creativity and innovativeness of those who want to make a difference in their workplace.
If I were a teacher, I would not want union protection. I would want to be seen as different. I would want to be allowed to teach my students in a manner that would make them succeed, not in a manner that says, "one size fits all." I would gladly take the job risk, but I would also expect some type of pay for performance, so that if I produce great students, then I should be financially rewarded for this effort.
My intent is not to bash unions; there was a time when they were sorely needed. I would love to ask a union member, "What has the union done for you that you cannot do yourself?" I think the answer would be, "I'm out of here." Unions have outlived their purpose.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.