Editor: It was reported that the county government is considering awarding future projects only to companies with employees represented by unions. There are several provisions in a collective bargaining agreement that are standard and appear in almost every one of them. These are considered economical and non-economical for obvious reasons. The economical provisions have financial impacts on both the company and the employees. They include wages, health insurance, 401K plans, vacations, and sick leave.
In today’s market those in the trade industries are earning well above the “living wage” and have the ability to move from job to job if they are not happy as they are currently in high demand. The idea that the county should increase the cost of their construction projects is nothing more than a misuse of taxpayer funds.
The non-economic provisions always include union security, dues deductions and management’s rights. Union security provides that an employee must become a union member or pay the alternative monthly fees otherwise face termination by the company. Yes, the union that claims to be there for the protection of the employee wants that same employee terminated for not paying them. Seniority rewards longevity and stifles an employee’s hard work and initiative. Under the management’s rights provision, the company can operate however it wants provided such action is not already covered in the CBA but the company must meet with the union to discuss how a change impacts the employee, in essence the business owner has no decision making ability. My experience with many business owners is that they are not looking for a “partner” to tell them how to run a business they’ve been successfully running for years. This issue isn’t about a bad employer treating employees poorly, it’s about forcing a company to bring in a union, whether the employees want one or not, just so the company can do business with the county.
As for the other working conditions most are already covered by government regulations. Health and safe is covered by OSHA, overtime and timely wage payments are covered by the Department of Labor, while discrimination is overseen by the EEOC. It could be argued that these agencies came about because of issues raised by unions, but they now exist and do the job of the unions. In today’s society, unions are more of a political action committee than a necessary protector of employees.
Christopher M. McHale, Potomac Falls