It is time for the Scandinavian-native unions to enter the 21st century: To become a less destructive force and be a more positive one instead. The kind of tactics used by the Labor Unions wouldn’t be acceptable by any other organizations in our society.
I like the ideas and principles behind unions: Guiding wage laborers to get a more satisfying salary and work environment through negotiations with employers – Adding value to their clients and through that a theoretically greater work output, which is good for all parts.
Everybody wins with more productivity; The costumer at the store, the worker at the factory and the entrepreneur tying it together. Sadly, the current system in regard to Nordic unionization is very lop-sided in favor of the union, not the worker or employer.
The union sets the salary on a collectivistic level, with seniority as the main measuring stick. That leaves very little room for an exceptional individual to negotiate a better salary – If there is unequal production in a workspace and the employer have to pay everyone equally and not based on value creation, raising salary gets less likely since the good worker needs to cover costs for the bad workers. Thus, instead of sharing the surplus with the good worker by raising a paycheck, it has to be divided amongst all through union force.
Its hard to measure if this is a valid critique, the data on this is hard to gather. So we need to look at this with our logical glasses on: If we have a theoretical workspace, where everyone is equally productive and are equally valuable for the employer, yet he needs to pay more to the older 15% of the labourers because they have seniority (which is an artificial component in how salaries are set), the barrier for recruiting someone new is now higher by margins proportionally to how many you have on payroll with seniority.
It also incentivizes business owners to dodge hiring older individuals: they cost more and don’t necessarily offset this cost through larger value creation. Granted, this is a very static way of looking at salaries and employment, and how they work in real life, but I believe it to be valid none the less.
Another huge gripe I have with Nordic worker unions is the non-existing respect for property rights and non-unionised workers contracts (and their wish to work). The union even cheers on tactics that is immoral. One of the most recent incidents I’ve seen is the Norwegian Elevator Worker Union strike, where they openly bragged on their facebook group that they had blocked people from entering the premise they were “guarding”, preventing people from working.
My problem with this is two-fold:
1) They do not own the property, therefore its very bad form (mildly speaking) to hang around there uninvited for two months.
2) Stopping people from working is immoral – You are physically standing in the way of someone trying to make a living.
The post on Facebook has 55 shares, over 1300 likes and over 150 comments as I am writing this and its a mixed bag of critique and applauding the behavior. That is a lot of engagement for such a small group on Facebook, the group itself has barely 1300 likes. Instead of actively answering questions and explaining their stance the representatives of the strike just posted a youtube-video promoting “what the unions have given the workers”, which is a very weak way to have a discussion because now any critic needs to sit through a video and then start tearing down the message within, instead of talking about the situation at hand.
This kind of behavior is illegal in Norway if we want to play that card – Yet, the ones involved aren’t arrested, prosecuted or losing anything in the two months worth of striking. It is 2018, its time for the Unions to stop with these kinds of tactics and respect private property and non-members natural right to form contracts and work. When you are openly inviting conflict and confrontation, you might end up with it sooner or later.
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