Do Labor Unions serve a purpose? Yes, I believe they do because there are always some unethical and indecent business practices being done by shady and greedy employers. Someone needs to keep them in check.
However, my issue is not with pay or benefits but with seniority. The effort the unions will go to in order to guarantee senior employees the prime positions is in essence damaging the very business that is employing them. Not all union contracts are set up this way but some are and those are the ones I'm addressing.
Let me explain. I've worked for an organization that by contract has to guarantee that the senior employees have a position even though a junior employee is by all accounts better equipped to do the job.
In the work that I do, it's all about using the right person for the right job. Seniority plays no part when trying to match the most qualified person for a position. What sense does it make to place an employee who isn't a people person in front of customers while making the employee who is great with people do back room duties? Any reasonable employer would want to place the most qualified person in the customer service position, by that I don't mean senior person, I mean the person who has the social intelligence and disposition to work well with customers. What has seniority got to do with that?
You've probably experienced yourself situations where the person behind the counter should really find another line of work because working with people isn't their forte. The smile isn't there. Without saying it, the customer service person leaves you with the impression that you're bothering them and that they'd rather be doing something else. Well then, go do something else that doesn't involve interacting with people.
What it really is saying is that the union values their members over the customers and the long term survival of the organization that is employing them. When you value seniority over the best qualified candidate, it becomes politically motivated over common sense. The contracts need to value the individual talents a person has to offer over seniority, when that happens, you end up with everyone giving their best. It's the American way.
I can understand an employee wanting some security in their job, however when employees realize that they can't "get by" by using the number of years of service then the customer wins. It increases the organizations bottom line and ultimately leads to retaining employees. In the long run it makes good business sense.
What say you?