Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On What Side of the Line Do You Stand?

Shawn Ambrosino

Have unions outlived their usefulness? The answer to this question
normally depends on which side of the line you're on.

On one hand, you have those who either are or have family members or
friends that a union members and will fight, physically if they have
to, to preserver their way of life.

On the other hand, you have those with no union affiliation, who
couldn't care less about them, and actually see them as a detriment to
not only business in general, but the welfare of our great nation.

I grew up in a union household. Both my grandfather and my father were
in the Autoworkers Union as employees of General Motors in Buffalo,
New York. I spent a lot of time at my grandparent's, and when I think
of the word "home", it's their house.

There would be times during my childhood when my grandfather would be
home for a week or more during times of union confrontation with GM.
As a 5 year old, I thought nothing of it; I was just glad my Papa was
home all day. It wasn't until later in life that I realized why he was
home and what it meant for our family.

The funny thing is, my grandfather hated missing work: he was a
hardworking man, and when he was home, he was antsy.

But after my grandfather died, and during the recent auto bailouts, I
asked my grandmother how she felt about the situation. I asked her how
she felt about a guy who moves parts from one room to another, getting
paid over $100K a year for a job a monkey could do and how it
contributed to GM losing its spot on the American Exchanges.

She told me that she supports the union. She told me about how the
union got our family through some hard times, and while she didn't get
into exactly what they did for our family, I could see that we would
agree to disagree.

In my opinion, unions have outlived their usefulness. They were
created to keep things fair between the worker and the employer. Fair
wages and safe working conditions are important, but that's no longer
on the back of the unions – the United States government is now
responsible for that.

And as loathe as I am to say that, with the current practices we have
in place, there is no place in today's modern world for unions. The
quicker they're disassembled, the better.