by Bob Branco
I understand very well why labor unions were created. People who perform hard labor have as many rights as anyone else, and they needed to voice their opinions. What better way to do it than through an organized union? Unions are powerful, and without them, we might not be celebrating Labor Day.
While unions protect the workers, they can also hurt. Sometimes when a union’s wishes are not met, the membership consider a work stoppage as an act of protest. I have witnessed many instances over the years when union workers were forced to go on strike whether they wanted to or not. If the majority of the union members want to strike, it doesn’t matter how the rest of the members feel. They will temporarily lose their jobs and not put as much food on the table and clothes on their family’s’ backs as they want to. How did the union help those people?
The good news is that people in a labor union support one another as much as possible, so that each individual member does not feel like he’s all alone in a situation. When you work hard all day long in order to support your family, it’s important to spend your days with people who sympathize and empathize. It’s good for the human spirit.
If you want to consider sports unions as labor unions, then I am not as sympathetic as I should be about their needs. When you are making ten million dollars a year playing a sport, why shouldn’t you be satisfied with that? Do you really need to go on strike because you want to make twenty million, or because you also want your contract to be guaranteed even if you can’t play ball for a year? Are you really going to spend your ten million dollars during your time on the disabled list? Who does that? I will never see ten million dollars in my entire life.
On the whole, I think unions have a lot of positive value and meaning. Among other reasons, they keep management honest.