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Embrace and Promote Union Envy

Why dance around the fact that union guys and gals make more, die less on the job and live better?

Kris LaGrange's picture
May 07, 2018

At UCOMM we work with all types of unions directly; teachers, the building trades, telecom, energy, public employees and law enforcement to name a few. Some job titles make more than others and the benefits in their collective bargaining agreements differ based on region, craft and other economic factors. The one thing they all have in common is that they never had to beg for what they have. These unions elected their leaders who then negotiate the best wages, bennies, and working conditions they can. For the most part, they are the highest paid, best compensated workers in their industry. Along my travels in this crazy life we call the union movement, I have experienced some leaders unknowingly playing into management's tact to demonize union shops. The defeatist attitude of "If I can't have it, neither can they" is a wrong and cowardly way to think, live and work. So when we fear talking about or defending how much money we make, how safe our jobs are and how great our health and retirement packages are, then we give no incentive to the non-union to take control of their work lives. If we fear that the non-union will attack our wage scales on Facebook or in the comment section of some silly newspaper, then we let the bad, small-minded guys win.

I like it when union contracts are posted on websites. I like it a lot. I like it when I am at a family bbq or social event and some union electrician brags about his hourly wage and benefits package. I don't mind seeing road workers slowing down to get the job done safely and right the first time. I like that some teachers earn good money, and that cops and CO's have great benefits for themselves and their families. It does society no good to cry and blame workforces for having a handle on their craft. I feel little to no pity for the non-union worker who didn't organize, educate themselves, or put the time in to better their work life. I have been in conversations before with non-union white collar workers who say things like "I should've been a teacher," or "Wish I learned a trade." That's music to my ears. If that ever happens to you, simply respond by saying; "You can get the same benefits that they do, you just have to stop begging and start organizing." It's a tough convo to have, but if you don't do it, then who will? 

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