Are Labor Unions Effective Anymore?

It’s not 1920 and toddlers aren’t working in meat packing plants anymore (at least in the US). Are labor unions still necessary? Do they still defend hard-working American laborers or are they creating more havoc than help?

WMATA (the transit authority that runs DC’s Metro) is perpetually out of money. They raise fares 10¢ every once in awhile but it never seems to make the agency function successfully. On top of that, the trains run poorly, arriving intermittently and subject to delays at the most inconvenient times (ie. the blue line on Memorial Day). The elevators are broken endlessly and you’re lucky if you don’t have to walk up the escalator at Rosslyn. Obviously something is wrong with WMATA. I think I know why.

Two Metrobus drivers were fired: one in September 2008 for “allegedly” running a red light, striking a taxi and killing a man; the other in February 2009 for stopping the bus, and proceeding to punch McGruff the Crime Dog and the off-duty cop that dwelled inside the costume. Thanks to arbitration and the Amalgamated Transit Union (the union that represents bus drivers) both drivers have returned to work and are receiving back pay. Is this where all WAMTA’s money is going? On the budget is there a line devoted to retroactive pay for fired employees that lawyered up and sued?

Let me be clear-wrongful firing and a number of circumstances that can create a strained working environment should not be tolerated. But how far in the defense an employee’s rights is too far? So far that it makes it impossible for businesses to fire employees fairly? If punching a policeman isn’t grounds for firing, what is?

Legal action such as this and the consistent and visible failing of the courts to act not only justly but sensibly, leads me to believe that it’s not the majority of hard-working Americans that are being represented here, but rather the squeaky wheels that inevitably always get the grease.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *