What Would You Ask For If Your Workplace Went Union?

What Would You Ask For If Your Workplace Went Union?

If you didn’t see it last week a Nissan automotive plant in Mississippi went through a union vote deciding on whether the 6,000 workers at the plant wanted to represented by the UAW. It’s 2017, right? Is it just me or does it seem strange that we are still having union votes?

Here’s what the Nissan workers who support the union vote say they are looking for:

“Union supporters complain that the company has been stingy with benefits and bonuses, that workers on the production line are pressured to sacrifice safety to keep the line moving briskly, and that supervisors arbitrarily change policies about discipline and attendance.”

So, basically:

  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • Retirement
  • Safety

The UAW is trying to make this out about race. Be careful thinking this is the real issue. When you have a predominantly diverse workforce it’s an easy tactic to use to drum up votes. This is about the UAW increasing membership, period. They could care less about race issues, pay issues, or safety issues, just come ask all the out of work former UAW members in Flint! The UAW would try and unionize a girl scout troop if it increased their coffers.

Have you been in a modern day automotive plant? You could eat off the floors. There are so many safety precautions in place you would have to be blind to put yourself in harm’s way. The average UAW employee makes twice the average salary of an American worker. These workers don’t need a union, they need a reality check.

This got me thinking though of what I might ask for if my company decided to go union. Or, what would any of us in a modern society ask for from a union? The reality is in today’s world with the current competitive talent landscape there really isn’t much a union can offer. Pay and benefits are pretty competitive, pensions are no longer viable with current life expectancies, and laws are in place to protect workers from most safety issues.

Here’s what I think most people would want from a modern union:

Flexibility in working hours. Not work from home, although in many cases that could be argued, but the ability to be treated as an adult when it comes to my schedule and getting my work done. It’s not too much to ask to allow me to drop my kids at school at 8 am then come into work by 8:30 am. Just because you want everyone at the office by 8 am, doesn’t mean it has to be that way. That’s just silly. Not all of your employees are living the same life.

Different Financial Benefit Options for Time in Life. A college graduate with student debt needs different financial benefits than your employees who are ten years away from retirement. A recently married employee looking to buy a house has different financial needs than the employee having his first kid go off to college. Having one company 401K match no longer makes sense to all of your employees.

Diet Mt. Dew Fountain Machine. Unions are stupid so I might as well ask for stupid stuff! If you want to represent me, you better install a Diet Mt. Dew fountain machine in the break room or will not get my vote and union dues. I’m paying you $17.63 out of every check for what? No, Diet Dew?! That’s not happening!

College Education or Free Skill Training for my Kids. Oh, wait, now I’m listening. Don’t you think if unions are truly invested in their members that they should be able to invest the dues and make this happen? We’re talking billions of dollars per year paid in union dues across America, for a very little amount of negotiating every few years. If you can guarantee my kids a college education or to learn a trade, now you’re earning your keep!

What would you ask from a union in today’s world?