@ Mat: glad we can sometimes agree on some things.
I do 'get' the freedom arguments. There are a lot of things that I don't like about how unions operate (I discussed that in a past thread not so long ago, so I don't want to repeat it all again). I feel that they often represent the short-sighted interests of a small portion of those employed in a particular industry. And I feel that while people have every right to organize themselves any way they wish in a free society, one should be very careful in giving any one not strictly democratically legitimized organization access to powers that come close to setting policy and rules, even when it is done through collective bargaining. No employee should EVER have to follow a union rule, I'd say (unless he or she CHOSE to be part of a union). Nothing wrong with unions having 'influence' (as opposed to actual power). Nothing wrong with employers within a sector reaching an agreement with a (or several) unions, and entering in a binding agreement about it (after all, that is all part of living in a free society), but I think that a company should be allowed to opt out of being part of such an agreement, just as an employee should be able to.
Don't get me wrong: I haven't gone over to the dark side. I am still a bleeding heart liberal commie (well, on the Mat scale, at least
). I DO think that employees (and the poor, etc.) have the right to unite and 'force through' binding policies. However, I think that the proper arena for that is the democratic arena of politics. And I am not in favor of outsourcing that to employer/union agreements.
Or, in terms that might have more appeal to the more leftish posters here: I don't think it is fair
that employer A in industry 100 has to give employee X more annual vacation days BY LAW (because of the binding collective agreement) than employer B has to give employee Y in industry 200, just because the unions in industry 100 struck a better deal for the employees. And I don't think that it is fair
that company-owner X has to increase the salaries of his employees because MOST companies in that sector had a good year and were willing to go along with a general pay-increase in their negotiations with the unions. Because, maybe that owner's company didn't have a great year. Leaving it up to bargaining by unions and industry representatives seems rather arbitrary.
And because I love political cartoons.
This is how some here feel the media misrepresents them:
Guy on the left would be me, with my best pare of sandals. While Thyri is reading Adam Smith over on the right. (Though I'd bet a lot on the claim that the guy on the left is more likely to have read Smith).