Union Efficacy

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 23, 2011

Yesterday, I argued–with help from Will Wilkinson–that private sector unions are significantly more legitimate entities than are their public sector counterparts. But that doesn’t mean that private sector unions are all that good at meeting the needs of their members. If you are a private sector worker, you are better off listening to the likes of Russ Roberts than relying on your union to help you out:

You want negotiating power? Get educated. Get a skill. What keeps wages up in a world of 7% unionization in the private sector is that I have alternatives. So stay in school and study something serious that has value alongside whatever else you’re interested in. Or study something interesting that has little market value. But if you do that, don’t complain about your low salary and lack of a union.

The bottom line–you don’t need a union to protect you from your employer. You need alternatives–you need to have a skill that more than one employer values. If you have no skills, you are in trouble and the union won’t help you either except at the expense of other workers.

An amazingly commonsense observation which is amazingly all too often ignored.

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