“We Are One” Unless You’re New

Alert to non-unionized workers out there, be wary of joining a union during contract negotiations. Recent news has shown a plethora of contract negotiations where new members are stuck getting the short end of the stick. Union officials will throw you under bus as soon as negotiations get tough, and why not? Workers normally will either be forced to join a union and pay dues, so why should union officials fight for your benefit?

In contract negotiations between UAW and GM to stave off bankruptcy created a two-tiered pay system. New hires will receive $14.50 per hour to work in automaker plants, about half of what tenured autoworkers and union members receive. These wages are being implemented in the New York parts plant that GM invested $100 million. Solidarity is not present from these negotiations. UAW could have suggested a merit-wage system. In a merit-wage system senior members and workers would still have advantage because they have more experience and should be more efficient and productive than new hires. However, unions normally do not think logically and have no need to please a class of workers who will be forced to join the union.

In professional sports, the lack of concern for new members is astonishingly blatant. In NFL collective bargaining negotiations, one of the only concessions made by the NFL Players Association is to put caps on the salaries of rookies entering the league. The savings from capping rookie salaries would be redistributed to veteran players. Clearly, the union is not looking out for all members or interested in bargaining for equality of all members.

In the NBA, negotiations have not even started and they are already throwing future union members under the bus. The players’ union in the previous collective bargaining agreement agreed to the one-and-done rule, meaning that players are only eligible to be drafted by a team when they are one year removed from their senior year of high school. They are now considering bumping that number up to two years removed from your senior year. This is a sop for veteran players, creates less competition, and restricts the rights of American adults to work when they are 18.

The negotiating tactics of union officials reveal the sham of slogans such as, “We Are One” or the prevalent protests signs that read, “solidarity.” Union official’s belief in equality only goes so far during contract negotiations, if you’re the new guy you are not quite as equal.