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A necessary evil

Nick Walsh | Monday, March 28, 2011

Despite Mr. Easley’s right-wing rants in “Where idealism and realism don’t intersect” (Mar. 24), I find there to be ample room for unions in 21st century America. Not only is there room for unions, but unfortunately (yes, unfortunately) they are necessary. Unions began as a way for workers to organize and fight for fair labor conditions during the turn of the industrial revolution. Over the years these unions have gotten away from their roots and do, as Mr. Easley describes at times, step over their boundaries and ask for too much. Unions have in themselves become greedy and at times corrupt. I know this from firsthand experience, having paid my dues and been a member of the Teamsters Union while working in a dairy manufacturing plant. Often the goals of union leaders were not representative of all union members and were overly aggressive. Sadly this attitude of unions is necessary.

Unions have become one of the necessary evils of the business world. They are at times corrupt and inefficient, but this attitude is necessary to offset business executives (private unions) and politicians (public unions) who are equally corrupt and greedy. Mr. Easley also suggests that the more prudent choice of action instead of collaborative unions would be to take private legal counsel to fight for one’s rights under labor laws. Does he realize this would entail a blue-collar worker hiring a low cost private attorney to fight against a team of highly paid corporate lawyers? This option is not even in the realm of possibility for the vast majority of workers who pay union dues on a pay-check by pay-check basis.

Unions have not been the downfall of American business. Corporate greed that is mostly concerned with profit margins has created the current state of American unions and defined the American business landscape in general. So while I agree that unions can be corrupt and inefficient, they are a necessary evil. Mr. Easley also misses on his final point where he speaks of the power being strictly within the individual. As outlined within the goals of our government in the Preamble of the Constitution, we must work to “promote the general welfare.” Until everyone from the CEOs down to the minimum wage factory workers start working together, American businesses will be dominated by greed and inefficiency.

Nick Walsh

junior

off campus

Mar. 24