Are Unions Still Necessary Today?

Posted September 13, 2012 by

Have you been paying attention to the recent teachers’ strike?

26,000 teachers in Chicago are walking the picket line after the teacher’s union and school district officials failed to reach an agreement on the terms of a new contract.  A deeper question from an employment perspective:  Are unions still needed?

Steve Siebold

Steve Siebold

Steve Siebold, who has studied unions extensively, and who was onsite in Madison, Wisconsin, last year when teachers stormed the capitol building to protest Gov. Walker for eliminating collective bargaining rights, and is author of the book Sex, Politics and Religion: How Delusional Thinking is Destroying America, says it’s time to eliminate unions.

Some of his thoughts:

  • Union workers have become spoiled with tenure and guaranteed work based on every factor outside of job performance and results.  The abuse of power is now coming from the unions instead of employers.  In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel says teacher evaluations should be tied to standardized test results, and he’s absolutely right.  Pay increases should be about performance, not because you pay your dues and join the union.
  • When I spoke to the teachers in Madison last year, all of them told me they had the right to collective bargaining and to their jobs.  When I asked them where job performance fit into the equation, I barely got a reply.  They looked at me as though they didn’t understand the question.   That’s one of the biggest problems unions create: the idea that they have a right to a job, like it’s an entitlement awarded at birth.
  • The private sector has weeded out most of this nonsense in recent years, with unions only representing 7.5% of private sector employees.  The public sector is still bloated with 43% of public employees represented by unions.  Unions are another archaic American institution that served a purpose in a bygone era and should be buried with the dead.  Fortunately, the days of businesses running rough-shod over workers are gone.  In the era of Twitter, Facebook, cell phones with cameras and 24 hour news, the power is in the hands of the people.
  • With the unemployment rate at 8.9% in Illinois, the teachers should be thankful for their jobs.  If the teachers want to earn more money, bullying their employer with a mob isn’t the answer. Production is.  More service equals more money.  The future belongs to the states who become Right to Work states, where unions have no power and cannot bully businesses into hiring workers simply because they live in the neighborhood and pay dues.

Steve Siebold is an expert in the field of critical thinking and mental toughness training and is author of the new book Sex, Politics and Religion: How Delusional Thinking is Destroying America.  He’s known for his ability to explain today’s hottest issues through logic-based thinking devoid of emotion.  He is a consultant to Fortune 500 Corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline and Toyota.  Visit and

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