Why are Americans so anti-unions?

Lant_War

The Fallen
Jul 14, 2018
7,731
You don't see it much on this site thankfully, but every single Reddit thread about unions has a huge debate in the comments and again, and every single time it's someone from the US arguing against them. Why is that? Is there a mandatory anti-union class in school or something?
 

Sage

Member
Oct 27, 2017
335
Japan
It's not a black or white issue. I'm quite pro-union but insider-outsider theory has some merit to it.
 

TeddyShardik

Member
Oct 27, 2017
484
Bonn, Germany
Anything that doesn't fit into "Bootstrap" logic is basically communism.
Which is total bollocks of course, but is ingrained into people now.
That would be my guess.
 

Sulik2

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,414
Two big reasons, propaganda and unions themselves. Anti union propaganda has been rampant in this country for decades and it's made an impact.

Corruption within big unions themselves has done a tremendous amount of damage to their reputation. Lack of regulation in the USA we normally focus on corporations but unions needs proper regulation to control corruption too. The police union and baseball unions have done incalculable damage to how people view unions.
 

DrROBschiz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,686
Because conservatives are really really fucking good at sheperding sheep

and brainwashing/manipulating our worst tendencies so that we vote against our own interests
 

Kyrios

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,430
A lot of sentiment in that unions protect and benefit crappy workers more than people who take their jobs seriously, for one.

I used to be in a union job for more than 12 years and that's mostly what they complained about. Also depends if you have a good union or not to influence your view, there are a lot of shitty unions out there.

Unions don't always = Good. A lot more complicated than that. I know plenty of people that are frustrated with their unions. But as it stands unions are sometimes the only way to guarantee job security so...

Sage said it best, it's not a black and white issue.
 

snacknuts

The Fallen
Nov 1, 2017
2,384
On the business sides of things, dealing with unions makes things a lot more cumbersome. A long time ago I was the office manager for a small construction company that had a mix of union and non-union employees. Everything I had to do on the employee side -- payroll, benefits management, etc. -- was twice as much work to handle for the union guys. In the few years that I was there, there were a couple incidents where an underperforming employee got their union involved if we tried to take disciplinary or other measures to address their poor performance.

I'm not anti-union, but it was a frustrating and eye-opening experience.
 

ianpm31

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,094
Only to not realize many of the benefits and rules we have in place were bc of unions.
 
Oct 29, 2017
1,841
Minnesota
People I work with think union workers are lazy and *gasp* only want to work 40 hours a week or less!

It's bootsraps mentality combined with "well I have to work over time so everyone should have to"
 
Oct 27, 2017
997
UK
Because of its association with left ideology (socialism, communism) and the notion that the US prefers individual competition over collective union. On a personal level, some people may not like the idea that their work rights and salary are determined by a collective group. They would prefer to have full control of what company rights/benefits and money they can achieve on their own so joining a union would not be in their favour especially if they are confident in knowing that they can achieve much better alone.
 

Dennis8K

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,097
Decades of propaganda combined with the fact that some American unions were corrupted by organized crime.
 

AliasGreed

Member
Oct 31, 2017
152
It depends, I am anti-union for life experiences. I work at an Engineering firm and the Maintenance employees are Union. I won't go into a details but If had such a bad experience with the Maintenance employees who hide behind the Union for everything and no work ever gets done.

To make a long story short Engineers are not allowed to touch tools and fix and do stuff ourselves because we "steal" work from Union employees. Everyday it's a struggle when I want to do work and get stuff done and I can't find a union employee to help me.
 

Lentic

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,613
Same reason why people are against M4A and other “socialist” ideas. Propaganda and bias.

Call me a conspiracy theorist 🙄
 

Regulus Tera

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,385
American corporate and political culture has been anti-union since the 1950s, if not earlier. You can blame the Cold War for that.
 

RDreamer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,685
Propaganda.

Plus as with most things the squeaky wheel gets more notice. It’s easier for people to get angry at one poor employee the union protects than to be thankful for all the benefits they fought for and are kind of hidden and taken for granted.
 

APOEERA

Member
Oct 26, 2017
636
A lot of it is schooling and education; I was hearing that a lot from history teachers growing up, as if an union was an erosion for society.

In high school, I was part of the union at my job. Being a teenager, it didn't bother me as much.

When I worked at one employer that was doing shady shit to employees, they actually had everyone meet with someone from HR who showed us an union pamphlet, asked us if we spoke to anyone about an union, told us what an union does to our pay (in their words), and to report to her anyone asking about an union; also we weren't to discuss meeting with her about this.

Thankfully, I'm no longer there and the employer has since closed. But the anti union sentiment is to cover up misbehavior from management.
 

skeptem

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,167
I know union people who vote Republican and it kills me. Without the union they wouldn't be making anywhere near the amount they make or have the benefits they have.

You can complain about seniority practices with union but it's important to remember the personal protections they guarantee to individuals.
 

RadzPrower

Member
Jan 19, 2018
663
Unions as a concept are not the issue.

The bigger issue is how individual unions behave as well as the idea of larger unions versus specialized smaller unions. I don't like the idea of unions for entire industries because they can be largely unaware of issues affecting people at a given company or area. The idea of a single company unionizing and therefore having closer aligned goals is much preferable IMO.

I have also seen first-hand how unions can reduce productivity and waste resources. It can be incredibly hard to fire a union worker short of explicit malicious behavior and almost never for performance related issues. It also creates an environment that makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to effect changes in workflows or improvements to underlying systems due to things like mandatory trainings for so much as an additional checkbox in a form or computer software.

Just as is the case in many issues in the world, it's not quite as black and white as people would like to believe and many times the idea is excellent but execution can never live up to that idea in practice. As long as there are bad actors in the world, no idealized system will ever live up to the expectations placed upon it.
 
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derder

Member
Nov 1, 2017
324
I'm not sure where any of the rhetoric comes from on either side. Its gotta be pre OSHA.

I'm likely pro-unionization because I've never worked in an industry that needed one and so my opinions are purely academic and naive.

If you talk to ex-plant managers like my wife, they'll tell you how hard it is to fire people who sleep in closets on the clock. Or do stupid shit which endangers the life of everyone in the plant. Her opinion is obviously biased by her real-world, negative experiences.

I think that we have industries in dire need of collective bargaining (retail, teaching) and those that may do more harm than good at different stages of their implementation (police union and the MTA).
 

Euphoria

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,168
People have this belief that union workers are lazy. I know it’s not true but I do know people personally who would be let go if they worked at my job but because they work a union job they get so much leeway.
 
Oct 27, 2017
997
UK
If you talk to ex-plant managers like my wife, they'll tell you how hard it is to fire people who sleep in closets on the clock. Her opinion is obviously biased by her real-world, negative experiences.
This seems to be quite a common negative that's being raised. It is a real shame that the previous generation took the absolute piss out of something so valuable. Instead of working efficiently without fear of job security in an environment where their voice is heard, they just take the utter piss. I mean, its because of this kind of behaviour that people are sceptical of unions instead of actually realising why unions were needed in the first place.
 

Zefah

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,194
This seems to be quite a common negative that's being raised. It is a real shame that the previous generation took the absolute piss out of something so valuable. Instead of working efficiently without fear of job security in an environment where their voice is heard, they just take the utter piss. I mean, its because of this kind of behaviour that people are sceptical of unions instead of actually realising why unions were needed in the first place.
I can only speak from personal experience, but I'd wager more than half of the people I've met in life are interested in only doing the absolute bare minimum required to get by, whether it's in school or at work or otherwise. A lot of times, a union job allows that "bare minimum" to be dramatically lower than a non-union job and that can really screw over co-workers who are interested in putting in more effort for whatever reason.

It does suck, because unions as a concept are great. Banding together to with fellow workers to have more power in negotiations with employers is a sound concept. It just turns into a mess in practice in many cases.