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September 28, 2004

How Unions Help Nonunion Workers

Occasionally you'll hear someone say that unions don't do anything-- they make just as much as a union worker and they don't have to pay dues.

But they often owe that paycheck to the unions, as this story on the state of unionizing hotels in Washington, D.C. illustrates. Unions haven't been very successful in organizing new hotels in the district, largely because the hotels match the union wage scale:

I think that as hoteliers, we try very, very hard to ensure that we are competitive, offering competitive salaries and benefits to our nonunion employees to discourage them from feeling they have to organize . . . ," said Mike DeFrino, general manager at the Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group Inc.'s Hotel Monaco. "The idea of a happy workforce is not just because happy employees make happy guests, but also because it's an important element if they're approached to consider organization."
Only 13% of the US workforce is unionized today, but a far greater number of workers benefit from the wage standards set by those unionized workplaces and by the threat that a union organizer might show up at their workplace.

Non-union workers are often freeloaders, not paying their share of the strike funds and organizing war chests that preserve the wage standards which they enjoy. They may think they owe their paycheck to the kindness of their employer but they really owe it to the union organizer who the employer worries might show up if wages are cut too much.

Posted by Nathan at September 28, 2004 12:14 AM