Kuidas ametiühingud endale ise hauda kaevavad
Inimesed saavad vahel ikka selliste rumalustega hakkama, et vaata ja imesta suu ammuli. Prantslased ei ole mingi erand. Värkseim näide pärineb alles eilsest, kui Prantsusmaa ülemkohus keelas Amazonil raamatute tasuta Prantsusmaale toimetamise:
Using “loss-leaders,” or selling products below cost to attract customers, is illegal. Other restrictions apply to books retailers must not offer discounts of more than 5 percent on the publisher’s recommended price. Many independent booksellers choose to offer this discount in the form of a loyalty bonus based on previous purchases. Larger booksellers simply slash the sticker price of books.
But the free delivery offered by Amazon exceeded the legal limit in the case of cheaper books, the union charged.
Ja see kallid sõbrad, on hea näide sellest, miks ametiühingute tegevuses suhtes tuleb säilitada teatud skeptilisust. Üsna lihtsalt võib enda õiguste eest seismine taanduda kõige lihtlabasemaks renditaotluseks, kus mingi väikese kliki huvidest lähtuvalt rakendatakse piiranguid, mis pole ühegi tarbija – eriti veel tagasihoidliku sissetulekuga tarbija – huvides.
Richard Posner ja Garry Becker kirjutasid samuti mõned kuud tagasi ametiühingutest ja nende allakäigust USA’s. Beckeri postitusest:
Unions could have an important place in a competitive market economy, but their organization would look different than that of present day industrial and craft unions. Men and women working for large, impersonal corporations may prefer to bargain over wages, work rules, and health and retirement benefits collectively through company unions rather than individually. In particular, workers who have spent many years with the same company may find a union helpful in protecting against management that tries to take advantage of the difficulties older workers face finding good jobs. Other workers in the same industry may elect to not have a union and prefer to bargain individually for wages and benefits. Companies with unions of their employees would compete for profits and employees against companies with other unions, and also against non-unionized companies. This type of union structure is called “competitive unionism”.
Actual unions in most countries, however, are not company unions, but organize workers in different companies, often in the same industry, into one union, as with the UAW, or the United Steelworkers of America. By organizing across companies in the same industry, unions hope to exercise greater economic power since they can bargain for similar benefits in competing companies, and can call industry-wide work stoppages. These unions, in effect, try to get monopoly power in labor markets that enable them to boost their wages and other benefits above competitive levels. The Clayton Act of 1914 generally exempted trade union negotiations from anti-trust laws, which enable unions to openly seek what amounts to monopoly gains.
Ühtlasi tuleb mulle meelde üks uurimus (PDF), kust selgus, et Prantsusmaa ametiühingute tegevus sunnib osasid ettevõtteid tootmist viima Prantsusmaalt välja ning seeläbi kaovad nii töökohad kui palgad:
To see how unions potentially entered the process, I re- examine my results when information on firm-level negotiations between firms and unions is added. As expected, in firms with strong unions (those able to impose bargaining on both employment and wages) workers were able to capture a large share of the declining quasi-rent (about 50%). However, the presence of strong unions has apparently led these, mostly large, firms to increase outsourcing with an associated decline in employment. As a result, unions’ fight for workers’ wages and employment appears to have backfired.
Üks vägagi valgustav artikkel (õigemini katkend pikemast teosest) ilmus New York Times’is 2006. aasta märtsis. Lugu on lennukimehhaanikute saatusest – sellest kuidas lennutööstus areneb, millised võimalused jättis see ametiühingule ja kuidas enda nõudmistega lasti sisuliselt terve firma üks kasumlikumaid ettevõtmisi põhja. Tulemusega ei olnud rahul aga keegi:
As the mechanics had intended, turnaround time inched up, soon reaching 15 days and eventually more than 20 days for a 737. America West stopped sending planes to Indianapolis, as the mechanics had hoped. To regain the lost business, they expected United to restore some of the lost perquisites and thus win back the mechanics’ cooperation. Jobs would be preserved, and on the mechanics’ terms. That did not happen, and as the slowdown dragged on, work backed up on United’s own airliners. For the first time, planes were parked on the tarmac outside the center, out of service — and not generating revenue — while awaiting overhaul.
Then, in July 2000, the mechanics slowed work even more by voting to withhold overtime, to protest what the militants viewed as management’s recalcitrance in negotiating a new contract to replace one that had just expired. Mr. Nunnally, as grievance chairman, had spoken against withholding overtime, and worked it himself, in defiance of his militant members, but his point of view did not prevail.
Soon after, the outsourcing began. United diverted work from Indianapolis to private contractors in Alabama and North Carolina, contractors who employed nonunion mechanics — in most cases, at lower wages and with fewer benefits. “The outsourcing was a business decision,” Mr. Mohr said. “The cycle time had gotten to the point that if we did not outsource, we would have aircraft continuously parked, waiting for maintenance.”
When United and the union finally signed a new contract in March 2002 — 20 months after the old one expired — and the mechanics in Lodge 2294 lifted their ban on overtime, United continued to outsource maintenance, gradually shrinking the operation in Indianapolis. Under the new agreement, the mechanics’ combined wages and benefits rose to more than $60 an hour, an increase of roughly $20. While that was the first increase in five years, the new total was double the labor cost of nonunion contractors. It was too big a spread for the mechanics in Indianapolis to overcome — unless they could return to the record turnarounds achieved in the late 1990’s. But the old efficiency did not reappear.
Ametiühingute liikmed peavad enda sõjakuses arvestama, et nad võivad saagida oksa ja millel nad istuvad ja pärast tagantjärgi midagi nõuda oleks lihtsalt…kentsakas.
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