All the civil unrest because of the George Floyd murder has brought serious attention once again to police departments around the country. Numerous articles are floating around about the possible root causes for these types of incidents. One that stuck out the most for me is the police unions complicity in causing harm to the reputation of police officers. Simply stated, they don’t allow the bad ones to be eliminated.
I am totally committed to having individual workers be able to collectively bargain with their employers. Logically, unions are the way to do that. Maybe in the beginning unions negotiated with the common good in mind but that seems to have dissipated in the last 50 years or more. The realization that companies and those they employ need each other is now nonexistent. As with so many other things in life it is now almost entirely an “Us vs Them” mentality. That is especially true, it seems for police unions. I guess it is just easier for unions today not to have to draw a moral line in the sand or to figure out their place in the overall scheme of things. The current view is that every police officer, no matter how fit for duty they are, must be protected from the bureaucracy.
You could say the same thing, at least to a degree, for teacher unions. They just don’t seem to have much consideration for the students that their members teach. It is about protecting teacher and getting them the most money and working the least hours they can get.
Finally, getting to the title of this post. In the early 1980s corporations shifted from the three-legged-stool of equally valuing customers-employees-stockholders to one where only the stockholders mattered. The employee leg was deemed a liability that stands in the way of maximizing profits. The customer leg was changed to “how to give customers the cheapest goods but still keep them coming”.
Maybe it is time for a paradigm shift in the general philosophy of union representation as well as corporations reestablishing the three-legged-stool? On a larger scale, we just have to somehow trade in “Us vs Them” for “What is the overall good”. Like everything else in life that has to begin at the personal level. I guess, in the end, it all gets back to our worldviews doesn’t it?