So many people who've never had a union go into bat for them, you have no idea how valuable they can be. Most of you will also be shocked to learn that the vast majority of unions work with the employer to get a fair deal for both sides. But of course you never hear of that work, as governments and the media would far prefer to union bash, it discourages union membership and helps big business drive people to individual contracts. That's fine if you work in a high skill job, not so great if you work on a production line, or a warehouse, or baggage handling where it's easy to find a replacement if you don't sign that contract. The joy of that new contract that gives you a 1.75% pay rise for the next 3 years if they are lucky, sounds great, till you realise that you're now expected to work a rotating shift, ie, day shift this week, night shift next week, split shifts, penalty rates are reduced, or eliminated altogether, sick leave gets reduced and leave loading is abolished. Suddenly that new contract has destroyed your family life, your health declines as you can't sleep properly, oh and you suddenly realise that your weekly pay has actually gone down 10%, though your base wage went up 1.75%. This happens everyday and will continue to happen as big business know that low to mid skill workers are individually not important, who leaves today will be replaced tomorrow, with barely a hiccup. However, if there are 100 working together on the same negotiated contract, suddenly they can negotiate in strength, they may give up a little bit and get a fair return.
So for all you obviously highly skilled and sought after employee's who see no value in unions, just think if you were one of the little guys on the factory, warehouse, shop floor, or throwing bags around on the apron, getting paid an award wage and the only way those jobs become worthwhile, is by putting in some o/t, or work the night shifts and weekends for the penalty rates, but they are the things that get taken away from you, see how you feel, especially when that new contract is put in front of you and those penalty rates are whittled away a bit more. Do you sign it because it's a job and some pay is better than the dole for 6 months, or do you not and find out that you've been replaced by a new guy on even less than what you were making ?
Sure unions can do some dumb things, but in the overall scheme of things, they do a pretty good job where they are involved.