Last week I had a chance to meet with various groups interested in the welfare of Volusia County. Like me, they want lower taxes, more efficient government, and want to know they are truly being represented.
If you’re reading this, you might have been in one of these groups. If not, you need to know there are a lot of other people just like you who are concerned their voice is not heard in County government.
In one conversation, someone asked me about unions. Let me tell you a story from one of the volunteers who is helping me, Mark by name. He had been in a union for over 15 years.
Now this guy is ultra conservative, one of those ‘sometimes I don’t trust Republicans because they are too liberal…’ guys. He’d done 23+ years in the military. Get the picture? So I was surprised to hear he had been in a union.
He told me a simple phrase that summed up the whole situation clearly.
“Jeff”, he confided, “an organization earns the union they have.”
He had my interest, but I needed more.
“Organizations unionize because the leadership didn’t take care of the employees. A thriving company without a union is caused by caring management. Just look at Costco. They don’t have a union and probably never will until their management and leadership stops caring. Their pay is high, very low turnover, and they are highly profitable.
“Those organizations with a tremendously strong union are because the employees feel it’s the only way to be heard.”
“Can you give me an example from your own life?” I puzzled.
“Easily. In the company I worked for, when I first arrived, the union was very weak. Why? Because the company really treated us pretty well. It wasn’t perfect, but there was a mutual understanding between labor and management. We both worked for the good of the company. We respected one another. We knew management cared. Were there issues? Sure, but nothing significant.
“But when that leadership left, a bean counter group came in. It started when they tried to save money by sacrificing safety. They thought they could push everyone harder, too, no matter the risks. Production at all costs. The machines needed maintenance- and they would make us work them anyway. Common sense no longer ruled- it was all about money.
“They hated the union, mistrusted the employees and let it show. How? They tried to fire those they didn’t like. Without any basis. Kind of like getting convicted without a trial. I have no problems firing malingerers- but you have to have a fair process. They would have the same infraction with two different employees and decide completely different punishments- one would get fired, another a warning. Why? One was a friend of someone in management and the other wasn’t…
“Well, the union became very strong because of that. I never thought I would ever see the need for a union, but I saw it there!”
Mark opened my eyes.
That explained a lot to me. Any organization- labor or management, or government- can abuse their power and authority. We need to ensure we honor those who work for Volusia County. If we don’t like what’s going on, it may be because elected leaders violated the trust.
I hope you will trust me with your vote to represent you and ensure the power of government is not abused. With citizens, vendors, and employees.
My position: We need to ensure Volusia County leadership doesn’t abuse their power with those they represent, whether union employee, non-union employee, management, vendor or citizen. When government doesn’t honor and respect those they represent, it’s time for change!
If you agree, please let me know by responding with your thoughts.