Well, the way I see it, there are legit. arguments for and against unions. I have heard many and will summarize briefly here before giving my opinion.
The arguments against unions seem to focus around pay and work ethic. Naysayers suggest that unionized workers make more money to do the same jobs private or non-union employees make, which is often true. Just consider the auto industry and the GM plants in Oshawa, eh. People who don't want unions suggest that these people don't deserve this extra pay. They also say that unionized workers have too much job security. They are of the belief that unionized workers know they can sit around and be lazy and not work hard because they have the union to protect them and there are very strict procedures that must be followed to discipline/fire someone. These naysayers would rather that these people were forced to "work as hard as them" and want workers to be able to be fired easier if they screw up and/or sleep with the boss's daughter.
On the other hand, the arguments in favor of unions are more about equity and worker rights. People who support unions believe that unions help workers fight for equal treatment and equal pay. They say that unions prevent big companies or organizations from taking advantage of workers or enforcing illegal or extreme work practices. After all, who wants Darth Vader firing them for breaking a coffee mug or tasting the wrath of Palpatine's lightning fingers for accidentally putting 2 left shoes in the same box, Unions prevent workers from being fired without due process and just cause, claim pro-union hippies, and they fight for fair wages and reasonable pay increases over time. In fact, they say, that unions help bring in minimum wages and health and safety standards into all work places in a city, province or country. It's hard to argue that minimum wage laws have benefited from union campaigns and worker actions.
Ok, so, which side am I on? I, in fact, am pro union. Call me a pinko-commie Liberal and all the rest, but I do believe that, in this day of big business and small government and profit at all costs, unions still have a vital role to play. We need groups fighting for livable wages and organizations fighting to keep work weeks under 60 hours. We need organizations making sure that workers are given good working conditions because happy workers = loyal, productive workers. And unions also make sure that all senior employees aren't fired because they are more expensive to keep than young, inexperienced workers or that workers aren't fired on a whim or in the heat of a moment. We don't want to turn into Mexico or China, where workers are often jailed for forming unions or fighting for better wages and shorter work weeks. We don't want to race to the bottom in terms of salary. All those people who say "I don't get that high a salary and that many holidays, so why should those union guys?" should be fighting for better conditions at their workplace, not work to bring everyone else down to them. Let's work to improve everyone's life instead of try to pull everyone down into the mud. Frankly, I don't want to see salaries decrease and minimum wages disappear like is happening in some places...ahem...America.
And don't think that I am delusional and think unions are perfect. I agree that sometimes bad employees are protected and shouldn't be. I also agree that unionized employees make better wages than non-union counterparts, but like I said, I think the non-unioners should work to bring their salaries up. But, these days, we need unions to make life better for employees worldwide. Are you listening China?
Anyway, that is my opinion. What's yours?