In 2014, there are still people who believe that unions are vital for “the workers”. I would agree if they were only voluntary associations where people had the choice to either pay they dues or pay only the fraction of the dues used to actually bargain a contract.

But in still too many jurisdiction north of Mexico, unionization means coercion. Where right-to-work legislations don’t exist, workers have to pay union dues, even when they are used for political campaining. And union are not shy to do it; in fact, they are by large the biggest contributions to political parties (mostly the Democrats), making more than 60 percent of the top-20 donors of the past 25 years.  Don’t be fooled by left-wing statists’ claims about the Koch brothers on the subject. Yes, both brothers spend more than most union employees combined. However, it is their money; union campaining is done with forcibly taken money.

Also, union contracts try to micromanage their members’ time, basically treating them like children, to quote a recent Reason article. The comparison is harsh but true, especially in the public sector. Think about it: what other professions would state the exact amount of time a worker would spend working? Are there many jobs out there where wages are determined stricly according to seniority and schooling and not competence?

Such minute details to a worker’s schedule and working conditions simply kill innovation. How are you supposed to find new and better ways to work if your time is so limited? Why would you invest efforts in improving your ways when in the end, you won’t get higher wages or other monetary compensations? It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that public sector productivity (which is highly unionzed) lags behind private sector productivity.

Furthermore, killing innovation is actually encouraged by unions. My brother told me how senior unionized employees despised his “zeal” in the grocery store he was working. He was doing “others'” jobs, which could have out him into trouble. He therefore toed the line and went about what he was supposed to do. Who knows, maybe his work might have save the grocery store money…

Finally, unionization means higher unemployment. Since union wages are higher than what markets would pay, fewer people are hired. In fact, that’s exactly the goal since unions used to be quite hostile toward immigrants who were usually less productive. By encouraging the “defense” of the border, they were keeping “illegal” immigrants from “stealing” union jobs. They were huge supporters of limiting Chinese immigration in the 19th century.

In short, unions as they are right now – pay your dues or you can’t work – are highly detrimental to workers. This coercion profits no ones but the heads of the unions, who can use the funds according to their whims. If they are convinced that they are so helpful to workers, then I dare then to give workers the “right to work”. If they are so useful, then people will wilfully join unions, as seem to be the case in many right-to-work states.