Union Advice

Thus in 2009 10.1% of private union jobs were eliminated, which was more than twice the 4.4% rate of overall private job losses. On the other hand, government unions offer what is close to lifetime job security and benefits, subject only to gross dereliction of duty. Once a city or state’s workers are organized by a union, the jobs almost never go away.

via The Public-Union Ascendancy – WSJ.com.

That really makes you want to rush out and join a union … if it’s in the public sector. Big economic and political forces are in play here. You and I can’t do anything about them. But we can try to steer our lives so that we’re not standing in the debris field. Belonging to a private sector union seems like a poor strategy unless you expect to die soon. Belonging to a public sector union sounds pretty good – until you think about how this must inevitably play out.

The cost of public sector unions are largely back-loaded: nice pensions. But what happens when the governmental units can’t meet their pension obligations? The answer seems clear: governments will issue IOUs or simply default. Think it can’t happen? Then you need to get out more. So if you want a nice safe government job, you must weigh that against a possible future where, in your declining years, you will be the lucky recipient of worthless government paper or nothing at all. It’s happened before and it will happen again.

The bottom line is this: no one is certain to take care of you. Not your union, not your pension plan, and not your government. All of these institutions can give you a false sense of security. You need to plan and act independently. It’s never too late to wise up.

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