The Washington Post

Why C-suites reject unions


Regarding Adam Lashinsky’s Sept. 5 op-ed, “Why are unions such a nonstarter in the C-suite?”:

Unions are a nonstarter in the corporate world because unions raise corporate costs. Fair wages and decent benefits cost a lot of money. That’s why management takes a very aggressive anti-union stance.

Businesses deploy an extensive playbook to dissuade employees from joining a union. If management’s anti-union efforts get them in trouble with the National Labor Relations Board, no big deal. Most NLRB rulings suffer lengthy appeals, and the penalties are not severe enough. Meanwhile, the union effort dissipates. If it doesn’t, management just shuts the store, the warehouse, the coffee shop. No union one way or another.

Union efforts to amend the law buckle under the weight of opposition from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others. The last time a major change in labor law almost passed, in 1978, planeloads of executives lined up to lobby senators against changing the law.

Mr. Lashinsky was correct on one point: Unions cannot save jobs in decaying industries. No one can. But to say endemic corruption is a reason unions aren’t organizing more workers is incorrect. Unions are less corrupt than other institutio­ns. Mr. Lashinsky’s balanced-sounding opinion betrayed his lack of understand­ing of unions.

James Allmending­er, Portsmouth, N.H.

The writer is a retired union lawyer.

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