Few things in life are black and white. That’s why we have to learn to Grapple with the Gray.
Here is our ethics challenge:
There was a time when labor unions were desperately needed to protect workers from despotic bosses, inadequate pay, and odious work conditions. Unions provided a vital service protecting members from unreasonable demands, health hazards, and retaliatory firing, as well as negotiating higher salaries to keep up with the marketplace and inflation.
Over time, however, unions became increasingly political. They often spent huge amounts of dues-revenue to support candidates and policies that many of their members disagreed with and engaged in political activism contrary to values of many workers. Whereas workers once had no recourse against unfair treatment by employers, now they had no recourse against the way union leadership spent their money.
Recent legislation has made it possible for at least some employees to opt out of union membership and not pay union dues. On the one hand, workers should not be forced to pay into an organization that supports policies they disagree with. On the other hand, if the union negotiates higher wages, it doesn’t seem fair that employees who are not paying-members should share benefits with those who are.
How do we balance respecting the values of individual employees who disagree with union activism against the equity of all employees contributing in proportion to the benefits they receive?
Meet this week’s panelists:
Jennifer H. Elder, is a CPA and Certified Speaking Professional who helps leaders future-proof their businesses by making smart decisions and staying ethical.
Catherine Fitzgerald is owner of Catapult Leadership Group, working with organizational leaders as they navigate the choppy waters of aligning people, performance, and profits.
S. Scott Mason, aka the Myth Slayer, is a Transformational Coach for Executives, Entrepreneurs & Other Leaders, podcast host, and keynote speaker.