That’s a false dichotomy. It’s not a choice between safety or no labor union. Labor unions are not the only reason employers work to improve safety in the workplace. If unions were 100% responsible for workplace safety, then why aren’t workers dying off in droves in the Right to Work states
Spare me the “outhouse litigation.” It does not take a wizard to figure out a business that has to negotiate with its labor force like any of its other “suppliers” will be more circumspect in its treatment of that supplier.
“Its not a choice between safety or no labor union. Labor unions are not the only reason employers work to improve safety in the workplace. If unions were 100% responsible for workplace safety, then why arent workers dying off in droves in the Right to Work states.”
And, that is only one aspect of the influences on safety in the workplace. Without a union, the company faces the threat of lawsuits if safety is not up to regulation. Note that I don’t use the term “management”, the term often used as the opponent to the direct laborers—management works for the company which means the owners, workers and other stakeholders. Union officials (the “management” of the union organization) often take interest in safety conditions and I had union officials of a large auto company at a safety talk I gave some time ago. Of course, they are not the only people interested in safety, the company also cares including, especially, the worker him or herself. The worker is also the most able to influence safety being closest to the risks.
A union that fights against the removal of unsafe workers is extending the threat to that worker and coworkers. A union that drives production out of the US likely will drive the work to a facility where employees and facilities are associated with less stringent safety regulations and interests. The result is an increase in injuries but not here in the US where the workers must look for other jobs—sometimes less safe jobs or multiple jobs where the added fatigue increases safety risks. If the company must choose union approved employees or must reduce safety-related testing or screening of workers, then safety may be weakened and this shows up in data by the way. Then, there is the threat of harm from other workers or union personnel to keep workers in line or force union election (as told me by a former union organizer). There are plusses and minuses to unionization in the area of safety.
Companies face incentives to produce and to compete in a global economy where wages are one factor affecting competitive success and speed to produce is another factor. Speedy work is generally not the safest work and neither is lowest cost production. State OSHA’s have few inspectors and many places to inspect. The decades since OSHA’s founding about 1970 have witnessed a general belief that inspections are inadequate to the challenge of supporting safe workplace regulations.
I am not bashing unions or companies, only pointing out that the issue is more complex than an incident in a video and such pleas do not support good safety.