Do they serve a useful purpose? I think many times they do. Do they often go overboard? I think many times they do. But! What I think it does is encourage mediocrity. That's an awful thing to encourage! Just do your job, put in your time, and you'll get your raise. Put in any extra? You're liable to actually make enemies of your co-workers. Is that not true? It certainly was when I belonged to the IBEW for a short time in Chicago. That from personal experience. Then they've got this gol-darned work rules. Maybe they all don't have them, but my union did.
I was an Information Operator for about 8 months. I was eager to be promoted. Best damned operator they had, if I don't say so myself. Personnel called me into the office and told me that I was destined for the business office...but I had to be with the company for two years before I could be promoted...union rules. I quit.
Making enemies of co-workers is what would happen to my mom when she worked on piece work for Sunbeam Corporation. They had this gimmick that you had a quota -- let's say 100 pieces an hour -- and for that you made a "base rate." You could make 150 pieces an hour and get paid base rate times 1.5. If you made more than 150 pieces, even though my mom found it easy to do, co-workers shunned her for getting the job re-rated. What??? Why was the job rated at all, you ask. Union rules.
Chicago lost a significant % of its trade shows/exhibitors several years ago because..why? Ridiculous union rules. Have a display that needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet? You can't plug it in -- You need two electricians, minimum charge $200. That's just one ridiculous example. Here are some concessions recently agreed to by the unions involved because so many of their workers were layed off:
When you read posters' harranging about unions, ridiculous examples like this are the reason. IMO, unions have gone overboard. And management's let them. When unions go overboard, jobs are lost. Pure and simple."Work begun from 6 to 8 a.m. will be billed as straight time (not time-and-a-half or double time as previously) across all union jurisdictions.
" Exhibitors of all sizes will be allowed to hang signs and plug in equipment without hiring union labor.
" Union crew sizes will be determined on a job-by-job basis, eliminating the required minimum of three union workers.