Since I grew up as an Army Brat, I did not have any experience with labor unions until I left the US Marine Corp in 1976. That was when I was hired by General Motors' Packard Electric Division in Warren, Ohio. For some reason, my status as a worker was not as a union member nor as management. I was in some kind of nether world. So, I spent the next 5 years studying the struggle between the union (over the years, I have forgotten the name) and management. It quickly became very apparent the struggle was about the ownership of the workers. From my discussions with various managers, I grew aware of the concept that since management owned the buildings, the equipment, the tools, and the products, it lead management to believe they owned the people, too. Also, through conversations with various levels of the union leadership, they were just as determined not to be considered as property of management.
This attitude was foreign to me even after all the years I spent in the military or living with it. When you sign a contract of enlistment or accept a commission as an officer, the agreement is with the United States of America and the Constitution. Your commanding officer all the way to the President as Commander in Chief does not hold your contract, the American people hold your contract. While you are in the military, the rules and regulations of your conduct and actions are established under the UCMJ (Unified Code of Military Justice). The UCMJ is written by the military and submitted to Congress for debate and approval. The President signs it into law and as Commander in Chief, the President is the primary executor of the law.
Even in the military, the attitude of ownership is not accepted. Mistreatment of junior personnel is punishable offenses. While mild mistreatment of personnel prior to and during World War Two was accepted, too harsh of mistreatment could be punished.
After watching and studying this struggle in General Motors, I began to study the struggle between management and unions in other industries and in other parts of the US. I found that many corporations had good relationships with their employees even to the extent of welcoming and working with unions. But too many corporate managements had the same attitude as the old General Motors, they owned their employees just because they paid them wages. And this situation continues to this day.
One last item to remember about military people and their families, they are entitled to the right of voting for their Commander in Chief and the Congress. If the military loses trust in the President and/or Congress, they can vote in a block against them. My personal belief is that is what happened in 2006 for Congress and 2008 for President.
I also wonder what would be the relationship between Corporations and Unions if the same model was used to regulate them as the military has. Not every relationship is the same, but lets look at one of them.
For instance, the military get to vote in elections. What if the members of the union could vote along with the shareholders for the members of the Board of Directors of the Corporation. They would have a say in who is on the Board and therefore they would have a say in who is Chairperson of the Board and who is the CEO. They would also have a say in who is a member of the C-Suite. Would this simple act destroy the concept that employees are property of the Corporation? Would it change the wage and compensation structure including the CEO and the C-Suite. Would there be a change in equality of pay between management and between genders? Would there be a major change in incentive to join a union?
I have heard this idea has been tried before, but I don't know what happened afterward. If anyone has factual evidence, please comment on it.
I would like to comment further, but I am not an expert in labor relations or labor law. I am just a well studied student in power relations between individual persons and groups of people. I think it will serve me well when I go to Congress as the Representative from District 6 of Texas. My web site is Cozad for Congress where there is an opportunity to donate to my campaign.