What’s the Problem with Unions?

unions table

Unions. We hear about them all the time and their supposed merits from the media, but are they really beneficial to the workers?

For the April Activism event at St. John’s University our chapter decided to create a mock-union hot dog stand. Armed with 60 hot dogs and an air horn, we set up our “union.” We had an assembly line of four members, one who took out a hot dog, one who put the hot dog in the bun, one who put on ketchup, and one who put on mustard. Every so often we’d use our air horn and call out “UNION BREAK”, holding up the line of students waiting for their hot dogs.

We started out offering the hot dogs for free for the first five customers, then someone would call a wage protest and the price was hiked to $0.25, then three more times to $0.50, $0.75, and finally $1.00. The students towards the back of the line got noticeably annoyed at the continued unions breaks and wage hikes that caused prices to rise.

We handed out a flyer with every hot dog explaining the differences between public and private unions and the inefficiencies of public unions and how they harm our economy and job opportunity.

In the end we had about twenty hot dogs left over. Our university has a program called the Midnight Run where students from campus ministry bring the homeless of Manhattan a bag with sandwiches, snacks, and drinks; we ended up donating the extra hot dogs to the Midnight Run — another success of voluntary service and choosing charity! 

One of the main problems we ran into with this activism event was, like with our other events, a lack of attendants. We had many customers at first but it quickly tapered off. The strong winds of the day were also an issue as they kept on blowing over our banner and scattering our flyers. Every activism event teaches us more about running events and our chapter is excited for the opportunities that the new fall semester will bring with a semester of experience behind our belts. 

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