From the desk of Stephen Cabot:Among the many parks in the state of Washington, there are two handsome parks, Dawson and Gonyea that local residents want to keep clean and useful. Through a 16-year-old program called “Adopt-a-Park,” volunteers have stepped forward to keep the grass cut and raked, to pick up garbage and even to clean toilets. Who would complain against such civic minded virtues? The Teamsters! Apparently Teamsters Local Union 117 filed a complaint with the state demanding that the county not permit volunteers to maintain the two parks. Of course, volunteers do not pay union dues, so their very presence deprives the union of funds. And as everyone knows, unions are profitable, thriving businesses. Curtail their funding and they howl about unfair practices. But if financially strapped communities save money and maintain local parks by utilizing the services of civic-minded volunteers, well, that’s unfair to the unions. After all, volunteers don’t pay dues, do not require collective bargaining, and will not go out on strike demanding raises that the community cannot afford. In other words, volunteers at the two parks have made the Teamsters superfluous, and no union wants to be thought of as powerless. This is just another example of unions imposing roadblocks that hurt communities. And when such roadblocks are imposed against local, regional, and national businesses, the unions wind up hurting the economy, hurting workers, and hurting Corporate America.

expert labor relations advice