Would the Prisoner's Guard Themselves?

Prisoner Guard TowerWhen referring to illogical situations, it has often been said that the prisoners are running the prisons, the inmates are running the asylums, the foxes are guarding the hen houses.

Such a situation was successfully avoided at a prison in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

The Teamsters Union, ever on the look out for possible new members, had attempted to organize the Chester County Prison correction officers. The officers, ever vigilant of their responsibilities, voted 155 to 35 against forming the Chester County Corrections Officers Independent Union, which – had it succeeded – would have been allied with the Teamsters.

One can only imagine what would have occurred in the prison, if –at some future time – unionized corrections officers would have be unable to reach an agreement with the warden and the county. Would the officers have felt obliged to go out on strike? Would certain prisoners be given the responsibility of guarding their fellow prisoners?

The fact that the corrections officers believe that they can negotiate on their own, without the normal threats that unions often bring to the bargaining table, says much about their apprehension of realism and their sense of responsibility. They are to be commended for putting professional responsibilities ahead of personal interests.

The adversarial relationships that so often characterize the bargaining between management and workers have proven to be counterproductive and should be tossed onto the ash heap of labor relations history. It has proven utterly injurious to the economic health of the country.

This article was originally published here.

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