union-workers-graphicFred Wilson has a few thoughts on Labor (on Labor Day). Go read it, including the comments. I’m constantly blown away with the quality of the discussion on his blog, AVC. It’s my belief many of the smartest people online are there, day in, day out — which, of course, is the reason the discussion is so vibrant and thorough.

The post & comments got me thinking about organized labor and those earning low wages — which happens to be the VAST majority of the world. I come across people in life all the time, who simply don’t want to put in the work to succeed. The problem with (some) labor unions, from my perspective, is it becomes too easy for members to not work hard and instead ride the protection the union offers. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe labor unions should exist, just that they come with substantial downsides.

I’ve screwed on bottle tops on an assembly line for 10 hours a day for $10 an hour. It was, bare none, the worst job I’ve ever had. I’ve unloaded trucks at a warehouse in the middle of the night for $8 an hour. I know many people in world work hard, long hours, and don’t get paid near what technology workers do for working part time from a beach. The combination of working some really shitty jobs, along with traveling extensively to very impoverished areas, have made me realize, without a doubt, I live a privileged life. If you’re reading this at all — you do, too.

Ensuring everyone has opportunity to advance and earn a decent wage is vital. But success is earned. Not given. You’ve got to put in the work. Which is something many of us forget, or simply don’t understand.

Happy labor day.

[Photo via http://www.occupy.com/]