Years ago, I worked with a guy who explained that our employer had wanted to fire him. Did in fact fire him. It was only through a misstep in the procedures that the employer and the union had in the bargaining agreement that he was still on the job.
So this is an example of a union protecting someone that should have gotten fired, but did not. However, that is the only example I’ve seen. At one time I was even a union steward. And in that time, I did not see the union keep someone from getting fired. The bargaining agreements did have language that ensured that the firing was a careful, thoughtful process. Yet, no one that should not have gotten fired, did not get fired. It did, however, allowed the employees and the employers guidelines to keep a person and make sure they got back on track.
A few years ago, there were layoffs. Those people got laid off. There were procedures to help the people the people getting laid off and to help them. In this case I do not think it was the union that was responsible. It was the employer trying their best to do the layoffs humanely.
When it comes down to it, a union can only help a person getting in trouble by sitting with them in the procedures and giving that person someone to talk to. And yes, listen to the procedures in case they can find ways to get the discipline revoked. However, the employer simply has to follow the guidelines set up. Those guidelines are stacked in favor of the employer and I will concede that that is fair.
So I think the union making an employer keep someone that should be fired is rare. More often, an incompetent person is kept around for other reasons. It is simply my opinion that 55% of any profession has people that are dolts. This is true for union or nonunion. The union did not create them or cause them.
Those people that do not like unions are either rich people trying to get richer or people looking for a scapegoat for their own incomptencies.