I just noticed a particularly great inefficiency in our Finnish economic system, something that USA has done well to avoid. Usually we associate monopolies with corporations that have the market penetration approaching the level of 100%.
We've accepted that it requires the society to set laws to govern their business models, as such situations are considered bad for competition and efficiency of the marketplace. Other countries, as well as the EU, seeks to split (near)monopolies into smaller entities in order to increase competition.
Now, how can we have monopolistic labor unions in a country as competetive as Finland? The work force of entire industries are represented by single labor unions, often leading to a kind of unhealthy use of absolute negotiating power.
Labor unions have little formal power over their members, so they can't be strictly consider as "producers" of the labor force. Nevertheless, they collectively, de-facto have the monopolistic power over the work force, given by the will of the workers. Often times, almost (if not entirely) all workers in a critical position in a company are members of one and the same labor union, that is bound by the law to advocate the interest of it's members.
If it's little what they can produce, it's much that they may withold.
It has become commonplace to exercise that monopolistic power in today's economic situation. As a counterforce, Finnish businesses are often forced to lay off their entire staffs in a cases when productivity and profits lag behind of what's needed to sustain the jobs, because so little adjustment can be done with the existing collective bargaining agreements at any one time. Business is moved to another branch of a corporation, another location - something that is entirely reasonable, but something that wouldn't have to be done as often, if the labor unions would have reasonable bargaining power, as opposed to unreasonable.
Given the legislation, rationality and self-interests, this new equilibrium represents a new optimum, given the laws and the practicalities of the economic climate. Yet, it is sub-optimal compared to a situation where the companies could demand their work force to be represented by multiple independent labor unions, instead of one and the same. This would bring new healthy competition between the respective unions, and would balance out the unhealthy dictatorship the critical workers have over an entire industry.