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Old 11-01-2005, 02:50 PM
Iplayboard Iplayboard is offline
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Default \"Unions are Evil\"

For those of you that feel this way, are unions inherently evil or have they just drifted that way?

I think if you deny the fact that unions have played a major role in improving working conditions/worker's rights then you are ignoring part of history. The Jungle should be mandatory reading. If drifts off into becoming a socialist pamphlet but it provides a great picture of working conditions before unions. It also doesn't just paint a rosy picture of unions, but talks about how they were often corrupt and used to exploit workers.
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Old 11-01-2005, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: \"Unions are Evil\"

unions create artifically high wages
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Old 11-01-2005, 03:00 PM
Meech Meech is offline
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Default Re: \"Unions are Evil\"

The primary role of unions is to defend and demand nothing short of mediocrity from every member.
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  #4  
Old 11-01-2005, 03:06 PM
bobman0330 bobman0330 is offline
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Default Re: \"Unions are Evil\"

I don't believe anyone thinks that unions are evil. Except for the Mafia portions.

A lot of people believe that today's labor movement is essentially anachronistic. Under federal law, unions in certification elections can lie and make all sorts of promises they have no way of keeping ("We'll get you a wage increase"; "We'll keep them from moving jobs to China"), while those same laws restrict the employers ability to fight back. Once unions are in, they have little positive impact and often work harm. Flexible dispute resolution and employer-employee communication are impeded or completely destroyed. Profitability or worker's wages have to decrease to pay for union dues. Employers cannot respond to changing market conditions by freely hiring and firing workers. Strikes wreak havoc on families and are almost never effective in today's world. And most importantly, the working unit changes from a friendly partnership to a hostile divided camp.

The Delphi/GM situation is a lovely illustration of how greedy union politicians trying to look good for the workers can imperil thousands of American jobs and destroy an entire enterprise.

So, in short, unions aren't evil, they're just bad.
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  #5  
Old 11-01-2005, 05:59 PM
Rick H Rick H is offline
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Default Re: \"Unions are Evil\"

Being the son of a former union organizer, my view may be somewhat skewed. However, this is my opinion:

There WAS a need for unions. The need came because too much "power" was concentrated in the hands of a relatively few, especially if the local area had only one or two major employers.

In many cases, unions are NOW completely at odds with what may be good for the workers as well as the employer. They have changed the balance of power in the employee/employer relationship to an extreme. Now, a relatively few union executives control much more power than the former business owners ever did. If unions were allowed to only represent employees of a single employer, instead of whole industries, perhaps a case could made for their continued existence. But, as has previously been posted, I do think they (unions) tend to perpetuate mediocrity.
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  #6  
Old 11-01-2005, 06:30 PM
TomCollins TomCollins is offline
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Default Re: \"Unions are Evil\"

Unions can be a great tool. Unfortunately, they aren't being used that way.

Imagine an electricians union. They screen who can get in. You have to have a level of expirience, pass tests, and prove you know what you are doing. You are then in the union. The union can sell itself as having better quality work and therefore hiring more expensive union workers is a better proposition for the company.

Most people are willing to pay a little extra for extra quality. Most companies are as well.

So where do unskilled unions come from? They offer no unique skillset, no benefits to the employer. Is it government protection that prevents the employer from simply replacing workers who demand more money without cause? Why would any business owner agree to support a union when a new workforce can be trained within a week?
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Old 11-01-2005, 07:28 PM
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Default Re: \"Unions are Evil\"

Unions make employees feel they are "entitled" to compensation increases regardless of company performance.

My local teachers union, already the highest paid teachers in the state, went on strike following the 2001 recession when tons of students' parents had been laid off and couldn't find jobs (ie. the real world). These teachers now get paid around $105K + a ~$25K PPO plan, after 8 years teaching + a masters. Just sickening.
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  #8  
Old 11-01-2005, 08:08 PM
Hamish McBagpipe Hamish McBagpipe is offline
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Default Re: \"Unions are Evil\"

[ QUOTE ]
Unions make employees feel they are "entitled" to compensation increases regardless of company performance.

My local teachers union, already the highest paid teachers in the state, went on strike following the 2001 recession when tons of students' parents had been laid off and couldn't find jobs (ie. the real world). These teachers now get paid around $105K + a ~$25K PPO plan, after 8 years teaching + a masters. Just sickening.

[/ QUOTE ]

"Company performance"? Teachers are part of the public service, so this is a bad example of trying to refute the idea of so-called entitlement increases.

A company claims it needs a wage reduction or else it will move the plant to Mexico. Since the membership gets to vote on any negotiated settlement, it would be the democratic decision of the bargaining unit on whether or not to accept a final offer by management. Sometimes, like in the fog of war, communication breakdown may lead to one side or the other not believing the other's true intentions. So, off the cliff they go. That goes for management as well in the case of underestimating a union bargaining unit's resolve to strike.

It would probably be unwise for a union to negotiate a wage increase that puts a company out of business. Obviously, I want any company I negotiate with to do BETTER so that we can obtain better wages and benefits through collective bargaining. Of course, it MUST be through collective bargaining as there is no pie in the sky trickle down effect where a company would actually attempt to share, however meagerly, the new profits.

Yearly wage and benefit increases was what employers promised in return for labour peace and unions giving up any claim to ownership of the company. This deal was ratified by federal legislation in the 1930s-50s. Management has increasingly reneged on this deal. Some union members may still see bargaining as goody bag time but fewer and fewer union professionals see it that way.

In solidarity, Hamish.
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  #9  
Old 11-01-2005, 08:26 PM
Nepa Nepa is offline
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Default Re: \"Unions are Evil\"

[ QUOTE ]
For those of you that feel this way, are unions inherently evil or have they just drifted that way?

I think if you deny the fact that unions have played a major role in improving working conditions/worker's rights then you are ignoring part of history. The Jungle should be mandatory reading. If drifts off into becoming a socialist pamphlet but it provides a great picture of working conditions before unions. It also doesn't just paint a rosy picture of unions, but talks about how they were often corrupt and used to exploit workers.

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm against Unions for Goverment workers. What do they need a union for?
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  #10  
Old 11-01-2005, 08:29 PM
Hamish McBagpipe Hamish McBagpipe is offline
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Default Re: \"Unions are Evil\"

[ QUOTE ]
Imagine an electricians union. They screen who can get in...

[/ QUOTE ]

This is what many people fail to realize. Skilled trades unions such as electricians, operating engineers, carpenters, etc. are only protecting their own trade. Traditionally, a skilled trade union has been able to keep the standards of the industry high. Increasingly, however, the US government has introduced legislation trumping a skilled trade union's power over its own trade. When they have done this the training and education of new members, safety standards, and workmanship have declined.

[ QUOTE ]
So where do unskilled unions come from? They offer no unique skillset, no benefits to the employer. Is it government protection that prevents the employer from simply replacing workers who demand more money without cause? Why would any business owner agree to support a union when a new workforce can be trained within a week?

[/ QUOTE ]

We're not asking for the owner to support the union, believe me. Successor rights legislation prevent a company from just closing for a day and reopening under a new name in order to bust the union. This legislation prevents mass labour unrest.

The employees demand, through the union, a wage increase. What's to prevent the company from firing them all? Nothing really. The bargaining process is set up by legislation to stop one party or the other acting too hastily but once the process is exhausted a company can lock out its employees and hire new ones depending on local anti-scab legislation.

Any group of employees, skilled or unskilled, can democratically form a union in order to collectively negotiate better wages and benefits because on their own, as you say, they have no power, the company has it all. Without a union there is pitifully little legislation protecting workers. You seem to suggest that employees should be discarded at whim. I believe that in the lop-sided employee-employer relationship, especially when the only thing that the employee has is his time in, collective action is the only way to at least have some small chance at leveling the playing field.

In solidarity, Hamish.
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