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BoF
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership has dropped about 7% in the last 20+ years.

QUOTE
In 2004, 12.5 percent of wage and salary workers were union members, down from 12.9 percent in 2003, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  The union membership rate has steadily declined from a high of 20.1 percent in 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available.


http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm

Question for debate No.1: Why do you think union membership has dropped in recent years?

Last night on a thread that has since been closed (though this thread is on another topic) one of our members made the following statement:

QUOTE
I don’t believe in minimum wage or unions and think they are un-American. Unions can only be fair if every citizen has one to include housewives and househusbands. If the job manager sucks move on otherwise don’t complain. Supply and demand will result in proper compensation if left alone.


http://www.americasdebate.com/forums/index...ndpost&p=141961

Question for debate No. 2: Are unions and the benefits they work for, like minimum wage laws, un-American? Why or why not?
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aevans176
QUOTE(BoF @ Feb 22 2005, 04:01 PM)
Question for debate No. 2: Are unions and the benefits they work for, like minimum wage laws, un-American? Why or why not?
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Minimum wage laws are not "Un-American", nor are Unions . However, both are largely ineffective and counter-productive in a captialist society.

Unions, to begin, pay higher wages to unskilled labor that often times causes decreased profitability and poorer performance in the world market. The American automobile industry is a great example. American complacency and lack of margins helped to create a void in American automobile r/d during the late 70's and on into the 80's. If someone in a GM plant makes nearly $25/hr (which they do) for menial labor such as pushing a broom, that money cannot be funnelled into expansion, increased production, etc. The Japanese did a great job of showing the value of employee contracts to strengthen retention and loyalty, while we sat idly by. This doesn't even mention how sickening it is that menial labor in a plant such as GM's pays more than teaching or even being a Medical Resident in most American hospitals. Hmmm.... What happens is that Unions drive the cost of goods sold up, cuts are made in other areas, and competitve edge is compromised. This is true in many industries, of course not just Automobiles fall into this trap.

Min wages are even less effective. The gov't thinking that a min wage requirement should be the same in Delaware as it is in Mississippi is absurd. The reality is that in most markets, labor is driven by demand and less than desirable jobs have wages that are indicative of what the market will sustain. Take Dallas for instance, jobs pay far more here than they do in Shreveport, Louisiana. Even positions such as ones at fast food rest's pay roughly $8 (according to the billboard down the street). However, in Shereveport, the same job may only pay min wage. The fact that the gov't sets wage minimums is simply ineffective. Laws that control wage basically states that regional differences have no bearing on economic planning.

The reality is that in a society such as ours, people and employers should be able negotiate wages on their own terms. The American standard of living is such that I believe in many cases, wages would increase without the aid of gov't intervention.
Cube Jockey
1. Why do you think union membership has dropped in recent years?

My personal opinion is that there are several factors involved. First and probably most importantly the industries which are generally unionized (such as manufacturing) have changed since the 80's. We have seen not only a move from low-skill jobs to higher skilled jobs, but also the elimination of positions by advances in technology and efficiency and the outsourcing of jobs to other countries. All of these have resulted in a decline in the overall work force that typically would be represented by a union.

Secondly, there have been many sustained efforts at busting up unions and preventing them from forming in the first place in industries which typically enjoy union representation. Probably the most notorious here is Wal-Mart which recently closed two stores in Canada simply because they had successfully unionized there. Many corporations fight labor on a daily basis, even if it means losing profits. Outback Steakhouse spent almost $2 Million dollars this past year fighting labor and as a result driving their earnings down - source.

2. Are unions and the benefits they work for, like minimum wage laws, un-American? Why or why not?

Absolutely not, and anyone that says that doesn't understand what it is to be an American in the first place. You may think that unions aren't as effective as they used to be and I might agree with you to a point, but the reality is they are necessary because there are plenty of unscrupulous businesses out there that in the absence of regulation would treat their employees horribly. It was this way when unions were first formed and sadly we haven't evolved much today. There are plenty of businesses out there that aren't unionized and do treat their employees horribly.

America needs to have factory workers, bus drivers, and janitors just the same as it needs doctors, lawyers and businessmen. Every one, regardless of what role in society they play should be able to put food on their table and a roof over their heads. It isn't a requirement to have cable TV, DSL and a new car, but you should be able to take care of yourself and your family regardless of what job you are working. That is the idea behind a minimum wage and a living wage.

One of the things that separates America from third world countries is that we do protect our workers and require them to be compensated fairly and not exploited. We do this because it is to our benefit as a society to not have a decent portion of our work force living in destitute poverty.

The common argument I often hear from the Republican side of the aisle is "if you don't like it find a new job" which in addition to being incredibly heartless isn't based in reality. It is hard enough to switch jobs when you have a job and don't have any attachments, but the people that make that argument should just put themselves in the shoes of the person who has a family and kids and works hard all day to provide for them - are they really going to be able to find a job just like that? Doubtful, and most won't even try because the security of your family always comes first, you put up with whatever you need to to ensure that.
AuthorMusician
Question for debate No.1: Why do you think union membership has dropped in recent years?

This is pretty tough to determine without speculating on what to research first, then doing quite a bit of information gathering and analysis. From personal experience with one union way back in the dim 1970s, union membership did not offer me benefits significant enough to stay. However, the job itself (warehouse worker) wasn't my desired career path.

So the first speculation is that unions do not afford significant enough benefits to attract workforces.

From my father's experience with unions, he joined one (iron miner) and got fired almost right away. The speculation here is that people are afraid of losing their employment by joining a union, or possibly even talking about it. Work-at-will laws might have an impact on this.

Again from personal experience, the rise of exempt employment to include non-management computer techs has likely had an effect. Before the economic downturn, some movement was happening toward unions for tech support workers. That went away quickly as jobs disappeared or went overseas.

The rust belt bust of the 1980s pushed many former union workers into non-union jobs, including the growing high tech industry of that time. I worked with many of these folks.

Politically, it's pretty easy to see that the national mood has swung from pro-union to anti-union as politics moved to pro-business. National labor laws have not been repealed though, and this points to how difficult it would be to roll back our political history to the 1800s, when the labor movement in this country began. And so, a segue into the next debate question.

Question for debate No. 2: Are unions and the benefits they work for, like minimum wage laws, un-American? Why or why not?

Unions are not un-American. The labor movement is a big part of our country's history, and the right to organize is well-established in law. This was a necessary thing to do in America to support the freedoms outlined in the Constitution, especially as the country moved from agriculture to industrialization. Limits had to be established on what employers could demand for the money they paid, else we had yet another form of slavery -- not nearly as harsh as the outright trading human flesh, but darn close. Close enough to push labor toward communism, and that was terribly alarming among capitalists.

Minimum wage laws are only a small part of our national labor laws. That capitalism was contained to allow the flourishing of the middle class from the turn into the 20th century made a huge difference in this country. Without the rise of the industrial middle class, it's doubtful that the US would have survived WW II, in my opinion. Had we stayed agricultural, having so many untapped resources, Japanese could have become the national language. Had the working classes been kept down, the attitude might have been -- eh, nothing to lose.

We often talk about the American Dream, i.e., owning property, raising healthy kids, high-quality education, rewarding careers, and leisure time. None of this would have been attainable without the labor movement (again, my opinion).

Today we are in an information economy, or some such thing. I don't think we know just what to call it yet. Almost universally though, we know that higher education is very important, especially in the sciences and technologies. We know that people will need to change jobs and careers several times, over lives that are becoming longer. We need creative thinkers, independent thinkers, to create the businesses of the future and fill the positions needed in these new-thing businesses.

So how do unions and labor laws fit into this future? Perhaps not very much. The challenge to each person is becoming and will become the same: Discover talents, skills, abilities, and potentials. Figure out where these things can best be used for personal satisfaction and monetary gain. Repeat.

It looks to me like this started working too well to suit employers in older industries. We are experiencing a backlash against the inevitable freeing of the American workforce. Witness the importation of foreign nationals to fill jobs, often high-tech jobs, while US workers suffer unemployment and very likely can do these jobs. Witness the attacks on science, and along with this, the promotion of superstitions thousands of years old.

But it's just backlash, a natural fear of change and the future. What has started will be completed. Do unions fit into this future?

Perhaps so, and the ironic thing could be that the workers doing the unionizing will be those employed in old service industries. I don't see this happening at the new businesses -- an individual's worth will be determined by the individual's abilities, not simply the strength of the body. Maybe it will be known as the professional economy as we go along.
Ol Sarge
Question for debate No.1: Why do you think union membership has dropped in recent years?
Businesses relocate to a friendlier union free environment to cut overhead in order to compete internationally. Here in PR the major manufactures of made in America pills and European companies abound along with Tyco Intl. And Hewlett Packard and the like. Unions are not prohibited but employees are hired and compensated through Kelly Girls. The best of the best workers (all four year college grads) may be selected into a small management core hired directly to the company and form a union. But the union is powerless because they cannot affect the operation of the facility. In my wives company that installs automation controls for the assembly line drug manufactures the boss hires 15 engineers from Kelly Girls and offers them a health and savings plan on the side at cost share cause he is a nice guy. The boss tells them when he has authorized their wages to be increased at Kelly Girls.

Are unions and the benefits they work for, like minimum wage laws, un-American? Why or why not?

What is un-American about minimum wage? In America all men are created equal correct? Why then does every discussion of debate for minimum wage start off with the words “non-farm payrolls?” Are farm workers not equal citizens?

What is un-American about unions? How American would it be to have you guarantee my pension with your tax but I don’t have to pay taxes in support of your pension, which could go equally broke? The federal government backs many union pension programs with an insurance equal to the protection banks have against a run on banks. Major automakers, airlines and aircraft manufacturing to name a few are in this major support group for the lobby in the left side of congress. So every time the union for a major airline goes on strike for more benefits followed by increased cost of operations causing the corporation to file bankruptcy the government is faced with the entire union pension plan payout if the airline is not bailed out of bankruptcy. Who pays for your pay and bennies hikes the government along with all the citizens or your employer? Every time a union negotiates an increase in compensation the cost is passed on to every other citizen using the product being manufactured or service being delivered so either way for their gain as union makers they take from everyone.

How did you feel when Christmas was almost canceled a couple years back because some hairy eighth graders with a union didn’t want to move from pencils to computers on the longshoremen dock strike? Those eighth graders wanted an increase to entry level of $185K plus bennies how sweet for them as others lost work hours from missing merchandise held up off shore. How American is that?
deerjerkydave
Great topic by the way.

The reality is that unionized jobs have never occupied a majority of the job market. Currently only 12.5% of jobs are unionized. That number would probably drop further if membership were optional in those fields. I also wouldn't be surprised if a large segment of that percentage is government jobs.

Given that 87.5% of the job market is non-union, suggesting that criminal activity by employers would be rampant without unions is exposed as untrue. This is mere propaganda perpetrated on students at unionized public schools.

Union membership has been on a steady decline since at least the 1950s, not just during the Bush administration. While the reasons for this decline given in previous posts are probably true, the flip side of the coin is that most employees are satisfied with their employers and feel no need to band together as a collective and form a union. While unions may provide some benefits, employees see it as a net loss once you add in the cost of union dues and the associated baggage of being a member of a union.
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(deerjerkydave @ Feb 22 2005, 03:23 PM)
Given that 87.5% of the job market is non-union, suggesting that criminal activity by employers would be rampant without unions is exposed as untrue.  This is mere propaganda perpetrated on students at unionized public schools.
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blink.gif I don't think you read the post I just wrote deerjerkydave, I gave you two examples of non-unionized companies which are engaging in unscrupulous behavior and if you really want me to go down that path I could list at least 10 more Fortune 500 companies from various industries off the top of my head and more if I dug around. There are plenty of corporations their exploit their workers and have unsavory business pracitices, and I don't agree that unions are the solution, but they certainly do give employees a little bit of a bargaining chip to work with. But to say that criminal activity isn't running rampant, have you actually turned on the news in oh, the last 5 years? Corporate criminal activity has even made it into Bush's speeches for crying out loud.

QUOTE(Ol Sarge)
What is un-American about minimum wage? In America all men are created equal correct? Why then does every discussion of debate for minimum wage start off with the words “non-farm payrolls?” Are farm workers not equal citizens?

Then why don't we talk about farm workers? Personally I'm all for paying them a fair wage too, I don't think that my statements about a living wage have any restrictions. If that means people have to pay more for their lettuce then so be it, the benefit of having more people actually able to contribute to the economy rather than take benefits from the government benefits everyone.
overlandsailor
Question for debate No.1: Why do you think union membership has dropped in recent years?

As a Union Member myself (though probably not a "model" member wink.gif ), let me take a stab at this.

One reason, is of course that many of the manufacturing jobs that are traditionally union have been lost. lost to new technology, lost to overseas workers, lost to lack of sales, the bottom line is, they no longer exist.

Another reason is that the IT industry, at one point being the largest growing sector of blue collar work, choose not to unionize themselves more often then not.

Still another reason is the ever increasing amount of 1099 contract jobs. The guy that installs you cable, DSL, Sat TV, Alarm, etc at your home, more often then not is a 1099 contractor. This is because, in order to keep costs to a minimum so that installations can be free or at least very affordable to the consumer, companies need to control the labor costs as well. It is easier for a company to budget if they pay a contractor a flat 60.00 an installation, instead of an hourly fee which frequently varies widely. As someone who has been such a contractor and is currently working in a union job that pays "per piece" in a similar fashion I can say that those willing to work, will make ALOT of money working this way because in the industries I listed above (at least when it comes to residential work), the jobs are always plentiful and someone with experience can typically install 2-4 base jobs (depending on they type of system). Since you always get paid more for extras, like a second TV, fishing wire through the walls, an extra motion detector, or whatever, this kind of work is usually quite lucrative, and you tend to make good money even if you choose only to work 4-6 hours day (1-2 jobs depending on the system). As a contractor, you are in complete control of your schedule, something that is attractive to alot of folks, you can take all of your tool vehicle costs as a deduction on your taxes, and you are free to choose whatever benefits plan(s) best fit your needs. The down side is that if work gets slow, you have nothing coming in (something that I have never seen happen in the residential market, though it does happen in commercial), you pay the full payroll taxes not just 1/2 (where the employer pays the other half), and you have to keep better track of your receipts. This type of work has taken over the low-voltage residential jobs across the country. Jobs that at one time would have been likely candidates for unionization.

Another reason for the decline in membership is the rise of "Right-To-Work" States. In a "right to work" state, you have a right to a job that is unionized, even if you choose not to join the union yourself. Personally, I am in favor of such laws. If the union is good for the worker then it would not need to "force" the worker to join. Now, I am not in a "right to work" state, so if my union chooses to expel me from the membership (or, more likely, simply remove my "good standing" status) my employer is required by contract to terminate my employment immediately upon union notification. This I think is patently unfair, and can easily be abused.

Another reason for the decline in union membership is that less people feel the need to unionize. Example: I used to work for a large drug store chain in Kansas City. At the time, because of the addition of casinos to their area there was a shortage of available labor. This company would build new stores as non-union, and the employees would of course have the option to organize if they choose to. Most choose not to. The reason was because the union contract actually held people back in many cases. For example, with the labor shortage, companies like this drug store needed to raise their starting wages to attract help. This was no problem in non-union stores. However, in union stores they could not do this because the wages were set in the contract. So, people starting out at non-union stores usually got a better starting wage then in union stores. Another problem with this particular union was that it was a money mill. What I mean by that is, when you start you pay an initiation fee. Then you pay monthly dues. You are not eligible for any union benefits for the first 90 days as you are on probation with the employer. After 90 days, you are still not eligible for medical benefits, and the like until after the first year at full time employment, or the equivalent time if you are part time. Now, in retail the average turn over is 6 months or less, and most retail workers are part-time! So the union collects 6 months of dues, plus an initiation fee and for the first half of that they have to do nothing for it, and for the second half of that typical time before you leave for a better job (retail work is very TOUGH) they still don't have to provide any benefits that cost the union any money. Now, of course not all unions are like this. However, when you consider how many people work retail when they are starting out, or in school is it any wonder that more and more of them have a bad impression about unions?

Another problem with unions is that not everyone working blue collar jobs are democrats or on the left side of politics. Yet, those people have no choice but to pay union dues that they know are going to support candidates and causes that they themselves oppose. Of course there have been legal cases that resulted in some unions having to give a check box option so that those who do not want a portion of their dues to goto the unions political coffers don't have to allow it. Well, people are not idiots. We all know that if we check that box, then we start with one strike against use with the union. In the case of people like me, that is one strike against keeping our jobs. And we all know that checking that box is pointless, because if, say for example, 10% of every members dues goes to politics, and a member checks the box to block their 10% from going there, nothing stops the union from moving 20% from the next guy who didn't check the box to make up the difference.

If unions want to build membership again then they really need to stop all the partisan politics. Sure the Republicans have not been a major friend of labor, but honestly, what have the Democrats done in the last decade that helped labor? GATT?, NAFTA?, Heck, I didn't even hear very many Democrats come out publicly against the overtime law changes that unions so loudly opposed(changes that for most working people were actually positive, with the notable exception of IT people). Even a few labor leaders here and there are starting to ask why they continue to support the DNC. the most notable example of this I can remember was in 2000 when the head of the teamsters (I think, might have been another union it has been a long time hmmm.gif ) publicly asked that question in a speech and then suggested that his union might have to consider supporting Nader. Of course they didn't, but that was notable because you never heard such talk from a union leader in public before. Heck with the size of the memberships and the access to these folks that unions have, you've got to wonder why they have not created their own party yet. hmmm.gif

Union busting is actually a fairly small problem. Walmart may act this way, but most larger companies, including several I used to work for, choose to provide policies and procedures and codes of conduct that protect the employees, as well as a host of benefits for the employees because they didn't want them to unionize. If you are going to end up giving the protections and benefits anyway, why add the cost of negotiations and union relations management to the total? From my experience, that seems to be the predominant line of thinking. Now when it comes to small companies, I have seen non-union contractor after non-union contractor shut their doors and close down their small companies the moment their employees voted to unionize, just to re-open under another name an license in the next 30 days or so. Make organizing, at small firms basically pointless.

Now, after all that I have to point out that I think unions DO have a place in America. I just think that people should be free to choose if they wish to join one, without limiting their job opportunities ("right to work" thumbsup.gif ). I also think that unions need to be held accountable for what they do. Most companies have solid policies and procedures guidelines for disciplinary procedures. If they do not follow their own written rules then people regularly successfully take them to court for various issues including wrongful termination. In my union, removing someone's "good standing" (which will cost the member their job) can happen for two reasons. One is failure to pay dues, which makes sense. The other is simply at the discretion of the leadership. It is that second reason that is scary, because all you need is a union who's leadership is willing to remove someone's standing because they do not like the members politics (something my union has something of a history of doing) and you end up with the organization that, though it is supposed to be protecting the workers, actually oppressing them. Furthermore, since they are not my employer, if I lost my job because they took away my standing I would not have a wrongful termination case. I might be able to bring a different type of lawsuit, but the record of success for anyone suing a union is pretty low.

Are unions and the benefits they work for, like minimum wage laws, un-American? Why or why not?

Is this question even necessary? In America we have always had groups of people that banded together the fight for the common good (at least the common good of the membership). If unions are UnAmerican, then were the Founding Fathers UnAmerican? What About the NRA, the AARP, the Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or the host of other third parties? What about the VFW?

Frankly, I think the question itself is rather absurd, though I expect so does BoF. wink.gif
Ol Sarge
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Feb 22 2005, 07:36 PM)
Then why don't we talk about farm workers?  Personally I'm all for paying them a fair wage too, I don't think that my statements about a living wage have any restrictions.

Actually there is a minimum wage for farm workers and it’s $2.20 hourly. I’m sure it was maintained because if elevated American produce and fruit farmers could not be competitive with other trading partners with lower labor costs. We either like our slaves or like our farmers a little less than we like the remainder of society. Check link: http://www.dol.gov/esa/minwage/chart.htm My point is after looking at the chart one can only conclude the only thing gained from increases from increasing the minimum wage is carrying around more money. When I was a kid my dad would complain sodas in the machine (16 oz. Recyclable bottles) had gone up from $.07 to $.10 and you could return the bottle for $.03. Now I don’t have to type as slow as Alan Greenspan talks to point out you will soon need a piece of plastic or a wheelbarrow to haul around enough money to buy a soda and it will be a third the quantity it was when my dad was complaining. With this analogy in mind consider who prospered as a result of the minimum wage increases. Forcing change on compensation simply passes the costs to all the people as does unions as mentioned in my first post and is contrary to the original concept of capitalism. IT DOES NOT HELP THE LITTLE GUY IT HURTS THEM!

The value of money is make believe, as is the value of gold. Gold & Silver in a vault at Ft. Knox was the standard of value backing the dollar until the government decided gold & silver were make believe equally to the dollar so why not print it instead of mine it. You can’t eat gold or money and its value is only what it may purchase.

Let’s apply a union situation to a mini-culture of the military. Congress approves a pay raise of 6%, the local dry cleaners raise the price 7%, the apartments go up 9% and even the PX & Commissary increase prices to be applied to the next cost of living adjustment. Who suffers the poor service folks who no longer can afford an equal apartment, dry cleaning, and restaurants without suffering a loss of quality of life since their wages are stuck in place? So they complain and their wages are increased but the lag in comparison to the instant pay increase cripples the weakest among society.

The same thing happened in Mo-Town where Joe Smuck was working $1.25 and Steve Smartypants was union elevated to $25.00 an hour. So the party that supports the “little guy” does the big guys more favors than the little guys.

With the value of make believe gold & silver gone replaced with artificial value of paper coupled with unions and minimum wage our country is very attractive to poorer countries that also value the purchasing power of our paper in their countries so with each increase in the wage has the affect of pouring honey around an anthill. These poor folks come in hoards taking the “high paying” minimum wage jobs eliminating them to entry level teens and elders supplementing education and retirement. So as Bill says on the Fox News Factor, “Who’s looking out for you?”
aevans176
QUOTE(Cube Jockey @ Feb 22 2005, 06:36 PM)
blink.gif  I don't think you read the post I just wrote deerjerkydave, I gave you two examples of non-unionized companies which are engaging in unscrupulous behavior and if you really want me to go down that path I could list at least 10 more Fortune 500 companies from various industries off the top of my head and more if I dug around.  There are plenty of corporations their exploit their workers and have unsavory business pracitices, and I don't agree that unions are the solution, but they certainly do give employees a little bit of a bargaining chip to work with.  But to say that criminal activity isn't running rampant, have you actually turned on the news in oh, the last 5 years?  Corporate criminal activity has even made it into Bush's speeches for crying out loud.


Amazing. You just gave a whopping 2 examples of companies that you believed were engaging in "unscrupulous" behavior, out of the largest economy in the world. Amazing...

However, Outback and Walmart fighting unions is not unscrupulous, but a policy that inevitably the corporate management has deemed necessary to maintain profitability in the long-run. What if Walmart had allowed a union in Canada? What would've happened here in the states? There is no economist in the world that will tell you that collective bargaining in any fashion is good for a company, an industry, or an economy. Unionization, however, has been tied to poor productivity, sluggish profits, and labor force complacency (ie the automobile industry). There is no situation in which an American is forced to work for Walmart, forced to take the wages they offer, or forced to maintain employment there. Frankly, I'm sure we could find ample number of people that enjoy their employment there...

Corporate "Criminal Activity" refers generally to situations such as Enron, but has never been tied to an organization avoiding unionization. Come on! There are companies that exploit their workforce, but the wonderful thing about America is that there are millions of other jobs, 50 states to live in, and the right to choose where you're employed.
Google
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(aevans176 @ Feb 23 2005, 07:19 AM)
Amazing. You just gave a whopping 2 examples of companies that you believed were engaging in "unscrupulous" behavior, out of the largest economy in the world. Amazing...
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And I said I could give far more aevans before we start with the veiled insults, but it would be off topic. This topic isn't about corporate activity, it is about unions. If you want to start a topic about that I guarantee you I can give you numerous examples.

QUOTE
There are companies that exploit their workforce, but the wonderful thing about America is that there are millions of other jobs, 50 states to live in, and the right to choose where you're employed.

Here we go, the typical conservative response, I was waiting for it. Do you really think it is that easy to just up and move to another state or even another job when you have a family to support and that is occupying all your time? It is hard enough to look for a new job when you are on your own, I can't imagine how difficult it would be with a few kids and a labor intensive job that leaves you drained at the end of the day.

Before you start in with that rhetoric try to put yourself in someone else's shoes for a second.
Christopher
Unions had a important function when they were born. They helped the Worker finally realize that he was NOT a slave to the worst desires of some business owners. They helped them understand the flaw in the thinking of those who fall over themselves trying to convince people they should fall to their knees in gratitude to be a samurai to corporate interests--yeah Family Values thumbsup.gif
Regardless of the product or the price--None of it would be possible without the workers who design, make, and support the product or service.
Supply and Demand
Boss wants a Supply--Demand some Respect.
give them an inch and they take.............
Unions gave Americans the knowledge to finally understand their worth to the unique demands of capitalism. Value IN Value OUT.

I agree with Sarge in that the costs of Union drives up prices unnaturally to the laws of supply and demand--but I would counter that a motivated and trained workforce would more than offset that in overall production and thanks to improved quality--more demand for said product or service. However at the same time Sarge your Detroit example is also hamstrung by the fact that detroit got cheap across the board and offered the public an inferior product that did not meet the needs of its customers or the times--The Japanese did and deservedly won the competition for IMO 2 decades.

I'll buy an American made truck--FORD, but will still buy a Honda if I can afford it when it comes to a car. value IN and OUT. Detroit however turned it around very well indeed and is comfortably in the race.

The problem faced by many corporations these days is often their own greed for trying to squeeze blood from a stone. One can only cut so many corners before your customers go elsewhere. They try and pass off every cost to the consumer these days and don't seem to realize that thanks to globalization we can easily go elsewhere. I would also suggest the desire to get ones company on the stock market is not always the best idea--there are some studies now that show the costs of doing so and trying to keep investors happy costs more than the benefits some companies get in return. The loss of capital required strangles the company forcing cuts, cuts and more cuts to keep shareholders happy. It takes produce or die to ridiculous extremes.

Also consider that many companies these days invest their profits to make more profits-- a sound and logical capital decision-- however bad decisions cost money and that cost is passed on to the consumer--yeah trial lawyers are the only cause of rising health costs:thumbsup: This also has contributed to the decline of many American companies. Keep doing this and again--we can easily go elsewhere.

Perhaps some companies should re evaluate the "glory and riches" of the stock market and focus on their Actual BUSINESS!
What is great for Wall Street is not always great for business--or America.
Remember capitalism is designed to create capital, not to create capitalists or maintain the health of a nation--the nation CAN benefit but like all things one must read the fine print. Buyer beware.

capitalism is a mighty beast and sometimes you can bleed it for personal gain--good wages, fair working conditions, etc.....

What Unions never seemed to want to remember is that there are sacrifices to be made in return and sometimes ya just gotta grin and bear it. When Unions came to power it seemed to be more about making the Boss bleed than just demanding fair treatment. Unions failed their members horribly by protecting dead or dying jobs, protecting imcpetant workers and demanding more than a job was worth. What is worth paying 30 and hour today will someday be only worth 5--and eventually will be replaced by a machine. By manipulating market freedom through unjust government intervention they disrupted the necessary freedom required by capitalism.
Unions should have instead been demanding that companies innovate, finding better ways to do business and helping develop the new jobs that are created by such actions. Instead of the silly demand on paying some shlub more and more for just showing up at work everyday they should have created a culture that rewarded initiative. They should have been proactive in pushing to develop the product.

Personally as an American I am offended by the fact we still rely on petroleum for our vehicles. the gasoline engine should have been long gone by now. We are IMHO way better than our currrent state of technology. Sometimes ya gotta goose business or they try to keep producing the model A.


"Oooh what was that korea? Your new automobile?

yeah thats real nice. w00t.gif

my Grandfather had one of those devil.gif

Check out my ride--hydrogen powered independant 4 wheel drive platform with an interchangeable body. One day a truck--the next day a hot rod! cool.gif

But yeah yours is uh hmmm.gif .................nice mrsparkle.gif . Keep trying." whistling.gif


Just think of all the new jobs waiting from new technolgies.

These days most companies realize that a happy worker WORKS better and offer wages, working conditions and perks to attract quality. this allows them to one hire the best candidates--and more importantly remove the desire for a Union.

After all why should i limit myself and my opportunities to those who are only willing to do just enough to not get fired. I want to work where the desire for success is the norm and my co workers--while demading respect from our employer-- are also ready to do what needs to be done to make the company succeed and get ahead of the pack.
SWM28WDC
I'm a union member. My local union has, on a number of occasions, protected the welfare of its members, and protected individual members against unfair harassment by management. Sometimes we go overboard, but most times we're right on.

My international union has less support from me.

In general, due to the interconnectedness of the economy, unionization benefits union members at the expense of non-union members.

Likewise, minimum wage laws keep someone from opening a second restaraunt in Shreveport, or wherever, that could be profitable and employ people at a wage they are willing to work.

In general, unions form against an issue or a threat. If labor were scarce in relation to capital and land, labor could demand higher compensation, including wages and working conditions. I use labor to refer to anyone who works, rather than merely organized labor. The key here is to untax labor and capital, and tax land, so that it may not cheaply be held idle.
Ol Sarge
QUOTE(christopher @ Feb 23 2005, 04:18 PM)
Value IN Value OUT.

I agree with Sarge in that the costs of Union drives up prices unnaturally to the laws of supply and demand--but I would counter that a motivated and trained workforce would more than offset that in overall production and thanks to improved quality--more demand for said product or service. However at the same time Sarge your Detroit example is also hamstrung by the fact that detroit got cheap across the board and offered the public an inferior product that did not meet the needs of its customers or the times--The Japanese did and deservedly won the competition for IMO 2 decades.


I’ll back away from saying outright unions are evil or un-American since unions and guilds have been around since well before the founding of America. I could name many guilds and unions I have no problem with at all but then there are the airlines, longshoremen, the federal workforce and the automakers… The worse offender is the government union’s hands down costing taxpayer billions in waste every year and making organization and change for efficiency of federal bureaucracies nearly impossible. A couple of my family members have removed me from their mailing list because of our differing views on unions so let me tread a little lightly.

I respect the point you make on value in value out and I agree to reasonable compensation for skills and fair labor practices should exist. I just think unions should operate within certain constraints limiting differences between non-union and union employees with like skill levels. My example of Mo-Town was where organized labor demanded more compensation than the skills they were providing for the employer. Mo-Town’s GM and Ford nearly met the same demise as the RR car manufacture in the next paragraph. Even today the pension and labor are break even for the automakers and both major corporations only profit from their financing and insurance schemes. The government floated them or the automakers bankruptcy would have resulted in the government paying the pensions of both corporations had they gone bankrupt.

As my dad was working 12 hours a day on the farm for pennies a day just 60 miles away was a unionized RR car manufacture filled with 8th graders with welding torches in Huntington, WV made famous by candidate Kerry during the last election cycle. These guys continued to go on strike every couple months, the minimum wage was less than $2.00, and on the last occasion it was for an increase from $22. to $24 an hour. The employer threw up his hands and moved the job to Japan and that was in the 1950’s.

QUOTE
I'll buy an American made truck--FORD, but will still buy a Honda if I can afford it when it comes to a car. value IN and OUT. Detroit however turned it around very well indeed and is comfortably in the race.

Yes they replaced 90% of the workforce with robots that only require maintenance and electricity. If people bought Ford or GM with cash instead of credit they would be broke and bankrupt in one year.

QUOTE
capitalism is a mighty beast and sometimes you can bleed it for personal gain--good wages, fair working conditions, etc.....


Well this world trade has thrown a monkey wrench in the American capitalism system for sure. The original intent was for a structured community to prosper based on hard work, fair work for a fair compensation or what the marketplace would sustain. The current argument with drug prices is an example.
QUOTE(SWM28WDC @ Feb 23 2005, 05:40 PM)
Likewise, minimum wage laws keep someone from opening a second restaraunt in Shreveport, or wherever, that could be profitable and employ people at a wage they are willing to work.

That is capitalism as it was meant to work.
BoF
I was not only a member of a teacher’s union for more than 30 years, but came from a union family. My father was a shop steward and later top committeeman at Bell Helicopter’s AFL/CIO/UAW Local 218.

I also saw first hand the “benefits” on non-union membership. My mother worked in a sweat shop dry cleaning establishment in downtown Fort Worth. The plant changed ownership and after a couple of decades of service the new manager fired her saying that they wanted to “go with younger people." Unfortunately this was in the days before age discrimination laws. I remember having a shouting match with her former boss over the phone and calling him names he’d probably never been called before and maybe, unless he angered his wife, never again. It didn't change anything, but I must admit I felt much better after giving him a good cussing. Even sitting here now I'm pleased that I let him know that I, if no one else, knew that he was rotten to the core. The moral here is don't mess with mama.

Fortunately, my mother landed a job, almost immediately, in the city’s premier cleaning plant—a much smaller shop run by two Jewish brothers. Unlike the previous employer, the two brothers treated their employees like family. One of them took me out to the Jewish Community center a couple of times to hear Congressman Jim Wright. These were in the days before Wright became Speaker. I was in grad school at the time, and the brothers would often hire me on a day-to-day basis to drive their delivery truck when the regular driver was off.

Although my mom lucked out, I agree with Cube that landing another job is difficult. My mother was the exception rather than the rule.

Not only was I a teacher’s union member, I was active. I was a building rep a number of years, the official photographer for about a decade and a member of several committees including grievance, legislation and membership. I also made annual contributions to our PAC.

Membership within teacher unions has remained rather steady. The problem is that there are now four competing unions—one of which is privatized. The privatized union has cheaper dues, but few resources for legal battles and no affiliations with state or national organizations. Is there any area where the misplaced mania of privatization hasn’t struck? Competition among unions has only diluted strength, not increased clout. Its impact has been much the same as losing membership.

Texas teachers do not have collective bargaining rights, so our efforts usually ended up as what we jokingly call collective begging.

The main success of my union was in the area of securing due process in personnel cases. I was continually amused by people who didn’t join, said they didn’t need a union. Then, something would happen. They would get crossways with an administrator. It’s amazing how quickly these scabs could come up with back dues for the whole year to get the union in their corner. Apparently three hundred bucks a year dues didn't seem so bad when it saved their job or got a principal off their backs.

I find the suggestion that unions are un-American ludicrous.
Ultimatejoe
QUOTE(aevans176 @ Feb 23 2005, 10:19 AM)
However, Outback and Walmart fighting unions is not unscrupulous, but a policy that inevitably the corporate management has deemed necessary to maintain profitability in the long-run. What if Walmart had allowed a union in Canada? What would've happened here in the states? There is no economist in the world that will tell you that collective bargaining in any fashion is good for a company, an industry, or an economy.
*



I love statements like this because they are SO easy to refute. It allows me to COMPLETELY discredit you with the use of one study; which I'm about to do... Here's a gem from Professor David Metcalf, who lectures at the London School of Economics.

QUOTE
The evidence indicates that, in the USA, workplaces with both high performance
work systems and union recognition have higher labour productivity than other workplaces.


David Metcalf, 2002.
"Unions and Productivity, Financial Performance and Investment: International Evidence,"
CEP Discussion Papers 0539, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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