American unions

Discussion in 'Economy' started by Diuretic, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    In another thread there's a subsidiary discussion that is getting into the ideas of unions. I didn't want to derail the thread by taking the discussion in to unions and labour relations but it's a very interesting topic to me and I've been a senior union official in my union (was for some years, not now) so I'm biased in favour of unions and what they do, but I'm not blind to their faults.

    US unions are a strange lot to me. Although they are tied up with the AFL-CIO (an interesting organisation) and are supposed to be close to the Democratic Party, US unions seem to me to be highly apolitical (compared to unions in Europe and Australia I mean). I'm not ignoring Canadian unions which are organised similarly to US unions, so I suppose I should have titled this North American unions but I didn't because I didn't want someone to think it was about the <reaches for tinfoil hat> the coming union of Canada, the US and Mexico.

    Are you in a union? Do you think unions do good or are just out to get your dues and give you nothing in return? Are unions needed? Are they effective?
    Any opinion at all?
     
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  2. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    I was in a union for many years, was even shop steward before moving up the food chain. In America, the right wing corporate powers have pretty much destroyed unions. Unions during the last century established our middle class and rose the life boat for everyone. Reagan helped destroy the last remnants of power when he fired the air traffic controllers.

    Unions can be good and bad, I can remember defending people I would never hire, but your role was neutral, similar to a lawyer's role. Our wages are still good in many fields but again the more conservative South, the home of so much slavery, never accepted unions. I have lived through many mergers and I have people who do the same job but have a large gap in salary due to the lack of a union. The Northeast in America was the strongest union area.

    Right now American workers in many fields live in fear as jobs are being sent overseas and the worker in American is pretty much getting screwed by K street and corporate republicanism. Any more questions ask.

    Reagan began the downfall of America in the 80's in my opinion.

    The US Economy Since 1980 By Seth Sandronsky

    "What makes the U.S. so unlike other rich nations? There is no single answer. At the top of a list is the power of the business class to shape policy-making and the lives of the nation's populace. In The United States Since 1980, economist Dean Baker focuses on the policies that have set the country on a business-friendly path. There have been far-reaching effects.

    "For most of the population of the United States, the quarter century from 1980 to 2005 was an era in which they became far less secure economically, and the decrease in security affected their lives and political attitudes," he writes. "It is important to note that this decrease was the result of conscious policy, not the accidental workings of the market.""


    http://www.counterpunch.com/sandronsky09292007.html

    [ame]http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521677556/counterpunchmaga[/ame]
     
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  3. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    Right wing corporate powers? LMAO. Trade unions have priced themselves out of business.

    You want to blame developers and business owners for spending less to get more? And hate to burst your bubble, but there are as many or more left wing developers and business owners here as right wing.
     
  4. actsnoblemartin
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    actsnoblemartin I love Andrea & April

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    I wanna talk to you NOW!

     
  5. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    Did unions force that air conditioning business to move to Mexico?

    The truth is that unions never priced themselves out of business. The truth is that greedy companies have shifted to places where they can get the product made at lower wage rates then they can sell back into the domestic US market without passing on the cost differential into pricing. They'll drop their prices though when the demand goes down because people can't pay for their goods because they are unemployed because their jobs were exported.

    I've been to a collective bargaining training course in Austin, Tx. One of the exercises we did in training was to analyse the employer's true financial situation so that the demand could take into account a reasonable abililty to pay so as to not bankrupt the employer and destroy jobs. The unions didn't send jobs offshore, the bosses did and they still are.
     
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  6. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    Thanks for the info on that. I agree with you about Reagan's actions, but there are and again PATCO (?) had some big problems as well. I had to look at a case study and the PATCO case was an example of how not to run a union particularly in a collective bargaining situation.
     
  7. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    I just have to ask: why sholdn't companies shift to places where they can get a product made at lower wage rates? What can the ewe ess gummint or unions or anyone else do to MAKE them stay in the US?

    I know everyone wants to blame the corporations, but what has this country done to make manufacturing/production businesses want to stay in the US?
     
  8. RetiredGySgt
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    Ya Unions are great. They can FORCE people to join in order to get a job while FORCING a shop to not hire Union. Totally fair. The large Unions are corrupt as hell and are nothing more than the big Business they were created to fight.

    Remind me again how a Union Big Boss and his staff should be paid Corporate wages while ordering their rank and file to strike and live on the leavings of welfare?

    They have most definately priced themselves out of work. Rather then looking out for the worker they are all about dues and retirement funds ( that they raid and steal). Given a choice of better benefits or higher wages, guess which one the Bosses pick for the rank and file? Higher wages, then they can increase dues and increase their own fat paychecks.

    When a business proves it can not operate and increase wages and rather offers other incentives at the bargaining table US Unions shut them down. Remind me again, what is better for a union man, a paycheck and incentives OR no job? And again when those "negotiators" shut down a company, they don't lose a dime or their jobs.

    Then we have the action of Unions to unionize a company, straight up thug tactics, threats, violence and vandalism. During a strike we have more violence, death threats, attempted murder and sometimes murder, vandalism.

    When car manufacturing companies can not make reasonable profits because they have to pay employees 50 bucks an hour to turn a screw driver or a wrench, I would say Unions have priced themselves out of work.

    Unions are the old bosses and organizations they were created to fight. Want a Union job? Better be prepared to pay someone off to get a union card. Better be ready to toe the party line on any and all issues. Better be willing to accept your retirement funds will be stolen and the big bosses will live like kings. And if you don't? Better have 5 or 6 big armed buddies to walk you around and guard your family and house.
     
  9. Dr Grump
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    Dr Grump Gold Member

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    Diuretic

    I think you have to bear in mind is that US unions are quite a bit different from unions in NZ and Oz (although Oz unions are a bit more militant). Remember the likes of Hoffa etc were involved in unions and it seems US unions are more politicised (which it looks like we disagree on) even than the Oz unions which heavily favour Labor. Also, US unions almost seem part of big business themselves (I don't mean the members, but the people who run them)
     
  10. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    My point was that it wasn't unions that forced businesses to relocate to low wage countries to manufacture and then export/import into domestic US markets. Corporations do that because they can see that they can make products cheaper in a low-wage country and then sell them back in the domestic market and increase profit (allowing for other costs such as transportation of course).
     
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