Uninions and the economy

Discussion in 'Economy' started by Charles_Main, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. Charles_Main
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    Charles_Main AR15 Owner

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    In the wake of Wallmart asking it's employees to vote republican to thwart Unionization attempts. I thought we should talk about this issue.

    I will be the first to Admit that Unions have done a lot of Good for the working man, but take a look at the most heavily unionized industries in this nation, and you get a who's who of under performing industries in trouble.

    Auto Manufacturers.
    Air lines
    Steel manufacturers.
    Public sector.
    Teachers unions.
    ETC all these industries have consistently done poorly.

    Ask yourself why? It is due in large part to unrealistic Demands put on the companies by unions. Demands that ignore the health of the Industry at the cost of the workers, in order to make short sighted gains in pay and benefits.
     
  2. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    When I began looking at unions in the US I came on the phenomenon of the "clawback" or "give-back." That's when the union agrees to a reduction in pay and benefits to help the employer and to protect jobs.

    I think you may have to look elsewhere for the causes of failure. For example, the US steel industry had a problem when Asian countries began building and operating small blast furnaces which were more technologically advanced and able to produce steel cheaper than in the US (and by the way I grew up in a steel and shipmaking town here in Aus and I saw the industry crippled by the same effect).
     
  3. Prefx
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    Prefx Red state socialist

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    School boards are much more reprehensible than teacher unions. They purposely squander students just to improve on numbers, and a lot of elected officials are so removed from present conditions that they don't even visit a school once during their service. The profession of public school teacher has received a little of criticism in recent years, but in my mind they've been right on almost every issue: handing more power to the parents, students, and faculty; scrapping NCLB, equalizing arts with athletics; looking at new taxation methods; providing for homeschoolers and private schoolers wanting to join an association at their local public school.

    I never got why the public sector is run top-down like a corporation, anyway - other than to allocate money away from those who need it. In my mind it should be run bottom-up.

    Furthermore, I don't see why people are blaming unions for auto manufacturing. Collective bargaining is stronger in our main competitors: Germany and Japan.
     
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  4. sealybobo
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    sealybobo Diamond Member

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    Unions have problems but they aren't the problem. Anyone that has that opinion doesn't have all the facts.

    companies and republicans don't want unions for the same reason they don't want regulations, because it cuts into their profits. they have demonized and broken a lot of the unions and that will negatively affect all labor. they can't afford to operate with unions? isn't that what they say everytime democrats raise minimum wage? they just don't want to pay a fair wage. if you can't afford to pay, go out of business.

    and unions need to stop defending worthless employees. and job banks where people sit in a room for 85 percent when they get laid off? unacceptable. push a broom or something.

    but we can't afford to have labor unions go away. we also can't afford 4 more yrs of gop.

    the democrats will stop corporations from fucking the working class. if a ceo can make 10 milll, and all the execs under him/her can make $1 mill or $400k, we can make $35 hr.

    some industries should only be done in america with only american workers. auto manufacturing is one of them. unionize toyota and honda or get the fuck out of america. and tariff imports.

    but also regulate the auto industry so they build quality and don't gouge us. and again, unions have to be realistic. if a worker isn't working, don't protect them. its called good faith.

    and define what exactly jobs americans won't do are. let immigrants do those jobs and only those jobs, but we al know they are doing jobs americans will do. americans are hurting their own wages by allowing employers hire illegals, just like we shouldn't let microsoft and ibm hire IT ppl from india. we'll go to school and learn it if there is a demand. IT ppl graduate college all the time.

    we're being played ppl.

    ps. remember the gop tried to let mexican truckers into the US last yr? the guy who started this topic won't wake up until it is him that gets screwed. he's an american trucker. not union, but apparently to the gop, even he makes too much. gotta do all you can to max profits....
     
  5. chopcrazy
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    chopcrazy Member

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    This must refer to the small number of companies where CEOs make 10 million. If there was a rule where the lowest paid worked got $35 an hour if CEO made 10 million, people would be lined up trying to get those jobs.

    the working class does not do themselves any favors by supporting celebrities and athletes that make ridicules amounts of money. are there more ceos that make >$10 million/year than there movie stars and athletes that make $10 mill?

    the great thing about america is people can work towards any dream. if they dream to earn $35/hour, each has the ability to learn the skills necessary to make $35/hour.

    I do not think it benefits society if ones wage is linked to what somebody else earns. Could you imagine if the difference between the lowest and highest paying working is 1/10th of the CEO? The budget needs cut this year so CEO will take a 15% cut in pay from 400k to 340k. Now the lowest workers pay becomes 1/10th of 340K. Both are still linked tied together.
     
  6. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    The lack of universal healthcare is hurting America's competitiveness around the world. Toyota just located a plant in Canada partially because of lower employer healthcare costs there.
     
  7. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    That we once had a very well paid work force (thanks in large part to unions) is certainly is part of the explanation for why many industries which have to compete with third world industries are in trouble.

    And now the fact that the working people of this nation are no longer making wages as high as they once did (realtively spekaing, I mean) is one factor in why our economy is now in trouble, and our governments are having problems fiscally, too.

    American consumers once drove American industry by buying american made goods.

    As the American consumer purchasing started driving foreign industry by buying imports, thanks in large part to FREE TRADE policies, the American industrial economy suffered.

    Two pay-check family became the norm in order to offset the losses in puchasing power.

    Then people began their reliance on credit to keep going.

    Well, now the economy falters, the consumer/worker credit resources are tapped, the price of oil goes through the roof and we're in the sorry state we're in now.

    Some Americans are being served quite well by this system, but I think the majority of us are basically being hurt by it.

    The numbers which reflect the state of individuals' home economies seem to bear me out on that assumption, too.
     
  8. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    Unions have provided more Americans with a decent standard of living than a million walmarts and their low wages, always low wages - wages a family in America cannot even live on.

    Since most auto makers in the US pay an excellent hourly wage due to fear of unions again you still see the power of unions.

    The beginning of unions, till Reagan axed the controllers and weakened workers rights, were the best days for America and its workers. Since then there has been a steady decline in wages. Only welfare for the rich still exists.

    Without the protection of a union or legal actions a worker has no rights. Deregulation and poor management practices created the mess that made some of the industries above collapse.

    There is no way an American worker can compete with a Chinese or Asian Indian who makes next to nothing. It is why I suggest we allow competition in all work areas so everyone can see what living on next to nothing is like.

    CEPR - America Since 1980: A Right Turn Leading to a Dead End

    "The Reagan administration also made weakening the power of unions a top priority. The people he appointed to the National Labor Relations Board were qualitatively more pro-management than appointees by prior Democratic or Republican presidents. This allowed companies to ignore workers' rights with impunity. Reagan also made the firing of strikers an acceptable business practice when he fired striking air traffic controllers in 1981. Many large corporations quickly embraced the practice. Also, his high dollar policy in the mid-'80s was a severe blow to manufacturing unions, who suddenly had to compete against low-cost imports that were essentially subsidized by an overvalued dollar.

    The net effect of these policies was that union membership plummeted, going from nearly 20 percent of the private sector workforce in 1980 to just over 7 percent in 2006. Inequality soared, as the vast majority of the gains from economic growth over the next quarter century went to high-end wage earners (e.g., doctors, lawyers, CEOs) and profits. The wages of typical workers increased little from 1980 to 2006."
     
  9. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    A very telling point. Didn't GM cite health insurance costs as a huge impost?
     
  10. watermark
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    watermark Member

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    I'm sorry, under what universe do you live in that makes banning unions an acceptable practice under a free market?
     

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