Unions: The New 'Dinosaurs'?

Discussion in 'Economy' started by PoliticalChic, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    1. “Multinational corporations have a new ally in their battles with organized labor: unionized workers," reports Crain's Chicago Business. "Some workers are becoming so disillusioned by what their unions can, or rather can't, do for them that they want out."

    a. A case in point is the Caterpillar Inc. plant in Joliet, Ill., where "dozens of machinists . . . crossed the picket line during a strike last summer and are planning unfair labor practices complaints" against the International Association of Machinists.

    b. When an agreement was reached in mid-August, the contract provided less than the one before it…. management compared compensation to factory hands across Illinois and around the world and concluded that to be "market competitive," Caterpillar had to insist on the concessions.

    2. The trouble for private-sector unions is that the global economy vastly increases the supply of labor, diminishing their bargaining power.

    3. … an IAM official at the Joliet Caterpillar plant, "says he understood that workers need to provide for their families, which meant crossing the picket line," Crain's reports. "But he adds: 'We don't negotiate for individuals; we negotiate for the benefit of the group.' " The trouble is, you can't have a group without individuals.




    4. Meanwhile the Puffington Host reports that "there was an employee walkout at a Walmart Supercenter in St. Cloud, Fla., on Wednesday morning." That is to say, anemployee, Vanessa Ferreira, walked off her job decorating cakes. "The other employees watched her walk out of the store, then went back to doing their jobs."

    a. As Reuters reported, the OUR Walmart effort, spurred by the United Food and Commercial Workers, which is seeking to unionize the retail giant's employees, didn't amount to much: "OUR Walmart said it counted 1,000 protests in 46 U.S. states, including strikes in 100 cities--figures that Walmart said were 'grossly exaggerated.' " Whatever the number of strikes, Reuters reports, "there was no evidence they disrupted operations for the start of the crucial holiday shopping season."

    5. The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann blames consumers for low wages at Wal-Mart and other big retailers: "We are the ones who choose where to take our business. And for the most part, Americans have chosen cheap."

    a. All workers are consumers, and most consumers are workers--a point on which Weissmann seemingly inadvertently stumbles …

    b. Absent globalization, labor would command higher prices, but then so would everything else.” The Power of One - WSJ.com





    From the article: “A union is superfluous at best unless it can deliver a better deal for most of its members than they could get on their own.”





    Results of a recent Rasmussen poll found that 9% of nonunion workers were interested in joining a union. For public school grads, that means that 91% have no such interest. In fact, maybe that means that 9% are public school grads who didn’t learn to read on their own. (Just 9% of Non-Union Workers Want to Join Union - Rasmussen Reports™)


    Rasmussen found that even workers in companies who were in danger of losing their jobs, it was still only 9%. What do the 91% know about union membership that the 9% don’t? One can only conjecture.


    In the 1950s some 1/3 of all private-sector workers belonged to a union. Now only 7.6% of nongovernment workers belong to one. From 1997 to 2004, private sector employment grew from 66.1 to 103.6 million, but union membership declined from 14.3 to 8.2 million. (http://www.aeaweb.org/annual_mtg_papers/2006papers.html)


    At the same time, unionization of government jobs is five times higher (Union Members Summary) .

    Could it be that the concern of private companies for profits, and maximizing shareholder value, and workers choosing opportunity over job security explain the disparity?




    Or, in more loaded terminology, choosing capitalism over socialism.
     
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  2. regent
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    regent Gold Member

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    Unions were an answer to a problem. Many of the problems have now been corrected by government, enlightened management and labor unions. With the corrections unions are no longer needed as they once were. Let's hope that the need for unions will dwindle even more, yet still other organizations, such as the AMA, NEA, ADA and others still exist.
     
  3. EdwardBaiamonte
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    EdwardBaiamonte Gold Member

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    too stupid and 100% liberal!! If the problem was low prices for goods and services then unions solved that problem by driving up prices and impoverishing Americans still further at a time when they were very very poor to begin with.

    See why we are 100% positive a liberal will be slow??
     
  4. regent
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    regent Gold Member

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    Good idea editing posts so one of your two stock answers fit. Why do you even bother?
     
  5. jaymiewilson
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    jaymiewilson Rookie

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    You have a point.
     
  6. EdwardBaiamonte
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    EdwardBaiamonte Gold Member

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    too stupid and 100% liberal!! If the problem unions solved 100 years ago was low prices for goods and services then unions solved that problem by driving up prices and impoverishing Americans still further at a time when they were already very very poor to begin with.

    See why we are so sure a liberal will be slow??
     
  7. iamwhatiseem
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    iamwhatiseem Gold Member

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    Yes.
    The basic problems the unions were needed for are no longer here.
    Now...the next problem...corporate monopolies and government corruption.
     
  8. Toronado3800
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    Toronado3800 VIP Member

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    Interesting Post P.C.

    I would quote you but ya type so darned much!

    Wages and working conditions were the causes for the rise of unions.

    Safety: It seems the government/society provides a good number of safety rules which unions fought for. Even non-union job sites seem to use acceptable safety rules. but man, I've worked for some scary scab small business type trucking companies where drivers put you at risk because they felt they could not complain. So I dunno. More dangerous the job the more I want it to be unionized? Stupid truck drivers all bragging about how they can skip the scales and fake log books. Stupid UNIONIZED train crews keeping ridiculous hours of service rules and falling asleep at the throttle.

    Wages: We now have minimum wage laws so the government/society has taken up some of the slack. I am somewhat resigned to our fight with the 3rd world in this globalized economy, so I dunno.

    Modern unions need to find a reason to exist. They could provide real drug tested employees (some do, the ones I know must have EASY tests). They could provide back up workers when someone is sick maybe? I don't know.

    A reason I want to keep modern union machinery in place (damned mafia ties but oh well, gotta fight the Pinkertons), is the THREAT of unionization. Just like nuclear war is a deterrent so is the threat of unionization a deterrent from a business going too far.

    Thanks for the good post PC.
     
  9. Toronado3800
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    Toronado3800 VIP Member

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    Good god Edward. In your ideal world we would have been better off going through the industrial revolution w/o the formation of labor unions?

    Remember Pa Ingalls and others drug their wives and kids out to brave the Indians instead of living in the city during the Industrial Revolution. A bit of that had to do with the reality of working conditions I suspect.
     
  10. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    Thank you, Toronado

    I'd like to make this clear, as it isn't in the OP...

    ...I have no problems with unions, and, in fact, believe they are covered by 'freedom of assembly' in the Constitution.

    I place the blame for over zealous demands in public service unions squarely on the shoulders of public officials who sign away the fisc.
     

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