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    cloud125p's Avatar
    cloud125p Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Jan 17, 2009, 01:23 PM
    Do Americans today still need labor unions?
    As simple as the title is... do Americans today still need labor unions?
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
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    #2

    Jan 17, 2009, 02:01 PM
    Hello cloud:

    Need isn't the right word... When unions did the most good for their workers, they did so because they were negotiating from strength. If management didn't do what the union wanted, the union would go on strike.

    Today, however, management can just send the jobs off shore and doesn't have to deal with pesky unions...

    So, NEED has nothing to do with it.

    excon
    cloud125p's Avatar
    cloud125p Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Jan 18, 2009, 12:23 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by excon View Post
    Hello cloud:

    Need isn't the right word... When unions did the most good for their workers, they did so because they were negotiating from strength. If management didn't do what the union wanted, the union would go on strike.

    Today, however, management can just send the jobs off shore and doesn't have to deal with pesky unions...

    So, NEED has nothing to do with it.

    excon
    U didn't answer the question, NEED is the "right word", that's why I used it
    MarkwithaK's Avatar
    MarkwithaK Posts: 955, Reputation: 107
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    #4

    Jan 18, 2009, 12:36 AM

    I have been on both sides of the fence with this topic. My opinion, it depends on the industry. I was a union steelworker at one point. We needed out union. These days I work in a non-union HVAC/R shop and in this particular area and this particular industry the unions are working themselves out of a job. If I were to join a union that handled my trade I would be a Pipefitter. Most union Pipefitters here are laid off between 25%-50% of the year. I work year 'round.

    Honestly I think that the positives of a labor union (better wages, better benefits) are almost off-set by the stigma attached with them. People are leary of hiring union contractors anymore simply because they figure it will cost twice as much and take twice as long. In some instances they are correct.
    Otherbill's Avatar
    Otherbill Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Jan 18, 2009, 08:33 PM

    I worked also as a steelworker. Was "rank & file" worker and in management. Worked there for 36 years. I always felt that businesses caused the unions. They have always been greedy and the unions are a necessary evil.
    dimonthecoast's Avatar
    dimonthecoast Posts: 28, Reputation: 3
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    #6

    Feb 8, 2009, 09:42 AM

    I belong to a rather large union in the federal government. I've seen insanity on both sides; however, if management were "human and fair" in their application of rules, regs, etc. then there would be no need for unions. I have seen incompetent suck ups promoted over well deserving, above average rank and file and no one on the management side questions this. If a grievance or EEO is filed, then the employee is labeled (in spite of the "whistle blower act" there is still subtle retaliation). I have seen employees forced to work a day off with no appropriate compensation and even though management knew it was wrong, they still sat back and waited for the union to file grievances, go through the arbitration process and finally achieve redress for the affected persons. That took years and untold amount of unncessary resources. All it accomplished in the end was to support the necessity of unions.

    If we can achieve a "partnership" designed to accomplish the agency's objectives without alienating their most valuable resource (the employees) then the unions would become unnecessary.

    Call me crazy, but I believe it is possible.. .
    Missouri Bound's Avatar
    Missouri Bound Posts: 1,533, Reputation: 94
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    #7

    Jun 26, 2009, 07:17 PM
    Unions have outlived their purpose and their usefulness. The economic problems the auto manufacturers have will never be resolved unless the union control is taken out of industry. There are enough watchdogs to prevent unfair labor tactics, the union is not necessary. Unions have made the US struggle to be competitive while non-union labor in other countries have taken over the automotive industry.
    dimonthecoast's Avatar
    dimonthecoast Posts: 28, Reputation: 3
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    #8

    Jun 27, 2009, 06:31 PM

    I don't disagree that auto unions are another matter altogether, but with the insane compensation packages given to management when business is LOSING billions of dollars cannot be discounted. Clearly you didn't read the very real and important issues I have personally experienced. Those watch dogs have no teeth in my line of work and management shoves them in the dog house and shuts the door. If you were unfairly treated (passed over for promotion by some one COMPLETELY incompetent) and you went to EEO, which I did, I promise you before it was over and they raked you over the coals and then kissed management right on the mouth (actually in my case the EEO counselor HUGGED my violator), then you would have a different opinion. So it's great if it works, sadly it's been my experience it usually doesn't. Take a look at my partnership comment.
    logan176's Avatar
    logan176 Posts: 341, Reputation: 6
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    #9

    Mar 30, 2010, 08:13 PM
    People often forget why unions came into existence. Company owners realized that with a large number of people looking for work, replacement workers were a dime a dozen. The workers knew it too. They were expected to work in unsafe, unsanitary conditions and there was nothing that could be done about it. If you complained you were replaced. Some people think that unions are no longer needed because the govt. and/or watchdog groups will look out for the middle class. The problem with this idea is that if you forget the past, you are doomed to repeat it.

    If you ask me, a union's main goal should be to look out for its members... meaning the workers. Some unions have given others a bad rap. Yes, I am talking about the auto workers union. Seeing that their companies were facing devastating times, the auto union should have been willing to make consessions to help save jobs. However, both sides have to trust one another and you and I were not at the negotiating table. Oh and that issue of trust, I'll come back to that later.

    Now in the interest of full disclosure I am an elementary teacher. I am a member of a strong local union with a good contract. As I first started teaching I knew almost nothing about unions except what I saw in a Marlon Brando movie. But within a few years I quickly realized the need. In my profession, administrators come and go. Many, but not all, are just trying to make a name for themselves before moving on to a better, higher paying position with more power. These also happen to be the same administrators that read a couple journal articles and speak with some program's guru and think they know what's best for the kids. Yet they too forget history and how the same program with just a slightly different name failed miserably and stifled student growth. So how does my union help me here? Well for starters when I call my administrator out on a horrible program dicission, respectfully of course, I know I won't be fired for having a difference of opinion.

    Now back to trust. Teachers' unions have come under fire lately. My district is looking at a $2 million cut in state aid. Throughout the entire budget process the district has lied to union reps, lied to homeowners, and won't tell people how they're coming up with some of their numbers. Times are tough right now and we understand that cuts have to be made. But why should we open up our contract when we cannot trust the people we're dealing with? I truly believe that if there was no union to protect my rights, the district would get away with whatever they want. This includes neglecting the special education students... which they are currently trying to do too!

    Sorry about my rant, this has become a touchy topic for me lately.
    shawnwolfe72's Avatar
    shawnwolfe72 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Oct 5, 2011, 03:33 AM
    Yes Unions still are needed. I grew up in a anti union family in a anti union area of the south. The only unions to speak of were at the big steel mill and paper mill in town. I myself grew up poor and after high school went right to work to help my family. I work in the hotel industry in South Carolina and trust me a union is badly needed here! First all the big hotels here are owned by foreigners - mainly Indians - and they pay minimum wage, and there is no vacation - that's right ZERO regardless of how long you have been here. I also have no insurance of any kind to speak of. And while I am trying to make ends meet the owner just bought a new cadillac and is sending his son off to college in Florida! The hotels employees are treated as replaceable too. I would join a union in a split second!

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