I’m Tired of Union Bashing!

I’m a little tired of the union bashing going on with regards to auto workers, and union bashing in general. People need to remember that one of the reasons we have as great a country as we have, is because of the unions. Look back in history at what New York City was like in 1890. There were super wealthy and extremely poor, but with the help of unions in the early 1900s, living wages, job security and benefits were gained that created the huge middle-class communities of the 1950s. If it hadn’t been for the unions, every city would be what New York was, with huge discrepancies between the rich and the poor. There are countries that have that discrepancy today, places in South America, Africa and Asia where the shanties of giant slums sit within site of luxury apartments.

The unions attempt to get the best they can for the workers, that is their job. It is not the unions that have gone overboard, it is our culture. Does a family of four really need a 4000 square foot house? Do we need three cars when we have two drivers in a family? Do wee need to buy our 9 year old kids $150 graphite hockey sticks when there are $20 wooden hockey sticks that will work the exact same way for a 9 year old? It is not the unions, it is greed. The unions want benefits that every American should have, regardless of whether they are in a union or not, and the unions have been fighting for those benefits for a century. They are not looking for Rolex watches, car allowances, or outrageous bonuses, they want their members to simply obtain the American dream.

The American culture has succumbed to the people with the money who have been fighting the unions for decades, convincing us that the unions are bad. It is not the union’s fault that management makes poor decisions. It is not the union’s fault that an auto industry making billions of dollars couldn’t live with making hundreds of millions of dollars, and when they made union concessions in the past, decided instead to begin using inferior parts in an effort to continue making billions, and in turn, slashed their own throats. It is not the union’s fault that the auto makers got in bed with big oil and decided to kill the electric car, and continue to produce cars with poor energy efficiency, knowing that a 1970s type OPEC incident would destroy the American economy, and would destroy their business.

It is time to quit listening to the people with the money, who control the conversation, and instead use some common-sense. We are fast approaching another era where business owners think it is their right to take advantage of employees. It is already done at the largest corporations in the world, and when they can’t do it, they go somewhere they can. If the economy continues to sour, I predict that worker’s rights groups will begin forming again. They won’t be called communist or socialist groups because of the stigma of those terms, but it will be the same demands, the same arguments, and the same instability.

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3 thoughts on “I’m Tired of Union Bashing!”

  1. The inequality between the rich and poor right here in the United States has been getting worse and worse. A recent report from the 30-nation Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)listed the United States as 4th highest in inequality between the rich and the poor — after Mexico, Turkey and Portugal. One of Obama’s first actions should be to reverse the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. I hope unions become stronger and stronger.

  2. I agree with most of your comments. Unions aren’t evil and have in fact done much good.

    However, they can have their problems. For example, I have a friend who works for 3M and can’t so much as move his desk across the office because it’s manual labor that is designated to a union job. My dad started his own business in manufacturing six years ago and now has 30 employees. He’s watched as the state’s Machinists’ union has attempted to get his employees to unionize (he hasn’t fought it but they haven’t been successful yet). He’s as fair as any employer I’ve ever seen and even offers benefits, 401K, etc. What’s the point of unionizing?

    Unions have proven themselves to be necessary in instances where there is blatant abuse. But in situations where employees are already treated fairly, I fail to see the benefit of unionization. In many of these cases, unionization reduces efficiency as arbitrary rules are put in place to govern employees’ tasks. And at the end of the day in a free market society, if a business owner can find cheaper, union-less labor elsewhere (whether overseas or in a new state), they will. Supply and demand wins out and the union worker loses.

  3. I agree with Joey’s comment about unionization not having benefits in some cases. In companies where employees are being treated fairly, there is no need for a union. Joey’s father’s business is a case in point. I hope his employees continue to rebuke the union’s efforts. Sadly, most employees are not so fortunate. Greed is ubiquitous in our society, and those with great power and wealth seem to want only more power and more money. Look at the Wall Street executives. They knew they were making decisions that were in their interest — and their interest only. Now, we are all paying for their greed. Historically, unions have been instrumental in bringing fairness to the U.S. work force. We need their protection again, especially in very large companies. It is by no means the total solution. But it can be one piece of the puzzle. On the other hand, American workers who are fortunate to have fair employers should also put greed out of their minds — and rebuke unions where they are not needed.

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