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  1. #1601
    Crackpot Socialist highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    You don't mention the decades long effort by the GOP and the SCOTUS to destroy unions.

    Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 - SCOTUSblog

    The Democrats are not as bad but they're getting there. Gotta have goals.

    You simply make it sound as if the usefulness ran its course and oh, corruption with zero outside influence.
    I have to admit that I am influenced by my dad on this topic. He worked in factories for the better part of his life - much of it in the auto industry and part of it in the aircraft industry. He's not someone to say much bad about anything or anyone but he did have some pretty negative things to say about unions. I don't think he was a republican or a democrat and he grew up in England. The negative things he mentioned included their strong-arm tactics to get him personally to join one at one point.

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  2. #1602

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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I have to admit that I am influenced by my dad on this topic. He worked in factories for the better part of his life - much of it in the auto industry and part of it in the aircraft industry. He's not someone to say much bad about anything or anyone but he did have some pretty negative things to say about unions. I don't think he was a republican or a democrat and he grew up in England. The negative things he mentioned included their strong-arm tactics to get him personally to join one at one point.
    So you have a personal bias.

    What I would ask you then, why the absolute position that unions are bad? You've highlighted valid problems with the unions, but why instead not advocate for reforms rather than total abolition of unions? It just seems off to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    chaotic good

  3. #1603
    Crackpot Socialist highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer Ed Powell View Post
    So you have a personal bias.

    What I would ask you then, why the absolute position that unions are bad? You've highlighted valid problems with the unions, but why instead not advocate for reforms rather than total abolition of unions? It just seems off to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    It's a philosophical bias as well. I think they can benefit their members in the short term but they do things like:
    1. hurt consumers who are charged more for products
    2. make companies less competitive by artificially increasing wages above market demands and negatively impact their ability to be agile to changing market conditions
    3. make it very difficult to fire people who underperform and make companies more risk averse in hiring as a result
    4. retard economic growth by making companies less competitive and reducing the number of jobs in an economy
    5. drive artificial behavior such the early retirement of teachers and unchecked pension liability debts in states and local municipalities, thereby hurting all of the taxpayers in a given state

    I look at negative things that companies and organizations do that are harmful - such as hiring many part time workers so they don't have to give out benefits. In cases like that, I'd opt for putting labor laws in place that make it more difficult to engage in those kinds of abuses.

    I guess it's not a blanket thing though. In certain cases, I think it's good. The NFL players need representation from a union because the players are in dangerous jobs and exploited while they are young, leading to long term health problems.In developing countries, I think unions are probably a very good idea.

    So yeah, I'm not advocating the abolition of unions. I just think in the long term in most cases they seem to do more harm than good these days.

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  4. #1604

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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    It's a philosophical bias as well. I think they can benefit their members in the short term but they:
    1. hurt consumers who are charged more for products
    2. make companies less competitive by artificially increasing wages above market demands
    3. make it very difficult to fire people who underperform and make companies more risk averse in hiring as a result
    4. retard economic growth by making companies less competitive and reducing the number of jobs in an economy
    5. drive artificial behavior such the early retirement of teachers and unchecked pension liability debts in states and local municipalities, thereby hurting all of the taxpayers in a given state

    I look at negative things that companies and organizations do that are harmful - such as hiring many part time workers so they don't have to give out benefits. In cases like that, I'd opt for putting labor laws in place that make it more difficult to engage in those kinds of abuses.

    I guess it's not a blanket thing though. In certain cases, I think it's good. The NFL players need representation from a union because the players are in dangerous jobs and exploited while they are young, leading to long term health problems.
    Those are fair criticisms.

    I think what I would want to ask of people like your dad who had negative experiences with unions would be: would he expect to have received the same level of benefits and wages he got had there been no union protection in his industry?

    Wages have steadily declined as union membership has declined since the 1950s. For that matter, many of the current labor laws we have in place in the US (child labor laws, overtime pay laws, etc) were only enacted after years of lobbying from labor unions. If the proper regulations existed to protect workers' safety and rights, I could understand the argument that unions have outlived their usefulness. That said, it seems like many republicans not only want to do away with unions, but with some of those regulations that exist to protect workers. This is one reason I can think of that unions are still necessary. Business leaders and owners can more easily lobby for laws that benefit them. The individual worker has little say in this, whereas having a collectivized union makes it easier for them to also have a voice in policy that directly affects them. I think unions are inherently democratic in making it far easier for workers' voices to be heard alongside those business leaders. And as long as anyone seeks to enact laws that potentially harm workers, those workers deserve a voice and a say in the process. Their ability to vote in elections isn't nearly enough guarantee that those in office will work in their best interests (especially given the way big business will lobby and buy elected officials). Unions are an important tool to lobby for continued protections of workers. I believe it's naïve to assume businesses will always act virtuously and protect their workers' best interests when left unchecked.
    chaotic good

  5. #1605
    Crackpot Socialist highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer Ed Powell View Post
    Those are fair criticisms.

    I think what I would want to ask of people like your dad who had negative experiences with unions would be: would he expect to have received the same level of benefits and wages he got had there been no union protection in his industry?

    Wages have steadily declined as union membership has declined since the 1950s. For that matter, many of the current labor laws we have in place in the US (child labor laws, overtime pay laws, etc) were only enacted after years of lobbying from labor unions. If the proper regulations existed to protect workers' safety and rights, I could understand the argument that unions have outlived their usefulness. That said, it seems like many republicans not only want to do away with unions, but with some of those regulations that exist to protect workers. This is one reason I can think of that unions are still necessary. Business leaders and owners can more easily lobby for laws that benefit them. The worker has little say in this, whereas having a collectivized union makes it easier for them to also have a voice in policy that directly affects them. I think unions are inherently democratic in making it far easier for workers' voices to be heard alongside those business leaders.
    My understanding is he never joined. The last company he worked for definitely paid its workers more money for a period of years. Eventually, the products became overpriced relative to value and quality suffered. US companies stagnated. The result was that a whole new set of foreign competitors took over much of the industry and large number of jobs moved overseas and to Mexico as the US companies moved manufacturing jobs to locations that were more economical. The company never recovered to anywhere near the market share they had previously and thus it impacts the US economy and jobs.

    You are right in what you say about companies lobbying for laws that benefit them. Look at the NRA. As I said much of Washington being broken has to do with the influence of corporate interests. Something needs to fundamentally change there. I don't think unions are necessarily the answer.

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  6. #1606
    The Greater Evil Maou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer Ed Powell View Post
    @highlander

    @Maou

    So far these criticisms of unions seem to be general criticisms that could apply to many types of organizations. For instance, as another member already pointed out, the criticism that unions stifle productivity levels is generally true about a lot of non-union businesses as well. I worked in a factory in a non-union state and we also had to deal with quota levels, being told to essentially pace our work, even at times when we could've completed weekly work rates early. I also saw obviously less-qualified people sometimes promoted or given raises purely on the basis of seniority or how well they got along with the boss rather than any consideration of merit. These problems are in no way limited to unions, and singling them out as though they are whilst naively pretending non-union companies only care about innovation, maximum productivity and merit-based advancement is dishonest--it involves comparing one on the dirty reality and the other on the flowery ideal. It doesn't seem based in any objective comparison so much as is in a tendency to evaluate unions only on their worst aspects whilst evaluating non union business practices only on their best traits or their ideal operating models. I don't claim unions to be perfect or ideal, but at least evaluate them in a fair light rather than just repeating the same tired anti-union talking points replete with words and phrases such as "stifle growth", "innovation" etc.
    You're not looking at the big picture, and what happens when a "merited worker" is an asshole and hated by everyone in the work group? Many people play their cards right entirely for their own benefits, while getting away with murder. Being in a union makes it harder to fire these assholes who have been in the business forever. Sometimes, even committing crimes while being protected. You see this in teacher unions all the time. Merit should only go as far as the boss's judgement on what is best for the company. It allows for competition, and healthy changes. Having the same old fucks in the same building forever, means nothing will ever change and improve. Synergy is just as important as merit, but only one gets benefits. The other gets a better time at work. Non-unionized jobs are far more likely to change hands often as well, if people do a poor job.
    "I'm fine with being a beast, I neither want nor need anything to protect. I just want to destroy everything, until the beast stops whining."

  7. #1607
    Crackpot Socialist highlander's Avatar
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    I watched Elizabeth Warren's town hall tonight. As much as she rubs me the wrong say in the debates, she killed it in the town hall. Very persuasive performance and good connection with the audience.

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