This is a discussion on Unions are NOT Villians: Their Death a Part Cause of the Death of the MIDDLE-CLASS within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Yes, I know, I was in one, Unions got greedy, the one I in years back: Steelworkers. However I can tell you how life was ...
Yes, I know, I was in one, Unions got greedy, the one I in years back: Steelworkers. However I can tell you how life was at work without those Unions, for I knew well a man who died recently at 94, and there was no Union when he was an Auto-Worker his first years. Even though these were the years there were no jobs, he said 80% of those hired at the Chevy Plant could not last through their first year, it was that terrible.
Leaving the line to go to the bathroom was not allowed. Lunch was an unpaid half-hour but since you had to re-tool your area for the next run most didn't eat. Safety was not in existence. If hurt in an accident that would be often the end of your job - hours were incredible by number each day, with awful working conditions hour after hour day after day. One could only be hired back from frequent Lay-Off by personally being in good graces with the Foreman, the God of whether you worked or had no food. The poor workers, paid zilch, would vie to have the Foreman over for Sunday dinner and buy him good gifts on the Holidays - you'd never have a job again unless you did these things.
Anyway, due to excess of some years later, instead of realizing Unions' value and just going after the excesses, we tossed the baby out with the bathwater and are paying dearly for the Death of Unions.
Everyone blames Unions as a culprit in the present askew state of affairs. But few realize that the wealth of the Middle-Class began to decline along with the decline of Unions in the early 80s through the present. Why? Because the average worker has absolutely no leverage on their sole part to force a company to share the increasing wealth they make, unless the employee is an Entertainment star, or Sports Star or Academic Star. Most aren't stars though. Just employees. Companies sharing their growing wealth can only occur with the individual as part of the whole group of employees negotiating. Without that, incomes in relation to the growing wealth of companies stays flat - as it has now as a part of stagnating wealth levels of the Middle-Class for 35 years. For all some Unions were excessive, these two phenomena are intimately connected.
Thus, we are now in the State of Affairs where Big Business grows wealthier and wealthier as do the 1% of the richest beneficiaries of that wealth become richer and richer, so rich that the top 1% owns 40% of the nation's wealth, with most of the rest going to the top 10% of the wealthy. And the Middle and the Poor classes get a few droppings from their tables.
This is a product partly of the Death of Unions, and the other major producer of this unbelievable Inequality: the failure to penalize with onerous tax-surcharges the wholesale outsourcing of workers by the same companies. Instead, the barn-doors were flung open with the Greatest of Love for "Free Trade".
And here we are. Quietly accepting the death of two whole classes of people which is by far the majority population of our country.
I know one thing for sure: our forefathers would not so nicely have accepted their own destruction but would have made their voices heard like a screaming eagle about to zero in on its prey - even the wealthiest of the wealthy and all the "purchased" politicians tremble at the rage of The People and the Cry of THAT Eagle - Why are we so frickin' pleasant as we sink beneath the waves?
Last edited by detective; September 26th, 2013 at 09:14 AM.
" It is sad governments are chief'ed by the double tongues." quote Ten Bears Movie Outlaw Josie Wales
There can be no doubt that unions served their place in history and helped workers get a fair shake. The funny thing about "Big Business" is that it's an open club. If fact most people are already members through their pensions or 401K plans. Like anything else in Life, changing your circumstances requires a little work and sacrifice. Educate yourself in how the Market works, live below your means, invest your savings in some of these evil big businesses. Stay at it, learn from your mistakes and then thank God that, for whatever reason, you were born in America and got a chance to participate in the Capitalist system which has done more to improve the lives of people than anything else known to man. It may not be perfect, it doesn't dispense equal outcomes but individuals working in their own self interests has proven to be a better solution that any collectivist nightmare dreamt up by a totalitarian in an ivory tower and readily digested by people too busy sniffing their neighbor's butts to go about the hard work of improving their own station in life.
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations” – James Madison 1788
I survived union and non union and even was a business agent for a local union at one point in time. There were good and bad ones, and the one I was in was a big joke. At any rate I survived and have been retired since 2000, and am loving it.
Hang in there all of you working stiffs, someday you'll get to that happy place.
I don't even know where to get started here without getting banned. So that's all I'm saying for now. In short, Unions should stay dead.
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I fully agree that health and safety standards needed to be addressed, and they were by OHSA. What you are advocating though, is Socialism. Each person getting an equal share of the company.
Why should workers get a bigger share than what they have worked for, and agreed to when they were hired?
The owner takes the financial risk and works harder than any of his workers will ever know, even though on the surface it doesn't look like it.
Many, many companies offer incentives and bonuses to employees who perform above and beyond. There are also pay raises and usually overtime hours in most industry.
Unions have done themselves in because of corruption and greed. What was once necessary to get laws enacted to protect workers from unsafe environments and unsafe practices (like letting children work in factories), has morphed into extortion of companies to get more and more goodies. The Golden Cadillac retirement plans are bringing a lot of companies (and municipalities for that matter) to their knees. They are unsustainable but it seems as if the Unions would rather the company go under than give up any benefits.
Unions are destroying the middle class, not companies...IMO.
Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.- Mark Twain
Thank you JL. I had typed up a similar response, but far more boorish and not nearly as elegant you put it. I'm glad I deleted before posting.
'Clinging to my guns and religion
I have always found it interesting when one side or the other labels someone as "corrupt and greedy" while ignoring their side's issues. The reality is that PEOPLE are often corrupt and greedy, doesn't matter if they are part of the union leadership or leading the company. The reality is that unions were brought into existence because of corporate greed and corruption. The problem is that power corrupts, and that happened to the unions. Now unions are on the decline and corporate corruption and greed are on the rise.
JL, yes small business owners work their butts off and typically work many times harder than their workers do but those workers never see that. But those are not the people that are the problem it is the CEO and other "C folks". We have CEOs, CFO, COOs... all that make millions "managing" companies they did not build. These people do not work like the small business owners.
You can thank the unions for moving more jobs overseas, the constant demands for more pay and benefits for less productivity plus higher union dues are what are killing unions. I had to wait and hour and a half for a “union” electrician to waddle over just to replace a light bulb so the forklift operator could finish unloading my truck cost me a good load because I could not make the pickup time.
When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
"Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."
This plus the castration of employee power through the loss of Unions which makes every individual another and much poorer island trying fruitlessly to keep up on their own = the huge spike in the country's percentage of total wealth, 40% owned by a sliver at the top, 1% of the total population, most of the rest going to the top 10%, and the paltry remainder to the Middle-Class and none to the Poor Class.
I am a small business owner, have run one in great times, and rotten times, (like we have had for the last 5 years), and I AM PRO UNION. Why? Well, one reason is that I am smart enough to understand that I do better when those around me do better. And so do local communities. And virtually all the other small business owners.
Try offering goods & services to a broke community, in a depression, and see what that gets you. Detroit, comes to mind.
Outwest put it well; Why were unions created? BECAUSE THEY WERE NEEDED....and still are, in my book.
BTW, someone posted something about socialism. I think they were wrong, but whatever. Well, do you guys support SOCIAL Security? How about Medicare? How about our Armed Forces, or the interstate system, hoover dam, public schools? All "socialism". There are some things we need Govt to do.
Ask those in TX how they like their privatized electric companies. They are bleeding them dry, in lots of places, from what I hear. Their old "socialist" electric companies are looking pretty good, right now.
I bet everyone here could agree that things are not going well with our Country right now. Heck, for many things Id take our country as it was in the 50's or 60's, as far as the living standards of our people, went. Right now we have near 50% of the households drawing some public assistance. None of us want that, if we could put folks to work.
We got bridges that need building, roads that need fixing, and electric grids to build & improve. Lets cut off spending in iraq, and put some of our people to work, and this time actually get something for our money. And no, it wont bother me a bit if those folks we put to work, join a union.