Unions considered helpful (economically)


#1

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#2

Most opposition to unions per se (as opposed to specific actions by specific unions*) is based on class warfare, even if it is dressed up in economic terms.
Its all about minimising the power of workers and increasing the dominance of capital owners and bosses.
* Unions, like any other human institution, can fall prey to personal politics, interest groups, self perpetuating bureaucracies and so on.


#3

Yes, it's OK for businesses to collude to minimize labor costs, but not for labor to work together for better benefits.


#4

My pesonal experience (and dislike) for unions isn't on the economic scale. (I actually agree that unions are a good thing economically), but rather socially.

My father-in-law was a low level supervisor at steel mill years ago. He was literally only a few years past being one of the union guys and certainly wasn't in any position to have any effect on contract negotiations.

But because he WASN'T union, when the union went on strike, he HAD to show up work or get fired. The union didn't represent him, so he wasn't protected by them.

Yet, he was threatened by strikers (normal), his house phone was called with death threats (way out of line) and another supervisor (who also was only going in because he had no choice) was SHOT at when driving past the strike line.

I've been anti-union ever since, emotionally, even if intellectually I know they are a good thing over all.

Josh


#5

Dick moves all around, and crimes to boot. Hope the cops did their jobs here.

Understandable. Like how someone gets freaked out if a man in a turban boards a plane, or how a black kid in a hoodie is instantly suspicious. Hope you come to reject your biases as well as understand them someday! It's hard for people to do that.


#6

And, don't forget the corporate media mantra:

Solidarity is a dirty, dangerous, socialist word.

Solidarity is a dirty, dangerous, socialist word.

Solidarity is a dirty, dangerous, socialist word.

In other news:


#7

Class warfare, protecting white workers from cheaper black labor, was the inspiration for some early unions in this country.


#8

Class warfare, protecting white workers from cheaper black labor, was the inspiration for some early unions in this country.

What's your point?


... In the 1960s, Walter Reuther and his UAW championed antidiscrimination laws, by funding the March on Washington of 1963 and by lobbying for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
...

In 2006, median earnings for women in unions was 31 percent higher than for non-union women; 36 percent greater for unionized African Americans; 8 percent more for Asian Americans; and 46 percent more for Latinos.

Union members are also far more likely to have health care benefits, and to have a greater share of health care benefits paid for by their employers. They are also more likely to receive sick leave and other types of paid time off.

For many minority workers, already living from paycheck to paycheck, illness can be devastating financially, and union negotiated benefits provide an important safety net. These benefits also help ensure that women workers with significant family-care responsibilities do not have to trade career advancement in order to care for their families.

Unions also monitor and enforce contractual safety standards to ensure that no worker is unreasonably exposed to danger in the workplace – something especially beneficial to immigrant workers in highly dangerous fields. Further, union members are more likely to have retirement benefits.

These wage and benefit premiums can help give the poorest workers the stability and access to resources they need to forge better lives for themselves and to greatly expand their children’s opportunities.

...

For LGBT workers, who today enjoy no federal legal protection, unions may be the only protection against mistreatment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Unions can also help negotiate for equal benefits for LGBT workers, including same-sex partner health care coverage.

Finally, today, unions remain catalysts for new laws to improve the workplace, just as they once contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Most recently, unions stood side-by-side with civil rights groups in support of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was signed by President Obama this January and restored workers’ ability to pursue pay discrimination claims.

...

READ MORE:

http://www.civilrights.org/advocacy/testimony/henderson-strong-labor-movement.html


#9

"What's your point?"
I was enlarging twem2's comment "Most opposition to unions per se (as opposed to specific actions by specific unions*) is based on class warfare."


#10

Let's not dodge the elephant in the room...

It seems to me your other point was to disingenuously malign unions in the present by digging up the past.

Or do you realize that unions are good for minorities today and simply want to bring up the past (that doesn’t apply today) for some other reason?


#11

My point was to point out the role class warfare and racism played in the origin of unionism. We cannot erase our shame by erasing history.


#12

My point was to point out the role class warfare and racism played in the origin of unionism.

And, again, what was the point of that except to disparage unions?

We cannot erase our shame by erasing history.

You shouldn't try to whitewash the good that unions do for minorities today by propping up a negative history of unions in bygone days without that proper context.

Again, do you realize that unions are beneficial for minorities today? You know, in our current reality which would be in the context of this Boing Boing post which isn't focusing on their impact scores of decades ago?


#13

I'm not English, but here in America we've solved this conundrum, with forty years of anti-union messages and anti-regulation messages. Then how do you protect your workers, you might ask?


#14

This isn't surprising when you think about it. Behavior economics has illustrated that people with power will sacrifice a great deal of their own financial wellbeing, and that of their organization, to preserve their power.


#15

Sounds like the trolls on the political websites who are always pointing out that the Democratic Party was the party of Jim Crow.

That was then. This is now.


#16

Yet you swallow whole "Most opposition to unions per se (as opposed to specific actions by specific unions*) is based on class warfare, even if it is dressed up in economic terms."


#17

The real takeaway is that we need to organize unions in China, southeast Asia, etc... to improve wages in the US now, thanks to globalization. Added bonus: Living wages all around! Downside: I think they shoot union organizers over there.


#18

I think I know the perfect man for the job.


#19

It kind of went without saying that @twem2 meant most current opposition.

So far you're failing the disingenuity test.


#20

I have a Republican stepbrother who once confronted me, apoplectic with rage, for supporting the party of Thomas Jefferson (spit) who apparently once did something devious, politically. I didn't even know how to respond. Maybe I should have said, "Yep, that settles it! If Jefferson did that bad thing, I shall vote Republican from here on in. After all, I am a straight white man! Bring on the Romneys!"

Yea, people use history in the strangest ways.