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View Diary: What's the Deal With Unions Anyway? (103 comments)

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  •  These are completely fair points (1+ / 0-)
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    It almost seems like you can divide the benefits gained from union membership into tangible and intangible benefits.

    Tangible benefits would be things like higher pay, pensions and retirement, health plans, vacation days, representation with management, etc. These are things that can be easily quantified and negotiated for. I don't see what the problem would be in contracting separately with union and non-union employees for these sorts of benefits. Something like, if you're in the union you get this much additional pay, these extra vacation days and so on because they were negotiated for you, and if you're not in the union you don't get those but you don't have to pay dues. Except, of course, that that's illegal. One possible workaround might be to offer a lot of these benefits directly through the union without involving the company at all (and to my knowledge this is already frequently done).

    Intangible benefits would be the benefits to the workplace as a whole from union activities. Things like having a reasonable work week, a safe working environment, and the knowledge that complaints will be addressed. This is where the "free rider" problem comes in, and I do see the point that non-union members receive these benefits without paying for them.

    I wonder, though, how many of these intangibles are already addressed by existing legislation and regulations. Is the presence of a union at a particular company the reason that company has good intangible benefits, or is it the fact that unions have fought for those things nationwide for the last century and they've become accepted practices at all companies?

    This might be a big part of the reason for the decline of unions. They still do a good job of fighting for tangible benefits, but on the intangible side, most of the big battles have already been won. If someone looks at the benefits a union can provide, and decides that they don't make sense financially, there really isn't much of a point in joining. Hence the desire for right-to-work.

    •  "most of the big battles have already been won." (9+ / 0-)

      Except if Republicans have their way, they won't stay "won".

      “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day.” Gloria Steinem

      by ahumbleopinion on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 07:40:48 AM PST

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    •  I live and work in FL, an "RTW" state. Wages here (0+ / 0-)

      suck, along with working conditions, and both are getting steadily worse. Because the mass of Big Bidness is so much greater, with a Red Lectroid Legislature and for decades a Red Lectroid governator. He is a REAL "ScottDog," no half-measures about it.

      Your restatement of what "right to work" means does not begin to capture the "if you want to eat, you'll take whatever you are offered" mentality of the Kochists who propound RTW as something "fair."

      Some union leaderships have gone off into their own form of highly privileged LaLaLand, gotten in bed with the Kleptocratic Capitalists, and sought special favors not for the general welfare but for their own tax scams and pension thievery. It's the nature of the human beast to be corrupt if the opportunity allows. That's no reason to denigrate and discard the gathering together of people who just want to do an honest day's work for a living wage and a chance to down tools and rest for a few years before they die.

      Do you have a plain, simple statement of your position on unions as good, bad, or indifferent?

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 10:52:32 AM PST

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