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View Diary: Why Unions? Labor 101 (269 comments)

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  •  Yeahbut (2+ / 0-)
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    dianem, kraant

    Most of what I ever seen talking about support of Unions and whats in it for me, is stuff that they did in the 1920s and 1930s.  While I understand and realize that was all very important.  It's not something happening right now.  The perception was unions were relevant once, but they no longer are, so why do we waste time supporting them.

    I guess the point is to change that, we need to stop talking about the past and start talking about the future.

    During the primary season last time around, I think Wes Clark during one of the debates talked about how Unions could become an important factor in helping to train workers for a modern environment.  That is, the reality is today, you may not have the same job for your entire life.  But a Union of auto mechanics doesn't much care about you if you become a pipe fitter.  The unions could help to make it easier for people to become more mobile between jobs, or cities, etc.

    I mean think about that too.  You lose your job in Detroit.  Someone helps you find a job in Chicago.  Moving from Detroit to Chicago is a big deal, it's scarey.  But what if you have a fraternal brotherhood who will help?  You show up in Chicago and ten guys you don't know but can trust come out to help unload your truck?  They help you find a place to live.  They explain to you what's happening in the community, where to go, what to do, etc.

    That's just a random thought.  Maybe unions already do that, but that's certainly not the perception.

    •  The model you're looking for (3+ / 0-)
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      NickM, farleftcoast, kraant

      can be found in the teacher's unions - the NEA and the AFT primarily, but there are others.  These are national organizations that do have mechanisms in place to aid in relocation, mid-career transfers, and yes, separation from the profession.  

      Should a professional organization be obligated to retrain people who decide to leave their jobs?  If that's what you're asking for, then the answer is no.  A union, like any professional organization, looks out for the rights and welfare of its dues-paying members - people who are likewise members of a similar profession.  Why should it's obligation extend past the term of employment in the profession - better yet, why not organize and bargain a contract that requires employers to retrain laid-off workers or pay their resettlement costs?

      "He should bow to no authority and acknowledge no king" - Lucian

      by Unitary Moonbat on Tue Jun 13, 2006 at 11:32:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kraant

        Why should it's obligation extend past the term of employment in the profession

        It's probably why there are fewer unionized people today.  The Unions didn't work to keep the people inside the brotherhood.  Once they got laid off, lost their jobs... they were let loose with a hearty "thank god it's you and not me" and no gold watch.

    •  this is the point I made (2+ / 0-)
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      farleftcoast, kraant

      sort of, in a backward way.

      I think we need some anecdotal stories about how unions have helped recently AND how that translates statistically.  And in there, we need to be reminded of the bad stories about employers who fire people at will on trumped up charges, focusing on the legal victories for those who've been fired.

      I believe it's impossible to change the perception until we first change it here, in the progressive community.

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