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View Diary: Unions 101 - Which Side Are You On? (130 comments)

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  •  I am on the side of working people in (8+ / 0-)

    America, and I don't think that the government should get a pass on protecting them because some working people have the protection of unions.  I also don't think that non-unionized workers don't deserve to be treated decently because they haven't unionized.

    "I can't go to sleep. Someone on the internet is wrong!"

    by DrJeremy on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 11:33:00 PM PDT

    •  Unions are fighting for all workers (23+ / 0-)

      not just the lucky few who are already organized.

      Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

      by norwood on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 11:38:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? Because if that is the case, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        debedb, tnproud2b

        their PR machine sucks.  All you hear is that if people are stupid enough to not be unionized, they deserve whatever shite comes to them.  I don't think I have ever heard a union person say one word in support of non-unionized workers.

        "I can't go to sleep. Someone on the internet is wrong!"

        by DrJeremy on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 11:41:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Where are you listening, precisely? (22+ / 0-)

          Because I've never heard anything of the like you're talking about. At all.

          •  Can't give you specifics, (0+ / 0-)

            but the fact that I am saying this supports my comment about the PR machine.  I never heard that unions were working for anyone who wasn't union, and I'm pretty politically active, have spent a lot of time talking to union guys, doing organizing things, including with unions.  They're all about the union and anyone else can suck it.   At least, that's the message I got. If it's wrong, that's great, but there is still obviously a messaging problem.

            "I can't go to sleep. Someone on the internet is wrong!"

            by DrJeremy on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 11:59:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Alright. (8+ / 0-)

              If that's been your experience, I'm quite sorry and more than a bit shocked.

              I live in an extremely worker (and thus, Union) hostile state. And every interaction I've ever had with union supporters has been extremely positive, and even apologetic that inroads haven't been made very deep into these ass-backward jurisdictions.

              •  Oh, they're great guys, but they feel that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CS in AZ

                there should be a two-tier system of labor - union workers should be treated well, and non-union can go suck it.  The attitude is that if non-union workers want to be treated with basic rights and dignity, they should unionize, and if they don't do that, then oh well for them.  Like I said, it's a PR issue, because that is what I have seen, not saying it's accurate, but that is how it comes across.  My problem with unions is that it gives the government an out to not treat all workers properly, and the unions seem to be down with that, because of money and such as.

                "I can't go to sleep. Someone on the internet is wrong!"

                by DrJeremy on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:10:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  That's not the union folks I know (6+ / 0-)

              Keep in mind that the laws on the books that do exist for the protection of all workers - and, yes, they could be better - came about in part because workers and unions agitated for them.

              I think every worker is entitled to protections, both from statues that cover everyone and from collective bargaining.

              Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

              by Linnaeus on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:44:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I totally get that, (0+ / 0-)

                but I think that unions give the government an out.  All workers should be protected, not just unionized ones.

                "I can't go to sleep. Someone on the internet is wrong!"

                by DrJeremy on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:46:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What you're describing is a guild, not a union. (8+ / 0-)

                  Unions have a natural inclination to work for the workers in their industry, not for their members. (If they achieved benefits only for their members, they rise the incentives to de-unionize for the owners/ employers, i.e. making it harder for themselves in te long run. Not smart.)  

                  Of course, in a generally union-hostile society as the USA (as opposed to the Northern and Western European countries) unions have to beware of too many 'freeriders' - they have to have a minimum membership to stay operational and be able to exert some influence (e.g. for calling a strike)

                  Therefore, they continuously urge working people to become unionized - you really don't expect them to go out and say: "Please, do nothing, don't risk anything, we'll do the fighting for ya!" Still, they understand that some workers have it harder than others to organize (Wal-Mart et al) - and they practice solidarity with these workers by fighting for a Public Option, just to name a recent example, or have you forgotten the huge rallies the unions held in support of the measure?

                  "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach XI

                  by aufklaerer on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 01:18:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  yep (6+ / 0-)

                8 hour day, lunch breaks, anything to do with job safety.  If you have it, thank a union.

                If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

                by marykk on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 04:21:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Open your eyes (16+ / 0-)

          Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

          by norwood on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 11:46:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  that's because you're listening to media (13+ / 0-)

          that's a PR organ for capital and management.

          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

          by wu ming on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:20:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Then you've never heard of (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terri, Linnaeus, Dirtandiron, hardhatmama

          the SEIU, the Teamsters, or the IWA?

          I'll offer up one of my own diaries as allegorical proof: Teamsters & Turtles Target POLA/POLB. That's just one story from one campaign in one town, and there are thousands more just like it.

          Hm... Check out Union of Unemployed workers (a community service project of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers).

          --- Perma-ban or bust. - opendna

          by opendna on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 01:18:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  OK, y'know, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          norwood, Dirtandiron, CS in AZ

          not all unions live up to the ideal.  Hey, the SEIU-NUHW fight is an example.  Captive "management unions" are famous, and have been used in China to suppress real unionism.

          But when faced with a monopolistic or cartel-like, oppressive employer -- as all too many people are -- a union is your only real option for getting a fair deal.  (It's different if you're dealing with dozens or hundreds of small, uncoordinated employers.)

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 03:48:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well said. (0+ / 0-)

            I think this is right on. There are obviously certain places and situations where unionizing is the only way for workers to have any power at all. I've sat and watched Norma Rae at least a dozen times and I cry every time. It's impossible to not stand in awe of the sacrifices, hard work, risks, and struggle, and how important it was to those workers to organize.

            But, I think it's also wrong to insist that every person in every job in the country should be in a union, or "must be" in a union "for our protection" -- that ignores people, like me for example, who work in places where it's not needed and doesn't make sense, and would in fact be counterproductive. I work for a nonprofit that serves people with disabilities, and we have a governing board that is composed of people who care about other people, that is why they do this. And they do their best to treat staff with respect and treat them well. The people who work there do so because of their preference for this kind of culture, where we are all on the SAME "side" -- there actually are no 'sides' -- and this workplace has no use whatsoever for any sort of us against them division between "workers" and the leadership of the organization.

            Unions rightly want credit for the betterment of workers everywhere, and they deserve that credit and thanks from all of us.

            But that does not mean we all need to actually join a union today, "or else" -- and union advocates would be well advised to tone down that rhetoric, and recognize that they are not the answer to everything, for everyone. Especially suggesting, as this diary seems to do, that unless you are a union member, one of  "us" -- then you are "them" and on the side of evil. That is really off-putting, to say the least.

            •  Workers in nonprofits (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dirtandiron

              Need to organize too.

              Yes, I know the nonprofit you work for is doing good work. I admire that and I admire the fact that many folks who work for nonprofits don't mind doing so for a salary that might be less than the industry average. You know, just to help out the cause.

              The problem is that many nonprofit workers and volunteers are being exploited exactly because they do care. The willingness to accept a pay cut in return for doing meaningful work feeds the downward spiral.

              I've long been peeved that even the "good" nonprofits give themselves a pass on workers' (and volunteers') rights.

              An organized workforce will strengthen an institution by keeping it honest and ensuring that the workers retain a voice. It's shortsighted and wrong to assume that you don't need a union just because conditions aren't so bad for you right this minute.

              Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

              by norwood on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 09:17:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  5 seconds on google (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          norwood, Ivan, Dirtandiron, qotfw

          would provide you the answers you're looking for, if you're really looking for answers.

      •  Not always. (3+ / 0-)

        I've spent 3 years trying to promote some of my staff. The union is blocking it, accusing me of promoting them simply to get them out of the union. 3 years in court. 3 years of a 20% pay increase denied to them.

        I'm not anti-union, but I'm sure as hell not reflexively pro-union any longer.

        Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

        by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:08:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are 2 sides to every dispute (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          churchylafemme, Dirtandiron

          Having union representation ensures workers get their side heard.

          Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

          by norwood on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:15:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  3 years? (3+ / 0-)

            I worked hard for their promotions. We've got support 4 levels above me for these promotions. They want these promotions. They have no job growth at this level and I'm trying to change that. Their only solution is to quit and try and get a different job and they don't want to do that (leaving aside the question of whether they'd ever get the 30K or so in back pay they're owed. They're pissed. I'm pissed. Everyone is on the same side here except for the union. 3 years in court and our sides have been heard - but the union keeps blocking the promotion. Whose interests are being heard here, other than the unions?

            Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

            by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:22:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't agree with everything my union does (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dirtandiron

              I raise my voice and try to sway by brothers and sisters to my side.

              If that doesn't work, I suck it up and keep working for the good of the union.

              Suck it up.

              Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

              by norwood on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:25:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And there you go, (0+ / 0-)

                is it about the union, or the workers?

                "I can't go to sleep. Someone on the internet is wrong!"

                by DrJeremy on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:35:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not in the union. (0+ / 0-)

                I'm just trying to promote my staff and I'm being prevented from doing that.

                Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

                by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:38:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  what exactly is preventing you? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dirtandiron

                  Why can't people in the union be promoted?

                  •  The union has sued the institution (3+ / 0-)

                    claiming that the institution is trying to bypass the CBA by promoting employees out of the union. Well, we are, because we want to pay them more to do higher level work, a level of work which isn't covered under the union. I'm not trying to classify them out of a job (which would be a valid complaint) - they want the promotion and I want to pay them more.

                    Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

                    by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 01:07:17 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Bullshit (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ivan, Dirtandiron

                      When you go into management where I work you end up working twice as many hours for the same amount of pay. We figured out with the number of hours worked one of my old supervisors was actually making about $5.50 an hour. While we happily made $26.00. Workers move into management for the title and the supposed status not the money. Please produce some concrete facts about the lawsuit. Some links we can see. If you can't we know you're blowing smoke.

                      •  I'm not going to do that. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        CS in AZ

                        Not that I can't, but if I give enough detail I'd be revealing who these people are. We take job classification seriously as an institution (I work in the public sector, btw). In my part of the institution, it's all clerical/administrative work. There are no classified management positions that don't pay more than the positions they supervise unless there is a massive discrepancy in service (20 years or more). There are no exempt positions that don't pay more than non-exempt unless there a smaller discrepancy in service (about 10 years). What's more, this isn't a blind promotion - the staff need to approve the new job description in writing, which they happily did as they helped to write them. They know exactly what the new job entails.

                        Seriously, do I sound like someone trying to screw them over?

                        Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

                        by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 07:57:30 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Is it really a promotion, or is it simply (0+ / 0-)

                          a change in job title so they can be put on salary, and worked long hours without overtime? Please understand, I'm not trying to be argumentative, I am just speculating about why a union might oppose something like that.

                      •  Where you work is your company, not his (0+ / 0-)

                        Citing what is happening at your job -- which I notice you do not provide any links or evidence to prove is true, we just have to take your word for it -- does not make what he is saying "bullshit" or have anything to do with it.

                        Unions do this kind of thing in real life and denying it, and attacking the messenger, doesn't make your case stronger. Union advocates need to acknowledge the fact that unions are not perfect, and they have been losing membership over the years, and losing public support, and their own behavior at times is part of the reason for that. Dealing with that honestly would be a better strategy for boosting support and memberships for unions.

            •  "they have no job growth at this level" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dirtandiron

              Are you saying the only way they can have job growth is if they get out of the union? Maybe that's what's wrong with this picture. It sounds like there are definitely at least two sides to this dispute.

              •  They're clerical workers. (3+ / 0-)

                They're at the top of their pay grade but capable of analytical work. I want to move them into an analytical position but that takes them out of the union. That opens up a huge number of new opportunities for them.

                Now, I could give them the analytical work, but then there'd be a legitimate labor complaint that could be filed by asking them to work outside of their job description without compensation. I want to compensate them. We have a mechanism to do that, but the union is blocking us from implementing it because they're losing membership. That's just the nature of administrative offices these days - we don't need nearly as much clerical work as we used to, but we need more analytical work. My alternative is to eliminate their positions (which I can do and the union can't block it) and create new ones, but I can't hire these workers back into the new positions and I'm not about to throw them out of their jobs. I'm trying to help them, after all.

                The union's scope at the institution is limited (we have a dozen different unions representing different classes of workers). I can't control that, but it's not my responsibility to help the unions keep their membership. It's my responsibility to run my office and support my staff, and that's the entirety of what I'm trying to do here. If workers are forced to forever stay in their little balkanzied unions, how is that fair to them? How does that benefit them?

                Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

                by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:48:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I hear you about the balkanization. (6+ / 0-)

                  It is a shame the unionized workers are being set against one another. But it's too bad the analysts don't have union representation as well as the clerical workers.

                  What solution do the union reps envision to help these employees?

                  •  They're trying to unionize the (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dsb, neroden, justalittlebitcrazy

                    analysts, but it'll never happen because the upward path for the analysts is up to management class, which would take them out of the union and everyone is terrified that the union would block their promotions.

                    It's a shitty reason to block these promotions, though. The unionized workers aren't being set against one another - the administration really is working hard to erase these boundaries as much as possible (including allowing employees to move into the union) but quite a few of the unions are adopting positions that favor the union over the employees. Not all, mind you - I think several are doing a great job, but the others really aren't helping their members at all.

                    I give the union reps opportunities to meet with my staff, but my staff won't talk to them any more. They're incensed at how they've been treated.

                    Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

                    by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 01:32:29 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This is bizarre. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Dirtandiron

                      Since when do unions block promotions to management?

                      In railroading, management aren't members of unions, but they practically all used to be before they were promoted.  I was under the impression that this was normal in a number of heavy industries.

                      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                      by neroden on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 03:50:47 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Without knowing the situation (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        norwood, Dirtandiron

                        I wonder if it's possibly that the workers there are just barely unionized, that is..that they have just a small handful of members over the number required to maintain a union.

                        If that's the case, it's possible that management promoting a few people out of the union would be enough to destroy it.

                        In any case, there are 2 sides to every dispute, and one person's experience about one union situation can't really be extrapolated to mean anything about unions in general.

                        •  No, there's quite a lot of people covered (0+ / 0-)

                          by this particular union. They have easily 2,000 staff classified in these levels across the institution. They are losing members, though. Budget cuts (we're public sector) are causing the clerical positions to be lost faster than other levels and improvement in online tools, processes, and so on is naturally reducing the number we need. It's why we need to shift from clerical to analytical.

                          A reasonable analogy would be K-12. If a large school district was facing budget cuts and needed to reduce the number of non-teaching staff covered by a union other than the teachers union and decided to promote some of their non-teaching staff with credentials into teaching positions for valid reasons, with commensurate increases in pay, etc. I don't think we'd be inclined to oppose that, but that's essentially what's happening. In fact, the change to my staff's job duties would be significantly less than in my example.

                          Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

                          by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 08:09:16 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  They're not management positions (0+ / 0-)

                        They're analytical ones. No supervisory responsibilities.

                        I was shocked when they blocked the promotions, but mine aren't the only ones they've blocked. They've blocked all similar ones at the institution - anything that would classify a worker out of the union, even if it classifies them into a different union. Like I said, we're not anti-union here. We're not heavy industry - we're purely administrative.

                        Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

                        by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 08:00:34 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  sadly (8+ / 0-)

              What you say is frequently true; many unions of become bureaucratized to the point of absurdity, and have worked for their own self-interest at the expense of broader social justice for labor.

              Having said that, the abuses of organized labor are just a tiny, tiny drop in the bucket compared to the criminal exploitation of human and natural resources perpetuated every single violent day by organized business.

              Blaming unions for the situation facing american workers today is like watching a house burn down and criticizing the flowerbeds.

            •  I don't know about your situation (8+ / 0-)

              So, I can't say that the union is in the right or wrong here, though from what you say here it doesn't sound good.  I don't agree with everything my union does; like any institution created by and run by human beings, unions have (and will) make mistakes.

              That said, I know my employer has pulled the tactic of "reclassifying" employees in order to place them out of our bargaining unit.  You seem to be talking about a bona fide promotion (and I do hope that the situation gets settled in the best interests of the workers involved), so that's perhaps a little different.  At my workplace, what the employer did was change the job title and classification of some workers' titles that were not defined as being in the bargaining unit according to our CBA, even though the reclassified workers were doing the same work that employees who were in the bargaining unit did.

              In other words, it was an attempt to keep some workers from being covered by the CBA, even though they should have been because of the work they were doing.  I should also add that these workers were also being paid at a rate lower than the rate specified in the CBA.  Well, not anymore, because the local filed a grievance.

              Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

              by Linnaeus on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:41:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good example (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Terri, Linnaeus, Hoghead99

                And very diplomatically presented. I was thinking of similar situations but I'm not as nice as you, and I would have come across as an angry union goon.

                Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

                by norwood on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:47:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I'm trying to give them a 20% raise (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Linnaeus, dsb, neroden, skohayes, CS in AZ

                30% in one case because this has dragged out so long. Their benefit package would be exactly the same as what they get now. They remain non-exempt, just as they are now. They would have the same hours, the same work space, the same pension plan (though earning 20%-30% more, they qualify for a higher payout at retirement), the same vacation and sick leave accrual, the same reporting structure - I'd just be giving them more analytical work and less clerical - which they want to do. And they'd be at the bottom of their job series, so they'd be eligible for a further promotion out of the training level position 6-18 months after moving into it, so all of these staff would almost certainly have gotten promoted again with another 10%-15% pay increase by now. They'll get back pay if the original promotion goes through, but not for the subsequent one, and it's awfully hard to look at them every day knowing that they have a baby BMW worth of back pay that they're owed which I'm powerless to deliver on.

                Leave it to Republicans to set the house on fire and then rant that the fire department is socialist.

                by johnsonwax on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 01:04:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Really? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              norwood, Dirtandiron

              I'm in one of the strongest unions in Florida and if I want to be promoted to management I wouldn't have any problems at all. I'm free to be a scab and a few of my brothers have and are now regretting it. So I don't know what kind of malarkey you are referring to when yo say ,"the union won't let it happen." I'm pretty sure there's more to it than that.

    •  there are such things as businesses that (4+ / 0-)

      treat their workers well, every once in a while you hear about them. they don't really need unions & nobody bothers to try organizing there. sadly, they are the exception especially nowadays.

      Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

      by rasbobbo on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 11:57:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good for those businesses, but (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ivan, Clues, Dirtandiron, swampyankee

        Workers need to be organized for their own protection - relying on the kindness of the owners is not a viable long term strategy.

        Damn straight I'm Union. I climb poles and fix cable to unclog the tubes that bring you the internets. You're Welcome.

        by norwood on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:02:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, we need to have laws that protect workers. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Linnaeus, AaronInSanDiego, in2mixin

          Saying that organized workers should be protected and non-organized ones just don't matter is wrong.  This needs to be something that protects all workers.

          "I can't go to sleep. Someone on the internet is wrong!"

          by DrJeremy on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:05:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  yeah, megaprops to those business (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          neroden

          they are few & far between, but they do exist. i've seen it during this latest economic discomfort. a local lumber/hardware store which had to cut everybody's hours a little to ride the construction bust out. they didn't have to lay anyone off & everybody kept their benefits & jobs. home depot? yeah the workers there would no doubt benefit from organizing, the company i'm talking about, naw.

          Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. The Gita 3.21

          by rasbobbo on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:25:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, depends who has the economic power (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          norwood, Dirtandiron

          if you have a gazillion owners and a small number of skilled employees, the employees have the whip hand.

          If as is more normal you have very few owners and lots and lots of potential employees, the employees need to organize in order to have bargaining power.

          This is actually Econ 101.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 04:00:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  that's what all my programmer friends said (13+ / 0-)

        back in the 90s. unions were for poor people, working class people.

        then come the tech bust, and the outsourcing and H1Bs of the zeroes, all of them are screaming about their employers (or, more often, former employers). if they had been unionized, they might have fared better, but they fell prey to the white collar distrust of unions on tribal grounds. oops.

        before our grad student workers' union, we paid through the nose for insurance, had very low wages, had no say on working conditions, and had a laughably anemic sexual harassment grievance system (basically, complain to your professor, whom you were most likely working for at the time). after the union, everything got better.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 12:23:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  WTF? (6+ / 0-)

      and 6 people recc'd that.

      You think that unions only work for government protections for unionized people?

      The Fair Labor Standards Act - 8 hour work days, minimum wage

      The Occupational Health and Safety Act

      The New Deal - Unemployment insurance and Social Security

      The Civil Rights Act and title VII

      The Family Medical Leave Act

      These are all things that every worker enjoys because of unions.

      Look, if you don't understand a topic and are not fully versed on it, it's perfectly ok to come in here and ask how unions have helped non-unionized workers in this country.  But to start posting your uninformed opinion with an air of great authority only makes you look foolish.

      If you don't know anything about the labor movement, ask.  People here will be happy to fill you in.

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