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In the 12 months that ended in June, the rate of nationwide union membership as a part of the work force fell from 12.4 percent to 12.1 percent, according to a new report from the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, The State of the Unions in 2010: A Profile of Union Membership in Los Angeles, California and the Nation. For California, membership dropped from 18.3 percent to 17.6 percent over that year. In the five-county Los Angeles metropolitan area, unionization fell by a full point, from 17.5 percent to 16.5 percent.

California accounts for about 16 percent of the nation’s nearly 15 million union members. But the rate of unionization is higher in nine other states (New York, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, New Jersey, Michigan, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Connecticut).

Earlier in the recession, jobs were lost in great numbers, but these were mostly not union jobs. That dynamic has changed, according to Lauren Appelbaum, the report's lead author.

The report also noted another change:

Despite consistently lower unionization rates in the private sector than in the public sector, the much larger size of the private sector workforce has meant that there have traditionally been a larger number of union workers in the private sector.  This has now changed.  For the first time ever, the number of union members in the public sector is greater than the number of private sector union members.

Unions  are under attack from Republicans and other right wingers just as they have been since before they got the legal right to organize and bargain collectively 75 years ago. But public unions, particularly teachers unions, are getting punched hardest. And as election day nears, it worsens. For instance, Republican Meg Whitman, running for California governor against Democrat Jerry Brown, whom she says was "bought" by "big labor," has pledged to lay off 40,000 public-sector workers if she wins the election.

The big complaint: union workers get better pay, better benefits, better job protection and health coverage.  Nationwide, union workers made $4.30 an hour more than non-union workers during the year covered by the report. Well, duh. It's practically criminal, ain't it? If these damned unions weren't around everybody could be paid less, live without benefits and get fired for no reason without anybody putting up a fuss.

The report came as no surprise to members of the Service Employees International Union, who gathered Monday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to celebrate a Labor Day Mass.

Marta Escobar, a single mother of four, was one of 16 janitors who lost their jobs last month cleaning two office towers owned by JPMorgan Chase in Century City. She said she spent years cleaning homes and is particularly concerned about losing the benefits that come with a union job, including healthcare for her younger children.

"The job is really important for me because it means I can offer my kids a future," Escobar said. "Nothing extravagant, but a future."

While the unionization of janitors was a major success story for SEIU, such workers have not been typical of union membership in California or elsewhere for several decades:

For the country as a whole, unionization rates go up with the amount of formal education and at 14.1%, the unionization rate is highest for workers with a college degree.  In California and Los Angeles, workers with some college as well as those with a college degree have higher unionization rates than those with less education. About one-fifth of workers with some college or a college degree are unionized in both California and Los Angeles.  Whereas decades ago the archetypal union member was a blue collar worker with limited education, today mid-level professionals are much more likely to be unionized than anyone else, especially in sectors like educational services and public administration.  However, even highly educated workers have been affected by the recession and unionization rates for college educated workers have decreased compared to last year.  

Among the report's other findings:

• Nationwide, men are unionized at a 1.7 percent higher rate than women. But in California, women are unionized at 18.1 percent and men at 17.1 percent.

• African Americans are more unionized than whites, with Asian Americans and Latinos and the least unionized. Part of that is because the latter two groups are more likely to be foreign-born, a major factor in whether a person joins a union or not.

• There is a huge difference in the percentage of workers who are unionized in California and nationwide. Whites: 19.4 percent/12.3 percent. Blacks: 24.9 percent/13.8. Asians: 16.6 percent/11.8 percent. Latinos: 14.3 percent/9.8 percent.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by I follow and I Quote Meteor Blades in my Diary Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So Whitman wants to win (12+ / 0-)

    by pledging to shitcan 40,000 workers? I guess Jerry got himself 40,000 votes right there.

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:03:10 PM PDT

    •  Whitman will continue to destroy California (11+ / 0-)

      in the bold tradition of Republicans starting with St. Ronald the destroyer.

      look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:12:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i have one word for CA. (4+ / 0-)

      Okay. that's four.
      Blue Jersey.
      We don't vote for hard core right wing bush supporting right wing union hating GOP'ers for Senator or Governor.
      we did last november though.

      notice how you see NJ up there as a big union state?
      no one hates unions more than christie.
      every union in the state worked against him.
      he won by a rather large margin.
      he kicked the pants off of union loving Corzine.
      and he insulted them from DAY ONE and never let up and still won.
      NJ voters love Private sector unions.
      And are not a fan of Public sector unions.
      So his gamble paid off.
      Don't put it past whitman either.

      CA Voters?
      GOTV your ass off off for Brown.
      The public is in a hating mood.
      GOTV from now till election day.

      I contributed to Boxer and Brown last month out  of anger toward the Christie win.
      something i still reeling from and seething over.
      (and yes, he's still hating. )

      "Oh changed your hair color? It's just so dark. You like it? And with your skin tone?" My Beloved Mom, December 25 2007, once again on notice.

      by Christin on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:13:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unions... they gave you the weekend (12+ / 0-)

    best rec I ever heard.

    "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." ~ Thomas Paine

    by third Party please on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:03:17 PM PDT

  •  Unions and "Kurzarbeit" key to Germany's (7+ / 0-)

    economic success - see here:

    it prevented layoffs and thereby prevented a collapse of consumption at the peak of the recession and when the economy recovered Germany was kicking because everybody was still at work - no layoffs.

    Also, modern Unions in Europe are in general often key to economic success. The detrimental relationship between companies and unions seems to be an American creation - a terrible creation. This needs to be completely changed.

    •  It might need to be changed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenSooner, wsexson, Egalitare

      but the more likely scenario is that our economic system collapses. The plutocrats who run the show can see no further than what they can currently grasp.

      •  This (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tari, Egalitare, Wom Bat

        In the 1930s, at least some of the plutocrats who ran the show believed that their system was on the brink of collapse and were willing to beat a strategic retreat, giving organized labor new rights, building a limited welfare state, and saving capitalism for the better part of a century.

        Today's plutocrats who run the show have bought into their own TINA nonsense and cannot imagine their system collapsing.

        And if it does, they may not catch on until they're actually swinging from the lampposts.  

        "I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up." - Barack Obama

        by GreenSooner on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:24:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exports, exports, exports.... (0+ / 0-)

      Germany exports account for $.38 of every $1.00 of GDP
      US comparable figure: $.08

      This is the key to economic success, not unions.

      •  both of course (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Azazello

        but Germany is a success story for unions and a strong social net. Germany actually experienced a greater drop in the GDP than the US, but it did not result in unemployment thereby preventing the down hill spiral the US went through. Please read the Krugman link.

        •  Did Read the link (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Certainly unionization helped cushion the downturn, and that was a good thing.  My point is that Germany had a much sounder, well balanced economy, and that contributed to it's rebound.

          •  when you lay all people off consumption goes down (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and this in turn is taking the economy down. US style - Silly. Yes, Germany is also more balanced - did not have the housing bubble. Nevertheless, German GDP went down stronger than US. Workers protection and safety net did not just protect families, but it actually protected the economy. This is what the anti union people need to understand.

  •  Win win for the plutocrats (5+ / 0-)

    Destroying the American economy has helped a lot of these traitors out.

    •  And can you imagine? (4+ / 0-)

      The right wing noise machine hailed the Citizens United decision because it gave the poor deprived corporate bigwigs a chance to put their measley handful of cash against the billions of dollars shelled out by Big Labor!

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:15:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Three thoughts: (9+ / 0-)

    I hope the Unions get a huge turnout for 10-2-10, California nurses kick ass and I am disgusted by the bashing of the "teacher's union" that I see on this site.

  •  Destroying education is a Republican goal (11+ / 0-)

    They want to take down the teachers unions and are willing to take our children and grandchildren down with them.

    Thousands and thousands of teaching jobs are being lost with the recession and more will go with Republican austerity measures.

    look for my DK Greenroots diary series Thursday evening. "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:09:20 PM PDT

  •  New Jersey casino dealers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Colossus, A Man Called Gloom

    and now Pennsylvania and Delaware casino dealers (since table games were approved and now they're up and running in PA and DE) are making the companies who own the casinos really scared that all their dealers will want to unionize.

    The Tropicana in New Jersey just negotiated their first contract last month after a few years.

    I don't hold out a lot of hope for EFCA to pass very soon, if ever.  But if there was ever a time that we needed it to become law, NOW is the time.

    Republicans want a do-over. No, really, a do-over -- do it the same way all over again. Every Dem should make that clear every day.

    by gooderservice on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:11:46 PM PDT

  •  Class warfare. (7+ / 0-)

    It's all about The Speculator Class against The Working Class.

    Speculators are winning.

    by shpilk on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:12:47 PM PDT

    •  Bit more complicated. Its also about (5+ / 0-)

      interclass jealousy. The example of using the fact that union workers on average make more and have better benefits is a good place where you can see that. Americans have been taught to think of these benefits as a bad thing when the unions ask for more. "What they are whining about, they are making al that money, have benefits and they are just going to be lazy anyway because they have the union behind them." I have heard people say something similar to the quote that I just raised. They weren't wealthy. Some of them were not even what I consider middle class- i.e., a pay check away from being poor. So, I would classify them as working class to working poor. The point is that the sentiment of the speculator class has trickled and distorted how others view unions. Its truly strange.

      •  It's called propaganda. (5+ / 0-)

        After studying it for decades and controlling the media, the powerful can create any message they want.

        Demonizing construction workers, electricians, plumbers, teachers, nurses, police, fire, public safety workers, all part of big message.

        Government and unions bad .. blank good.

        In place of blank is some amorphous undefined 'come to Jesus' bullshit that replaces these evil communists with 'real Mrk'ns'. The great unknown commodity of someone who is better than people who work. Maybe they'll these rich folks who speculate to come fill in and save your house when it's burning down, take care of you when you are sick, teach your kid, snake your toilet.

        I. don't. think. so.

        by shpilk on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:26:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I just find it depressing when I hear someone (3+ / 0-)

          say this. Not because I think unions are perfect. They aren't. They have many problems. But, because it such a clear cut example of indoctrination into a paradigm that actually harms the person who is saying this shit. I mean- don't they get their overall ability to get the salary and benefits they want happens in a market place? So the more people who are able to ask for higher salaries the better as far as their chances go of seeking higher wages and benefits. I mean- it doesn't work perfectly like I just describe. Its just understanding the big picture I am trying to get at here.

      •  Turning the message on its head (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Man Called Gloom, Egalitare

        Nationwide, union workers made $4.30 an hour more than non-union workers during the year covered by the report. Well, duh. It's practically criminal, ain't it? If these damned unions weren't around everybody could be paid less, live without benefits and get fired for no reason without anybody putting up a fuss.

        This goes to the heart of the matter. Union wages and benefits get bashed for being, somehow, luxuries and privileges that unionized workers shouldn't get because non-unionized workers don't. The union message should be that we want to raise the level of all wages, benefits and working conditions, not just for those who are already unionized. It's an egalitarian message of social justice, not a matter of defending our "privileges." That unions (including mine) don't say this loudly or often enough is, in my view, a real missed opportunity.

        Unions are largely what created the middle class in this country, and after the Second World War, gave the poor, immigrants, and blue collar workers (lots of overlap) a decent standard of living for the first time in this country's history -- including enough discretionary income to take a family vacation or buy the kids a new pair of shoes every year. Unions brought us all paid vacations, not just weekends. Fifty years ago, this was almost unheard of.

        The local union I work for (SEIU Local 1021) represents public employees but the staff union that represents me and my co-workers is CWA, a private sector union. Public or private, by any standard, we're all better off for being unionized.

      •  Most Americans really don't know what the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Man Called Gloom, Egalitare

        hell "Class" means.

        They confuse it with Status.

        If you produce wealth, and you have a Boss who decided what fraction of that wealth you get to keep, you're working class.

        If you've got a watchlist, I want to be on it ~ Billy Bragg

        by JesseCW on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 10:44:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm pro private union (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but I'm on the fence with public unions.

    I think all workers require protection but public unions have negotiated some pretty lucrative deals on the backs of taxpayers.  I'll get bombed for that one but it's true.  Our city retires full pension after 20 years.  It's not sustainable.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:14:38 PM PDT

    •  Lucrative? Race to the bottom assertions (6+ / 0-)

      20 year pensions were at one point the norm. Now, they are considered lucrative. Along with the Catfood Commission we should expect people with low wages (which is what people working for governments make compared to the private sector) to work until they drop.

      •  most private sector people I know (0+ / 0-)

        don't make more than 60K per year and these are people years plus.

        No pentions but a 401K that loses money - a copy on health insurance with a family of arounf $100 per week - thats with huge deductables.

        Most in the private sector that I know don't want public employess paid less - they realize value - but what we don't understand is how someone can retire at 45 with a full pension.

        Fine - I wouldn't deny a pention but it doesn't start unitl 65 - just like social security.  Which, by the way - some unions have negotiated their way out of member contributing in leiu of their own retirement plan....must be nice.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:34:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Who's retiring from a government job at 45... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder, JesseCW, Egalitare, m00finsan

          ... with or without a full pension?

          Certainly not my wife the teacher.

          Got a cite?

          Corporate Dog

          We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

          by Corporate Dog on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:37:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Try a firefighter (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            one of my very good friends started at 18 = was able to roll his military service towards his seniority - he retired from one fire dept at age 43 - getting full pension and is working full time as a firefighter in another city - will retire at 63 with another pension so he'll have two full pensions plus SS.  He's smart - works hard is dedicated - but again I ask - how do we afford this?

            The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

            by ctexrep on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:47:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Your friend sounds somewhat like an exception. (3+ / 0-)

              Though I suppose you can't really expect these guys to keep working a physically demanding job, where they actually accelerate the degradation of their own health, much beyond that age anyway.

              As I suggested below, unionization of the private sector would help ensure better pay, and thus, the ability to absorb the tax increases that go with meeting obligations to public employees.

              Apart from that, some form of cost-control measure that would help keep health insurance rates from skyrocketing (cough-publicoption-cough), coupled with a fairer application of taxes, would help ensure that public employees are given the compensation they're owed.

              Corporate Dog

              We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

              by Corporate Dog on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:00:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  We can't Afford this (0+ / 0-)

              I looked at some Chicago bonds a few weeks ago....

              HUGE structural deficit.

              Annual budget of about 6.1B dollars.

              Over the last two years, it's run an annual deficit of 600M dollars (10% of its budget), AFTER accounting for federal aid.

              How has it plugged that hole?

              Well, over the last five years, Chicago privatized a tollway (leased for 75 years to an Australian-based SIV), and the parking meters (also, 75 years, to Morgan Stanley-led Chicago Parking Meters, LLC), for which it received 2B dollars, which were supposed to last 75 years.

              Well, the City has decided to tap into those funds to plug the deficit.  Over the last two fiscal years, the city of Chicago has tapped into about 1.3B of the 2B slush fund.

              It has about 650M left, and another 600M deficit for the next twelve months.

              How does Chicago face this deficit going forward?

              Does it increase the taxes on the working and middle-class?

              In CA, Jerry Brown told the SF Chronicle editorial board last week that he will sit down with the service unions to address a similar deficit.

              Dems have begun to realize that they must sit down with the service unions and agree on a new way forward.

              The old way will lead to GOP victories in the statehouses and mayors offices.

              Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

              by PatriciaVa on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:18:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Damn lazy ass greedy firefighters. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pesto, wsexson, A Man Called Gloom

              I've had enough of those sons-of-bitches too.

              If you've got a watchlist, I want to be on it ~ Billy Bragg

              by JesseCW on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 10:47:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, I know you are a conservative. I get it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder, m00finsan

          The problem is that it has nothing to do with economics or lucrative amounts or average or what people in the public sector make for that matter.

          I am more interested in you at this point linking to data to illustrate that these benefits when taking into account both historic amounts (the part you want to gloss over) and present amounts are so far out of whack with what others make in the private sector.

          What I would like to see from you is the following

          a) Data with links about average (not anecdotal) public sector wages across the board rather than a particular profession.

          b) How this impacts the ability of people to bargain in the private sector for better wages (since the jealousy you are exhibiting suggests you think you are fairing worse because of what they earn)

          c) How a lack of unions have affected bargaining power, if at all


          This is all to say I am not buying what you are selling. A basic understanding of economics, bargaining power and position, etc suggests to me that there is a very good reason why conservatives are against unions and people making more money. First it means you have to pay people more since they are able to negotiate with you better. Second, it means people will have greater flexibility to say no to any work related abuses.

        •  No one gets a full pension at age 45. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bruh1, divineorder, JesseCW, m00finsan

          You are thinking of the former military pension system. Now they get at most 50% of pay after 20 years. You may also be thinking of Fire and Police. They do not get a 100% pension after 20 years in all of municipalities I am aware of. I do not know about you, but I would not feel safe in depending on a 60 year old fire fighter hauling my ass out of a 5th floor apartment.

          If you are older than 55, never take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time!

          by fredlonsdale on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:17:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your facts are wrong (0+ / 0-)

        Public employees make more in salary and benefits than private workers. Part of that is because overall public employees are more highly educated and are working in higher level jobs.  However when you isolate that factor they are still better paid.  In addition their rate of compensation increase over the last 10 years dramatically outstrips the private sector.  Then add in that they often make no or minimal contributions to their health plans or retirement plans, and there is no contest.  

    •  I have a friend that works for a affluent (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Meteor Blades, divineorder, Egalitare

      Minneapolis suburb and thanks to budget cuts he is now doing to the work of two people, the other person retired and the position was intentionally not filled.  Shouldn't he get a early retirement for all the extra work the citizens want him to do?  Shouldn't he get a good pension for doing the work of two people while getting bitched at for being a lazy union worker by the same citizens who want budget cuts?

      •  I worked for a company (0+ / 0-)

        in a department that had five people in it - they laid off three.  The two of us had to pick up the slack - with no extra money - no early retirement.

        Who pays for me?  So me as a privat sector person breaks his butt so someone else can have early retirement?

        I never said union workers were lazy - I just don't think we can sustain these type contracts considering so many private sector jobs being outsourced - without private money - the public jobs cannot exist.

        The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

        by ctexrep on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:39:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your post is a perfect example of how successful (11+ / 0-)

          corporations have been pitting non-union workers against union workers.  You are not getting paid a fair wage so you want to deny the union employee the fair wage they fought for.  It's hard to fight human nature.

          The residents of the town my friend works for are choosing poor service and ineffective government so their property tax bills are a few dollars less.  The salaries and pension of the workers there are insignificant compared to the yearly costs of road construction and maintenance.  People want a free lunch.  They want skilled, competent public servants who are at their beck and call without delay, servants who are willing to work for next to nothing.  Those ideas are generally mutually exclusive.

          •  Yeah Right (0+ / 0-)

            I used to live in Indiana. Property taxes on my 2000 SF house were $1700/year.  The roads were paved, the town was safe, and the schools were great.

            I moved to IL and I now pay $7200/year for my 2000 SF house.  

            More tax dollars does not equal better service. There is not a direct correlation.  

            •  You're citing anecdotal evidence... (5+ / 0-)

              ... using the same taxpayer in a different location.

              Far more relevant to the conversation is what the tax base looks like in each of those places. Maybe you're paying $7200 in Illinois versus $1700 in Indiana. But if you lived in a 10,000 SF mansion in Indiana, and moved to an equivalent mansion in Illinois, would the tax increase be proportionate?

              A larger tax base TENDS to correlate with better service.

              Corporate Dog

              We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

              by Corporate Dog on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:27:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  well.... (0+ / 0-)

                7000 SF in Carmel, IN will probably run you $6-7k in property taxes.  7k SF in any Chicago suburb will run you 20-22k.  Is it proportinate?  It's not as dramatic, percentage-wise, as going from a 2k SF house in IN to IL.  But of course it wouldn't be....there's only so much you can charge a rich guy/gal in IL before it clearly becomes highway robbery.

                $22k in taxes seems to be the upper limit in IL for most houses up to 3M.  I think they realize there is only so much you can screw over people that a decent amount of money, but are not yet "FU Rich".

                I would hope larger taxes tends to correlate with better services.  I'm not looking for correlation though.  I'm looking for optimization.    

      •  That's the real world... (0+ / 0-)

        And it's been happening since 2008 at my private sector company.

        Reminds me of the guy in IL that just got in hot water because he was doing the job of 8 he took home a $600k salary. Haha.

        •  You choose to acquiesce to that reality (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I don't.  It's amazing how people just accept that they need to get paid less and work more because corporations tell you that's the only way they can keep their jobs.

          •  Not really... (0+ / 0-)

            I believe in supply/demand. At a previous employer, they paid low wages because a monkey could do the job. At my current employer, I can do the work of 3 employees and I negotiated a huge raise because of it.  What do I care if I'm technically doing the job of 3 people?  It's a win/win for both of us. I'm still working 40 hours a week.

            I own a part-time small business so I know how it is. I pay people according to their worth. I have a lady that works for me that busts her ass and I pay her well.  Other people, I'm not ruthless enough to fire them, but I could care less if they just quit.  If this were a full-time gig and these people tried to unionize on me, I'd fire the slugs and focus on hiring high achievers and just paying them really well.

            •  Slugs? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              A Man Called Gloom

              Surely you are not implying that union workers are lazy.

              •  Nope... (0+ / 0-)

                I was using the example that I laid out above.  Those people that I was hesitant to fire now, would be fired if they attempted to unionize.  They aren't worth the trouble.  And the people that are REALLY good, know they'll be better off negotiating their own salaries....because they are that valuable to the company.

                I'm 50/50 on unions.  I think unions are great if the management and unions take into account the well being of the company (and it's shareholders).  It needs to be a win/win/win.  From what I see, there are too many people that are pro-unions/anti-company.  That's not healthy.  

                But to your argument. When I said that public sector raises are surpassing private sector raises, you said (I think it was you) said we should fight for private sector raises by unionizing.  But for one, shouldn't the private sector wage increases come first since we're funding public wages?  

                And second, what's the difference?  I mean if everyone gets a 5% raise, wouldn't it stand to reason that the price of goods would rise by 5%?  Look at what happened to housing when people suddenly had more borrowing power by being able to obtain interest only mortgages.

    •  Don't blame the unions. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martydd, JesseCW

      Blame the tax law that puts a disproportionate share of those salaries and benefits on the backs of the middle-class and poor.

      Corporate Dog

      We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

      by Corporate Dog on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:36:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh bother... (0+ / 0-)

      Public employee unions where put in to replace the traditional Civil Service System which was set up to get rid of the spoils system (Tammany Hall and such.)

      The typical government worker is at the mercy of elected officials. If you feel that government workers are over compensated, do not blame the workers, blame the elected officials.

      Private unions, with a few exceptions, are just not relevant anymore. They are like the walking dead. They just do not know it yet.

      If you are older than 55, never take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time!

      by fredlonsdale on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:54:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree..defined Benefits especially (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm all for private sector unions....and even public sector unions when it comes to negotiating pay.

      The problem is not even the health care benefits.  It's the defined benefit pensions.  Those are unheard of in the private sector these days because of the incredible risk it puts on the guarantor of those benefits.

      My wife is a teacher and can retire at 30 years with 75% of her highest 3 years pay.  The problem is obvious.  She contributes to her pension at 9% of her salary.

      At the very least, the pension SHOULD be 75% of her average salary...since that's what she is contributing based on.

      Everything else is a gift from the taxpayers.

      •  Everything else is a GIFT? (0+ / 0-)

        WTF are you talking about?

        Are you really saying that the work your wife does has no value, that the YEARS of her life she has spent working and teaching children have no value, and that she should not be compensated properly for it? What does your wife think of your position?

        What are you doing at a Democratic website, just shit stirring?

  •  The wheat field allegory, as told by the Right (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Colossus, OHdog, divineorder, Egalitare

    Perhaps I'm dating myself. But there's a story I recall from the 1970s, the story itself surely from the anti-communist era of the Cold War.

    There were many critiques of the USSR (and rightly so). It wasn't exclusively from the Right, because the Democrats were pretty good at fighting the commies, too.

    "They take people away in secret, without a trial, and throw away the key." Oh, the Right has delved too deeply into the secrets of the Dark Lord. I say.

    Anyway, one of the allegories about the commies was they treated the population like a wheat field. All the tall growing stalks were cut down, so the field was even. All the smart people, all the better paid, were cut down so everyone was equal.

    Oh, there are so many stories from the Cold War about the USSR, how they tortured people, how they had kangaroo trials, how they spied on their citizens ... UNLIKE the goold Old US of A. A funny thing happened to the so-called anti-communists. They started supporting those very same policies.

    Meg Whitman, I'm not saying you're a Soviet commie. I'm saying that you fucked up eBay.
    (my attempt at dry humor)

  •  Meg Whitman is Ronald Reagan in a skirt [nt] (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, virginwoolf
  •  Do union companies ever hire people? (0+ / 0-)

    Seems like they've been laying off people for three decades, but never expand.

    All hope abandon ye who enter here.

    by this much on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:26:01 PM PDT

  •  Private sector = lousy benefits, no security (0+ / 0-)

    Back when I first got out of school, the calculus was simple:  the private sector had the money, opportunity, benefits, and perks.  By the mid 2000's that had been turned on its ear.  Private sector meant no job security, slashed benefits (if any at all), and few perks.  The public sector had not changed much, but the private sector had become a disaster...for professionals.  

    Way to go business conservatives (both parties.)  You've killed the goose that layed the golden egg.  Before long we will all be happy to work for the govt. rather than idiotic corporate masters.

    Note to Democratic leadership: I'm all out of carrots, but I still have my stick.

    by Celtic Pugilist on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:26:23 PM PDT

  •  Actually it's shitty labor law.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shanikka, OHdog, divineorder

    ...that's been slowly but surely kicking union butt since Taft-Hartley.

    The Great Depression certainly didn't kick union butt.

    And unfortunately it turns out that EFCA (especially with card check) is a "pony," i.e. something that Democrats get to claim credit for whenever election time runs around, but don't actually support unless there's a GOP president around to veto it.

    "I trust that you will continue to let me and other Democrats know when you believe we are screwing up." - Barack Obama

    by GreenSooner on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:28:42 PM PDT

  •  Local news actually covered this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Colossus, divineorder

    They found a brain-dead ass-hat at the MN state fair that actually said "Well, you can negotiate directly with your employer for better pay, so you don't need a union!" Riiiiiighhhttt. I'd like to be there when you try that, then watch you pack up your workspace and be escorted to your car (where you will soon live, if you're lucky) by a rentacop. And if you were thinking this mythical "self-bargaining" process happens before you get the job, I would remind you don't even GET to that point anymore.

    Ironically, the reporter had to mentioned he was in AFTRA.

    Rights are not supposed to be voted on, subject to a popularity contest. Rachel Maddow

    by Uosdwis on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:28:54 PM PDT

  •  A message from AEI (0+ / 0-)


  •  cheers for union stewards! (4+ / 0-)

    one saved my job from groping boss! Union reps were always there to help, keep in touch.

    That's why i was so disappointed over weekend when store clerk griped that her union sucked. I said, you have health care? Yes. Paid vacation? Yup. Yup. Yup. Yup. but felt union could have worked harder to get higher wages. did not matter that wages higher than non-union.

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:32:03 PM PDT

  •  make my uncle one less union worker soon (0+ / 0-)

    my uncle has been unemployed for well over a year now. It's probably closer to two years. His unemployment insurance has dried up and his union benefits have dried up as well. He remained loyal to the Plumbers Union 16 for decades.. Now they are intentionally shrivilling up his pension. You see, he is 60 years old and is a year away from retirement. Every six months he does not work he loses a year of his pension. So he's already lost four years of pension and will still need to lose another two before he retires. They have been keeping him intentionally benched because of his age while younger member have been given jobs. He's not handicapped or anything. In fact, I'm 26 and he's 60 and he's in better shape than I. So shame on the Local Plumbers Union 16.

  •  The new American Dream. Nothing extravagant, (2+ / 0-)

    just a future.

    "To the mediocre, mediocrity appears great" Indian proverb

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:46:52 PM PDT

  •  I thought every time I heard Big Labor... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Linnaeus, Egalitare
    ... I was really hearing a variation of uppity niggahs.

    A Poet is at the same time a force for Solidarity and for Solitude --Pablo Neruda

    by justiceputnam on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 07:51:01 PM PDT

  •  Union drop is purposeful not just economic. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Man Called Gloom

    When corporations are planning to downsize they get advice from big business consulting firms. The first thing these paid hit men do is make sure that the first hourly employees to go are union officials and other union activists.

  •  The Conspiracy-minded might note... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...a certain reluctance to aid the working people of this country by the right wing in the form of helping the economy recover while the side effect is a less unionized, more part-time, and more fractured labor force.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:07:58 PM PDT

  •  I'd joint a union in 1 microsecond (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Man Called Gloom
    but in my 42 year career, it's never been a choice I could make. I've never had an opportunity.

    Why aren't there more white collar unions?

    "Your Actions Are So Loud, I Can't Hear a Word You're Saying"

    by toosinbeymen on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:09:52 PM PDT

    •  White collar workers... (5+ / 0-)

      ... have a rather high opinion of themselves, and their ability to enact workplace change through the corporate hierarchy.

      I've always found it somewhat darkly humorous that it's not considered "polite" to discuss your salary and benefits with your co-workers in an office environment. What better way to foster a dog-eat-dog environment where nobody works together against management?

      Anti-union propaganda? It works. And as jobs have migrated from the assembly line to the cubicle, the corporations have been given a second chance to kill unions before they start.

      Corporate Dog

      We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

      by Corporate Dog on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:52:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My Favorite White Collar Union (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Is this one:

      Santa Clara County Counsel Attorneys Association

      (It's unbelievable how much this union had to fight over the first 20 of its 35 years of existence to even exist - in the face of arguments that the union's lawyers were unethical by insisting upon first their right to unionize and then later defending their collective bargaining rights against their erstwhile client (the County of Santa Clara) - but it survives and has the blessing of our state's Supreme Court to boot!)

      I sure wish the rest of our profession was this smart!  Or that the County was hiring - I'd take either one =).

      If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

      by shanikka on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 09:56:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This one's my favorite: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:


        If I hadn't been so young, and dumb, and swayed by the corporate propaganda at the time (the union was just starting up, and MAN did Big Blue go after it with a vengence) I would've signed up.

        Corporate Dog

        We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

        by Corporate Dog on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 02:52:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Was a Student Employee of Big Blue (0+ / 0-)

          From 1979 until I graduated from college in 1982.  At that point, the company seemed to be a decent one, certainly a great one to work at if you were a student in need of a job.  Yet amongst the engineers, their opinion was pretty clear out here in CA that White Plains management sucked LOL.  Of course, that office is gone now, and I never knew why.  So, thanks for the link- it allowed me to catch up with history I didn't know!

          If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

          by shanikka on Wed Sep 08, 2010 at 08:00:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm pretty sure... (0+ / 0-)

            that office was moved to Dallas, Texas.  Well at least the inside sales portion was moved.  I interviewed with IBM for a position in Dallas at the time and I remember stories about all of the IBM employees that were moved to Dallas wanted to know if they could just swipe their credit card to buy a house.

  •  It was a union job that paid my dad and helped (6+ / 0-)

    provided a wage that raised his family. He voted for increased benefits (health care, dental care, vision care) over wage increases because it was the right thing to do. The young guys didn't like that. So what. They still have those benefits providing they still have a job.

    I have a couple of brothers that are anti-union. My wife's family is totally anti union. Never-mind the fact her father earned about $80 grand a year in his heyday. He retire in the late eighties. Pension, Social Security, Paid Health Care, Nice Nest Egg saved. His kids hate unions and Democrats. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

    BTW, My wife has been converted. She's not one for following policy. She makes up for that with boatloads of empathy. She's an RN that is totally into patients. Politics and their political leaning doesn't matter when it's someones health and the patients family well being.

    I would hope to think siblings would have notice who brought them to the dance. Some are ungrateful. They are self made people after all.

    "They pour syrup on shit and tell us it's hotcakes." Meteor Blades

    by JugOPunch on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:10:22 PM PDT

  •  The amount of anti-union venom by commenters that (3+ / 0-)

    have a history of comments that are alternately mildly anti-progressive and then some bitching about Democrats not being progressive enough is very interesting.

  •  Let's all join the Union (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Man Called Gloom

    in the March on Washington 10-02-10.

    Solidarity Now. (We can continue the fighting later). See you in Washington 10-02-10.

    by reddbierd on Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 08:27:11 PM PDT

  •  Unwitting Union Guy here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I will probably be flamed for saying this, but I DESPISE having to be in the SEIU Union which, sadly, is a requirement for my job.

    We're a highly skilled I.T. department in a quasi-government agency where half of the employees are unionized and half aren't. It's not our choice--the jobs are either in the union or not.

    I make $90K a year and pay $1,200 in dues to the Union for the amazing "rights" they give me, i.e. the right to no raises for the next four years (though the contract contains a provision to give the union president a 9% raise surprise surprise), deteriorating health care, having to punch a time clock etc.

    Meanwhile, the non-Union employees, who do the exact same work, make $100K+ per year, pay nothing in dues, don't punch a time clock and can earn merit increases for doing a good job.

    Sadly, we're tied in with the "grunts" who do the crap work, such as janitors. These people will NEVER vote to decertify the union because they have no education and make $50-$60K a year plus benefits for a job that is worth no more than $25K a year.

    Unions are good if you're an unmotivated, lazy worker since they'll keep you from being fired but are TERRIBLE if you're good at your job because they keep you from getting raises and bonuses.

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