Unions - Not as bad as people make them out to be

Discussion in 'The Study' started by BlueDragon1981, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. BlueDragon1981

    BlueDragon1981 Brown Belt

    Jun 13, 2004
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    Unions are not the evil businesses try to convince you they are.

    First off let me clarify my position I am niether pro union, nor anti-union. I simply look at it in a respect that they have there place and they should not be getting as bad of a wrap as people are starting to give them.

    People are quick to give a union negative feedback. Many do not look at what they did for the American worker. They gave workers rights and made it so that Businesses did not take major advantage of the people who really make them the money. Without product they would not make money. Therefore the worker is very important to them, yet before the unions were established the business owners found any way possible to take advantage of them. (There are exceptions to all these, but generally it happened that way).

    Without the Unions we would not have many of the laws that protect the workers and your rights as a worker. If you are opposing the unions then you are in a way saying you did not want these rights in the first place. Once it is passed into law the union loses some of its ground to battle. Are you opposed to equal pay, etc. That is essentially what they fight for.

    Let me now explain what I think the unions did not forsee that made them get into a tough postion.

    1. Globalization/Free Trade - When unions first came around I don't think they forsaw that they would have to deal with countries such as mexico etc. Since the cost of labor is much less there many companies are moving to these areas. This was not thought of in a broad perspective at the time. Also free trade with no tarriffs was not in their mind. This is why many of the unions are against NAFTA and CAFTA. It makes sense for businesses to do this but I feel overall it is bad for the US economy and also businesses blame high wages here on unions whenever they can but in all reality its not always that, in fact the biggest changes are in health care costs that American workers expect.

    2. Negative Imaging - Businesses use tactics (not always legal) that scare or brainwash people into believing the unions are in it for themselves or they are going to lose something (sometimes their jobs). Since when is it a sin to question whether treatment is fair. They did not account for the fact that laws and other tactics would give them such a bad image that they would lose so much ground. I believe if a union is trying to get in a business then the company should take that as a sign to improve not discredit the union or threaten to fire people. Look at cost effectiveness, and effieciency first. Many American businesses have to much overhead and don't spend enough on innovation.

    The notion of the fact they protect bad employees. This is not the case. They simply have to treat everyone fairly. They have laws and rules they have to abide by also and they get get flack from both directions, the business and the employees.

    3. Refusal to negotiate - Today many of the businesses can just hire new people and the negative publicity is turned onto the unions. This gives them the ability to stalemate negotiations. Then this is blamed on the union.

    Let me explain where I think the unions went wrong in their strategy.

    1. Getting into the Political Game - they should have always stayed out of this even though it is hard to since republicans are generally for big business and the democrats are usually for workers rights. This was a bad move either way. Because it gives republicans ammo, and it gives democrats a tie to the union which is sometimes hard to sever.

    2. Its a business now - Like all businesses they want to make money. My opinion is they should run kind of like a non-profit. Go for high efficiency on a minimal staff and budget. This way people could not complain about the dues etc. Many of them got greedy and did not want to give up that greed...much like the businesses they oppose.

    3. Bad Strategy - They started doing the same swashbuckling as the businesses, they did not look to the future of business, and they have to much overhead and they don't want to give up the fact that unions are now a business.

    So in conclusion I believe that Unions still have there place and they should not have such a negative persona. Things not in their control and things they could have changed have all contributed to this. Many businesses are getting back to the old ways of paying top executives to much and the workers nothing. Some CEO's make 300 times more than their highest paid employee. That is just crazy. Jeff Bezos of Amazon is the only one in the top companys executive list that made less than 100,000 in salary. Many were much higher than his 87,000. (does not include stock options) I believe the President CEO of Wells Fargo made around 38 million. This I think was without stock. (my numbers are from 2003). Is there still room to bridge the gap.....yes....are Unions the way to go...not always but they do have their place.

    Americas cardinal sins....POWER and GREED.

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