Republicans Destroy Middle Class Dreams One Busted Union At a Time

United Farm Workers Flag

There is a movement in America by conservative groups to demonize unions as bad for the country because unions are bad for corporations. Anyone with a pulse knows Republicans are in opposition to anything that threatens the power of corporations, and conservatives protect corporate America at any cost.

Recently, a Fox News commentator blamed unions for the auto industry’s financial problems. They also blamed oil prices and Japanese imports as the reason GM and Chrysler were near bankruptcy. However, that argument falls way short of credibility when one considers that there are three major car makers in America and only two needed a bailout.

Blaming unions, oil prices, and Japanese imports is invalid because Ford Motor Company survived the recession without a government bailout, and they use the exact same union as GM and Chrysler, pay the same oil prices, and have the same competition from Japanese auto-makers. Using unions as a scapegoat is a tired argument that is absurd.

A conservative pundit commented on Meg Whitman’s current immigration controversy by claiming Whitman hired an undocumented housekeeper because union’s wages are too high.  It’s typical of conservatives to lie and fabricate stories to cover their lies, but blaming unions for Whitman’s undocumented worker problem is going too far. For all the bad press unions receive these days, it is worth reminding people that most of the working conditions and benefits workers enjoy are a direct result of unions.

One has to wonder if conservatives enjoy weekends off, lunch breaks, and safe working conditions. Without unions, corporations would force employees to work 20 hour days for whatever wage the corporations could get away with, and if workers lived in poverty, so be it. After WWII, the prosperity America enjoyed was because unions aided workers with living wages and bargaining power. With higher wages came more home ownership, tax revenue, and buying power. Union wages also helped build the middle class in America. When conservatives demonize unions, it is to protect corporations, and in effect, destroy the middle class.

Conservatives have fought to prevent union organization at corporate giants like Wal-Mart to keep wages low so they can make more profits and abuse their workforce. Wal-Mart employees in Europe are represented by unions, and workers enjoy paid sick leave, living wages, 4-6 weeks of vacation, and retirement plans that make the golden years tolerable. European workers do not understand why their “brothers and sisters” in America cannot have union representation.

Demonizing and breaking unions is not new, and Ronald Reagan was the worst offender. The mining industry’s deadly accidents occur at companies that are not represented by unions, and the West Virginia mine explosion is an example of Reagan’s union-busting results. The only benefactor of non-union sites are corporations; corporations do not share their obscene profits with employees, and they prevent employees from refusing to work in hazardous conditions. Corporate protection at the expense of worker safety is endemic of conservative’s ideology that corporations must be protected at any cost. Demonizing unions is just another way conservatives give corporations power to control America. Union representation is one of the last roadblocks to complete corporate takeover in America, and denying union representation is a conservative tactic to destroy the middle class in America. I

t is not new for conservatives to protect corporations at the expense of workers, and propaganda that unions are evil is a weapon that Republicans are ramping up again because of the sluggish economy. People who do not enjoy union representation would not oppose unions if they didn’t fear losing their jobs, and given the choice with a secret ballot, most would choose to be in a union. But fear mongers and corporate shills (Republicans) know they can fool ignorant folks with lies and threats of losing their poverty-level jobs for attempting to join or organize a union. At some point, America will become a corporation, and 98% of Americans will live in poverty because Republicans are hell-bent on destroying the middle class.

Tax breaks for moving jobs out of the country, no corporate taxes, and deregulation does nothing to benefit workers and only makes sure corporations continue raping America. America is becoming a second rate country now, and as we fall behind the rest of the industrialized world, corporations are thriving. There is no doubt that corporate control of the government is here now.

Don’t believe it? The Supreme Court’s decision to give person status to corporations is one of the final nails in America’s coffin. Demonizing and disbanding unions may well be the final nail, and the blame lies with ignorant jealous people for believing lying Republican rapists. It is sad that the one means of building the middle class in America is being portrayed as evil and bad for America. Republicans and their conservative ideology dictates that corporations are America. Republicans wrap their corporatist mindset in the flag, demonize unions as communist, and keep the workforce in poverty to protect corporations. Unions are the last defense for American workers, and Republicans have mounted an all-out attack on unions, and subsequently, American workers.

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132 Replies to “Republicans Destroy Middle Class Dreams One Busted Union At a Time”

  1. Union greed did indeed directly cause the outsourcing of jobs from America.

    Why pay some American union thug $25+ an hour with luxury perks when corporations found workers in India and China that gave them better output for about $15 a day??

    Simple economics, my friend. Globalization is the greedy union’s worst enemy.

  2. simply because you have absolutely no knowledge of what a union is and does, I will clue you in.
    Anything that the union has as a result of cooperative bargaining. Any increase in wages and benefits that a union member gets is indicative of how the corporation is doing. A corporation does not give or agree to wage increases when it is has not made the money to do so. The corporation has the same rights as the union in saying no.

    I’ll bet there is a 99% chance you have never been inside of a car plant. The people are not thugs and work at mindnumbing jobs all day long. They do not set in lounge chairs sipping a lotte. Many of them over the years have worked seven days a week for a considerable amount of time. They care about what they do and in all three automakers check the work of the people before them.

    The wages of the CEOs 25 years ago were just a little over 15% higher than that of the average wage in the plant. Right now it is running at over 450% higher. I would like to know why you simply blame the union worker without asking yourself why upper management’s wages have skyrocketed far past the average workers? Is it because you simply read the morning talking points e-mail without thinking about it?

    Union workers have got what they have gotten through working for it. Your simpleminded approach to it simply shows your total lack of knowledge on the subject.

  3. Hey Smarg – My wife & I are both teachers. Not thugs. You must have watched a 50’s movie to come up with you’re conclusion. Generalizing from ignorance is bad form and indicative of conservative greed.

  4. I hear your argument, but simple business pratices and economics make it moot.

    Corporations spoke with their feet. By bye, America. Hello, India and China. And, your examples of a car plant do not sit well with Americans who now identify with the name “Government Motors”.

  5. Rmuse, you bring up a good point.

    Public safety and teacher’s unions destroy communities, counties, and even states with their extortive greed. Absurdly high salaries, massive perks and pensions…there will be an upcoming revolt soon, and it is needed.

  6. I am a unionized civilian employee with the police department in my city, and am quite happy about it. I know what it’s like to work at a non-unionized workplace, and how frustrating it is when the efforts to form one are thwarted. That was a long time ago, but I still remember how employees were exploited by this agency. Needless to say, they had an extremely high turnover rate. The difference between this current set of circumstances and the ones at the previous job is like night and day. All these people whining about unions benefit greatly from the benefits unions shed blood, sweat, and tears for. The 8-hour workday, the minimum wage, paid sick leave, and the ability to seek redress for ill treatment by managers weren’t simply given to us. The Party of No has consistently been on the wrong side of these issues, but they are now much more blatant about their intentions. It’s unfortunate that they are aided and abetted by people who have no sense of perspective or any knowledge of labor’s history in this country. They know exactly what they are doing, and they have mouthpieces like Miller, Rand Paul, O’Donnell, and Angle. While people may laugh at them, they are the mouthpieces for policies that are enormously destructive to this country, as is Palin.

  7. Shiva you are wasting your time. No seriously. You know I lerve you but …
    don’t bother.

    It is best to ignore and do NOT answer in any way, Smarg.

  8. Sounds like a good work environment for a terribly difficult job. Union busting is a Republican trait. They blame the unions for everything bad. My dad belonged to a union and we certainly didn’t live “high on the hog” ever. We got some health insurance and a living wage – and he had a mind numbing job.

    We need MORE unions not fewer. As long as progressive and independent groups continue to form unions, Rethuggery in this country can’t gain a hold.

    Unions care about people – and face it, many companies are only about the bottom line … employees are expendable.

    Shipping jobs overseas was a terrible thing to do to individual workers for whatever reason. But it happened all through the Bush administration. And now, we’ll see what happens.

    The Citizens United ruling has set us down a path of destruction for the middle class. The jobs aren’t there … they won’t come back even if outsourcing is discontinued. Companies have gone mean and lean – and they are buying the elections everywhere.

    Welcome to Rome right before it fell. Greed does not make good politics.

  9. its not the teachers who are overpaid, its the unions skimming off teachers pay.

    I know not the pay schedule specifics of teacher unions, but the construction unions work similarly and i know for a fact that a person who digs ditches gets $19 an hour, and his union gets $13 more. costing the company $32 an hour, while he gets$19….before taxes. oh and in california you HAVE to be a union worker to be employed for government projects. riddle me that.

  10. Anon I have no idea where you got the idea that companies pay unions, that is a false idea, companies who pay into retirenment funds or penstions is what you are maybe talk about (giving you the benefit of the doubt). Peple please learn Smarg is nothing more than a troll please do not feed the trolls the only things you should be saying to smarggy is jackass troll, troll better.

  11. “riddle me that”? Well, um, I belong to a union and they do not take my pay.

    I pay them a percentage (very small) of what I make. I am more than happy to do so as this percentage is what pays for the salaries of people who bargain collectively for me.

    Now, what is the difference between that and the amount of money we pay for oil lobbiests? Because, according to your logic, we should stop buying gas because it costs more so the oil companies can pay lobbiests to get legislation that benefit them.

    Riddle me that.

  12. Anne, you describe the exact type of extortive ploys put on communities by the public safety (police/fire) unions.

    California, as a whole, is a prime example of the whole thing gone bad.

  13. The teabagger America that Smarggy seems to want.
    A lady walks into a police station after being mugged, the desk officer ask her if she wishes to file a complaint she says yes then the desk officer asks her if she has the ten dollar filing fee. She exclaims to the desk officer that she was mugged and therefore has no money. The desk officer shakes his head and says no money no investigation that is the rule. A man walks in carrying a handbag and tells the desk officer that he found this bag on the street and wishes to pay the finders keepers fee the desk officer agrees, the woman says that he is the mugger and that is her bag! The desk officer tells the woman the man paid she could not so tough luck for her.

  14. Well, since I have worked in both union and non-union jobs, I definitely have a basis for comparison. There’s no way I would ever work at a non-union job again. At the non-union job, the workers really got stiffed–which is why they couldn’t keep anyone. California has its problems, but blaming them on unions is not helpful. I’m quite sure that state’s problems
    have multiple causes.

    People like to dump on unions which help the everyday people, while giving greedy corporations a pass. That’s the kind of thinking that Angle, Rand Paul, and others appeal to.

  15. No, wait….do you live in CA? Have you ever?

    It sounds like no. That is not what the problem is in CA. As you should know if you live there. let me help you: bicameral state legislature and …… You fill in blank.

  16. @oldsun: That is typical fear mongering and you damn well know it wouldn’t happen like that.

    Unions are great for employees and America – until its time to ask them to give something back. If unions were flexible in the other direction, which they aren’t – it takes a lot of arm wringing, a lot of problems could be avoided. Unions work to keep people employed and paid well which is great, but they often do so at cost to the business employing the union worker. If the business can’t afford its people they either let them go or ask to lower wages – both of which throw Unions into a fit of anger. This is the problem. Unions need to be more flexible, their only goal should really be fair and equal wages. Everyone goes up together or goes down together, but that just throws Unions into fits.

  17. Lots of pro union people here, but this is a pro union blog so that makes sense. I’ve never been a part of a union before, but from what I’ve seen with my own eyes, Unions appear to have been a great idea at one point gone totally off base.

    I’m sorry, but if you’re a laborer in a union job, I don’t see why you deserve to make more money than people who’ve completed college and worked their way up the corporate ranks. I have flunky drug head friends that became boilermakers in the local union and make more money than extremely intelligent college grads that I know. If you think union jobs require high levels of intelligence, you’re fooling yourselves into it. Laborer’s are the people without the motivation to get through college, and as such are the lower paid rungs of society. You can call BS all you want, but it’s pretty blatantly obvious throughout human history.

    Unions pushing for these meticulous employee salaries are part of the problem.

  18. Snarg,

    Your parroted opinion and limited understanding of economics simply astounds me. It’s easy to make blanket statements like “An Indian worker will give better output for $15 per day than a $25 per hour American worker” without understanding the long-term ramifications of this type of thinking. How does sending labor overseas benefit OUR economy in any way other than providing us with cheap consumer goods? Think about it. A US corporation spends American dollars to employ an Indian worker, and the money that that worker makes, however little, is effectively “gone” from OUR economy and into India’s. Now drag it out for another couple hundred years… Do you know why the Roman empire fell? Easy answer: cheap imports…

  19. What do you mean everyone goes up together or goes down together? Whens the last time you got fired and recieved millions for being incompetent? Unions workers have earned thie pay rates and benefits over many years often times giving up one to save the other. How is that being inflexible? You obviously have no idea what happens in contract negotiations, or in unions for that matter.

  20. one of the ways in which unions are flexible is during negotiations. Unions agree to take less money than they are asking for and less benefits than they are asking for. But you never see that. So unions are just as flexible as management is.
    Once a contract is set in place it is seldom broken. I believe you may note that many union members of the auto companies took less than pay in order to keep their jobs of recent

  21. I’m a teacher too. You know how much we get paid? Just enough so that we can raise a family on one salary (you know, if you have a full-time contract and five or so years signority –otherwise your wife better be working too or you’re screwed). I thought conservatives liked the whole traditional family roles thing.

  22. Are you really against public police and fire unions? Really? Would you prefer a return to the days when you had to pay a private company to put out fires on your house — the days when they wouldn’t put out the fire if you had a competitor’s fire logo by your front door instead of theirs? Or perhaps you’d prefer a fireman making $8 an hour who, watching you scream for rescue from the top floor of your burning house, stops to think if risking his own life to save yours is worth the wages. How many fireman would there sill be, do you think?

  23. Smarg,

    Corporations spoke with there feet, because they had the power to do so. There wasn’t a force to counter it. Unions aren’t strong enough in this country. This is a business minded country you can thank them for the transferring of manufacture jobs.

  24. Fair and equal wages? That’s it? No safety regulations or working conditions? Not medical coverage for factory workers, construction, police and others who could be hurt on thier jobs?

  25. it appears that you think that anyone in a union is a non-skilled job. Nothing could be further from the truth. Electricians are not non-skilled, boilermakers are not non-skilled, they are quite highly skilled and that is just a very small microcosm of the types of union members.

    The fact of the matter is that of a person with a college education cannot get a good job for what they want to college for, then that is an indication of how the economy is and an indication of the person himself, not the fault of a union worker.
    this is probably a discussion that you should not be entering yourself into. And always remember one thing, when a union goes after wages it is based solely on the profit margin of a corporation. The union has access by law to the books By the Corporation. I do not see you complaining that most CEOs today are making 450% more than the average worker in his company when 20 years ago he was only making 15% more. Always remember there are two sides in negotiations

  26. Why is it that people that are otherwise intelligent people try to see things as black and white, I am right you are wrong types of scenarios.

    The fact is that yes, companies are paying CEO’s far too much money. But it is also ridiculous that unions are basically holding companies hostage to pay a floor sweeper who smoked weed all through high school and never went to college $27/hour. That person should be getting minimum wage and trying to improve himself. Labor unions have told him he is ENTITLED to high wages which is BS. US companies are in trouble because the pay scales are off the charts at both ends of the scale. Skilled workers in middle tier jobs tend to get about the same pay whether union or non-union which indicates the pay is about where it should be. The highest echelons of management are making way too much money, but also the unions are causing the hundreds of thousands of lowest skilled workers to get payed many times what the job is worth and then fooled them into thinking they are guaranteed to get that.

  27. Wow you guys don’t get it at all, Smarg is very much being sarcastic. There is no way a sane person would be against unions during a time when CEO’s give themselves 140million dollar bonus’s every year. Its funny that the bonus that the walmart board gave themselves this year would have been enough to give every single one of their employees a 15 dollar per hour raise. Thats on top of already having salaries of 30 million a year.

    Smarg is obviously just as pissed about it as the rest of you, he is just very good at sarcasm. I especially like the “greedy” unions being screwed by indians because they will do the same job for 15 dollars a day, he is obviously saying that the labor exportation system is messed up, not that people in america should be getting paid 15 dollars a day. Well either that or he is batshit insane, hard to say fer sure with internet sarcasm lol.

  28. Shiva– Its WAY more then 450%, try 450,000% Of course alot of that is hidden behind perks and “bonuses”

  29. Ha Ha! That’s hilarious. Well, I have a few teacher friends and I am sorry to say that most of them are not the brightest of the bunch. That’s why they go into teaching and not more lucrative jobs that even higher education could get them. America is not like Northern Europe where the best of the best are chosen to teach and are highly respected members of society. It also amazes me that teachers can gain tenure and perform at a horrific level, but nothing can be done about it.
    Unions are good for America, we need them. With that being said, however; checks and balances on the power of those unions need to be put into place. We need a balance!

  30. For starters, I don’t think I’d want a fireman who was in it purely for the money. And I’m willing to bet money is not a prime motivating factor in driving someone to pursue that career.

    Besides, noone is going to reduce a fireman’s or policeman’s pay to $8/hour because that’s well below what the labor market would support. Wages fluctuate to meet skill, talent, supply and demand.

    Not *every* job is meant to provide a “living wage”. You think someone mindlessly stocking shelves or operating a cash register should make $25,000/year? If you can be replaced by a computer and a scanner then you aren’t worth $25,000/year.

  31. Anonymous–Umm Most Union Presidents DO get paid the same as the hourly actually… Unions are there to protect workers, and to make sure that they, aka the people actually running the company, and making the products, actually get a fair share of that companies revenue instead of it all being funneled into one guy. the seemingly standard “40 million dollar bonus” that has popped up the last couple of years for CEO’s is enough to give nearly 2000 full time employees a ten dollar an hour raise.

    What do you think is more fair, 1 guy getting all the money, or the 2000 employees that actually run the company getting an even share of it? Unions do the later, republicans do the former… and the former is why the average American has no buying power and the economy is shit. Unions should be required by law for all large corporation period. Its the only way to keep things fair, and keep the economy from self destructing under the weight of the ultra greed of CEO’s

  32. Your rudimentary analysis of this issue is hilarious. First off, lumping in Republicans as conspiracy-driven and greedy is child-like thinking. Perhaps start by saying “many Republicans.” Many Republicans are striving to bust unions not to hurt the little guy but to level salaries in order to preserve competition and with it, jobs.

    Secondly, labor unions are outdated and no longer necessary. The federal government mandates minimum wages and provides for OSHA which dictates the safety of the environment in which ALL employees work. Labor unions now exist solely to collude and increase the salaries of their workers beyond what the open market dictates. Collusion in a free market prevents manufacturers from being competitive.

    Also, white collar workers fear losing their jobs every day. They do not enjoy tenure and can be let go without cause. This means they try their hardest every day and don’t become complacent with their performance.

    Did you bother to ask why Ford survived without government assistance? Management worked with union leadership and the unions made huge concessions. Ford workers were smart enough to realize that the janitorial staff making $60k per year was going to ruin the company and they’d be out of a job.

    This article is shallow and baseless. Do some research.

  33. As a righty myself, I dislike unions are they are today. It’s hard to argue that unions back in the 20s, where we think that weekends, and safe contions come from, were a good form of union. Unions back then were for safety, and not being overworked for no pay. However, looking at what unions have been doing over the past 20 to 30 years, is where I (a mid-twentysomething) have become disenfranchised with the idea that unions are still relevant. Instead of arguing for safe conditions, or not being overworked, they now argue for much different things.

    Teachers unions are by far the worst of todays unions. One could argue that they exist to protect teachers jobs, negotiate raises, benefits and everything else. However, looking deeper into one example of a teacher union, in New Jersey, you will notice that nearly 10% of your salary goes into union dues, and fees, some of the highest in the nation. The fact they they continue to argue for tenure, thus getting job security, regardless of performance. I would love a job, where I work hard for 3-4 years, and then am able to slack off and never get fired. Add in the unions ability to keep increasing salaries and payment into pension plans, and you have a gaping hole of funding that needs to be paid, by who else, the taxpayer.

    As we can easily see, that there are many, many factors at play here. One would need to sit down and write out many equations to better describe all the variables at play with just this example, but we can quickly see a pretty bad tailspin in this simplest explanation: More new teachers move to NJ for already high pay and pension plans, pension plans and salaries for more teachers will increase property/income taxes, higher taxes devalue the salaries being made by teachers, who go to the union to argue for more, thus keeping the cycle going.

    Long story short: unions are an invaluable institution to any developing nation, however, when the economy shifts from industrial powered, to service powered, unions start to lose their value in the society. That’s not to say that _all_ unions existing today are inherently bad, some are good. But a vast majority of them fall into the former category.


    dave

  34. Most CEOs who start their comapnies tie their their pay to the companies success or failure in fact many CEO salaries are 1 dollar the point is that bad CEOs and bad board of directors rob and rape comapies, the employees in those companies and the public trust. The problem is too many bad CEOs and not enough good ones.

  35. It required bankrupting the auto companies before they finally conceded, because they knew it was a political disaster and that many of their members were going to get dumped if the company were drug under. The bloated weight of salaries and benefits for employees the company can no longer use or that have retired is a huge burden that the union is inflexible on.

    Job banks are an absolutely disgusting result of union rules.

    Unions have their place and they’ve done a great job advancing the working conditions for employees over the decades, but at some point your job is done. Tip the balance too far towards the union and employees and you limit a company’s ability to function and grow to create *more* jobs.

  36. Lab experiment:
    Two identical houses under construction. One gets union plumbers, and the other gets nonunion. The 3-man union crew costs a minimum of $30/hr each and will take up to 3 days to rough plumb a house. The non-union crew will cost $12, $15, and $20 / hr and will get the job done in ONE DAY, saving the homeowner thousands of dollars. Both pluming jobs easily pass inspection by the building officials. Why the difference? The non union crew has another house to do the following day. They work hard and make a great living. The union crew goes back to the union hall and waits for another job. They work at a, shall we say, more gentile pace and they make a great living.
    Well the economy has figured this out. All you union supporters sound like the costs of your wonderful benefits are somehow easily absorb-able by our economy. It isn’t. Wake up and look around you. The Republican union bashers aren’t making up lies, they are simply telling you that your goose that lays the golden eggs has stopped laying. And I say this as a friend: the union bashing dialog goes well for them because you union members look greedy right now. Read the remarks above from union members. In the face of millions of people who lost their jobs and are unemployed, you cluck about your good paying jobs and your fantastic benefit packages. I didn’t see one remark from a union member that sounded like they cared about the millions of unemployed. Would you take less if it meant others could work? Would you take a cut in pay if it meant that your neighbor could go back to work and keep their home? I haven’t seen any union member ever say that. And that my friend, speaks louder than this article. It is reason you are not seen in the best light.

  37. I find that hard to believe their bonus was equivalent to a $15/hr raise for the entire company. I hate seeing ridiculous bonuses for top executives but I also hate made up facts. $15/hr for the 1.8 million employees of Walmart is about $56 billion dollars. To put it another way that’s about 14 times their profit for a fiscal year. Try again.

  38. Anon if you are correct then why did a families house burn down to the ground for 75 dollars? In Teabagger America this will happen since no taxes are being collected for the public warefare. Who will pay for the police, the fire dept. roads, public water maintaince, schools, prisions, collect road kill, post office mail, the military and telephone/electrical service. All started by government and paid for by public tax dollars. Anon you are wrong the Teabeggers ae wrong just pull your head out from Fox news’ ass and take a look around.

  39. 40 hour work weeks, the concept of the weekend, restrictions on child-labor, protections against descrimination and unlawful termination, overtime, sick days, the middle class, higher wages for non-union workers in the same fields….

    Meh, so what? Let’s abandon what built this country and let unions go to the wayside for the sake of keeping money in the hands of corporations. After all, without them we’d have no meanial jobs….

  40. So long as CEO’s are giving themselves multimillion dollar bonuses Unions are not doing enough to provide profit equalization for their employees.

    Realitek–thats only if immigration doesn’t show up :p

  41. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAAHA oh snap I almost poop myself with laghter. Tim most Uinons are a waste of time they have sold out to the companies. Case in point Specitaly Bar had a union a union who every year would compitulate to the copmany for lesser pay while the copmany made money hand over fist. Until the employees switched there Union from a national based to a local based out of Jtown then all hell broke lose and after the investigation it was found out that SP bar was paying off the old Union during the meetings not that any of matters now SP bar let the wolf in the shop (Halaburton) and lost all of their contracts to them ( a non union company for more money).

  42. Turns out most of these protections are now enforced by law, making unions obsolete. It’s too late for employers to hit reverse and try to start taking away everything workers have grown accustomed too. It’s a different world now, and the need for unions has dropped dramatically in modern America.

  43. That’s awesome. I have an MBA, ten years of corporate experience, work 60 hours a week including 20% travel, and I directly influence the profitability of my firm. If I were a MIG welder, I could have ditched the hard work to get the education, scale my work week to 40 hours, have weekends to myself, and make just as much money.

    Yes, we corporate types are soooo greedy.

    …and we wonder why American cars and education both suck. Unions keep the incompetent in place while failing to reward those who work harder. Seems like proper incentives to me.

  44. Realtyck–And if it was not for those unions those union members would be laid off and jobless as well. Instead they are getting paid a living wage… gee wonder which is better for employees?

    Unions protect workers from the greed of the extreme minority, if there had been alot more unions then this massive economic explosion would have never happened in the first place.

    It should be illegal for the highest paid employee of a company to make more then 5 times the wage of the lowest, but it is not, and thus unions must exist.

  45. Hilarious–Are you saying you would rather be a MIG welder then your current job? Of course not. Their job is tough, and unlike your position actually needed to get things done. They do alot more work in any given hour then you do, under far more hazardous and stressful conditions, so why should they not get paid at least as much? Without guys like them you would not have a company to increase the profits of to begin with.

  46. Profit equalization = socialism. If you want that, you’ll want to go to China or Cuba. Let me know how you enjoy riding in a rickshaw.

    Capitalist economies are designed to reward those who take risk and drive profit. As terrible as it sounds, it is reality that semi-skilled labor is in abundance, easily replaceable, and not a direct influence on profitability. As such, the job is less valuable than that of a CFO who directs money investment and can make or break a company with any mistake.

    The C-Suite is overpaid, for certain. Does more of that money need to go to unskilled, uneducated labor? Probably not. It should be reinvested in the economy in the form of dividends and increased share prices.

    “The world needs ditch diggers too, son.”

  47. Union greed? Wow, what “pay” do u think Companies would pay if there were no unions, oh yeah you ansered that – $15 a day. I know people live on that in India, and their life is horrible – you are an a**. Perhaps you should ask yourself, “What would Jesus do” – pay a man a living wage or the least amount possible?

  48. As a person living Michigan, I have to disagree with a good portion of your premise. I will completely agree that unions brought real value decades ago when only our grandparents were in their 20’s, but what you refused to address was the simple fact that in 95% of the cases they have moved away from the concept of resonable value of workers to what can they get away with. The unions of today act almost like the companies of old you are complaining about.

    The fact that unions are lobbying to remove the sacred concept of a secret ballot and trying to force the disclosure of the voting records of individuals when the voting is already federally monitored and controlled is something that an old 1800’s sweat shop action with their pinkerton union-busting thugs would try and do.

    The fact that in 2008 when the government asked the unions to make some minor concessions in creating the bailout to prevent the companies from crashing, what did the UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. He refused them… he saw that the companies were crashing, knew that they wouldn’t survive without a bailout and still refused to make consessions to a completely Democrat controlled Senate, House & President offices (when they still had a *super* majority), so it wasn’t like they were asking for the moon. Eventually under pressure by Democrats, Republicans and pretty much the world he gave in. Hmmm… that level of arrogance in the midst of calamity is something a 1800’s coal mine company would probably have.

    Rather than wax about how the unions have done very good things a hundred years ago, maybe you should write about how the unions need to turn back to their historical roots and try to be part of the solution for a greater good so they can legitimately regain the trust of people.

  49. My job’s not needed? They do more work in an hour than I do? You don’t even know what I do. Imbecilic! I earned money in college working alongside these guys. I know how much work they do and white collar workers put in equal days.

    I’m in the consulting industry which can easily exist without MIG welders. Well, no, I take that back – we need MIG welders, but in the Philippines and India where they work for market wages.

    MIG welders aren’t scooping up land mines. They’re safer than most. Yes, they work hard – so do I. In their job, they can no-call, no-show multiple times before being terminated. I can come into work one day and be without a job because the quarter-end results suggest cost-cutting is required.

  50. Well said realitychk.

    In general, I believe unions are out-dated, but that should not discount the vital role unions played in creating our great nation. My biggest issue with the union I was forced into was the dis-incentive to try harder at your job. I was guaranteed the same 3% raise yearly regardless of my performance. If I did outstanding, 3% – if I performed bairly good enough to not get fired, 3%. Also, the contracts were 3 year increments which seem fine, but in 2008 when the company had record loses and all non-union employees took pay cuts/freezes or got laid off, the union workers still got raises which forced more lay-0ffs of non-union workers had there not been raises.

  51. I agree with this … take Tulsa Oklahoma .. we have a budget crisises. The city asked the Police Union to take a pay cut in order to keep the same force. The Union instead made a crap load of demands. Guess what happened bottom 10% was fired. Go Union you really helped your fellow man Woo.

  52. I personally say we move to the Japanese Model for CEO pay .. it should be at most 25-50% more than your lowest paid employee .. this typically will keep your CEO pay down.

    As for the Unions … not all are unskilled workers … Hell some are very specialized, very dangerous, no one else would want to do it workers. Those people should be paid quite a bit (a shit load more than my BS, college educated ass). BUT and this is a big BUT, people who I don’t know deliver mail or change light bulbs etc should not be making more than me (and as sad as it is delivering mail makes more than me, as does being one of their special contractors).

  53. Oh and I’m not an MD yet, hopefully class of 2015 though (Politics aside, wish me luck!). I am, however, willing to put in the necessary work in for the next 6-7 years to get that status and it won’t come easy. I will spend the entire time making very little money, and studying horrific hours. The job itself will be a tough one too with long hours and a lot of stress, although very much worth it; the pros of being a physician far outweigh the cons. The problem with most Americans that I have ever come across though is that they are not willing to put in the necessary work to succeed. They expect someone to give them what they need. I was always brought up with the philosophy that you go out and get what you want, but you’re going to have to work for it!

  54. Here is an instance where Unions are bad.

    I have a friend that manages a plant in LA. This plant makes pieces for airplanes that cost quite a bit and have to be built a very specialized way (meaning rigorous tests that can destroy the device if its off by even a little bit). They had a worker who decided that instead of using the specialized equipment to cut certain wires she would just use a box cutter. This resulted in destroying everything that went through her line because they wouldn’t pass the afore mentioned test. This cost the company an OMG amount of money. Was she fired? Was she reprimanded? Or was she gently explained to that she needed to use the specialized equipment even though she has been told this on quite a few occasions? Guess which one (hint not the first two) … Guess why … The union screamed and threatened the company when they brought up laying her off … she was protected.

    Here is another one. There are two outstanding individuals working for this union. They do the work of two people each and are very competent. So much so that my friend would love to give them pay raises and encourage them to grow into other fields. Guess what my friend gets to do? If you answered Nothing that is correct. See the Union demands they reward people that have been in the Union the longest not the best workers.

    Yeah so Sorry to say not seeing the Greatness of a Union.

    And before you post about the Hay Days of the Labor Movement … I have read the Jungle … I know about the working conditions … and yes I understand the great need they once had but any more they appear to be nothing more than a legal form of the Mafia.

  55. Hilarious– Your job consists of talking to people, aka the easiest job ever. I’m a negotiator myself, although most of the time its with people that have guns, or on a massive trade floor, and its still an easier job then a MIG welder. When was the last time you sweated on the job? They do that every hour they work. Sales and negotiations do not compare work wise to such a position. You should consider yourself lucky that you have such a cushy job, not complaining that the guys actually building the products are getting paid similar wages.

    Unions are not currently doing enough for corporate employees. CEO’s should not be getting paid more then their entire working staff combined, which is currently the case on average. Unions exist specifically to prevent that sort of thing.

    Do you think it is fair that a CEO pays themselves 40 million+ dollar bonuses while paying most of their employees, the guys that actually run the company minimum wage? Because that is what happens when you don’t have unions, you need only look at walmart for proof. The fact that there are no employment protections in other impoverished countries were you can take huge advantage of laborers does not mean it is the right thing to do, nor should it be legal to do so.

    Paying the lowest amount in the world, in the most impoverished, most unprotected countries is not “paying the market price” it is taking advantage of the ignorant for personal gain. The market price is dictated by the profits of the company. If a welder builds a car, with materials he collected, and then sells it himself for 10K worth of profit, that profit is the market price of that welders services. Once a team gets involved deviding up those profits amongst the team is the market price for their services. NOT what their wage actually is. Unions are there to make sure the employees get the REAL market value of their services, and not get whatever bone they are thrown while the CEO’s skim away massive profits by effectively stealing portions away from the real value of their services.

    ISGK– you would probably be hesitant to give things up too if the problem was caused by the greed of your opposition. They were asking the unions to give things up, while at the same time the CEO’s of those same corps were giving themselves multimillion dollar bonuses, it was complete bullshit, but they still did what they had to do in the end despite the fact that those CEO’s actions should have put them in prison.

  56. Anon–Corrupt unions do exist, but it is nothing compared to the corruption of your average corp. The union in your case is definitely doing far more good then harm, if they were not there the bad employees would be fired, and the good employees would be given massive pay cuts, and increased workloads. Basically they would naturally become what walmart is. Anyone arguing against unions need only look at walmart in order to see what happens without them, or for that matter just look at the current state of America as a whole.

    The current economic problem is caused by a lack of unions among massive amounts of the American workforce, this directly caused wages to concentrate to the CEO’s and management while promoting job loss, and general wage decreases to 98% of the workforce. Without unions equalizing profits in the wage distribution, you end up with walmart, were 98% of the workforce is paid less then 8.50 an hour, while the top 2% make hundreds of millions. This wage variation is caused by CEO’s massively undervalueing the market value of their workforce, and then pocketing the difference into their own bank accounts.

  57. Why the focus on teacher unions? Do police and fire fighter unions not cost the tax payer loads of money in pensions, health care packages, and training? Or, how about the million or more members of the military who receive health care, training, and for those that stick around long enough, a generous retirement package? Should we give out benefits only to those soldiers who perform the best on the battlefield? So for instance, get a free flu shot per every terrorist killed?

    Over the last 20 or so years, unions have mainly been fighting over the few scraps remaining in the manufacturing base in the US. Millions of jobs have poured overseas, technological innovation has decreased the need for higher numbers of workers in certain kinds of plants. Yet, despite whatever horrible things you think they’ve done in the last two decades, corporate profits have soared. Just in the last year alone, billionaire’s saw their wealth increase as much as 40%. The top 1% own around a quarter of all wealth, the top 10% own nearly half, and the top 20% own close to 80%. Meanwhile, for those in the 60th percentile or lower, their wages have either stagnated or declined in the past 30 years. This has forced many into deep credit card debt in order to pay for expenses they should have the money to pay for themselves.

    So, now we’re stuck with a working class stripped of representation in the pristine offices of upper management, reduced representation in Washington, D.C. as a result of lower union membership and therefore less money, excessive levels of private debt, reduced pensions, reduced salaries and benefits as a result of Wall Street’s latest fiasco, more jobs pouring overseas, CEO pay skyrocketing, and all while currently, despite this terrible economy, corporate profits among the Fortune 500 have increased enormously.

    But according to your comment, the “worst” is teacher’s unions. Yeah, that sounds about right. If anything, the unions and dwindling worker protections we have in this country are the only thing standing between an anemic but survivable Middle Class condition, and an actual oligarchy.

  58. Jon, I agree with some of your points, specifically that an American dollar spent in India leaves our economy and enters theirs. However, I am confused by your explanation that cheap imports caused the fall of the Roman Empire. Would you mind explaining this further?

  59. Unions now are more important then any other time in US history. Right now the country is literally dieing because of a lack of unions, and due to a massive undervalueing of labor, and basically the theft of that labors marketvalue wage being stolen by the top tiers of management. It is nothing short of a travesty that is wiping out the middle class, and literally destroying the country job by job. If this keeps up we are going to end up in the same boat chinese employees are currently in, were 400 dollars a year is considered a living wage.

    #1 It should be regulated as federal law that the highest paid member of a company cannot be paid more then 5 times the amount of the lowest paid. That alone would fix the countries economy over night. The problems today are caused by management and CEO’s stealing the marketvalue of their employees workloads for themselves in massive quantities, concentrating wealth into a small number of people, massively reducing the spending capabilities of the American people, shrinking the economy, and reducing demand for product. That law alone would change ALL of that, and cause the US to instantly rebound its economy.

  60. Any jacka$$ with a pulse should know that unions stifle a free market economy. There are very few facts in this opinion piece.
    And it is obama along with his lazy, inexperienced followers who are the biggest threat to an economic recovery and the economic stability of this once great nation.

  61. Kizmiaz–you are incorrect. Unions do not harm the free market, they simply increase the fairness of wage distribution, and give the real market value pay for services. Without Unions you have CEO’s undervalueing the market value of labor, and then stealing the extra for themselves. The total cost remains the same, it is only the distribution of that cost that changes. Instead of everyone getting what they are worth, the majority is undercut while the management reaps massive gains standing on their backs.

  62. Best response yet. The answer to these topics are NOT black and white.

    It is not a matter eliminating unions or unionizing everything. It is a question of dollars and sense. Unions in mine shafts and unions for state office workers are two totally different things. Unions in mine shafts are a good thing, because that is a dangerous job that needs to have employee say in order to keep things safe. Unions for city/state workers who grow fat on tax dollars entering in data on a computer do not have their lives in peril and do not have nearly the same amount of risk in any sense of the word.

    This topic can get very complicated but at the end of the day this country is over-unionized and what union members don’t understand is if they were smart enough to run companies, they would be running them, not working on assembly lines. Unions were created in a time where death in the work place was all too common and we had nowhere near the government oversight of how companies were run like we do today. We are thankful for what they have given us today but in most cases are simply antequated dinosaurs that have no place in a globalized economy. The fear that the removal of unions will destroy the middle class is short sighted and puts the burden on consumers and companies to carry the weight from increasingly underproductive workers.

    If unions can prove that their wages make their members that much better than non-union workers, companies would have no problems paying them. The truth is, they cannot. They want to force companies to paying them what they feel just thinking that money grows on company trees but what they are finding out is that companies are not going to fight, they are simply going to move operations elsewhere.

    Union members need to wake up and smell the coffee, the future for them is very bleak. Change has already started and it will not stop.

  63. Unions are created by Humans and run by Humans. The Humans in Unions can get just as greedy and lazy as the Humans who run Corporations.
    Due to a Union contract, my Uncle was routinely paid for Overtime he did not work. Due to another Union contract my mother was told that she either gave money to the Union or donate the Dues to a charity. The contract did not allow her to actually get paid all the money she earned. A Union contract with Mack Trucks said that if Mack laid anyone off they had to pay them 100% of their pay! The workers slowed production, prices went up, sales fell off, workers were laid off. And Mack closed all of it’s US plants by moving to Central America.
    Humans are the problem, not Corporations, not Unions, Humans.

  64. Allow me to come down to your level – you’re a complete dope.

    Your comparison of physical and mental work is completely childish. So a welder has to sweat all day… “oh no!” Is he required to continually improve upon his welds? Does he need to fight a crap economy to continue to bring business in the door? Does he risk his job by negotiating internally and externally for a mutually beneficial deal? Does he keep up with market trends to maintain a competitive advantage for his firm?

    The complexities of what I do far outweigh someone working on a line. No, I don’t sweat at work and would probably be sent home if I did. But you’re a complete mongoloid to assume that the only effort expended in a job is physical. My job requires more risk, skill, education, interpersonal ability, and mental stress endurance than his – – but yet, you contend because his workplace is hot, it’s equally valuable and requires equal pay.

    Also, try reading before you respond. I said CEOs are overpaid. Your earlier argument that they should be limited to 5x their lowest paid employee is simplistic and ill-informed. CEO pay is intricate and should be a balance of salary and equity to adequately pay the exec while keeping an incentive for future growth of the firm. With such a spectacular and well-thought-out compensation plan, you should open your own consulting firm. It’s pretty easy too – all you do is talk.

    What in God’s name do you negotiate? Baseball card trades with Jr. High kids?

  65. the car makers failed because unions imposed fixed costs on a cyclical industry and now those same fixed cost line items have usurped control over state and local budgets. Now, like US, every crevice of Government is bankrupt. Thank you SEIU

  66. @RandomMiser

    Umm… want to show proof that the CEO’s of GM/Chrysler weren’t giving something up as part of the deal? You made the claim please prove it.

    Putting that aside, let’s just look at things logically here and use the smallest amount of brain power required…. it doesn’t take much if you have a 3rd grade education you can do this.

    In March 2010 there were 207,000 reported GM employee’s (they had more before but I’m going to skew things in your favor by using a smaller current number).

    GM’s CEO salary, bonuses, etc in 2008 was 2.2 million this was after he had already taken a *50% cut* 2 years before. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a single union member who took a 50% pay cut over the past 20+ years, 5yrs before he made $8.3 million.

    So let’s take his entire salary and distribute amongst the masses, I mean $2.2 million spread to the workers would obviously fix all the problem right? That’s basically what I see people complaining about that if we just didn’t pay the exec’s as much no blue-collar guy would be in any problems at all. So $2.2 mill / 207,000 employees / 2080 (# work hr/year) =increase of $0.0051/hr wage. Taking away every bit of money away from the CEO doesn’t even a increase of a single cent per hour increase in pay for the GM worker. Well there’s more than just one exec, so let’s take a bunch… 50 execs and again I’m going to skew it massively in your favor all of them get paid the same as the CEO (we all know that is not the case) distribute it again you still have a raise of a $0.25/hour and you’d take home increase would be $10.21 per week. That’s what you’d get by taking away every penny from 50 execs making the same as the CEO of GM and redistributing it amongst the GM employees.

    So do you really think that exec pay is the issue here, when the CEO already took a 50% pay cut? And I just proved that taking 50x execs making $2.2mill would only get you $10/week in pre-tax dollars.

  67. I’d debate the both of you on that one. I’d say failure on a few parts:

    1.) Unions – never fought them and paid the price for years.
    2.) Lazy operations – Toyota introduced them all to forced cost pricing and kaizen in the ’80s. GM kept producing Monte Carlos.
    3.) Greedy management – Why change anything? We’re GM! Screw Americans, they can pay just as much for a domestic car that lasts 3 years as a Japanese car that lasts 10!!

  68. Labor unions have done great things…like create weekends and much better working conditions and hours. Although have you ever worked with a union worker that when you say hey can you crab me that shovel or wanna hold this fascia board up so I can tack it on they simply reply NO, not in my job description…wow how about you stop being lazy. I feel bad for the people that are in any union that work hard but there are too many who are simply lazy. The biggest problem with the union is that in enables lazy people….

  69. ISGK– The car manufacturers are actually better then most, and that 2.2 and 4 million dollar paychecks were still incredibly out of line. Imagine what he would have been paying himself had the union NOT been there.

    The reason they agreed to negotiate was because he took that 2 million pay cut, and he hinestly should have taken far more of a cut then that… it is IMPOSSIBLE for an individual to “earn” 2.2 million dollars in a year, they do so only by stealing the fairmarket value from other workers.

    Compare the GM CEO to that of walmarts who do not have a union, and that 2.2 million turns into 720+million divided up amongst their small board.

    Hilarious– I am a professional contract negotiator, and strategist, as well as a crisis negotiator. I actually do own my own firm, and get calls about once every 6 months or so when the police need help getting a guy who has been destroyed emotionally to put down the gun. Basically I am the guy they hire when companies are afraid guys like you aren’t good enough. I used to work for Dell Inc, then I was hired by Hewlett Packard, the results are pretty well known.

    I am very aware of mental work and physical work, and am very aware that both should be valued. An idiot working his ass off on a welding machine, puts in just as much time and effort, and is just as important to the companies bottom line as the board director developing the business strategy, and both should be valued as such. After all without the welder, there is nothing to make a business strategy out of, and in your case nothing to sell or negotiate with. Having one making millions, while the other makes 8 bucks an hour is nothing short of a crime against humanity… its bad for the economy… bad for business… and should be abolished completely.

    The 5x rule is the healthiest for businesses. Having CEO’s supplement that wage with stock is absolutely fine, and should be encouraged, but you do not take millions of dollars worth of wages out of the pockets of your employees to give yourself ridiculous bonuses or salaries, you do not lay off employees while giving yourself a raise, and you sure as hell don’t move all your positions over seas while pocketing the savings in your personal bank account. Such things are horrendous to our society, something I would consider to be nothing short of treasonous, and unions are the checks that keep such things from happening.

    If you look at a union workers refusal to do somthing due to it “not being in their job description”, that is not their fault. That is the fault of the company they are working for. Its the “give them an inch, and they will take a mile” problem, these guys are well aware that the company they are working for will take advantage of them if they can at all possibly do so which is why they need to be abit strict at were they draw the line. Once again if you look at walmart, you will have guys whos job description is a cashier, get pulled EVERY DAY to instead do 8 hours of hard manual labor unloading trucks, while still getting paid their cashier rate instead of the higher warehouse rate. Its beyond ridiculous.

  70. I’ve seen this at my company plenty of times. The factory and facilities employees are union, and for the most part it’s not an issue to me directly other than they get their mandatory raises when the rest of the company has to sacrifice raises and bonuses during bad economic years. But I’ve seen plenty of times where someone needs to move cubicles and they have to box up their entire contents of their cubicle and wait a day or two for a union employee to move them, sometimes to another building but often times only a few hundred feet. And if they screw something up you better not dare move a desk or chair for them because if they find out they’ll file a grievance on you for lost wages to get a free hour of pay.

  71. Hmmm– they have to do that or else the company would simply be making you move your entire cubicle by yourself in order to save the cost of the union workers. If the company was not inherently corrupt the union guys would not have to be so strict with their policies.

    If you want to see places were that is not a problem, look at A grade companies, places such as Apple, Pixar, Nintendo, Acer, Google, and WotC. These places do not have CEO’s paying themselves insane wages, while lowering wages, and laying people off. They also do not have the problem of unions being forced to act like dicks because if they didn’t they would be taken advantage of or eradicated.

    Remember that the next time a union guy files for a charge because the company forced you to move your own desk instead of having the guy whos job it is to move it take care of it, and remember that such action is the same reason your company can’t drag you down to a loading dock and force you to unload a truck in order to save a couple bucks.

  72. Unions are actually a component of a free market society. The government, specifically the judicial branch, only gets involved, or more appropriately “should” only get involved when there is a breach in a contract between a union worker and the corporation they work for. Contracts are also a component of a free market system.

  73. “…when guys like me aren’t good enough.” Ha! Nice dig.

    I find it amazing that you own your own business but have no concept of compensation analysis. You continue to equate semi- or non-skilled labor with the skilled and degree-requirement workforce. I also find it interesting that you devalue consulting work as someone who “just talks for a living.” I’m required to be an expert in my field, while you negotiate – which – is – just – talking??

    I’m sure your successes are well documented. In fact, I’m sure there are plenty of self-inflicted gunshot wounds from people listening to your idiocy.

    An “idiot working at the welding machine” (your words, not mine) does not have near the influence on the company’s bottom line as the board member determining strategy. That’s just nonsensical. Yes, the welder is “required” to make the goods that the company sells but isn’t anywhere near as valuable as the board member who knows how to keep the company in a strategically viable position or the engineer who designed the widget that the welder makes. The welder also has a line of men behind him who are equally capable of the same production and willing to work for a similar wage. Others, including tool and dye makers have unique skills, are not as easily replaced, and therefore command a higher salary.

    I’m fairly certain, based on your complete lack of knowledge, that you are an internet troll who works at Wendy’s (no offense to Wendy’s workers). You seriously could not run a business with such rudimentary understanding of economics and human capital. If you really are a negotiator, I suggest you negotiate yourself into an intro to business course.

  74. Hilarious– You are completely failing to see my point. Its almost sad, let me try to reword things for you to make it more easily understandable.

    Lets say you have a product that sells for 100 dollars. Several people go into making that product, and that product could not be made then sold without each of their unique efforts.

    To keep things simple lets say 10 people were involved in its sale and creation, 1 guy who sold the product 1 guy who designed it, 1 guy who got them to work together, and made sure everyone got paid, and keep them organized, and 7 guys involved in various steps of the products creation. Now obviously certain of those people can be more easily replaced then others because some of them have rarer skill sets then others, under a union system the manager, and engineer may each get 20 of that hundred dollar each, the sales fellow may get 15, and the remainder 55 would be divided up amongst those who actually make the product. Without the union though The manager in charge can do whatever he likes, the engineer will make less but not by a huge margin since his abilities would be difficult to ever replace, leaving him getting about 20, the sales guys would also get less since they can be replaced without too much effort with similarly skilled individuals dropping their salary to 10, The manager/CEO who is in charge of that money simply pockets the rest. The bad part though gets into the relatively unskilled workforce that are easily replaced by others, the Manager cuts their previous 55% down to only 2%, since even though they put just as much work into making the product that the CEO did, their job can be done by others for cheaper, and the manager will backstab those people with anyone who will take even a penny less, putting each extra penny into his own pocketbook. The result is MASSIVE wage discrepancies, and ultimately when it becomes wide spread, a failing economy, much as what we have now in the US.

    The “free market” without unions rampantly abuses the market value of services in order to condense wealth. The market value of a position, is based upon what consumers are willing to pay for the product, NOT what companies can pay for the labor, by taking advantage of people who don’t know any better. The lack of unions basically allows corps to take advantage of otherwise ignorant workers getting them to accept wages that are far below what the market bares for the given work, while pocketing the money that should be going to those workers.

  75. Sure… Rome had a largely agrarian economy. A major chunk of the gold that funded the Roman army was paid for with taxes that were collected from farmers. When more and more land fell under Roman dominion, the emperor demanded a certain amount of “tribute grain” from the provinces. The farmers in the Roman countryside couldn’t compete with the grain which was several times cheaper (much like overseas outsourced labor today). This caused a trickle-up effect, as it were. Since farming was the cornerstone of the Roman economy, and farmers were broke, the economy was effectively halted. The Germanic peoples of Central Europe effectively sacked Rome because toward the end the Roman government couldn’t even pay its own army, which at one point was the greatest in the world. Semantics arguments and nitpicking over dates and places aside, this is a very real concept that has been demonstrated over and over again throughout history.

  76. I also have a MBA and am guessing that you are either in Sales or Supply Chain management. I say that because those are the only two areas in corporate management where you can easily quantify worker performance in a meaningful way. I don’t how long ago you got your MBA or if you took any advanced management theory courses but there have been a number of studies showing that the further up in management you are (aka the higher paid you are), the harder it is to quantify your effect. The pay difference between upper management and workers is due in large part to upper management’s ability to negotiate and not on a measureable performance measure. (Don’t try to rebut with stock price as an example of performance measure, stock price changes for lots of reasons most of which is outside management’s direct control). My point is that your pay and everyone else’s pay isn’t based solely on the value they add to the company. You may be able to say, I sold X amount and made Y profits for the company but without quality control, design, manufacturing, purchasing, and marketing all working together to develop products people want at a competitive price, you wouldn’t be able to sell as much or make a profit. Who gets what from the company is a matter of negotiation and unions are just a negotiation tool.

    I know you were sarcastic but if your position was unionized, you probably would still need the education but you wouldn’t have to work 60 hours a week. The reason people work that much is they aren’t secure enough in their position to negotiate a shorter work week. They may be very talented at their jobs but they worry that if they don’t work 60 hours someone else will.

    PS. Some welding is very specialized (aircraft welding for example) and requires a longer training period than most MBA programs. You might choose a different profession to complain about.

  77. I’m an Independent, voted for Obama, but I am completely anti-union. In a perfect world you are right, strong labor unions aren’t a bad thing. But we don’t live in a perfect world. I just got through listening to a “This American Life” podcast about the NUMMI plant and how the UAW decided their strategy would be to file a grievance about everything and then use the paperwork to force management into giving concessions. These were UAW bosses discussing this and how this was not uncommon.

    The truth is unions had their place. In an America where people were born, lived, worked, and died in one town you needed protection for the worker. But in today’s world you can move from New york to California to find work. If you think your job is worth more money then by-god go find someone that will pay that much for it. Because if no one will then guess what? It’s not worth that much! Global competition makes unions a relic of a by-gone era. I’m sorry but someone who is uneducated working in a plant restocking wheels simply isn’t worth $45 an hour, full benefits and a pension.

    In a free market system labor is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. And just like companies can’t collude together to “poison the well” by jointly regulating the prices of their products I don’t believe that the work force should be allowed to band together in the name of subverting the free market. Unions had their purpose. They stopped child labor and abusive practices, stopped the company store and de facto slavery, they protected the American worker. And then when their job should have been done they continued and morphed into something that destroyed manufacturing in America. They raised the cost of unskilled, uneducated American labor to the point where companies left. I don’t blame the company, they have to compete in a global marketplace and I don’t see people shunning Wal-Mart because they see cheap Chinese goods.

    I live in the South were we don’t really believe in Unions. That’s why all the foreign car plants are built down here. And despite your doom and gloom over the American work force we seem to be doing just fine down here. In fact, we continue to take more and more of the jobs Detroit has run off. So if you don’t think a non-Union America can work I welcome you to come to Blue Springs, Mississippi and tour the new, non-Union Toyota plant. Because it’s working and everyone is ok with it. Bye, bye unions, you won’t be missed.

  78. I’d love to know what low-skilled worker is getting paid (not payed) many more times than they’re worth. Check the data on American worker’s income–real wages have been steadily decreasing for the last thirty years.

  79. I think you are confusing capitalism with competition. Capitalism is designed to spread/limit risk and reward those with capital. Those two characteristics, really, are what set it apart from previous free market systems.

    Your characterization of union and non union members is biased and not grounded in reality. Why assume that union members are unskilled and don’t add value to the companies they work for? A union is just a negotiation tool for workers; it doesn’t determine the skills set of the workers or their productivity. I have a friend who is a senior programmer for a large international consulting firm. He is as qualified and experienced as you can be in his field and he has considered unionization because of the problems he is facing because of outsourcing. His job is secure but he has to worker harder to fix errors caused by the new outsourced workers (they are cheaper, not more qualified) and has a more difficult time getting a pay raise because the threat of outsourcing limits the amount of leverage he has. Why shouldn’t he use collective bargaining (other than the limited power of unions in his field) as a tool? If he joined a union would that make him unskilled and uneducated?

    Side note: Pay has much less to do with the value added by the individual and more to do with negotiation and historical precedent. Who can make or break a company more, CFOs or Quality Control managers? Hard question maybe. You lose quality control, you lose customers, face legal liabilities, and the company is finished. Without the CFO, well not all companies have a CFO, so it’s not really fair. It is hard to say whether the CFO is more valuable than say QC or even the union guys collecting the data for the QC manager though (QC being very dependent on accurate data). Who gets paid more? Easy question, the CFO.

  80. It is true that the foreign car plants are located where they are within the United States because of a lack of unions (and large government subsidies) but they aren’t in the United States for those reasons. They are in the US because of other factors such as access to the market, transportation costs, currency security, etc. They aren’t in the US because of labor cost which is still cheaper in mexico. The deal is they want to be in the United States, if unions were more wide spread, they would simply have to pay a higher wage and they would. SO basically you are just getting paid less because getting paid more is a northern thing. Not much to be proud of.

    Unionization didn’t push manufacturing out of the US. Germany has a much higher percentage of the population that is unionized and has a larger percentage of its pop. employed by manufacturing than the US. Until fairly recently, it was the leading export country in the world. Then again Germany doesn’t really count because they are sort of socialist.

  81. Guess what, you are no higher in the company that the MIG welder. You are not the corporate master.

    Also, check J.B. Power and Assc. American cars rate highly. You obviously have no idea what happens in a car factory or anything about them. You live on cliches.

    Every person in a company that affects the quality and output of a company effects the profitability. You need to sue whoever gave you an education .

  82. “Profit equalization = socialism.” now thats hilarious!

    You know nothing of collective bargaining. The queen bee gets more, the worker bees get more. That should be easy for you to understand. And is thats socialism, america is chuck full of being a socialist country. The grocery store makes a profit, the manager gets a raise, the workers get a raise.

    You chose the wrong subject, “son”

  83. MIG welders can do without you too. And your job can easily be sent to bumfeck anywheres.

    And judging by your attitude and hatred for America, it should be. Those MIG welders contribute to the economy. You should be doing everything possible to keep them here. You should go to the Philippines and India where they will require very little of you and your ego

  84. I suggest not worrying about the unions as much as worrying about the corporate cult of corruption. Which based on the last 3 years is totally out of control

  85. Unions are bad – they cause higher prices, and hurt business when they strike. Once upon a time they were needed for workplace safety, but no longer.

    Unions do nothing but hurt the people not in them

  86. Haha, great point Jeb. You gotta love the “religious right” for being the biggest hypocrites ever. Union busting, making workers endure unsafe conditions, and paying people well below a living wage falls right in line with Jesus’s core principles of free market capitalism, right?

  87. @Boom:
    I work hard and make a good living. Just because I would be considered a “success” by society’s only metric of success (the dollar) doesn’t mean I’m going to stop caring about the problems facing our civilization at large. These issues are SIGNIFICANTLY more complicated than saying “work hard, get paid.” This is a common trait called “reductionism.” People who parrot these opinions cannot comprehend a problem, therefore reduce its complexity and tout a simple solution such as “If you work hard it will pay off.” From what I’ve seen, there are plenty of hard workers out there, but no jobs. No level of good work ethic can solve that, now can it?

    Precisely how is my remark about the fall of Rome dumbfounded? I’m not saying I’m an authority on Roman history, but can you offer me a better explanation? I brought this up to illustrate the real danger the United States faces from cheap overseas labor.

  88. I even know some educated people who are in Unions and back them blindly. The Union has some great brain washing techniques. Its not rocket science to figure out why companies move their factories to Mexico and China. They pay the employees a 1/4th of what they do here. I’m a democrat who lived in a GM Union town. All throughout the 90’s General Motors was trying to tell the Union they couldn’t afford to keep paying them more, meanwhile the Union would strike anytime they didn’t get their wages increased. Yeah that plant moved to Mexico. The Union realized it too, just not until like 2007 when it was far too late to do anything about it. Go to college and get a degree if you want to start 22 dollars an hour. A monkey can work the assembly line, or sweep floors. It’s useless to argue with a member of the union though, they’ve been taught to put up blinders to the truth for far too long.

  89. I worked for US Bank for 6 years in the Rendition dept. It was the only union shop in the entire network of banks. We handled printing the checks and statements for the bank. The bonus for the presidents there my first year was 40 million dollars each in cash ans stocks. The pay raise for the employees was 1.8%.

    The company actually pulls a fast one on the unions at negotiation time. They manipulate their records to hold grossly huge compensations for figure heads and departments that generate profit and then provide records after the fact to say they have nothing to offer the cost centers. I had skilled people who worked there for over 10+ years that were making $10/hr. The corporation strangled their pay.

    I worked nights and got to see people come and go from the bank in the morning. Guess who I saw on the elevators in the bank going to pick up their checks, both of my states 2 Republican senators. Guess what the bank was trying to get rid of, the union. The union had filed a legal document against the bank for their actions. Guess who got the complaint thrown out?

    I feel sick to my stomach thinking back about that job. The banking industry is full of Republicans, whether they are senators or just vote that ticket. The attitude is there. The smug, “I earned this” bullcrap that feels that without those who sacrificed their time, energy and loyalty do not deserve to earn enough to support their family and build a home. They forget that many of them were given a lot of their gifts by their community and their selfless acts.

    Maybe a few of them should stop thumping on their bible and actually read the damn thing.

  90. On the flip side, you could say unions just help the people that are in them but that wouldn’t be accurate either because the benefits that unions fight for and gained have historically also benefitted nonunion members.

    Unions are needed for workers to receive a fair shake. Before you get huffy and puffy, let me point out that across the board American workers have greatly increased productivity but have not received increases in their incomes. This means they make other people more but don’t receive more money for doing so. The American worker is better educated and more skilled than ever before so why aren’t they getting a better deal. The reason is the position of workers and employers isn’t equal at the negotiating table. Unions provide a means for workers to gain leverage when negotiating and the benefits show. Unions aren’t just about worker safety; it’s about health care, retirement, and all the other benefits that workers deserve. Those benefits didn’t magically appear because of some market mechanism, workers had to fight for them. Those same benefits aren’t slowly being eroded away because there isn’t enough cash to pay for them (American companies are sitting on 1 trillion + in cash), it’s because workers are in a weaker negotiating position. So if you want to get paid what you think you are worth, consider a union membership or become an entrepreneur.

  91. Why should someone with a college degree get 22 dollars an hour? How do they add more value than someone on the assembly line? Since so much of what they do is information based, isn’t it a lot easier to transfer their jobs overseas? Which is what is happening. I have visited companies in Asia and South America whose business models are based on the outsourcing of white collar jobs in marketing, accounting, and IT. (Some human resource stuff but not so much.) There is no universal rule that says white collar workers are more valuable or less replaceable than blue collar workers and automatically deserve more money. No, you get paid what you can negotiate, so why discard a negotiation tool that you might need in the future so easily.

    You are wrong on GM history. In the 1980s, GM renegotiated a deal with the unions and received concessions. During the 80s, GM was profitable. The same thing in the 90s, they made a whole lot of money off of SUVs and Hummers. Profitability didn’t save jobs or raise pay in the United States though, they even purposely underpaid pensions to increase dividend payments.

  92. It actually takes about 4 years to learn the skills it requires to be an engineer. You can out source any job. It just so happens that easy work is the first thing to go, especially when the same quality of work can be done elsewhere for a lot less. American Engineering is superior to Indian, Mexican, Chinese engineering because of research and practice. Guys at foreign factories don’t go to the bar on lunch break. I’ve helped make assembly line jobs more efficient and practiced the work they do. Anybody can do it. I’ve been to many factories. Its not difficult. The GM in my town did strike. Threatened a few other times. I’m not wrong about that. Unions are also impossible to work with. They are so worried about holding onto union jobs that they literally go after their own engineers for tightening a loose bolt. They also alienate contractors if they think they are stealing union work. They served their purpose when they used to protect workers health and safety. Now the unions only purpose is to protect itself, line its pocket books, and insure manufacturing will move over seas. Manufacturing won’t come back until our wages are someone competitive.

  93. Part of the problem here seems to be that you have no clue what you are talking about. Japanese car companies aren’t in the US instead of Mexico because of transportation costs or currency exchange, they are in the US because our government forced them to come here. Toyota does not have the choice to go to Mexico if it wants to continue selling the number of cars in the US that it does.

    And yes, wages in the South are lower but that is because the cost of living is lower. The actual wage of a automotive worker in the South is the same as it is in the North. But that isn’t the point. You totally ignored the part where I talked about confirmed stories of unions attacking their own company. Stories of people drinking and doing drugs on the job in GM plants. People running prostitution rings and human trafficking out of UAW strongholds. Workers INTENTIONALLY making errors on structural elements of cars in order to get back at management. These people risked the lives of Americans who might get in those cars thinking they are safe. I have no pity for the UAW, or any union for that matter. The teachers unions to this day care more about keeping jobs for bad teachers than they do about educating our children. I have no doubt that our education system would be better today if this union were disbanded.

    But again, the point was that workers don’t need a union to protect them any more. If you feel your particular skill set is worth more on the open market than go out and find someone to pay you what you are worth. And if you can’t, then the answer isn’t to form a Union. It’s that maybe your talents aren’t worth what you thought they were. Maybe you should go to school, learn a new skill, or just get comfortable with the class of life you are destined to live. You can throw little comments out about the South if you wish but it doesn’t take away from that fact that an entire area of the country is non-union and it WORKS! It works so well that this is where the manufacturing that is left is the US is coming. This story is ignorant at best.

  94. Random-Miser: My son owns a non-union plumbing shop. He takes care of his very happy employees. Employers do not abuse their employees like you suggest. Occasionally he has hired a union trained plumber. They are slow and have no concept of how to be successful in business. They lose money for him. So the unions protect these kinds of workers?

    Why should it be illegal for one person to make 5 times that of another? Those who have the ability, experience, time, energy, and talent should be able to go as high as they can in their chosen profession. Who are you to say they shouldn’t?

  95. anecdotal evidence much? You base this on the experience of your son hiring one union person and generalize it to all?

    Who is he to say that? He is an American. Unions built this country and stand for the values of our country. What is your problem with unions and why do you hate the idea of collective bargaining for labor?

  96. How did the US government force Toyota and Volkswagon to come here? What legisilation or increase in tarriffs were there? How did they get it past the WTO? You won’t find anything that forced those companies here because that simple is not the way it happened. Volkswagon already has a plant in mexico, its where Beetles are made. Toyota produces some of the Civics it sells here in Canada. We have a free trade agreement with both nations that allow goods to flow without tarriffs or quotas, so there is little our government can do to force companies not to produce there. The reasons I gave you are pretty textbook for capital intensive industry to relocate.

    Unionization doesn’t create the conditions you describe. Classic case is the NUMMI plant. Look it up sometime. Same plant, same unions but with different management= increased productivity and completely new work environment.

    But back to your point, that workers don’t need unions any more. Afterall increases in productivity in the US due to more skilled labor over the last decade have naturally resulted in higher wages for workers and greater job security. Oh, I am sorry that didn’t happen, oh well.

    By the way, most of the manufacturing in the US still isn’t in the South.

  97. I can’t argue with you on the american engineers beginning superior. I worked with a chinese manufacturer and there was a QC manager from south africa who had a terrible time because even though the chinese managers were engineers, getting them to follow the proper process everytime was nearly impossible.

    I disagree with the assessment that manufacturing will only return if there is a wage adjustment. Germany, Finland, Japan and several other European nations have maintained or increased their manufacturing without relying on lower wages. They have national strategies to encourage manufacturing though.

  98. For actual time spent in the classroom, teachers are paid very well. Teachers get three months off every year plus two weeks vacation at Christmas. What other job gives you that? I know that a lot of time is spent outside of the classroom planning, grading, prep work, researching, etc. I know this–I am a teacher.

  99. You Americans are 20 years behind. Keep on stuffing your poor workers with terrible pay and benefits. We get 28 days holiday and sick pay by law in the uk.

  100. Those jobs were not moved over seas because of the wages of workers, they were moved there due to NAFTA. Even if those employees had been getting paid minimum wage they still would have been receiving 20 times the wages that someone in China gets, add on the tax breaks that companies got specifically for eliminating their in country jobs, and of course they are going to move their workers out of country. Such things are NOT the fault of Unions, it is the fault of corrupt, or stupid politicians. There has NEVER been a country move out of the country due to Union activity. You want to talk about how much cheaper the wages are over seas, compare such a thing to even the lowest minimum wage, and its STILL ten times less. There used to be terriffs and such to equalize the playing field with despot countries that did not provide worker rights, but thanks to certain corrupt influences companies no langer have any problem exporting such needs to child factories in india. I’m just surprised there aren’t more places exporting jobs to some areas of africa were they would literally be able to pay their entire factory wor force in a single ham sandwhich, is that the type of competition that you think is good for America?

    The market value of a position, is based upon what the product that is generated SELLS for, NOT what the employer offers for the position. What the employer offers simply takes advantage of the potential employees ignorance in order to steal the fair market value of his position and put it into the pockets of that companies management. Its a despicable amoral practice to say the least and should be banned.

  101. 8 October 2010 Last updated at 17:45 Share this pageFacebookTwitterShareEmailPrint
    US healthcare ‘to blame’ for poor life expectancy rates

    US healthcare reform may save lives and money, the study authors wrote
    The US healthcare system is to blame for declines in the country’s life expectancy ranking, a study suggests.

    The Columbia University report rejects claims that factors such as obesity have shortened life-spans for Americans relative to other wealthy nations.

    The study blames reliance on costly and fragmented specialised care, and calls for systemic reform.

    Its release comes as President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform remains a key issue in upcoming mid-term elections.

    Higher costs
    The study notes that in 1950, the US ranked fifth among leading industrialised nations for female life expectancy at birth, but only 46th in 2008.

    It finds that US healthcare spending increased at nearly twice the rate of that in other wealthy nations between 1970 and 2002, with the increased spending corresponding with worsening survival rates relative to the other countries studied.

    “In most cases, the relative US performance deteriorated from decade to decade,” wrote authors Peter Muennig and Sherry Glied of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

    They note the countries to which the US is compared – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK – all provide universal healthcare coverage.

    Factors such as differing obesity, smoking, road accident and murder rates were taken into account in the study.

    ‘Meaningful reform’
    The US spends far more on healthcare than any other country as a percentage of gross domestic product, the study finds.

    “We speculate that the nature of our health care system – specifically, its reliance on unregulated fee-for-service and specialty care – may explain both the increased spending and the relative deterioration in survival that we observed,” the authors wrote.

    “If so, meaningful reform may not only save money over the long term, it may also save lives.”

    The authors said those aspects of the US health system contributed to unnecessary medical procedures, poor communication between doctors and higher rates of medical errors.

  102. Try to find the statistics on those corporations that outsourced with regard to whether or not collective bargaining agreements existed.

    I think you will be surprised that most of the outsourcing comes not from those industries that are heavily unionized, but those that are not.

  103. I’ll admit I don’t know the legislation but in the TAL story about NUMMI Toyota discussed that the reason they wanted to partner with GM was because the US was forcing them to build cars in America. They wanted to stay in Toyota City and keep shipping them but they weren’t allowed to sell more in the US without building plants here. So, if Toyota says that’s why they are here I’ll believe it over some guy with a blog.

    And let’s talk about NUMMI. It did work. And why? Because the union, out of desperation to get the plant reopened, gave up a lot of what the union is, including seniority. But in the end this story is about how good management treating it’s people well can run a good car plant DESPITE the union. All the bad stories that came out, which were few, were all because of the UAW.

    We do not need Unions any more, bottom line. These people don’t get higher wages BECAUSE THEY DON’T DESERVE THEM! The free market has determined the price of the car which determines the value of the labor. If someone making a car doesn’t like it they can take their skills (little to none) and their education (usually little to none but not always) and they can go look for a higher paying job. When you do a job that is most frequently made obsolete by a robot then you aren’t exactly adding a lot to the skilled labor pool.

    And while you are correct that the South is not the US manufacturing base take a look at companies that have moved production but stayed in the US. They are moving to the South. Take a look at foreign companies that are opening new plants in the US. They are in the South. While you lament the loss of jobs over the past few years the people of Mississippi have seen two automobile plants, a steel plant and helicopter plant, just to name a few, open and hire workers. All union free!

    You are obviously not someone looking for reason but pushing your agenda so I will stop here. Unions are no longer good for America, their time has passed. All states should be “Right to Work” states. Then the Unions could still exist but people wouldn’t have to join and their power to prevent companies for firing bad people would be limited. That might fix the corruption we currently see in the union system.

  104. You do realize that the US has the lowest percentage of union employees of any democratic nation, correct? How can you say we are over-unionized? ~12%, while England pops in at ~60%!!!

  105. the fair market value IS decided by what a product sells for, BUT that is not what employees get paid without a union. Instead those profits that should have been wages get split between one or two people in the form of ridiculous “bonuses” or multimillion dollar salaries. Without unions a company can exploit a would be ignorant worker, and pay him pennies on the dollar for what the market actually pays for his skills and then pocket the rest in their own personal bank accounts. It is absolutely nothing short of theft. What a company pays for labor, and what the market pays for that labor are two different things, and unions are the thing that keeps that from happening. If you are an employee and not represented by a Union you ARE getting ripped off, that is strictly a fact.

  106. There are people who use wrongdoing on the part of SOME unions in order to tar them all with the same brush. As imperfect as they might be, they are among those that stand up for the everyday workers. Just because some things like minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, and paid leave are law doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who are willing to weaken, if not eliminate, these benefits. For years, there have been people on the right who have wanted to eliminate things like Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. There were people who objected to these measures at the time they were enacted, and people like Angle are their political heirs.

  107. You can rephrase it any way you like, I get what you’re saying – and you’re wrong. The concept of free market economics works on the principal that both labor, products, and services find their value through their scarcity and contribution within the system.

    The “evil manager” who hoards the wealth is no longer an issue because everyone is guaranteed a minimum wage. Now, the unions have the power over management and falsely inflate their worth. Wealth is now spread to either end of the spectrum and nothing is left for the average white collar worker.

    Your concepts are based on emotional contrivance and perceived notions of corporate greed. I really have a hard time understanding how you function in the business world.

  108. Privatise government. Let’s see how well these union employees hold up to even private unions. At least at Ford they actually have to have quality being job one. Start with the fire department. It probably costs us a million dollars a fire with benefits and pension. What ever happened to the high school drop or vet that had to lay tile or brick on his(many) days off to get by?

  109. “Besides, noone [sic] is going to reduce a fireman’s or policeman’s pay to $8/hour because that’s well below what the labor market would support. ”

    With this statement you have just revealed your ignorance. You say firemen would never make only $8/hour? You are probably right, but how in the hell do you think firemen got the reasonable wage they earn? Wait. wait. wait for it: UNIONS

    If it were not for unions, you would be making far less than you are today. What? you are not in a union…EXACTLY. You pay no union dues yet you reap the benefits of those who do.

    Isn’t it the Republican and TP parties the ones who do not want to “pay for someone else’s health care”????? Yet you don’t mind (nor will you acknowledge) that you have been riding this gravy train on the backs and cash of union workers. But don’t worry, we do not have the attitude that we do not want to be helping out those less fortunate than ourselves.

    Oh yeah. You’re welcome. -Union Brat

  110. Actually you forgot to mention something…the nonunion plumbers @$15/he aren’t making a “great” living, in fact that’s poverty wages and they probably get public assistance of some kind such as med-cal, subsidized housing, free scoop lunches, etc. Another thing you forgot to mention was that the Contractor who the nonunion guys work for bills the customer approx. 90% of the union scale, so essentially he’s saving the customer 10% but only paying his help 50% of union scale. Where did the differnce go? Why didn’t he bill the customer 50% less them his union competition? Because he’s your typical greedy nonunion republican. So he’s taking the union guys’ jobs, and his workers get subsidized by the union guys’ taxes! And we wonder why our country’s going to hell!

  111. Teachers in Wisconsin if not teaching are required to take additional college credits to keep their skills up and their teaching license. Although they get time off as other government employees and private sector employees get; evaluate how much time your Senators, Congressional Leaders, and other State Government legislators take before accusing those that actually work to keep government running and children learning as being over compensated. I have not been a Union Member for several years but self employed. I do believe in what Unions stand for and I believe we would be better off if they started organizing more big box stores as well as banks and insurance companies. I like the work ethic unions advocate and perform: An honest days work for an honest days pay.

  112. Henry Ford paid his workers well. When he was asked why he paid them so much he responded that he wanted to create a market for his product. Some men or wise and become rich, some are evil and become rich. The Republicans shield most of the evil ones becuase they give them money. Every now and then one of them is caught and thrown in jail. If Mr. Madoff was giving 30% of his money to Republicans we probably would have never found out about his ponsey scheme.

    Now we have a corrupt Supreme Court that gave corporations individuals rights so it will be easier for them to hide their corruption.

    A daughter and her mother were cooking Christmas dinner and the daughter cut off the end of the ham. She asked her mother why they cut the end of the ham off. She said that she did it because her mother did it. The deiceded to call the grandmother up to see why she cut the end of the ham off. She said that she had to because her roaster wasn’t big enough. They also didn’t know why they voted for Corporations, I mean Republicans.

  113. I have read this entire comments section. I am a union member and officer of my local. I am also a business agent of the local aka (union boss). My salary is a mere 40hrs pay at the rate which all of my members get paid. I have read all the arguments time and time again. The concept of union vs. non-union, the CEO’s scandalous money pocketing, the union’s scandalous money laundering through dues, the undervalued “college educated”, the overvalued “highschool dropout”. Enough non sense! The problems we face are multifaceted at a minimum. There are bad CEO’S, there are bad Union Boss’s, there are bad workers (educated and non educated). I do feel that it is true when all unions start to dissappear there will again be less compensation for the average worker, however, there are aspects that can not be avoided at the present. In several areas wages are inflated, TOP TO BOTTOM. There are entities at work that seek to split the working class and pit them agaisnt one another. These same groups try to convince tax payers that they bear the burden caused by union workers and collective bargaining. Public sector unions are funded with tax dollars, this does not mean that they are overpaid, it simply means that someone has to watch out for what the tax base can afford at any given time. Reduced tax revenues can not sustain demands placed on them by employees with negotiated or non negotiated salaries and benefits. If the states need lattitude given to them they should simply address the problems and come to a resolution, even its for a short term. Concessions are necessary at different points in time from all sides. However, these new terms and concesssions should be shown to the unions and its employees, along with justification for them, no backdoor political agenda like in Wisconsin. I feel as this does happen on “both sides” in political arenas and we all suffer for it. Show me we can afford it , or show me we can not. Quit fudging the numbers and get to the point. You can not fudge your personal checkbook and expect to pay the bills so why are we trying to leverage numbers in the most important aspects of all our lives. If you can not afford to buy a car, don’t. If you cant’t afford to maintain a highway after its constructed, don’t frickin’ build it. I have a college degree and multiple craft certifications for my trade. I am not a high school dropout and I dont smoke pot on the job or any other time for that matter. We are all quick to judge and envelope each other into classifications with no real relevance or statistics to base our judgements. We have to work together to acheive common goals whether at work or in our own homes and lives. Why are we saying that working americans should take less money while corporations are making more? Because we are associating problematic corporations with every business in the country. Not all businesses have these problems at the same time. Some are effected now, others later. All do have the same problems, just not at once and we are critical of all instead of those that need criticism the most. We all play a part in these scenarios. We are being played like puppets, you wouldnt do that with your own life would you? When you see something questionable, question it. We can no longer continue to exist if jealousy and simple morality is not the basis for our decision making. That may mean that you dont get the loan you wanted or the house you desire, for now. That may be the best thing that every happens to you when you look back at yourself in the future. Our desire to have it and have it now has caused the biggest influx of foreign goods and services in this country’s history although rather short and petty jealousy over money, goods and services is indicative of a nation on the cusp of civil war. In this war, however, those who suffer from lack of insight will lose everything. Live within your means, love with all your heart, and strive to remember right is right.

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