Use access key #2 to skip to page content.

fransgeraedts (99.92)

Join the unions!

Recs

13

August 23, 2010 – Comments (30) | RELATED TICKERS: AAPL , WMT

Collective anger and its targets: one of the most important subjects when studying a society.

It has me flummoxed and flabbergasted. In other words I do not understand it.

The labor unions seem to be hated from all sides in the US.

What is it they do wrong? The public anger seems to be provoked by the fact that union-members earn more than non-union workers.  Yeahhhh  ..so what?

I am sorry but in my book that is exactly what the reason of existence of a union is: by collective bargaining the workers force managment and owners to pay higher wages then they would otherwise do. 

So the obvious solution for the non-union workers would be to join a union themselves. No?

fransgeraedts 

30 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 23, 2010 at 1:24 PM, carcassgrinder1 (< 20) wrote:

Does your book also include the coersive tactics, the paid for votes, the unsustainable legacy payments, the overweighted entitlements??....or just the part about higher wages?

Report this comment
#2) On August 23, 2010 at 2:16 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

Don't forget the un-funded pensions.

Report this comment
#3) On August 23, 2010 at 2:28 PM, MegaEurope (21.46) wrote:

The labor unions seem to be hated from all sides in the US.

But they are only hated from one side.

Report this comment
#4) On August 23, 2010 at 2:28 PM, ChrisGraley (29.75) wrote:

Greece is the word. It's got groove. It's got feeling!

Report this comment
#5) On August 23, 2010 at 2:37 PM, fransgeraedts (99.92) wrote:

I am still confused.

Dear Car, Dear chk999

i am of course against any practice like paid votes, closed shops etc. Just to make it clear: i am also against any form of corruption in a union and/or any organised crime involvement.

When it comes to unsustainable legacy payments, underfunded pensions etc. i am also against those. I would suggest that instead of those there should be sustainable and funded ??? grin

So ..we all are against corrupt union practices and corrupt union officials. And we are all against unsustainable and underfunded entitlements.  ...of course?????

So the law should protect unionmembers (and non-members) against oppression, organised crime infiltration, corruption of unionofficials, coercion, voterigging? And unions and management should negiotate sensible contracts?? Uh  ..yes.. of course?

Would then the concusion not be that the US needs stronger unions? with a high level of integrity?

fransgeraedts

 

Report this comment
#6) On August 23, 2010 at 2:42 PM, fransgeraedts (99.92) wrote:

Dear Chris,

you wanna talk Greece???????

Where shall we begin? That it is (and always has been in the modern era)within Europe a very poor country?

That is has a very difficult political history? Radicals from the left and the right?

That the state of Greece is even more corrupt then that of Italy?

And then within that context  ..yeah.. i would agree... the unions in greece are part of the problem.

 

fransgeraedts

Report this comment
#7) On August 23, 2010 at 2:54 PM, catoismymotor (33.80) wrote:

Mr. Grocer: Why don't you just join the union, we'll go upstairs together and cap daddy!
Marty: This union, there's gonna be meetings?
Mr. Grocer: Of course!
Marty: No meetings.

-Gross Point Blank, 1997

Report this comment
#8) On August 23, 2010 at 3:02 PM, FreeMortal (29.31) wrote:

I appreciate the purpose of unions, but their collective power appears to be as prone to abuse as the collective power of any other corporation.  The larger it is, the worse it seems to get.  They are bent to serve only a few and calcified.  We get results as chk999 and caracssgrinder put it.

But I don't think that explains unions are singled out and so venomously demonized in particular.  There are very powerful interests that see to it for obvious reasons.

Report this comment
#9) On August 23, 2010 at 3:10 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

The purpose of a union is to enhance the income of the members at everyone else's expense. Why would I be for this?

Report this comment
#10) On August 23, 2010 at 3:13 PM, Acesnyper (< 20) wrote:

Unions in the over all sense are out dated with OSHA and workers laws now a days, they only exist to be corrupt other wise they just wouldn't be around.

 Pushing the angle of workers rights and keeping their "old boys" club power around to act like an underdog when they are the oppressors and strong armers. 

 Like anyone who desires power, they shouldn't be trusted. They went from the victim to the bully. All too common in history.

American Unions are just that now. Hence why so many people want them removed. 

Report this comment
#11) On August 23, 2010 at 3:14 PM, Turfscape (43.84) wrote:

fransgeraedts wrote:
"So the law should protect unionmembers (and non-members) against oppression, organised crime infiltration, corruption of unionofficials, coercion, voterigging? And unions and management should negiotate sensible contracts?? Uh  ..yes.. of course?"

Seems like an awful lot of laws need to be passed to make these unions lawful, effective organizations, no?

"Would then the concusion not be that the US needs stronger unions? with a high level of integrity?"

Not sure how you jumped to that conclusion? There was no logical flow from one idea to the other.

In its most simple form, Unions can only exist with large numbers of laborers that agree to be represented. The problem exists that the types of labor that truly need unionization and benefit from unions are no longer the dominant labor types in the United States. But, again, without workers to use as leverage, Unions die...so Unions look to unionize labor pools who do not greatly benefit from unionization, labor pools who are involved in types of work where talent, determination, education and experience lead to greater reward for the worker. And they look to create conditions where those who choose to not be in the union are not allowed to work.

Those labor pools definitely provide power to the Unions, but the labor pool is dragged down to the level of the lowest worker in the labor pool. The worker who tries to excel and make progress in their career is met with resistence from the Union that is supposed to protect and support him / her.

Unions need to realize that businesses must succeed in order to provide fair wages and benefits to employees. And in modern economies, businesses must have high flexibility to accommodate changes in the marketplace. Once Unions decide to take responsibility for the success of a business, and maintain a sense of ownership, they will be doomed to failure...all to the detriment of the members they supposedly protect.

Report this comment
#12) On August 23, 2010 at 3:53 PM, miteycasey (30.86) wrote:

My favorite union story....

My cousing worked in a union shop putting together 'widgets'. Her  in her first hour on her first day she put together 114. She was so proud of herself until the forman came by and told her the quota was 2 per hour. She spent the rest of the day reading the newpaper and undoing all the widgets till there were 8 completed.

It's stories like this that make people mad at unions. 

Report this comment
#13) On August 24, 2010 at 3:45 AM, fransgeraedts (99.92) wrote:

Dear Chk,

raise wages of its members at everyone's expense? Of course not. Unions forcing the raising of wages has historically resulted in the raising of wages for everyone.

Dear Turf,

a lot of laws? Have you any idea how many laws are in action to "protect" a corporation? or even a simple contract? Nothing special here.

Unions like all other institutions have to be "cared" for by a society. In the US unions have always been rather weak and in the last 35 years there has been a policy of active neglect in place.

Dear Mitey,

if that is your favorite union story, doesnt that make you wonder?

 

Dear Ace,

you are right...there has been a disconnect between the unions and the spirit of the times ("outdated"). In a nutshell  .. in times of large scale economic change ..unions have a difficult stand. The old industries were the union is strong lose ground...in the new industries labor is scarce..so there is no need for a union yet. Weak unions tend to make the problem bigger by turning that difficult stand into "a last stand". They fight tooth and nail to defend traditional working practices, existing jobs, unsustainable entitlements -all within the old industries.

No, Google employees dont need a union.

Yes, the unions in the automobile industry of the US did not act wisely all of the time.... (but i would like to discuss the reasons for its decline in another post  ..any takers?)

Want to wager? That there will be strong unions within the IT-sector? Starting in India?

More importantly: the sector in the US that should be unionised urgently is of course the services part of the economy.

Imagine Wall-Mart employees being unionised and finally earning a fair wage as a result of an increase, in real terms, slowly but surely, over time.

fransgeraedts

Report this comment
#14) On August 24, 2010 at 3:51 AM, whereaminow (20.57) wrote:

It's factually incorrect that union workers earn more than non-union workers.  It may be the case for very few low-skilled industries but even that is not a rigorous economic case.

Unions are guilds, nothing more and nothing less.  Guilds have existed since the beginning of time as a way to restrict entry into a field, thus inflating salaries.  However, by using force to restrict economic activity, guilds/unions lower the standard of living of all people and their own earnings in the long run.

If unions were the panacea to low wages, then Europeans workers - far more heavily unionized for at least three centuries, would far outpace American workers in standard of living. They do not. They never have.  And it looks like they never will.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#15) On August 24, 2010 at 3:54 AM, whereaminow (20.57) wrote:

If Walmart employees unionized all that would mean is higher prices for consumers.  And since Walmart already pays it's lowest-skilled employees far better than their competitors or any mom-and-pop shop ever could, it would stupid to do unionize.  If Walmart is forced to close stores due to higher costs, those employees will be right back at a lower paying job somewhere else.

See more than the bridge being built.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#16) On August 24, 2010 at 4:57 AM, fransgeraedts (99.92) wrote:

Dear David,

imagine economic growth being led by wagegrowth.

Higher prices? How about lower profit margins? and revenuegrowth because of an increase in buying power?

fransgeraedts

Report this comment
#17) On August 24, 2010 at 12:48 PM, Melaschasm (54.71) wrote:

Frans, I think much of the current anger is that unions took money from non union people via corrupt government influence.

I have no objection to people joining unions, then negotiating contracts.  I do have a problem when the leaders of the unions and companies work together to bankrupt the company for personal gain, at the expense of the union membership, and stock/bond holders, not to mention the tax payer funded bailouts.

Report this comment
#18) On August 24, 2010 at 4:04 PM, fransgeraedts (99.92) wrote:

Dear Mela,

i have a problem with those corrupt and criminal practices too.

fransgeraedts

 

Report this comment
#19) On August 24, 2010 at 4:07 PM, fransgeraedts (99.92) wrote:

Dear David,

many workers in Western Europe do earn higher wages, have better healthcare, and are better insured.

fransgeraedts

Report this comment
#20) On August 25, 2010 at 6:41 AM, whereaminow (20.57) wrote:

fransgeraedts,

That's just utter nonsense.  In a direct comparison of the standard of living of European vs. American workers, American workers have had a higher standard of living for over 3 centuries.  They still do.  And they will continue to do so.

Ya know, if I hadn't travelled through Europe a dozen times over the last decade, I might believe the Progressive economists' claims that Europeans are happier, healthier, less racist, and wealthier than Americans.  

But since I am world wide =D, I know better.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#21) On August 25, 2010 at 1:17 PM, Turfscape (43.84) wrote:

whereaminow wrote:
"...I might believe the Progressive economists' claims that Europeans are happier, healthier, less racist, and wealthier than..."

I have to think that folks who have that impression of Europe form that impression while they are on vacation there. EVERY place seems so much happier, cleaner, better, etc. when you're vacationing there.

Per the ONION

Report this comment
#22) On August 25, 2010 at 9:35 PM, whereaminow (20.57) wrote:

higher standard of living for over 3 centuries

I worded that very poorly and need to clarify that I meant the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.  On re-reading it, I see that people could reasonably assume that I mean that America was an economic powerhouse in 1710.  Sorry if that confused anyone.  I should have just said since the Industrial Revolution or something.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#23) On August 25, 2010 at 11:57 PM, fransgeraedts (99.92) wrote:

Dear David,

the word Western Europe mean anything to you?

Want to compare autoworkers in the US to those in the US? Or teachers in the US and Sweden?

And of course, i am not in anyway denying the strength of the US, its society, its economy, its people. As you must know from other posts and comments i am consistenly arguing against any unwarranted pessimism about the US and for a deeper trust in its institutions.

And lastly i am of course not denying that the average standard of living as measured by income in the US is higher then in almost all of the Western European nations.

David, the point of this post and discussion lies elsewhere -as you must be aware.It is about the sorry state of the union-s in the US, the strange hate from all sides, including from the people who could by unionizing raise their wages consistently.

fransgeraedts

Report this comment
#24) On August 25, 2010 at 11:59 PM, fransgeraedts (99.92) wrote:

grin ..."want to compare autoworkers in the US to those in Germany?"

Report this comment
#25) On August 26, 2010 at 11:03 AM, whereaminow (20.57) wrote:

fransgeraedts,

My dislike of unions comes from their hypocrisy, not the practice of collectivizing labor - as near-sighted as that practice may be.  I would never deny the right of any to join a union, or for a union to exist to bargain collectively in their grievances against a business owner.  That is their right under the premise of Freedom of Association, a normative concept that I think is morally correct and necessary for an ethical society.

However, by barring non-union workers from entering into employment contracts and using the strong arm of the law to bully both business owners and workers, unions deny Freedom of Association for others while claiming it for themselves.

Though many Americans may not be able to articulate their anger towards unions in the manner I can, I suspect they notice the hypocrisy and internalize it.  I don't know this for sure, but I suspect that is where American's distaste for unions comes from.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#26) On August 26, 2010 at 11:42 AM, Loerke (93.56) wrote:

David seems to assume that the higher standard of living enjoyed by American workers has something to do with the weakness of unions. That's historically inaccurate. American workers enjoyed much higher wages for the first two centuries of its existence simply because the demand for labor was vastly greater than the labor supply - there was far more land to work than there were laborers to work it (even the growth of slavery can be understood in this context).

However, the prosperity of the American laborer through the first few centuries of colonization and settlement came with a price: the development of a culture that rejected a collective labor mentality. What was a historical accident of geography came to misperceived as a cause of prosperity, so that now people like David can make the false assumption that laborers somehow benefit from not bargaining collectively.

This unfortunate cultural prejudice against unions seems to persist even nowadays even when there is an over-supply of labor in the United States and rising unemployment. Of course, we keep hearing that prospective employers won't hire because they are afraid of unions, but that's because they are short-sighted, unwilling to recognize that while unionization may take a penny out of next quarter's EPS, the rise of wages increases workers' buying power in the long run.

Finally, the idea that unions are a vestige of the guild system is untrue; I can't see the comparison. Read Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations comes out firmly against apprenticeships and guilds, but nonetheless justifies workers' rationale for unions (what he calls "combinations") even though ultimately he's ambivalent about their desirability.

I'm a U.S. employee who works a union job, and it would be hard for me to imagine how my situation would improve if I were no longer to participate in collective bargaining. As Frans said, the people who complain about unions probably should form their own unions.

Report this comment
#27) On August 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM, whereaminow (20.57) wrote:

unwilling to recognize that while unionization may take a penny out of next quarter's EPS, the rise of wages increases workers' buying power in the long run.

A rise in wages is meaningless.  What matters is what those wages can buy.  I can't stress this enough.  It should be ovious, but it's so easily forgotten.

In America, real wages rose because the productivity of labor increased due to greater capital investment.  The ability to save and invest - that's where America's wealth derives.  Not from collectivized bargaining - definitely not, since America had 1% union membership in 1900 - or from laws that try to repeal economic law.

No nation on Earth has ever had its overall wealth increased due to union memebership.  Italy should be the richest nation on Earth, since syndicalism has been the driving economic idea in Italy since Mussolini. 

I guess they suffer from under-demand lol?  No.  They don't make enough things that the world wants at the price they want to pay. 

And we know that taking collectivized labor to its ultimate conclusion ends in the destruction of economic calculation and total poverty for all. (except the union leaders.)

For me, it has nothing to do with culture.  You can't pull the old Marxist card on me - dismissing my analysis as irrelevant because I'm bourgeois or American or anything else.  That's polylogism.

David in Qatar

Report this comment
#28) On August 26, 2010 at 1:27 PM, Turfscape (43.84) wrote:

fransgeraedts wrote:
"the strange hate from all sides"

Many in this thread have provided answers as to why they dislike the state of Unions in the U.S. today. Why do you still consider the dislike to be "strange"?

The issues that have been raised are:
Corruption
Coercion
Anti-competitive practices
Exclusionary policies that restrict  the rights of individuals to work
Engaging in efforts that do not benefit the worker
Benefitting the Union executives more than the unionized workers

Your only response has been: "i have a problem with those corrupt and criminal practices too"

Those corrupt and criminal practices are the state of Unions here in the U.S. So, if you have a problem with the state of Unions in the U.S., why is it strange to you that OTHERS have a problem with the state of Unions in the U.S.?

Just what do you believe the state of the Unions in the U.S. to be?

Report this comment
#29) On August 27, 2010 at 10:43 AM, vriguy (74.35) wrote:

Actually my dislike is of the public sector unions that ensure higher pay for their members than the private sector but do so by taking money from my pocket (taxes). And there is nothing I can do about it because they've hijacked the politicians of both parties. If Ford's workers unionize, they get their money from Ford and Ford customers. I can choose not to be a shareholder or buy Ford cars, or not. With public school teachers or janitors I have no such choice.

 

Report this comment
#30) On August 30, 2010 at 6:30 PM, eatenbybears (< 20) wrote:

"Would then the concusion not be that the US needs stronger unions? with a high level of integrity?

fransgeraedts"

 

.......... The US needs better political leadership with a high level of integrity .........

 

Unions .... tell it to GM .....

Steve

Report this comment

Featured Broker Partners


Advertisement