What have unions ever done for YOU?

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    Jul 10, 2011 1:55 PM GMT
    Great piece.

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    Jul 10, 2011 5:06 PM GMT
    I can tell you what the Unions did for my family and me.

    While dad was working at Studebaker, in South Bend, IN he was making close to $5.00 an hour which was good money around 1950. As you all know They went out of business, so he lost his job, then went to work for Kawneer Door Company (all of you have walked through their commercial doors doing your daily business ) Dad started out at about $1.26 per hour. Try raising 3 kids on that even back then !!!

    Dad helped get the Union in to bring about a living wage, they were successful and dad was able to provide a nice brick home for us, take us on yearly vacations, and give us a good send-off in lives of our own. That would not have happened had it not been for the Unions. Mere subsistence wages became a thing of the past because of Unions.
  • tazzari

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    Jul 10, 2011 5:10 PM GMT
    I'm with realivedad. my father was never union - but two of my best friends had the same sort of life that realifedad describes, and got their first jobs as well, owing to unions.

    Yes, unions can get out of hand. But can you think of a better way for the "small guy" to be sure he gets a fare shake?

    I'm not talking about the real abuses here, but union-bashers need to answer the question, and need to come up with a constitutional reason why workers shouldn't be able to find a collective voice. oth of these cut to the heart of free democracy.
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    Jul 10, 2011 10:44 PM GMT
    There's a big difference between unions in the private sector and unions in the public sector.
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    Jul 10, 2011 10:56 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidThere's a big difference between unions in the private sector and unions in the public sector.


    No. There isn't.
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    Jul 10, 2011 11:18 PM GMT
    Green_Panda said
    Christian73 said
    mocktwinkie saidThere's a big difference between unions in the private sector and unions in the public sector.


    No. There isn't.

    I agree that there is a really big difference. There is only one government and since they're making the labour standards, one would hope standards would reflect the values of the country regardless of whether employees were members of a union or not. In private businesses, corporate greed needs to be tempered with a force to protect workers. I can't see where corporate greed comes into play with government employees. Also, if a business goes on strike, I can get services from a competitor. There is no competitor for my government.


    Thank you for pointing out the obvious to those who would willingly pretend there's no difference.
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    Jul 10, 2011 11:51 PM GMT
    I wish you could have listened to some of the stories I've heard from my Elderly tenants through the years from previous coal minors here in the south, then you'd know just how blessed they were to have the Unions to back them. I've visited some of the old Mining towns and seen the 'company stores' that corresponded with some of those stories. Those poor people lived in hell until the Unions gave them living wages.

    But now I'll be getting into trouble !! ha !! I think Teachers too needed Unions to help them back decades ago, but now with 'tenure' some teachers who have no business in the class room are untouchable when it comes to getting rid of them. The system Keeps them in place so good younger teachers cannot get to teach because tenure has teachers in place who are only there biding their time until retirement. No I don't believe this is always the case with older teachers, but when it is the case, the school board should be able to get rid of them without tenure Interference. Some of this has outgrown its usefulness, and tenure in some circumstances under the Union agreements is one of them.
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    Jul 11, 2011 12:32 AM GMT
    mocktwinkie said
    Green_Panda said
    Christian73 said
    mocktwinkie saidThere's a big difference between unions in the private sector and unions in the public sector.


    No. There isn't.

    I agree that there is a really big difference. There is only one government and since they're making the labour standards, one would hope standards would reflect the values of the country regardless of whether employees were members of a union or not. In private businesses, corporate greed needs to be tempered with a force to protect workers. I can't see where corporate greed comes into play with government employees. Also, if a business goes on strike, I can get services from a competitor. There is no competitor for my government.


    Thank you for pointing out the obvious to those who would willingly pretend there's no difference.


    You've misaligned cause and effect in your first point. The unions' activism is what led to the creation of labor standards at the state and federal level. They were not granted from on high. The continued existence of unions is the only thing that will ensure they are not rolled back as so many other protections that the middle and working class rely on have been.

    Greed is not particular to corporations. As we see so often on here, many would like people who work for the government to do so for low wages, little or no benefits, or, frankly, not exist at all. The protections provided by unions ensure that those who work for the government are not screwed by the taxpayers or those the "elect" to represent them.

    Finally, your ability to find a competitor is of no consequence. There are certain services that the government will always provide - either because it does so more efficiently and cheaply than private sector (e.g. Medicare, Veteran's services, Sanitation, etc.) or because there is no profit motive to it (e.g. public education). The people that provide those vital services do not give up their rights because they work for the public good. Until the all out war against labor started in the 1980s unions also provided a standard of safety, pay and benefits that private companies had to compete against. Much of what working people have lost in the past 30 years is directly attributable to the lower incidence of union representation.