Aug
13

Critical Thinking on Labor Unions

By

Labor unions leveled the playing field during a time of flagrant abuses by some employers and organizations. In the information age, where a post on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter exposing abuses can be read by millions in minutes, unions are no longer necessary. Critical thinking (ATS–According to Siebold–:) says that it’s time to abolish unions and allow the free market to operate. Watch this short (and somewhat shocking) video I shot in front of a live audience in Ann Arbor, Michigan and watch the outcry. I’ll look forward to your comments.

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Categories : Critical Thinking

Comments

  1. To me, its very clear that we need more labor unions, not in the US, but in the other nations of the world. Wages in other countries would inflate so that our industry would look to hire our workers here in the United States.?

    The problem we are having is that we benefit from items made in countries that have slave labor. We need to cause those people in that condition to band together for higher wages, may be through unionization in those countries. Then we could compete for those jobs here in the U. S.

  2. Well stated Donna Sako. In 1975 my first job paid $13.25 an hour –thanks to unions. Back then bread was about $,25 a loaf, gas was $.57 and milk was $1.40 gal. and I was able to have a decent life while putting myself through school (1 person). Today most high school graduates and some college graduates make $8.25 an hour for a family, at a time when bread is $1.41 a loaf, gas is $3.09+ a gallon and milk is $3.69 a gallon. Mr. Siebold, in all your richness, toughness and critical thinking, you should be able to see that workers wages have consistently gone down as the cost of basic needs has consistently gone up — that includes rent and housing. Unions were the reason why we made a living wage back in the day. I currently assist low-income, first generation individuals daily and I see the devastation caused in those households not making a living wage. I would, again, suggest you live on $8.25 an hour for one year in an apartment that $8.25 an hour affords you and eating the food you can afford on $8.25 an hour.

    While I’m sure you won’t take the challenge, I would ask that you stop begrudging poor people the little income security unions provide because as you have learned over “30 years” that individuals can have all the education and potential but still not have the wherewithal to do what folks like you or I have done. 4 thx!!

  3. Allyson says:

    While I won’t deny that labor unions have their problems, I don’t see how the internet or increased communications will offer workers the protections from employer abuse that well-functioning unions offer. Being able to complain about a bad boss or bad employer is not helpful for people who have few other employment options, nor is it helpful if the majority of employers are reducing wages and benefits, expecting employees to take on more and more responsibilities without increasing their pay, or are so busy catering to their shareholders that they forget to take care of the employees who ultimately determine that business’ success.

    “They can’t abuse workers they way they used to do”? For just one counter-example, ask the workers in Amazon’s warehouse (check out the numerous articles on the topic via Google–we’re talking fainting employees among other things.)

    And the pensions are a genuine issue of concern, but getting rid of unions won’t fund the underfunded pensions. The willingness to be tough with *all* sides on that issue (including, but not limited to, labor unions) is a far more logical approach to take.

    At a time when the middle class is dying in America, complaining about unions–whose power has been *declining* for decades–seems besides the point.

    I am not willing to make a false choice between doing everything I can to be successful (which I thought would include developing mental toughness) and supporting the rights of working people to organize for decent working conditions.

  4. RAy says:

    Even Roosevelt, a socialist democrat, stated that public service unions should never be allowed

  5. Mike Jacobi says:

    Hi Steve,
    most of the unions are already shrinking. If we get rid of the “Closed Shop” principle, we would be fine.
    HOWEVER, any public employee union county, state and federal must go. We the tax payer do not sit at the negotiation table and it is these unions, which bankrupt us and use undo influence during elections and in Congress. Also remember, Congress did not establish these unions, but it was an executive order by Kennedy. So the next president could cancel that.

  6. RONALD JOHN ELLIS says:

    Unions have been very beneficial to industry and and workers. Our government, our nation, has prospered along with industry. The workers are enjoying the results of their efforts on a level the playing field. Our standard of living for most everyone in the United States is at an all time high.
    The problems that we have with OUR economy is that the poorer nations do not have unions to protect them from unscrupulous selfish persons in their midst. We have experienced that problem early in the last century. The unions banded together in what I call, the industrial revolution.
    Now we have unscrupulous selfish persons on both sides (unions and business). But our solutions are not within our borders. The solutions are unionization in all the nations of the world. As an example: China is beginning to see the light except that the powers have has fought any compromise for the benefit of their own people. Around the world, unionized workers and industry, both, will thrive as we have in their own industrial revolution.
    WE AS NATION will continue to prosper in our future when the other nations give equal benefits to their people.
    RONALD JOHN ELLIS, 2014

  7. RONALD JOHN ELLIS says:

    government, our nation, has prospered along with industry. The workers are enjoying the results of their efforts on a level the playing field. Our standard of living for most everyone in the United States is at an all time high.

    The problems that we have with OUR economy is that the poorer nations do not have unions to protect them from unscrupulous selfish persons in their midst. We have experienced that problem early in the last century. The unions banded together in what I call, the industrial revolution.

    Now we have unscrupulous selfish persons on both sides (unions and business). But our solutions are not within our borders. The solutions are unionization in all the nations of the world. As an example: China is beginning to see the light except that the powers have has fought any compromise for the benefit of their own people. Around the world, unionized workers and industry, both, will thrive as we have in their own industrial revolution.

    WE AS NATION will continue to prosper in our future when the other nations give equal benefits to their people.

  8. Donna Sako says:

    I have relatives who lived among the abuses. Many lost their lives to lung cancer, due to working in tile factories at age 10 and in the coal mines. Some had emphysema, lost their sight and arms and fingers. One was evaporated in a steel mill when he fell into the molten steel. I was a job steward for 14 years in the telecommunications industry as well as management later. Unions provide balance. Without it abused WILL return. They are a necessary evil. You have way too much faith in technology. Just because abuse can be telecast does not mean it will be rectified. We still have people earning and trying to live on wages which barely pay their rents let alone food and other expenses. I have lived making just enough for rent. I was on food stamps at one point. It is not the greedy lush life you may think it is. Have you ever lived or walked in the shoes of those abused by management or the elite? if not, try it for one year. Then still tell me you feel the same. Too many of our politicians and law makers are removed from the realities of the working class. It is easy to judge if you have never experienced it. Because of under paid workers, corporations have become wealthy and greedy. It seems that few “do the right thing” for their workers. It used to be that CEO’s made at most $100,000 a year. Now the workers slave to pay the millions in salary to them. The CEO’s even if they fail or are not worth it-are still paid. The profit rarely goes back into the business. How can it if it is paying their corporate officers all the profit? Unions are needed. Without balance of power, corruption will return and flourish.

  9. Yup the gotta go. But will they?

    As more and more of the labor force is reduced to minimum wage and unskilled workers from Mexico and below are allowed into the USA illegally, they’ll be ripe for union organization.

    The Democrat party knows unions have been losing their grip for decades and also know the voting power in unionizing people. Grass roots anti union sentiments have to be strong and consistent and the dissolution of unions may be inevitable.

    I saw the negative and limiting aspects of unions in the public school system – both labor and management [administrative].

    Like you say Steve, unions have had their day – but will they grow strong again or continue to dwindle away, that is the question.

    Thoughts?

    Mike