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Forum Post: UNIONS can be good and bad

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 9, 2011, 5:42 p.m. EST by number2 (914)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

http://reason.com/blog/2011/02/23/the-difference-between-private

I notice that the moderators here like unions in general. So I just wanted to see if everyone else does too. what do you think about private sector unions? what about public sector unions?

Many people don't know the difference so I linked a short article.

32 Comments

32 Comments


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[-] 2 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

Unions like most things have good and bad points.

The unions insure the workers the right to collective bargaining, for wages, benefits, hours of labor etc...they also benefit the employer from time to time, by keeping the workers adhering to the contracts they sign.

I apologize in advance because my memory is faulty, but it wasn't so long ago that at the bargaining table a union (It might have been AFL-CIO), actually offered to accept a reduction in wages to aid the company through a a rough patch.

Unions may well have overstepped their boundaries when they began to make attempts to influence politics, just as some banks and some businesses did. Yet offering a union hall for a political rally isn't exactly 'putting the bucks on the table', just as having one in a hall owned by a bank or business is not.

I could list what unions have done for the working class...including non-union members...things like the 40 hour week, paid vacations, sick time, over time, matching 401 funding...and hundreds more, but to mention more than the above would be too time consuming and create a reply much longer than it needs to be.

[-] 1 points by number2 (914) 2 years ago

I have a lot of respect for private sector unions in general. Once in awhile they over-step their bounds but usually they are good for America.

I can't say this about public sector unions who are willing to bankrupt their states to get theirs.

[-] 1 points by PandoraK (1678) 2 years ago

The AFL-CIO represented state employees in Minnesota (admittedly this event was several years ago), the union bargained for the employees for insurance that would meet the requirements of the public sector. The employees in key positions continued to work throughout the bargaining process.

Public sector employees also need to be on par for wages etc with the private sector, public sector does not just include teachers, firemen and the police, but also the men and women who plow snow from roads, who drive on ice spreading salt or chlorine so you can have safer roads to drive on, it includes the visiting nurse program for shut ins and for some children who might otherwise get little or no health care...it includes the clerk who registers your children's birth certificates and your land and auto titles. It includes the men and women who work in the SSA offices, showing patience for people who have none.

Would you not agree that quality people are necessary for the functioning of services? And do not quality people worthy of wages that meet their needs? To be at the very least equal to the private sector?

If they don't have the ability to bargain would the public sector be willing to bargain for them?

[-] 1 points by number2 (914) 2 years ago

I would love it if we could get the private sector in this country to be prosperous once again and produce goods and services and make a profit so that we can afford to pay public sector employees well.

But what I saw in Wisconsin changed my mind about public unions because these are the worst economic times since the great depression and the large majority of people in this country are trying to make do with less. So when the governor looks at the budget he sees that there is no money(actually negative money) and says that the public unions will have to make do with less like everyone else in the country. The union people said to increase taxes then. That is just morally bankrupt.

And I know about the "collective bargaining rights" but I'm saying they should have never had them because in practice it isn't bargaining or even petitioning. It is extortion.

[-] 2 points by ARod1993 (2420) 2 years ago

I'd say that overall unions are a good thing to have, at least in theory: by providing workers with the ability to bargain collectively and the ability to strike the company is forced to negotiate with the body of workers (which puts them on equal footing come contract time) rather than set the going compensation rate at will and the hell with anyone who wants to set themselves up. I owe my education and possibly my life to BCTGM Local #50; without the compensation package they negotiated my mother would have never been able to homeschool me (which was the only way my sister and I would have been prepared for Bronx Science and in my case MIT) and without the insurance deal they got my medical bills could have bankrupted my family (preexisting chronic heart condition that requires yearly monitoring; pre-Obamacare I would have been uninsurable were it not for the union).

[-] 1 points by audiman (90) 2 years ago

That is a nice story but the unions still take dues and send a portion of them to big politicians. Does not matter if you are a Dem or Repub, they still go to the Dem fat cats! That is just want OWS does not want.

[-] 1 points by number2 (914) 2 years ago

I googled the BCTGM. It looks like a hard working group for which I have a lot of respect.

[-] 1 points by sickmint79 (516) from Grayslake, IL 2 years ago

private unions no problem. if they become one the problem will fix itself.

public union i'm not a fan of. there's no way to right that ship if it gets out of control.

[-] 1 points by number2 (914) 2 years ago

exactly

[-] 1 points by OWSNewPartyTakeNY2012 (195) 2 years ago

devil is in the details and the execution. Broad stroke classification achieve very little.

[-] 1 points by audiman (90) 2 years ago

The unions are everything the OWS folks hate. They take money from dues and them give millions to politicians. Same as the rich givings to the politicians. It is no different. Why will you folks not listen? How can you be pro union and anti rich?

[-] -1 points by jay1975 (428) 2 years ago

Because this has become nothing more than a left wing movement. OWS never truly represented 99% of anything but the far left.

[-] 0 points by jay1975 (428) 2 years ago

The large unions of today are the antithesis of the OWS movement as the money they take from working Americans is used to buy votes in DC. They are just as bad as the corporations. Regardless of the issues that they fight for, corruption is corruption. You cannot say money in politics is bad, then try to reason that money coming from groups you support is good. If we want a level playing field, then union influence must be seen as toxic as corporate influence and thus, should be ended with haste.

[-] 1 points by number2 (914) 2 years ago

Buying politicans is bad regardless of who does it. Some unions have engaged in that excessively. But without that, I think that the concept and design of a private union is not generally bad. The government needs to perform it's intended role. If they do more than their role then it is bad.

For public unions I think that they should have the right to petition the government like everyone else has. I can't justify that they should have "collective bargaining rights". They can ask for more but if there is no more and the state is in the red, then the governor needs to say, "No" and that should be final. There is no right to take more from others that are already hurting in this economy.

[-] 0 points by Corium (246) 2 years ago

Not a big supporter of Unions... they IBEW tried to get into my plant several times and failed. Basically they wanted to charge a percentage of our income, we would have to give up the right to vote them out in the future, and they promised nothing in return. I can't say all unions are bad... maybe some have their place, but with the IBEW some possible future security was not worth giving up our rights and money. People need to recognize that Unions are big business that earn money by skimming the paychecks of another companies employees!

[-] 0 points by number2 (914) 2 years ago

when unions run like the mob they are bad. Many unions have the sense not to bankrupt the company they are working for. The public unions have no incentive for this and frequently you can see as in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, California and New York that the unions will bankrupt the state and they have no problem with it.

[-] -1 points by jay1975 (428) 2 years ago

I have no problem with private workers organizing to protect themselves and to have representation with the senior management, but I am opposed to the large, outside, union groups who invade firms to act as a representative for the employees while collecting dues that often go to endeavors that are not specifically related to those employees.
As public workers (like myself) are paid by tax dollars, we should not have any unions. Our grievances should be brought to the people and voted on since the public in general pays our way.

[-] 1 points by number2 (914) 2 years ago

Wow. You are an outlier. Thanks for being honest.

[-] 0 points by jay1975 (428) 2 years ago

No problem.