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Forum Post: What do labor unions and OWS have in common?

Posted 12 years ago on Nov. 21, 2011, 4:09 p.m. EST by classicliberal (312)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

They are both corporate bodies. And they have collective, not just individual, free speech rights.



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[-] 7 points by aahpat (1407) 12 years ago

Both are hated and feared by the American right-wing.

[-] 0 points by classicliberal (312) 12 years ago

Some people would say I'm right wing... And I don't hate or fear OWS.

[-] 1 points by classicliberal (312) 12 years ago

Why would that get voted down? People don't like the fact that I don't hate OWS?

[-] 1 points by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT 12 years ago

And so they will resist that loss of power that we advocate. It doesn't matter. As noted below, they do support collective bargaining - and that is in essence what this movement is doing.

With clarity in our message regarding campaign finance reform, the leadership who would resist that loss of power will have no choice but to concede.

I do not fear them. There is strength in numbers. As long as our eyes are open and we remain true to our selves, we can address such conflicts.


[-] 1 points by PeoplehaveDNA (305) 12 years ago

You now if I had to choose between a corrupt union or a corrupt corporation I would choose the union. At least on some level they address workers rights and have members. Corporations are there for profits not workers rights, in fact they would benefit from eliminating them all together.

[-] 0 points by classicliberal (312) 12 years ago

...And on some level "at least" the corporation addresses customer satisfaction. If the unions had all the say you would pay 10$ for a loaf of bread. And the unions are in it for profit too, large unions rake in huge profits. A union is a corporation, they just sell a bargaining product instead of something tangible or useful to a consumer.

[-] 1 points by OneVoice (153) 12 years ago

The structure of Unions and the OWS is substantially different. I don't think that the OWS is set up under Robert Rules of Order. However, other than structure, there is a lot in common between union members, non-union members, Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals and the OWS movement.

[-] 1 points by stuartchase (861) 12 years ago

I think both parties can get behind this:


[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

OWS reminds labor of its militant past


[-] -1 points by packetStorm (128) 12 years ago

How can ows be against corruption ... and pro union!?!

[-] 3 points by monjon22 (508) 12 years ago

You are assuming that all unions are corrupt. OWS is against corrupt unions just like OWS is against corrupt corporations and corrupt banking practices. OWS is not anti-corporation nor is it anti-bank.

There is nothing wrong with collective free speech rights. The problem we are having in America today is that members of Congress -- our duly elected officials -- are not representing our collective free speech rights or desires.


[-] 0 points by packetStorm (128) 12 years ago

Well we can quibble about private sector unions ... but all public sector unions are corrupt ... by definition.

[-] -1 points by monjon22 (508) 12 years ago

I just did a little research and found this:

"The founders of the labor movement viewed unions as a vehicle to get workers more of the profits they help create. Government workers, however, don’t generate profits. They merely negotiate for more tax money. When government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers. F.D.R. considered this "unthinkable and intolerable." ... Public sector unions insist on laws that serve their interests -- at the expense of the common good."

I had not thought of this before. I agree but not whole heartedly. I would agree 100% if our governmental officials actually represented the people and therefore the union workers loss would be the taxpayers gain. In reality, if the workers got less money, it would not benefit the taxpayer, because the corrupt government officials would simply skim off the excess through wars and big useless contracts.

[-] 4 points by TLydon007 (1278) 12 years ago

You realize that quote is directly from the Heritage Foundation??


Here's some insight into what he actually said other than "unthinkable and intolerable".


Whenever someone quotes just 3 words, I advise you to be a little more skeptical in the future.

[-] 1 points by monjon22 (508) 12 years ago

Okay, so I just looked up the Heritage Foundation and found it is a conservative group. I don't get into the liberal vs conservative or Republican vs. Democrat stuff. I believe the distinctions to be orchestrated scams promoted by the elite to distract the great unwashed meanwhile they rape the world unchecked.

Without having to click on the links and try to figure out what your agument is through reading further from a source that is not yourself (the Heritage Foundation), can you give me an argument why public sector unions are not actually taking from the tax payer when they get increased benefits? My anwer was that those corrupt officials would not give the saved tax dollars to the tax paying Americans anyway -- that they would simply direct those dollars towards themselves through military and other big contracts that benefit the elite.

Let's assume that wasn't true, that the tax payer would actually have more tax dollars to be spent on some other public cause besides public sector union employees. What would the argument for them be?

One that I could think of would be why not have a world where all workers -- including public sector workers -- represented by union officials -- people trained in arbitration, who can see the big economic picture, who know what to ask for and how to ask for it. The job of the government in this case would be to fight against increased benefits. In the end, a fair deal should come out of it what with equally matched sides going up one against the other. Otherwise the workers speaking for themselves may be no match for the more saavy government officials.

[-] 3 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 12 years ago

Since public sector workers rarely have the right to strike (a civil right of Americans), they often get arbitration instead. The government gets to present its side; the union the other; the arbitrator takes all the presented factors into account.

[-] 1 points by monjon22 (508) 12 years ago

Is the representative of the public-sector union also a government employee?

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 12 years ago

There would be union staff leading negotiations and then the presentation to the arbitrator. That person would not be a government employee in any case I know of. However, jurisdictions may vary in ways that I haven't seen.

[-] 0 points by classicliberal (312) 12 years ago

"Rarely get the right to strike"? What? A strike is when you don't show up for work. What are they going to do, prosecute you? You can strike all you want.

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 12 years ago

A strike isn't any old day when you fail to show. It is an organized event.

I don't know all the laws, as they vary from place to place, but there are daunting fines for the union, and even a threat of a strike had the state police out looking for a list of people.

There are also laws providing some protections to workers who strike, and those do not apply to public employees.

[-] 0 points by classicliberal (312) 12 years ago

The right to strike is inherent. You may organize however much you want... social media, text messages, word of mouth, fliers. The government has no right to stop you, neither does your employer. But they also do not have an obligation to help you.

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 12 years ago

You don't understand that "strike" has a meaning in labor law, so that it is not what you describe. And as a result of being something specific, a worker in a real strike has some very limited legal protection. The protection used to be much stronger in the past, and may be again in the future.

But a strike is not flash mob or something, as you indicate.

[-] 0 points by classicliberal (312) 12 years ago

I know exactly what it means. An organized refusal to not show up for work. It is not something that requires the government's interference or assistance. You, and by extension, all workers, have the right to not show up for work. The only difference in what you and I are describing is that in your scenario there is a corporation (the labor union) raking in a fortune of the worker's paychecks. A middleman.

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 12 years ago

Having been a volunteer member of the finance committee of a successful regional union, I find the idea of "raking in a fortune" pretty funny. The union was not flush and the officers were not highly paid. In fact, we kept looking for ways to improve pay at all levels of the staff, because their responsibilities they had were high and pay was not.

[-] 1 points by losthumanity (58) 12 years ago

And yet, if you add up all the entries on that list, here's how it plays out:

Total spent by those that donate more to Reps than to Dems: $1,157,861,479

Total spent by those that donate more to Dems than Reps: $1,137,106,302

[-] 0 points by classicliberal (312) 12 years ago

Sure, there are plenty of small businesses selling collective bargaining. But I was referring more to the SEIU, the AFL-CIO and others who are run by the .001% and have done as much to corrupt the government as any businesses that large tend to do. What did the union boss make as a comparison to the workers he was supposed to be representing?

[-] 2 points by cmt (1195) from Tolland, CT 12 years ago

Our president made about the same as many of our professional members, and there were a good number who made more than he did. The union was not what you would call small, I think.

If you compare union salaries to businesses with the same number of employees (forget the members, just the staff), their salaries are usually between modest and downright lousy.

Where the salaries are similar to businesses of the same size, there is a union movement (google "union democracy") that works to unseat them via elections.

I don't have the latest research, but before Citizens United, corporate political donations were about 900% of union political donations. Now that the Supreme Court has made that ruling, the percentage from corps must be a great deal higher.

There have been a lot of well-paid PR firms misleading the public about matters like this.

[-] 2 points by TLydon007 (1278) 12 years ago

Believe me, where we stand isn't so distant.

The problem with Heritage Foundation studies like that one is twofold.

  1. It was deliberately constructed via quote mining for the purpose of misleading the public. This, you can confirm from the whole quote.

  2. The guy that constructed it opposes ALL unions. They only post these misleading quotes for the explicit purpose of attacking whichever union(or type of union) is currently most vulnerable.

The "fair deal" you talk about is where I stand. I'm not completely opposed to Republican governors negotiating in good faith, compelling the unions to factor in current economic climate when accepting losses.

The problem is that governors, such as Scott Walker, were using legislation to take away ALL of their collective bargaining rights. Basically, they deprived them of the ability to bargain at all. That's wrong.