questionsare you for or against unions?

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unions have their place and can be good but as with most things they are easily corruptible. I know if my grandpa wasn't in the electricians union we wouldn't of been able to provide my grandmother with the best of nursing homes and care available, that being said... r.i.p. grandma.

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I second the above comment. The best union around here is the IBEW electrical union.

Around here, the Carpenters union and the Boilermakers union tend to pay their guys to go out to Lowe's/Home Depot with some giant 4' x 20' banners that say "SHAME ON WHIRLPOOL" (or any other company/elected official they are currently shaming).

I have to work with a lot of union factories with our machinery that we make....and they are all a bureaucratic nightmare to work with. Lots of arbitrary rules that benefit only the Union.

For example, at (a well-known Motorcycle Co.): if one guy on a shift has to work overtime, all the guys on his shift also have to get paid overtime as well. If any of the "team members" have to travel for training, ALL of the rest also have to be paid for time and travel as well. Only a licensed electrician can open an electrical panel regardless if the panel has power or not. Union foremen and bosses harass you constantly while you're installing equipment. It's a mess.

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I don't think unions hold their place as they once did. Since strict federal regulations and allowing the states to enforce and modify that in which they feel the need to has taken hold. There are a few exceptions, but nothing like it used to be even forty years ago.

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Unions have a place. But like any governing body/lobbyists - they can be easily corrupted and often are. So... yes and no?

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The growing anti-union sentiment in the USA is quite troubling. No, unions aren't perfect, but what a lot of people apparently fail to realize is they provide huge benefits to every worker, not just union members.
Without unions to negotiate for worker's rights on the behalf of workers we quite simply wouldn't have those rights. Things like weekends, benefits, decent pay, vacations, and the like were all negotiated for by unions.
The fact of the matter is that individual employees don't have the same power of a corporation. Unions are necessary to help workers get on an even footing with a corporation so they can actually bargain with them. After all, what kind of corporate power is going to negotiate with a few ragtag workers wanting better wages or more vacation time? When it's an organization encompassing all of the workers of the corporation and with power on the same level as the corporation, suddenly the bargaining table becomes a lot more fair.

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Now obviously, there are times when unions take the wrong steps and workers and the corporation suffer as a result, nobody is perfect. But by and large, the benefits unions provide for EVERY worker far outweigh the drawbacks. If we keep on this union-busting track we've been on and continue to keep giving more and more power to corporations and dismantle more and more protective legislation, we'll soon be back to the days of the 80-hour, three-job workweek with no benefits, weekends, sick days, etc. just to make ends meet.
I don't know about you, but that's not the future I want.

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There is an awful lot of abuse by the unions against the companies they work for.
There is an awful lot of abuse by companies against their non-unionized workforce.

I fit into the second category. I see too much of the first category when my company works on-site at many of these plants around the country.

I believe there are good unions (Plumbers & Pipefitters, Electrical Workers, surely there are more) that really take care to train and educate their membership through their apprenticeship and journeyman programs. They also advocate for their members and try hard to get them hired. Maybe it is a product of being a right-to-work state that makes them more friendly to the companies they place their members in. Whatever it is, it makes me have a favorable opinion of them.

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I am currently not in a union, nor have I ever been in one. However, I think that to an extent they are needed. Every so often you have the evil dictator company scenario and workers need protection from that. Yet we've taken them too far. They collect "extra" dues from members that end up going straight into union leaders' pockets. And they abuse their power. Bad workers without skill or care for their job can't be fired and companies are destroyed sometimes (right now Hostess) because unions have money spilling out of the back cupboard to pay their workers and they can easily strike. My stepbrother-in-law is paid $50 an hour to stay home. And my stepfather, also in a union, cited too many stories of murder scenarios and bribes and job "security" taken too far. So, I guess, if I had to say pro- or against unions, I'd say against. I probably won't be in one later anyway.

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Teachers' unions, government employees' unions, and many others just seem hell-bent on keeping their membership out of the real world. When I hear the things they gripe about (loss of pensions!, having to contribute to their own 401k!, having to pay out-of-pocket for health insurance!, merit-based raises! etc.) it really makes me lose respect for their positions.
I really wonder if any of them could make it in the abusive corporate world.

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@stryker4526: At any rate, I agree with you that the anti-union sentiment is troubling. They certainly have their place.
I wouldn't get paid overtime (based on a 40-hour week) if it weren't for them.

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I have no problem with private unions, government unions are another story. With that said they need to get with the times and realize they can't keep funding pensions for multiple generations of workers and expect to survive

I'm not in a union and live in a right to work state. Therefore I am not in a position to tell another group of people in this country they can or cannot do something that really doesn't impact me. Are we getting charged for the increased costs in labor, absolutely but it's pennies. Compare that to the rise in costs of fuel and other commodities and unions don't even register on the radar.

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Unions were needed in the past. Their day has gone by. It would be very difficult for a corporation to really mistreat their workers anymore due to the ability of said workers to be whistleblowers with access to the internet and other media.

The UAW was a huge part of the problem in the Detroit auto industry. The average UAW worker makes over $50 an hour for wages and benefits. That's a package worth $104,000 annually. And we wondered why Detroit couldn't compete?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/08/united-auto-workers-union-talks-gm-intensify-profit-sharing_n_953535.html

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@hessem: Unions are still needed.
Being ignorant to the benefits of unions doesn't mean they don't exist.

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Unions are everything that is wrong with America.

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My problem with unions is that they are just mini governments. They get too big and only serve themselves.
I'm all for employees organizing for better conditions, just not having people on the payroll of the organization.

j5 j5
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Please enlighten all of us as to the benefits of unions you claim we are ignorant of.

And don't say unions gave us 5 day work weeks, overtime pay, vacation days, sick time etc. those were all negotiated a long time ago.

What modern need is there for a union other than to squeeze companies for ridiculous pay and benefits? BTW Unions in NYC and NJ worked to keep non-union workers from helping with the recovery from Sandy. Please explain how that is something admirable.

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Union agitators came to town for a company one of my parents was a manager in. I was 6. I remember them stopping at my bus stop, cussing at me, and peeling off. Another day they almost ran me down when I was walking on the shoulder to get to my bus stop. Another time they threw bricks at the house.

The union failed to organize at that place, and they were livid that they only got 10% of the employees' votes. They still tried to unionize everything, and were ran out by the employees.

I hate unions after seeing what passed as acceptable unionization practices. Terrorizing a 6 year old to the point where he dreads waiting for the bus for fear of what some scummy agitators will do is awful. And these were official employees of that particular union, not employees of the place this parent worked at. And I've rarely seen unions 'above' such practices, and think they've far outlived their usefulness, and contribute nothing of value to society.

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My husband was a union employee (HVAC) and made good money but because of the high wages he had to drive hours and hours every day to get to a job because the only businesses willing to pay blue collar labor a union wage are government funded.

The union workers (hello unemployed Hostess guys!) don't seem to realize they are bargaining themselves not only out of a job but destroying entire industries...where are cars made these days? Not so much in Detroit any more. When wages come down manufacturing will return to America.

Unions have outlived their usefulness and now only exist so union "suits" still have a job.

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Unions have been losing power coast to coast for decades. They made concessions when times were good, under the promises that it would benefit them in the long run. Now they have very little power in the vast majority of all cases and when they try to use what little power they still have, they are immediately demonized.

Eventually, our government will have sold off so many of the rights of workers that unions fought for over the decades that the working class will have no choice left but to unionize again to get their rights - and their lives - back. It is unfortunate that we have to swing all the way to the opposite end before we can start coming back to a worker-employer relationship that is based on respect and reason.

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@ohcheri: Manufacturing is never coming back to America.
There is a huge labor pool willing to work for pennies on the dollar compared to American labor. Until living conditions and factory wages in America match those in places such as Taiwan, the Philippines, and China (i.e. never), manufacturing isn't coming back. Heck, even Chinese businesses are offshoring their production now, due to rising wages in that country.
Your claim that unions are "destroying entire industries" is laughable alarmist nonsense. Stop taking complex issues (auto industry, Hostess) and trying to boil them down to a single root cause (which just so happens to always be the workers and never the management or financiers, wonder why that is? Oh right, propaganda)
Unions have certainly not "outlived their usefulness." Every worker benefits from union negotiations, not just the unionized.

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Union = -18,500 Hostess employees, unemployment = +18,500 new signees. I can't do that math in my head.

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To the union haters out there.:
I have worked in both union and non-union shops. I have not always thought being in a union was beneficial to me. Up until the day they saved my job from a supervisor who had an axe to grind. There was also a company I used to work for that could really use a union as the company underpays their employees, and in general has poor working conditions. So yes, they do still have a place in this country and are still needed.
Obviously unions aren't perfect or there wouldn't be examples of corruption or businesses going under and such like. There are plenty of examples of abuse on both sides. However, if the unions didn't exist, you're only fooling yourself if you believe that most companies would treat their employees fairly out of the goodness of their hearts.

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Unions suck straight up. I work for a unionized shop and am regularly screwed over by people who are do-nothing slobs for whom hard work is a foreign concept. You try to tell them to stop slacking they laugh in your face or tell you to "bleep off" while they sit there texting. Worse yet, there are some people I work with who think that the union is the only thing helping them so they don't get screwed over. They fall for the lie, and misdirect their frustrations towards the company owners, while the most ardent union supporters are doing all they can step on them and build up their own wealth and power.

Maybe at the turn of the century unions were helpful in the coal factories, but today they are bastions for thugs and shiftless lie-abouts. If there were a way to bust the union where I work, I'd do it in a heartbeat because I am sick of seeing the union ruin peoples' lives.

Yeah, I said it, because there are some things that really get to me, and this is one of them.

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I think there was a time when unions were necessary. I think that time has long since past.

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@bluejester: Lazy, shiftless employees would be lazy, shiftless employees whether or not there was a union.
I've worked in both union and non-union workplaces, and they're always there.
Your bitterness and anger is both unwarranted and misdirected. Who cares if they don't work hard and get ahead? It's their stagnant life, not yours.
Besides, if you're talking about a retail shop, it's not like the pay is commensurate with the hard work they want you to put in anyway.
And as far as telling them not slack off: you really have no place doing that if you aren't their supervisor or somewhere else above them on the power chain.

@trekmiss: You are mistaken.

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@stryker4526: Funny how you automatically attack me and label me as having bitterness and anger. I've worked several jobs, and while there are lazy people wherever you go, no where have I seen such a preponderance of people willing to show how good they are at doing absolutely nothing than at my current unionized job. Furthermore, I never said "I" tell them to stop slacking, I used the generic "you." Perhaps I should have spelled that I watch the supervisors tell them to pick it up to no avail.
Also, the avowed laziest person that I work with IS the union rep, and she absolutely glories in the fact she doesn't do anything. She makes it a point to let others around her know, and the store managers can't do anything about it, because she threatens to call the union. As a result, other people I work with realize they can slack too, so I have to pick up their slack while listening to them complain that they deserve more pay for what they are already overpaid for in the first place.

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@bluejester
@stryker4526

Heya folks, let's keep things civil in here shall we? civil..yes..that's the word

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I have to agree with @bluejester. The lazy union people I have met in the past thrive on being lazy and tell stories bragging how they have gotten out of work for hours on end. If those same people were not in a union they would be fired from any standard position. But some unions exist to protect lazy people and they will keep their jobs.

@stryker4526: The "who cares if they don't work hard and get ahead" attitude is what has gotten our country in the position that it is in now. What if Dale Carnegie or John Rockefeller had that outlook?

Although like other people have stated, if used CORRECTLY a union can be beneficial. But as posters have also said, with the HR rules and blood thirsty lawyers it would be hard for a company to really take advantage of their employees (Walmart excluded).

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I've seen the union 'save' the job of several coworkers, all of which NEEDED to be fired.

I've seen unions keep skilled and talented people from a job they would have been good at because they didn't have the right certs and membership.

Everyone seems to recognize that a monopoly is a bad thing, why doesn't it apply to employees?

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@rogetray: Where were things not being civil? You must be new here.

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I guess I am one of those bad people working for the government who belong to a union and complain about my pension and medical insurance. My job requires me to belong to a union, no choice whatsoever.

I hate paying union dues, despise our union bosses, but see a need for unions in general in the workplace. If you have never workedfor a government agency, you have no idea why you need protection. I'll be brief in explanation. Politician X gets elected, hires all his/her cronies into government jobs as mangers and directors, cronies attempt to manipulate everything to serve their master. Employee Z says, hey this isn't right, or those figures are false, and the whole governmental system comes after him/her. Have seen it happen many times. The government controls the investigators, the lawyers, the bosses, and they all lock step to whatever tune is sung.

My big boss gets a performance bonus annually, attends trips, gets a car, knows little about what I do. Yeah I complain.

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"My big boss gets a performance bonus annually, attends trips, gets a car, knows little about what I do. Yeah I complain."

Instead of envying and complaining about what your big boss gets, why don't you put your efforts toward achieving what the big boss has achieved. If she/he has more education than you go back to school. If you are equally educated then work harder, stay later, be more productive and offer ideas to improve your department's productivity, etc.

Your success or failure is in your hands.

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Old thread, but I wanted to add:

I was apart of the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts and I witnessed non-union power utility workers turned away at the New Jersey state line just for the fact they weren't union.