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Have they outlived their usefulness?

Labor unions. I am a polisci minor, finance major, and we studied the concept and creation of labor unions in school. At the time they were created, they were very much needed. However, with the creation of OSHA, do you feel they are no longer vital to a manufacturing economy? My husband is a steelworker who has belonged to 5 different unions over 30 years, and every time the company laid off or went under the union NEVER helped the workers in his shop - the money was always needed somewhere else. He is now anit-union and happier than he's ever been with a good company with better pay, bonuses, and benefits. con't...

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Asked by plylerjones at 8:45 AM on Dec. 4, 2008 in Politics & Current Events

Level 11 (508 Credits)
Answers (34)
  • I have two college degrees and work in the financial industry (illegal to unionize) and wouldn't join one anyone. I think they have inflated the cost of labor in this country to the point it IS more economical to ship jobs overseas. I only make 11/hr and live on it just fine :-) But my area (NE Ohio) is about to sink if GM closes.... the UAW doesn't want to make any more concessions. My brother worked at GM for 15 years and took the buyout, my father was the VP of Engineering at Delphi for 40 yrs, so we see both sides of the aisle. Do you think an unskilled worker out of high school should make 30/hr starting wage, while those of us who are educated make 25k/yr if we're lucky?

    Answer by plylerjones at 8:47 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • Personally I think labor unions are a large part of what is driving jobs out of our country and into cheaper nations. Unions have an all or nothing mentality that in the end hurts big business, think GM, ouch! My dad works at a plant that is part of the steelworkers union and at last contract negotiations they nearly had to shut down the entire plant because the union wouldn't compromise on ANYTHING. His job wasn't even one in question, yet the union would have caused him to loose it. Now they are operating day-to-day and my 60-year-old father never knows if he'll go in and get a two-week severance package and be sent on his way.

    Answer by Slinkee at 8:50 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • Haha that you brought up GM. My husband is a mechanic, he used to be a GM tech but for the last two years he worked there we were barely paying bills. Why? Because every time GM union workers cried foul and demanded more money they cut labor times to the point where my hubby was doing twice the work for half the pay. Now he works for Honda and he has no trouble cutting a paycheck as a tech.
    My family is from SE Ohio, and my cousin who WAS a stay at home mom works in a Ford transmission plant. She started with no skills, no mechanical knowledge and no training. My husband has been to school, stays up on his ASE's, and has to go to re-train through Honda every year. Guess what, my cousin who stands at an assembly line all day sitting one gear in a trans casing makes more then DOUBLE what my husband does. That's not including her comp. package. How is that fair?? Thank you union.

    Answer by Slinkee at 8:56 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • Too bad they are tanking, I'd love to make $30 bucks an hour for unskilled labor. That's almost 3 X what we live off of now!

    Answer by Xynyth at 9:23 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • Oh but to answer you question, my husband refuses to work for a union plumbing company because of like you say, they won't budge, the dues are outrageous and sure they get paid more but their jobs seem less secure. At least around here anyway.

    Answer by Xynyth at 9:24 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • I don't like unions any more. When I ran my restaurant the local electric union tried to bully me into using their people instead of the firm my handyman had reccommended. The estimate he handed me was triple. What was worse is the firm that was completing the work had to send another electrician out- the one who was completing my work ran for his van as soon as the union guys showed up. Said he was afraid that they were going to slash his tires.
    So yes, I think they have outlived there usefulness. . .
    But just a thought, What happens when we take all the union admin jobs away?

    Answer by lovinangels at 9:24 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • I live in SW Ohio, my dad is middle mgt GM and is in the process of losing his job. I 110% feel that labor unions have been an integral part in the demise of American Industry. Steel, Airline, and Automakers (an many others, I am sure).
    My dad told me that he had union workers who had been there less time than him that were making comparably MORE money than him, AND they get to retire with healthcare benefits. Middle Mgt does not.
    Plus, I read an article that the average GM worker makes MORE than a PHD professor. Does anyone else think that is disproportionate? And the union complains that jobs are leaving the US, meanwhile Honda is BUILDING plants here in SW Ohio/Indiana. The union is money mongering outfit. If left to continue and if the Employee Free Choice Act is allowed to take effect, I think that is the absolute WRONG thing for this country.

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 9:26 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • Interesting that you brough the union admin thing up... my DH's uncle is the treasurer of a union at a local steel mill, and he brags that whenever he wants a day to go fishing, he logs his time as "union business" collects his regular pay PLUS a union check for 400 bucks for that ONE day. Spends the day on Lake Erie afterwards. Of course my in-laws are violently pro-union, but go figure...

    Answer by plylerjones at 9:29 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • PP is right, 99% of Honda's currently being driven in America are made in America with American made parts. If foreign auto makers can come here and dominate the market with local manufacturing there's NO excuse for American companies not to do the same.

    Answer by Slinkee at 9:31 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

  • Slinkee: Toyota has an AMAZING business plan for building in the US. In Kentucky, for example, Toyota requires all of their vendors to be located within a 90 mille radius "loop" of the plant. There are a series of trucks that drive this loop and then back tot he palnt. SO there is virtually no wait time for parts, which mean production can exsist on schedule. The area tends to thrives in comparison to the big 3's plant regions because more than Toyota supports the economy. Their vendors/suppliers do as well.

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 9:35 AM on Dec. 4, 2008

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