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Unions: Good or Bad?
The Motley Fool ^

Posted on 10/30/2003 10:50:34 AM PST by proud_member_of_ VRWC

It would be difficult to argue that labor unions haven't done a lot of good for American workers. But have they got a little too much power now? They may be interfering with companies' abilities to compete -- and perhaps investors should consider unions when evaluating companies.

By Selena Maranjian (TMF Selena) October 30, 2003 I've long supported unions. I've even belonged to two -- when I was a high school teacher and when I was a university administrative worker. (For the record, the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers had some great songs.) But in recent years, I've come to doubt my pro-union convictions. Permit me to share some of my thoughts and then to solicit your thoughts. I suspect that many who read my words are much more informed about and experienced with unions than I am.

Why unions are good In much of industrial America, workers toiled under very unsafe conditions, earning extremely low pay and enjoying little to no legal protection. Unions were successful in bringing about many improvements for such workers, such as more reasonable working hours. They have generally served workers well by helping them avoid being exploited by employers. Even in these days, unions have a strong impact. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union members in 1999 had median weekly earnings of $672 (that's $34,944 per year) while non-union workers had median weekly earnings of only $516 ($26,832) (source).

Why unions are problematic Much as I'd rather not accept it, while unions have done a lot of good and have helped workers avoid exploitation, they also seem to have helped workers exploit employers. Perhaps it has been a gradual shift over time, with unions slowly accumulating more and more power. (Perhaps not -- again, I welcome your thoughts.)

Unions can have the power to impede a company's ability to compete and thrive. A firm might be in desperate trouble, yet its unions may be unwilling to bend or compromise in order to help the company survive. Many employers find themselves left very inflexible when they have union contracts to abide by.

Some more problems with unions:

Anti-competitiveness. The Socialstudieshelp.com website suggests that, "unions… are victims of their own success. Unions raised their wages substantially above the wages paid to nonunion workers. Therefore, many union-made products have become so expensive that sales were lost to less expensive foreign competitors and nonunion producers."

A decline in the value of merit. In many union settings, workers can't advance much or at all on their merits, but must generally progress within the limits defined by union contracts. Employers may have trouble weeding out ineffective employees if they belong to unions. In theory, at least, unionized workers might become so comfortable and protected that they lose the incentive to work hard for their employer. And outstanding employees might lose their get-up-and-go if there's no incentive to excel -- or worse, if they're pressured by the union to not go the extra mile. Here's a webpage detailing some other union drawbacks.

Is there a problem? So there's both good and bad associated with unions. I suspect that most businesses, and even many or most investors in said businesses, would prefer that the businesses be union-free. But that's easier said than done.

Is ownership an answer? One strategy for companies to avoid unions taking hold on their premises might be to ensure that as many of their workers as possible are as satisfied as possible. That's simple and makes sense, but it can become mighty difficult to maintain as a company grows huge. Another option is to convert employees into owners -- via stock ownership or profit-sharing, for example. If workers have a real stake in a firm's bottom line, they may be more sympathetic to management's point of view and more eager to work extra hard to help the firm succeed.

That's not a perfect solution, though. Starbucks (NYSE: SBUX), for example, is known for awarding stock options. Yet some of its workers in the U.S. and Canada have organized into unions, while others would like to.

Consider also Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), which has long made employees part-owners via profit-sharing and stock options. It hasn't escaped having unions in its midst. Yet, as this Foundation for Enterprise Development case study notes, "A few years ago the pilots' union at Southwest struck an extraordinary deal with the airline to freeze wage increases for 10 years in exchange for an increased proportional allocation of stock options. The flight attendants' union has since also signed a similar agreement that is unprecedented in the industry." And Southwest has continued to thrive in its notoriously tough industry.

American Airlines, whose parent company is AMR (NYSE: AMR), also decided to issue stock options to its employees, making the announcement in April -- and just a week or so ago it reported a long-elusive (though tiny) profit. Are the two items related? Perhaps, at least to some degree. Though it's worth pointing out that stock options aren't necessarily always attractive. If they're for stock of a shaky company in a wobbly industry, they may not be worth much at all. (Bill Mann noted earlier this year why investors might want to walk away from American Airlines.)

The healthcare crisis If ownership isn't the best answer, perhaps healthcare coverage might be. Along with compensation issues, healthcare is a major factor in the recent strike of grocery workers in California. The unions don't want to lose ground on the healthcare package workers currently receive. The grocery chains are crying that they're being pinched as they fight the threat of Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) -- yet some have been recording increases in sales and earnings lately. Kroger (NYSE: KR), for example, posted a 3% increase in sales and a 16% increase in earnings between fiscal 2001 and 2002.

What's really going on? I suspect that both sides fear a slippery slope: Workers fear that if they give in a bit on healthcare, they'll eventually lose it all. (And with healthcare costs skyrocketing lately, that's a valid concern.) Employers fear that they're already on a slippery slope as they fight the encroaching behemoth that is Wal-Mart.

The Wal-Mart situation Wal-Mart itself is interesting, when you consider unionization. Thus far, in its not-that-short history, it has escaped having most of its workers belong to unions. But a passionate fight is being waged right now, as workers struggle to establish a union.

This raises interesting questions for us investors: Should we root for the union, as it might lead to more livable wages for employees and might keep more of Wal-Mart's million-plus employees enjoying healthcare benefits? Or should we root for Wal-Mart, figuring that a union will almost certainly put pressure on profits and might threaten the company's ability to sustain its track record of formidable global growth?

I'd like to tell you what I think of the Wal-Mart situation, but I can't. I'm torn. I see both sides of the issue. I wouldn't want to see Wal-Mart unduly restricted by union stipulations. I recognize that although it's enormous, its net profit margins aren't that hefty, at around 4%. That doesn't leave lots of room for adding expenses (though of course there is some room). But at the same time, I wouldn't want employees to be taken advantage of simply because Wal-Mart is big enough to do so. I admire generous companies, ones that treat their workers well. I'd want Wal-Mart to be, as many folks would argue it currently is, fair or even generous to workers. I suppose what I'd like to see is a more perfect solution than a traditional union or successful union-busting.

Questions that remain So after this brief foray into union considerations, I'm left with more questions than answers. Once more, I invite your thoughts. Please share them on our discussion board for this column -- or pop in to see what others are saying. (We're offering a painless free trial of our boards right now.) I hope to revisit this topic soon, to share some of the most compelling responses of yours that I read. Some food for thought:

If unions are no longer so critical, should they disappear, and if so, how? They enjoy many protections by law. By what process might we become a union-free nation?

If unions are indeed still vital, how worried should we be that less than 15% of our workforce belongs to unions, and that this figure has been dropping?

If a company wants to avoid unionization, what is its best strategy?

How might unions and employers/managements better coexist, without one side exploiting the other?

How should investors view companies that have unionized workers? Fool coverage of unions If you're interested in other Fool articles that have touched on unions, look no further. Whitney Tilson recently explained how JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU) is "JetBlue is ALPA's (the militant and powerful Air Line Pilots Association) worst nightmare, and they will do anything to unionize JetBlue." And earlier this year, I questioned whether Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) was exploiting employees and received many responses from readers.


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The issue of unionized labor is something that I hold very near to my heart because of what it has done to my father. He has been a union iron worker for the better part of three decades. He loves the work he does and has always been my hero for the way he has provided for his family. However, in the past few years I noticed a change in my father's attitude toward his job. Where he once believed that the union was what kept him in his current job, he now despises it. He has noticed how younger, non-experienced people have been hired at almost the same pay rate that he earns. He also notices that these same young hires have little work ethic and even less ambition. They refuse to work overtime unless mandatory, show up to work late and hung over, and constantly leave an hour early. And yet with all this, when it comes time for yearly wage increases, they are rewarded with the same pay increase. When I ask my father what the union has done for him, his reply is "Nothing. Bill (his boss) has always been very good to us with raises, benefits, and contract renegotiations. He even manages our pension fund himself." My father has spoken of attempts in the past to oust the union. Of course these attempts were met with harsh critcism, usually from the younger employees.

Stories like this are what truly boils my blood. In my humble opinion, I feel that today's organized labor movement has done nothing to protect worker's rights, but everything to promote laziness and incompetency. The most recent cause of outrage was the unionizing of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Organizations such as the TSA are where we need only the most competent and diligent employees. So in other words, unionized labor is now helping to promote breeches in our national security. To some that may sound like a meritless claim. However, I don't see it as anything but the truth.

1 posted on 10/30/2003 10:50:34 AM PST by proud_member_of_ VRWC
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
My Uncle is in a Mechanics Union and they have brainwashed him into thinking three things.

1. Someone else "Up top" is holding him back.

2. He'll never be good enough to get another job without the Unions help.

3. He can come to work and give a 50% effort and blame the other 50% he's not giving on somebody else.
2 posted on 10/30/2003 10:55:49 AM PST by ConservativeMan55 (The left always "feels your pain" unless of course they caused it.)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Overall, BAD.
3 posted on 10/30/2003 10:56:54 AM PST by Principled
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
"Unions: Good or Bad?"

Bad.

Next Question.

4 posted on 10/30/2003 10:59:24 AM PST by Mad Dawgg (French: old Europe word meaning surrender)
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To: Principled
Remember during the 2002 Mid-Term elections when Union Leaders were going into the voting booth with Union workers to make sure they voted for the RAT.
5 posted on 10/30/2003 11:00:10 AM PST by ConservativeMan55 (The left always "feels your pain" unless of course they caused it.)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Was good, now bad.
6 posted on 10/30/2003 11:00:32 AM PST by PRND21
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To: Principled
Yeah, overall, bad.

Unions wield coercive power, that's counter to the ideals of a free society.

Unions provide jobs for the elite, at the expense of the many.

Unions gladly drive entire corporations out of business, such as Eastern Airlines, sacrificing the jobs of thousands of employees, in order to maintain their hegemony over the rest of an industry.

If the Gardners can't figure this out, how can they pick stocks?
7 posted on 10/30/2003 11:04:11 AM PST by Sam Cree (Democrats are herd animals)
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To: PRND21
Public sector unions (about 75% now)--ALL BAD.
Private sector unions--mostly good.
8 posted on 10/30/2003 11:04:33 AM PST by sharkhawk
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
In our increasingly competative economy unionized companies will go broke. Only government unions will remain, and we will be required to pay their wages, health care, retirement, sick days, child care, on and on, or go to jail.
9 posted on 10/30/2003 11:07:12 AM PST by Voltage
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To: sharkhawk
This is a prime example of why we need to quickly get Police and Fire Departments privatized before they are Unionized.
10 posted on 10/30/2003 11:08:47 AM PST by ConservativeMan55 (The left always "feels your pain" unless of course they caused it.)
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To: ConservativeMan55
"1. Someone else "Up top" is holding him back.

2. He'll never be good enough to get another job without the Unions help.

3. He can come to work and give a 50% effort and blame the other 50% he's not giving on somebody else."

This is the same diatribe that the democrats and race baiters use. All of it is straight from the communist doctrine to create strife in our country. How many times have you heard Jesse Jackson and the other libs saying this? It is a broken record!!!
11 posted on 10/30/2003 11:09:48 AM PST by sasafras (sasafras (The road to hell is paved with good intentions))
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
I am a civil engineer (i am management, not in the union) for a Union contractor. We are becoming less competetive as time goes on. Unions treat people like machines, ie, we need xx men from this local, xx from that, etc. doesn't matter the skill level, just fill the hole with a body. I don't like unions

As an aside, the single biggest expense for any GM car that rolls off the line is the pensions for retired workers. How long will GM be in business, as this will only grow.
12 posted on 10/30/2003 11:11:55 AM PST by Fierce Allegiance (Government money = government control)
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To: sharkhawk
I was signatory to union contracts with 5 different unions for over 40 years and contempt doesn't come close to discribing my hatred of them.

My only salvation was that I had the ability to hire and fire. By constantly hiring and firing the least competant you could raise the level of the lowest common denomenator and hopefully get quality, production and stay competative.
13 posted on 10/30/2003 11:29:41 AM PST by dalereed (,)
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To: Mad Dawgg
Yours was exactly my intended response.
14 posted on 10/30/2003 11:30:36 AM PST by Hank Rearden (Dick Gephardt. Before he dicks you.)
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To: sharkhawk
What are unions good for lately? Everything they claim to protect against is covered by laws and regulations.

At one time they did good things, but they have since become worse than the "evil corporations" that they fought against.
15 posted on 10/30/2003 11:30:38 AM PST by looscnnn ("Live free or die; death is not the worst of evils" Gen. John Stark 1809)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions are evil.

16 posted on 10/30/2003 11:32:02 AM PST by myself6 (Unionize IT?! "I will stop the motor of the world" - John Galt)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions are the oxycontinin of industry.

When industry leaders abuse those that help to provide them with wealth, unions can help the labor force work through an intolerable situation. Unfortunately, when the abuse of workers stops, the union continues. And the union "habit" is difficult to break, and eventually begins to do harm to the long term well being of the same workforce that needed the union in the first place.
17 posted on 10/30/2003 11:40:38 AM PST by kidd
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions are for people who don't want to work. The primary focus of union leaders is to promote disharmony in a work place by inciting the union members to develop greviences. Many union workers report everyday with the sole objective of scoring points by not followinf some rule or in some manner not producing. The pay rate is thus increased because on the job not work means the hourly rate for working goes up.

Unions are a political force within an organization or company that hobbles the ability to act.


Present day unions are harmful to business and government.
18 posted on 10/30/2003 11:41:43 AM PST by bert (Don't Panic!)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions are fine . . . until the government gets involved. No union should have any special recognition from any government authority, nor any rights that any other self-assembled group of people don't have. In a free market, unions which provided good value for employees and employers would prosper and the rest would go out of business. Only government interference and special privileges allow these self-serving, often criminal unions to survive.
19 posted on 10/30/2003 11:45:45 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
You make some very good points, and I can understand your father's frustration. However, there is another side to the coin.

Where I work, the Union and company agreed upon a two-tier wage system a few years back: lower pay scales for new employees, up to $4.00 less maximum pay than employees who were already on board.

The new, young, gung-ho employees soon came to resent the older, top-wage earning people who didn't want to do the heavy lifting (literally) because of bad backs, bad knees, etc. (They call it being "retired in place").

The end result was that the young people with any incentive and ambition voted with their feet, lured away by other companies who weren't unionized. This left the old, worn-out employees making top dollar, just marking time until retirement, and young, marginally-talented resentful people that no one else wanted to hire.

20 posted on 10/30/2003 11:46:29 AM PST by Inspectorette (WS)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Agree with everything you have said. My father was in the plumbers union for years (he retired in 1988). Unions were great in his day, but if you asked him today about unions he would tell you that they are all "dogs."

Another problem with unions today is that they have aligned themselves with the Democratic Party which will eventually lead to their downfall. My brother-in-law is an ironworker here in NYS. During the senatorial elections a few years back, his union basically told him to vote for Hillary Clinton because of all the jobs she was going to bring to NYS!! Yes, he feels really stupid now for going along with the union since she has nothing for New York.

21 posted on 10/30/2003 11:47:41 AM PST by Gerish
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
I love unions, especially with liver and bacon......oh......never mind.

FMCDH

23 posted on 10/30/2003 11:56:20 AM PST by nothingnew (The pendulum is swinging and the Rats are in the pit!)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions = EVIL.
24 posted on 10/30/2003 12:00:28 PM PST by Sloth ("I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" -- Jacobim Mugatu, 'Zoolander')
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To: Inspectorette; All
I will agree with you. There are younger people today that understand the values of hard work just as there are older union workers out there that exploit their employment because they are union protected. I feel there are some principles of organized labor that are necessary (safe working conditions, reasonable working hours, etc). What I am against is the socialist principles that many unions still represent. The biggest of these: making everyone equal. I believe that attitude AND aptitude should determine altitude. I know that sounds a bit cliche-esque, but its the truth. Unions were good when we were in the industrial revolution, but not today. I truly believe that today's unions need their wings clipped.
25 posted on 10/30/2003 12:01:05 PM PST by proud_member_of_ VRWC (....this vast left wing conspiracy, conspiring against my country since the day Bush took office)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Anyone who believes that the NEA is "for the students", needs an adjustment to their tin foil hat.
26 posted on 10/30/2003 12:01:57 PM PST by Wheee The People (Do not read past this line, under penalty of law.)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions: Good or Bad?

Unions were once good (in the 1930's and 40's). Unions now BAD!!!

As if the liberal news media won't let out shrieks of horror if any company treats it's employees unfairly...

27 posted on 10/30/2003 12:02:52 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Union Thug:


28 posted on 10/30/2003 12:09:47 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Dittos. When I see the grocery clerks here in California picketing, I just have to shake my head at their lemming-like willingness to go along with what their Cadillac-driving Union bosses are spoon-feeding them.

The Union bosses drive by, raising their fists and shouting, "Solidarity", while these hapless shmucks are pounding the pavement, carrying signs, actually believing that the Union is out for their best interests.

They are striking themselves out of a job: while the supermarkets are losing sales, long-term they will win. While the strike is on, they are paying out a lot less in wages, and little or nothing in benefits to the temporary workers. They are also assessing how many or how few workers they really need to run the stores, as they make plans to bring in new technology (automated checkout scanners. I envision a huge round of layoffs after the strike is settled.

29 posted on 10/30/2003 12:13:22 PM PST by Inspectorette (WS)
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To: Gerish; All
Alot of New Yorkers feel just as cheated as your brother does. But, keep the faith Gerish. She has two years until the people of New York speak. I really don't think she'll survive a re-election bid. And as soon as that happens, I guarantee they sell the house in Chappequa. She used New York, and the people know it.
30 posted on 10/30/2003 12:13:27 PM PST by proud_member_of_ VRWC (....this vast left wing conspiracy, conspiring against my country since the day Bush took office)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions are veil parasites whose only purpose is to destroy their host. Look at the industries that unions have killed or injured. Steel, Automotive, Airlines, textiles etc.

Every industry that becomes heavily unionized loses its edge and declines.

To top it all off the very concept of collective bargaining is anti-biblical. So not only are unions bad but they are sinful

31 posted on 10/30/2003 12:16:10 PM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
If unions are indeed still vital, how worried should we be that less than 15% of our workforce belongs to unions, and that this figure has been dropping?

None whatsoever, at least as far as private sector labor organization goes.
Of far greater concern is the GROWTH of union influence in the government sector, including our education institutions. There, membership has increased to over 40%, and it is from this new bastion that they demonize and harass our private sector.

32 posted on 10/30/2003 12:25:28 PM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: John O
To top it all off the very concept of collective bargaining is anti-biblical. So not only are unions bad but they are sinful

Bullcrap. Like corporations, unions are merely artificial entities representing the financial interests of their membership. Overall, they exist in (more or less) balanced opposition to each other. While both have anecdotal histories of corruption and abusive misuse of the economic advantages entrusted to them, neither is inherently "good" nor "evil".

33 posted on 10/30/2003 12:33:08 PM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
I am a partisan Republican and conservative who has spent years bemoaning the abuses of organized labor. I have never belonged to a union. That said ...

... I did, however, once work for an outfit the management of which was so abusive of us worker bees that I would have signed a union card in a flash had one been presented to me. (The problem was a couple of incompetent and abusive middle managers empowered by inattention and indifference at the top.)

Unions can be an important tool for employees. They are also the most corrupt major institution on the American political scene. How to strike a balance? I would begin with a national Right to Work law. The root of many evils is not unionism per se, but compulsory unionism.

Secondly, I would ban public sector unionism. Calvin Coolidge was right. Unions are legitimate in competitive situations where the market provides a reality check against excesses by both management and labor. Government, however, is an inherently non-competitive labor market where unions are simply a conspiracy against the public. To retreat to the high theoreticals, any government service that we are willing to see unionized ought to be privatized.

34 posted on 10/30/2003 12:39:34 PM PST by sphinx
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To: Willie Green; All
So true... I went to a university that was part of the Pennsylvania State System. No, not Penn State, a state owned institution. But anyway, would you believe that in the 5 years that I was in school, the teacher's union for the entire state system (14 universities in all) walked out or threatened to do so a total of 3 times!!! GREED....

In an opposite view, during my time in school I occasionally took summer courses at a local community college, where I became friends with one of the professors. Naturally, he was like us... Right-minded through and through. He lead the charge against unionizing the college's professors. And man, did he ever take abuse for it! His message must have made sense though, the unionization initiative was defeated.
35 posted on 10/30/2003 12:46:51 PM PST by proud_member_of_ VRWC (....this vast left wing conspiracy, conspiring against my country since the day Bush took office)
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To: Willie Green
me-> To top it all off the very concept of collective bargaining is anti-biblical. So not only are unions bad but they are sinful

you->Bullcrap.

Matthew 20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,
12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

The concept of a union goes against the biblical precepts displayed in this parable.

What's mine is mine to do with as I please. If I contract with someone to work for an amount, no one else has any say in that. If I hire one at $10/hr and one at $2/hr to do the same job, and they both agreed to it, then neither one has any right to complain. The concept of a union is that both can complain and deprive me of my property to suit their opinions. Anti-biblical and therefore evil

36 posted on 10/30/2003 1:03:17 PM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: ConservativeMan55
Unions were established for a good reason but they have outlived that reason. We have more than enough Federal laws to protect workers. They have become a scam to control people.
37 posted on 10/30/2003 1:07:43 PM PST by tiki
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To: sphinx; All
I would begin with a national Right to Work law. The root of many evils is not unionism per se, but compulsory unionism.

Indeed my good friend... Indeed.

A national right to work law is what is needed. One that promotes fair compensation packages that are based upon merit, safe working conditions, and reasonable working hours. But have it stop there. If we took away alot of the power that organized labor has accumulated over the years, many of this country's economic problems would be alleviated. Please all, don't misconstrue what I just said about our country's economic problems. I am not hopping on the liberal's bandwagon by any means.

38 posted on 10/30/2003 1:08:04 PM PST by proud_member_of_ VRWC (....this vast left wing conspiracy, conspiring against my country since the day Bush took office)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions: Good or Bad?

B A D !


39 posted on 10/30/2003 1:09:35 PM PST by rdb3 (We're all gonna go, but I hate to go fast. Then again, it won't be fun to stick around and go last.)
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To: sharkhawk
Public sector unions (about 75% now)--ALL BAD. Private sector unions--mostly good.

Unions are criminal gangs. They serve a purpose in the private sector, but revert to criminal corruption when allowed into the public sector.

I believe allowing government workers to be unionized was a fatal mistake, and is a primary cause of our loss of freedom.

I have been a member of the Operating Engineers for over forty years. Flame away!
40 posted on 10/30/2003 1:17:57 PM PST by LittleJoe
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions have their own agenda and it has nothing to do with
working with a company to increase profits. Invariably,
union members consider capitalism their worst enemy.
41 posted on 10/30/2003 1:25:55 PM PST by upcountryhorseman
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
"If a company wants to avoid unionization, what is its best strategy? "

I think companies have figured this out hence, union membership is declining. Union growth comes if workers feel squashed. The government has provided workers a lot of what the unions once did. Companies have come a long way since the company owned mining towns and the advent of the Molly Maguires to protect the miner's families.

The Reagan Democrats are not wanted by today's Wall Street Republicans.Right now the old union types like police, firemen and trapped miners are just photo-ops. I imagine the union California firefighters better get ready for invites.

42 posted on 10/30/2003 1:28:05 PM PST by ex-snook (Americans needs PROTECTIONISM - military and economic.)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
"What I am against is the socialist principles that many unions still represent. The biggest of these: making everyone equal."

Add to that, the "classification" syndrom and you have a great example of socialism to study here in the US.
43 posted on 10/30/2003 1:32:25 PM PST by CSM (Shame on me for attacking an unarmed person, a smoke gnatzie!)
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To: Willie Green
"Bullcrap. Like corporations, unions are merely artificial entities representing the financial interests of their membership. Overall, they exist in (more or less) balanced opposition to each other."

Yep, that's why the UAW labor companies productivity is extremely underporforming it's competition. That is why it takes a unionized automotive plant from 7.5 hours to 8.5 hours to build one vehicle, while the non-unionized transplants take about 4.5 hours on average. Productivity is a major measurement that the UAW wants pulled from their performance criteria.

The UAW is costing the big 3 huge and will continue to do so until they allow flexibility of job classifications. I am all for treating employees fairly and safely, however that street needs to go both ways!
44 posted on 10/30/2003 1:39:52 PM PST by CSM (Shame on me for attacking an unarmed person, a smoke gnatzie!)
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To: upcountryhorseman
Ding, Ding, we have a winner!
45 posted on 10/30/2003 1:44:18 PM PST by CSM (Shame on me for attacking an unarmed person, a smoke gnatzie!)
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To: CSM; All
Add to that, the "classification" syndrome and you have a great example of socialism to study here in the US.

Very good point. It's the evil and greedy CEO vs. the oppressed laborer. You want to see an oppressed laborer? Look at a field worker for one of Castro's tobacco or sugar fields. Now that's oppression.

46 posted on 10/30/2003 1:47:30 PM PST by proud_member_of_ VRWC (....this vast left wing conspiracy, conspiring against my country since the day Bush took office)
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To: John O
The concept of a union goes against the biblical precepts displayed in this parable.

You'll find the following encyclicals more thoroughly documented than the few verses that you've chose to interpret out of context.

Pope Leo XIII: Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Workers)
Pope Pius XI: Quadragesimo Anno (On Reconstruction of the Social Order)
Pope John Paul II: Laborem Exercens:(On Human Work)

47 posted on 10/30/2003 2:00:10 PM PST by Willie Green (Go Pat Go!!!)
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To: proud_member_of_ VRWC
Unions, concept good - actuality bad. Unions almost without exception end up being run or controlled by corrupt individuals.
48 posted on 10/30/2003 2:09:01 PM PST by hgro
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To: bert
"Unions are for people who don't want to work."

Not always; the union member I know (MAJOR builder of airplanes)is always happy to work on a holiday(triple overtime or something like that). Of course, at the slightest sniffle or hangnail, he calls in sick.
49 posted on 10/30/2003 3:34:16 PM PST by Maria S ("When the passions become masters, they are vices." Pascal, 1670)
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To: Maria S
the union member I know......

Ha Ha Ha, you are right.

50 posted on 10/30/2003 4:09:58 PM PST by bert (Don't Panic!)
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