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View Diary: In further praise of unions. (209 comments)

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  •  the lie that unions are bad (18+ / 0-)

    is spread by company execs who want all the power at the negotiating table.

    I grew up in a "conservative" family (in another country), where the "unions employ thugs to beat people up" line was often repeated.

    I don't know if it's true (there are always 2 sides to  a coin), but I do know that mob involvement in unions and labor disputes muddied the water very much.

    Anyway, while I was at grad-school I was given the "opportunity" to organize seminars/speakers; one of the people I got in was a long-time familt friend who, despite being wealthy and influential was - wait for it - very strongly in favor of unions. He came to the seminar in his professional capacity, and as such didn't hold back on his views (he knew my father's views . . . .)

    His opening statement included soemthing I will never forget - a powerful and simple message:

    "it is critically important that there be a balance of power between trade unions and corporations."

    I'm not a union-member myself (union representation unheard of in my field in the US), but I am 100% in favor of unions.

    Anytime someone comes along with "unions are bad - look what they do to costs . . .", we should remember what Paulson, Thain, Kozlowski, Ley, Skilling, Grasso (need I go on?) have done to this economy.

    GO UNIONS. My white collar is behind you all the way.

    •  But what is the right balance of power? (0+ / 0-)

      For example, EFCA requires mandatory binding arbitration - an arbitrator can force company to sign a union contract.

      I don't think that's reasonable.

      The union can strike, the company can stonewall or shut down the unionized operation if the union demands too much.  That's a balance of power.

      •  Is arbitration such a bad thing? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Urtica dioica gracilis

        If there is binding arbitration probably both sides will do everything right, and make an effort to get along, because they know they have to live with whatever decision is reached in the arbitration.

        •  Why should they? (0+ / 0-)

          Arbitrators usually look for a compromise.  So both parties are incented to hold out for extreme positions and hope that the arbitrator will choose a compromise position that is better than they could get in negotiation.

          But more importantly, let's think about this... a government appointed arbitrator is going to be making salary decisions for private businesses without the private business having any option to just tell the arbitrator "Get lost, we don't want your help!"

          Doesn't that make you feel a little uncomfortable?

    •  much of the mafia involvement in the US (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Randtntx, FarWestGirl

      was as direct result of government deals with same--the US government preferred mafia corruption to what they saw as "communist" elements, and allowed the mob to shake down unions and use them as their personal cash cows in exchange for using their thugs on activists.

      Political Compass says: -8.88, -8.67
      "We never sold out cos no one would buy."--J Neo Marvin

      by expatyank on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 01:19:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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