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JLeslie's avatar

Do you assume the labor union is always right?

Asked by JLeslie (62857points) April 29th, 2019 from iPhone

Never cross a picket line?

Should workers always get everything they ask for?

Do you think we need more unions to protect workers? Or, do you think it causes more problems between management and staff?

I’ll hold my opinion for later in the thread.

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17 Answers

hmmmmmm's avatar

@JLeslie: “Do you assume the labor union is always right?”

“Right”? Do I assume that the labor union, made up of a collection of the actual workers is representing the wishes of the workers? Sure. These contracts are voted on, etc.

@JLeslie: “Never cross a picket line?”


@JLeslie: “Should workers always get everything they ask for?”


@JLeslie: “Do you think we need more unions to protect workers? Or, do you think it causes more problems between management and staff?”

Of course we need more unions. And of course it causes more problems between owners and workers.

kritiper's avatar

No. Unions have their faults the same as everybody else.
But it’s better to have unions than to not have unions.

zenvelo's avatar

Nope. Although I was a Steamfitter for a few years, and feel that construction trades and industrial unions serve a strong purpose, I don’t think that many of the “service” unions do much for the worker nor do they provide value to the general economy.

And the SEIU in particular is fighting unionization of its own office employees.

elbanditoroso's avatar

No. Like with any group, and any issue, there is room for discussion and negotiation.

Although in general I support labor and unions, and am generally less inclined to support corporations, there are plenty of examples of union overreach to the point of being ridiculous. They lose me when they get crazy and unrealistic.

And let’s be honest here – many unions have a pretty ugly history of violence, of corruption, and of being closely allied with the Mafia. Unions are not paragons of virtue by any means.

but where do you put the Writers Guild of America -the guild is not technically a union but they act like one – in their fight with the agents in Hollywood? Is theirs a righteous cause?

canidmajor's avatar

You are asking questions in absolutes.

The strike by 31,000 Stop and Shop workers to which @hmmmmmm and I referred in your other Q prevented some massive injustices. The company (which had posted profits in the billions) was trying to push through a contract that was going to take stuff away. Stuff like some basic healthcare from family members. Stuff like already established overtime designations. It was corporate greed, pure and simple.

In the 60s, the Teamsters were known for using “strong arm” tactics against people who didn’t want to join the union. (Which is an argument I hear even today as a reason to not like unions)

If you are fortunate enough to not be at the complete financial mercy of a large corporation, count yourself very lucky. One can always cherry pick incidents where unions were not very good, but overall, a protected working class is a very good thing.

janbb's avatar

I don’t always assume every action of a union is right but I know that the decline of the middle class in America and growing inequality has a great deal to do with the decline of unionization.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Yes I always assume the union is right, but I never cross a picket line. The way I see it, if a group is willing to go up against management to the extent that they will sacrifice the wages lost striking, that’s enough for me. I used to believe that perhaps there were circumstances where union demands were unjustified. But in 50 years of keeping track, I have yet to encounter a strike I later regarded as unjustified.

jca2's avatar

Like any negotiation, a contract negotiation is a give and take, not always black and white, not “right or wrong.”

Labor unions are not perfect, and like any organization, there’s a hierarchy and often infighting and bickering about power and ideas, and the direction the organization is going, and things like what to spend money on, etc.

I work directly for one (so I’m not only a member, I am someone on the inside of one). I see abuses but in the big picture, there are more good things than bad things. Employees are better off with someone to advocate for them, as long as the officers are strong and not lazy.

The biggest advantage of working under a contract is getting a raise and the employer is not able to just willy-nilly change things like health insurance and other benefits. The disadvantage is that an employee is not able to go to the employer and say “look at what I did for you, I think I deserve a big increase this year.” So it may compel productive employees to slow down and not kill themselves, since everyone is getting the same thing, pretty much.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’m not a fan of unions personally.

Never cross a picket line? Depends on the issue and stance of the parties.

Should workers always get everything they ask for? Probably not.

Do you think we need more unions to protect workers? Or, do you think it causes more problems between management and staff?

I think some unions do protect workers and other unions exploit them, so I won’t generalize them as all good or all bad.

ucme's avatar

Now that is interesting, I typed an answer, a perfectly reasonable one & it comes up blank!!!

elbanditoroso's avatar

Clearly a union member read your response and decided he disagreed.

ucme's avatar

Damn union, a pox on their ignoble behinds.

flutherother's avatar

I would never cross a picket line but I don’t believe unions should get everything they ask for. They exist to negotiate with management and come up with a reasonable compromise. Unions give workers a voice so they don’t have to suffer in silence.

josie's avatar

We’ll see.
My girlfriend and her sister are doctors. So are many of their friends. They are in their late 30’s

To hear them talk, there is a movement brewing to organize physicians against third party control of treatment and fees. Might be interesting.

JLeslie's avatar

I can’t see myself crossing a picket line. When my maternal grandfather died, there was a picket line in front of the funeral home. They stopped when we started arriving. A family member joked that the only time my grandfather would ever cross a picket line would be over his dead body. I don’t remember exactly why they were picketing, I was 12 or 13 when he died.

When I moved to Michigan for college it was 1987. I couldn’t get over how ignorant the car manufactures seemed regarding the test of the country, especially the coasts. Many of my friends had relatives working for the big three. The hourly wage seemed extremely high to me. They had some nice benefits too.

We all know what happened to the car manufacturers—they put themselves practically out of business. In the 70’s car manufacturers were making big money, executives were making big money, and the union felt the people doing the labor should get some of that big money also. I think in the end everyone got too greedy, the eye was taken off the ball, and competition was ignored. I think the union was as bad as the big wigs at the top in that situation.

The union cares about the union surviving, and so part of the union’s goal is selfish, but part is also of course to help the workers they represent.

I think it’s better to not need a union, but if a company is taking advantage, then the union is necessary. I predict unions will start cropping up again.

If a company is making big profits and they’re employees need food stamps, then something is wrong. Even more than pay, hours and working conditions. I always think retail puts themself at big risk for unions. For retail I’m including any store, it can be clothing, grocery, drug stores, superstores, etc. They abuse employees a lot. The last ten years the demands for Christmas hours has been outrageous. Finally, after years of this garbage, public pressure has caused some retailers to curb the requirements for Christmas a little, but still daily life in retail tends to be exhausting. I’m surprised the union doesn’t try to get in more often.

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