# Labor in America – What is the future?

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I think the split just means labor doesn't feel any representation and that their voice isn't heard anymore within the rut of the existing labor union. Personally I don't think this will hurt the Democrats. First, until membership starts to increase it isn't the voting block it used to be. Second, and most importantly, these labor groups have said they will support candidates that support labor, no matter which party. Republicans sure as heck haven't been pro labor.

If issues such as illegal immigration is important to labor unions, and also important to Republicans, the candidate that is taking a stand is Clinton:

"Hillary goes conservative on immigration"

http://cc.msnscache.com/cache.aspx?q=2081827538459&lang=en-US&FORM=CVRE5

Mrs. Clinton...is taking an increasingly vocal and hard-line stance on an issue that ranks among the highest concerns for voters, particularly Republicans

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SOS2008
Gold Member
Townsend said:
Perhaps America will fall into a major recession and take most of the rest of the world with her. It might not be such a bad thing you know...
Oh m'gosh, you work for the same person Bush works for?!
Pengwuino said:
The AFL-CIO representatives are nearing the extreme left.
Yeh, those blue collar workers are bleeding heart liberals for sure!
Townsend said:
Why do you suppose it is so hard for companies like GM to compete in the global market place?
Because their product is crappy? If you own an import, tell us honestly why that is.
Townsend said:
I say it would be beneficial because as of right now people believe that the government is there to protect them from poverty. As long as people rely on the government to maintain their standard of living they can afford to play such dangerous games like inflating the price of labor..
So, do you think American labor should compete with cheap labor in other countries making $2/hour, or perhaps you would be willing to work for$2/hour too so that the U.S. can be competitive in the global market?
Townsend said:
Not only that but knowing that you can collect unemployment and welfare means that people are less concerned about keeping a job or even working to their full potential.
Yeh, who wants job security, with increasing vacation time, vested 401k plans, ability to have two years W2's to get a loan for a home, and all that nonsense. After the small percentage unemployment checks run out, welfare is so much more preferable, and really easy/pleasant to qualify for.
Townsend said:
My favorite analogy for the economy is the forest fire.
What the? Here's my favorite. There was a bear and a bunny taking a c**p in the woods...

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BobG
Homework Helper
Townsend said:
Why do you suppose it is so hard for companies like GM to compete in the global market place?
SOS2008 said:
Because their product is crappy? If you own an import, tell us honestly why that is.
So are Dell computers. What are you trying to say? That GM workers are overpaid and deserve whatever screwing they get (did you buy a lemon from GM or something?)

Regardless, if it gets too hard to compete, watch for GM to bail on its pension commitments the way United Airlines did. Now a days, a person is much better off being in control of their own retirement plan.

Townsend said:
My favorite analogy for the economy is the forest fire.
SOS2008 said:
What the? Here's my favorite. There was a bear and a bunny taking a c**p in the woods...
:rofl: That's just plain funny :rofl:
And I guess the bear is the corporation that promised the pension and the bunny is the poor worker who trusted his employer? Silly wabbit - pensions and social security are promises - nothing more.

solutions in a box
History of labor unions

No matter what your current view of the labor unions, the historical fact is that the unions brought American workers out of the dark ages in the workplace.

http://www.maineaflcio.org/labor_union_history.htm [Broken]

They had training programs for new members to serve five year apprenticeships, assuring that a tradesman knew all aspects of his trade. The unions also were a source of pride and family tradition. Those things are mostly gone and forgotten now.

The last bastion of the union workers is with the defence contractors. Those who build America's war machinery still prefer to hire the best of the best.

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SOS2008
Gold Member
BobG said:
So are Dell computers. What are you trying to say? That GM workers are overpaid and deserve whatever screwing they get (did you buy a lemon from GM or something?)
Yes, I've had problems with American made autos. I'm happy with my Nissan, and so far my Dell too.
BobG said:
Regardless, if it gets too hard to compete, watch for GM to bail on its pension commitments the way United Airlines did. Now a days, a person is much better off being in control of their own retirement plan.
Exactly.
BobG said:
:rofl: That's just plain funny :rofl:
And I guess the bear is the corporation that promised the pension and the bunny is the poor worker who trusted his employer? Silly wabbit - pensions and social security are promises - nothing more.
Thanks. And yes, let's remember that employees pay into these systems, so it should be a little more than a promise.

russ_watters
Mentor
Astronuc said:
I think most union workers simply want fair pay for an honest day of hard work.
There is a big difference between union workers and unions. Unions are labor monopolies and political machines. They do not exist for the sake of the workers anymore (edit: caveat - I'm speaking particularly of construction unions. Not all unions are the same). Unions are destroying the economy of Philadelphia, in particular. The Convention Center, for example... (and more).

And fair pay...?
SOS2008 said:
So, do you think American labor should compete with cheap labor in other countries making $2/hour, or perhaps you would be willing to work for$2/hour too so that the U.S. can be competitive in the global market?
I'll post the pay rates of union workers in Philly when I get to work tomorrow. You're off by more than an order of magnitude - and that's just for the completely unskilled workers. Who knew a ditch-digger is worth more than an engineer...?

The reality of what unions are is far from the they-only-try-to-get-what's-fair liberal doctrine people believe.
solutions in a box said:
No matter what your current view of the labor unions, the historical fact is that the unions brought American workers out of the dark ages in the workplace.
Well, that's exactly the point: unions had a purpose and that purpose is gone. That is why unions are floundering. People recognize that in today's world, they do more harm than good.

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SOS2008
Gold Member
russ_watters said:
There is a big difference between union workers and unions. Unions are labor monopolies and political machines.
Agreed.
russ_watters said:
And fair pay...? I'll post the pay rates of union workers in Philly when I get to work tomorrow. You're off by more than an order of magnitude - and that's just for the completely unskilled workers. Who knew a ditch-digger is worth more than an engineer...?
The workers in Philly and ditch-diggers in the U.S. are not what I was addressing. My point is that labor in the U.S. is expected to compete with cheap labor, child labor, sweat shops, etc. in the global market (how our country used to be before unions). Not only is this unfair, but it's wrong in those countries as much as it's wrong in our country.
russ_watters said:
The reality of what unions are is far from the they-only-try-to-get-what's-fair liberal doctrine people believe. Well, that's exactly the point: unions had a purpose and that purpose is gone. That is why unions are floundering. People recognize that in today's world, they do more harm than good.
With outsourcing of U.S. jobs, unfair trade agreements, illegal immigration, etc., who speaks on behalf of labor now? The split of unions is being referred to as a revolt in the news, and rightfully so. I also think it may become a new, modern way for American workers to protect themselves from companies that have become less loyal to employees, greedy, and corrupt. A balance is always needed, and it's time for the pendulum to swing back in labor's favor.

BobG
Homework Helper
russ_watters said:
There is a big difference between union workers and unions. Unions are labor monopolies and political machines. They do not exist for the sake of the workers anymore (edit: caveat - I'm speaking particularly of construction unions. Not all unions are the same). Unions are destroying the economy of Philadelphia, in particular. The Convention Center, for example... (and more).

And fair pay...? I'll post the pay rates of union workers in Philly when I get to work tomorrow. You're off by more than an order of magnitude - and that's just for the completely unskilled workers. Who knew a ditch-digger is worth more than an engineer...?

The reality of what unions are is far from the they-only-try-to-get-what's-fair liberal doctrine people believe. Well, that's exactly the point: unions had a purpose and that purpose is gone. That is why unions are floundering. People recognize that in today's world, they do more harm than good.
Union leadership is retained when they get results for the workers paying their salary. In other words, it's hard to separate the two.

Which is why your comment about unions being political machines is very accurate. The union workers retain the leadership that brings in the short term results. There is no reward for union leadership to develop a long term non-zero sum strategy that works for both the management and the employees.

It isn't so much that the purpose of labor unions is gone. It's the fact that a one-dimensional union has a set limit on its worth. They pull labor conditions up when conditions are too bad - they pull labor conditions down when conditions are too good. Considering the downward pull is usually elimination of the job entirely, I think the statement that they tend to do more harm than good today is accurate.

BobG
Homework Helper
SOS2008 said:
And yes, let's remember that employees pay into these systems, so it should be a little more than a promise.
Don't you ever believe Bush?

George Bush said:
I think younger workers—first of all, younger workers have been promised benefits the government—promises that have been promised, benefits that we can't keep. That's just the way it is."—Washington, D.C., May 4, 2005
At least I think he meant, that is, he thinks, or talks, but doesn't think... what the heck did he say?

solutions in a box
SOS2008 said:
Yes, I've had problems with American made autos. I'm happy with my Nissan, and so far my Dell too.
Exactly.
Thanks. And yes, let's remember that employees pay into these systems, so it should be a little more than a promise.
By the way your Nissan was manufactured in Tennesse. My Honda minivan was built in Alabama.

The Japanese companies treat their workers with respect and they have; good health care,
guaranteed retirement benefits, and worker loyalty.

The Japanese auto companies are strong because their goal has been to build an excellent product.

General Motors is in trouble because they have been focused on trying to please their stock holders.

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SOS2008
Gold Member
BobG said:
Don't you ever believe Bush?
I suspect Barbara never told Georgie boy the story of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."
BobG said:
At least I think he meant, that is, he thinks, or talks, but doesn't think... what the heck did he say?
:rofl: I was watching Hillary Clinton's speech in Aspen on C-SPAN. In the Q&A she answered questions, speaking freely and at length, and it was apparent that she was well informed (obviously so about legal matters such as the Supreme Court), etc. It was quite a refreshing change.
solutions in a box said:
By the way your Nissan was manufactured in Tennesse. My Honda minivan was built in Alabama.
True now, though this is still done with Japanese quality standards/control. Though the profits go back to Japan, at least Americans have jobs?
solutions in a box said:
The Japanese companies treat their workers with respect and they have; good health care,
guaranteed retirement benefits, and worker loyalty.

The Japanese auto companies are strong because their goal has been to build an excellent product.
Yes, but in all fairness, I believe the auto industry in Japan also has been subsidized...

Art
russ_watters said:
And fair pay...? I'll post the pay rates of union workers in Philly when I get to work tomorrow. You're off by more than an order of magnitude - and that's just for the completely unskilled workers. Who knew a ditch-digger is worth more than an engineer...?
That depends on how good the ditch-digger is at his job and the engineer at is. I've known engineers who were so bad as to be unbelievable and sometimes paying them a crap salary is a nice way of persuading them to leave.

BTW are you an engineer Russ?

russ_watters
Mentor
SOS2008 said:
Though the profits go back to Japan, at least Americans have jobs?
Being a liberal, I'd think that would please you very much...

russ_watters
Mentor
As promised (threatened?), below are some hourly wages of Philadelphia union workers (actually, they are "prevailing wages" - wages that must be paid if workers are non-union on a union job). Some categories have multiple levels - all levels shown are the lowest of their class. Rates are the hourly pay rate only - benefits are an additional ~50-75%.

Bricklayer: $31.06 Drapery Installer:$26.15
Electric Lineman: $36.50 Electrician:$40.01
Laborer: $20.50 Landscape Laborer:$16.88 (this is the lowest rate in the book)
Painter: $28.00 Heavy/Highway laborer:$16.35 (there are 14 classes, most are around $22) Plumber:$37.33

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SOS2008
Gold Member
russ_watters said:
Being a liberal, I'd think that would please you very much...
Since liberals have become the fiscal conservatives in this country, I'd prefer the manufacturing to be owned by a U.S. company so that the profits stayed here in the U.S. economy. In the case of the auto industry, they lost the competitive edge because of poor quality workmanship. This helps make the case against the old union ways--As I've said, there needs to be a balance.

russ_watters
Mentor
But profits contribute to income inequality, since they go to management and shareholders. How do you reconcile that with liberalism?

SOS2008
Gold Member
russ_watters said:
As promised (threatened?), below are some hourly wages of Philadelphia union workers (actually, they are "prevailing wages" - wages that must be paid if workers are non-union on a union job). Some categories have multiple levels - all levels shown are the lowest of their class. Rates are the hourly pay rate only - benefits are an additional ~50-75%.

Bricklayer: $31.06 Drapery Installer:$26.15
Electric Lineman: $36.50 Electrician:$40.01
Laborer: $20.50 Landscape Laborer:$16.88 (this is the lowest rate in the book)
Painter: $28.00 Heavy/Highway laborer:$16.35 (there are 14 classes, most are around $22) Plumber:$37.33
Some of these jobs are 'skilled', and most of the other jobs are being done by illegals now...but for Americans who still have such jobs, how many are making above a 18,000-35,000 poverty level income (based on the typical family of four)?
russ_watters said:
But profits contribute to income inequality, since they go to management and shareholders. How do you reconcile that with liberalism?
Okay Russ, it's better for the profits to go off shore along with other manufacturing.

russ_watters
Mentor
SOS2008 said:
...but for Americans who still have such jobs, how many are making above a 18,000-35,000 poverty level income (based on the typical family of four)?
These numbers are real pay rates, SOS. All of them are making above $18,000 when you use the base pay only and all but two (the lowest of the unskilled laborers) are making above$35,000. And how is the poverty level relevant to anything? Holding that stop/slow sign on a road just plain isn't worth \$18 an hour (much less with benefits). People don't and should not get paid based on what the poverty line is set at, they do and should get paid based on what the job/their work is worth.

Getting paid an artificially high salary is harmful to the economy as a whole and though its nice for the person who is getting it in the short term, it hurts everyone in the long term.
...and most of the other jobs are being done by illegals now...
That isn't legal (no, that isn't a pun): unions don't emply illegal aliens.

alexandra
Informal Logic said:
The question in my mind is not so much the effects of union splits, but why. Union membership has dropped from something like 35% down to 8%, and it seems labor wants to regain power again. Perhaps we are seeing the beginning of revolt as it were, and hopefully this will carry through to a changing of the guard at the election polls in 2006 and 2008. Maybe this is good, not bad.
Here are a couple of links to analyses giving a different view on this issue, Informal:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/jul2005/aflc-j26.shtml

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/jul2005/aflc-j27.shtml

SOS2008 said:
Okay Russ, it's better for the profits to go off shore along with other manufacturing.

You seem to have contradictory views...you cannot have equality of result and equality of opportunity. Doing one undoes the other.....sending profits overseas will create you equality of result as no one can get rich off of the profits. Now you say you want people to get rich off of the profits? You're more confusing than Hilary Clinton at this point....

Townsend said:
You seem to have contradictory views...you cannot have equality of result and equality of opportunity. Doing one undoes the other.....sending profits overseas will create you equality of result as no one can get rich off of the profits. Now you say you want people to get rich off of the profits? You're more confusing than Hilary Clinton at this point....
What?

2CentsWorth said:
What?
Was I not clear? Perhaps I am mistaken....but everything I have seen so far leads me to believe that liberals think that equality of result is important....If I am wrong about that let me know now...I have been rooting for the wrong team if that is the case.

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SOS2008
Gold Member
russ_watters said:
...unions don't emply illegal aliens.
One good thing about unions, huh? They actually check the validity of ID? As I said, when an illegal presents a U.S. birth certificate, yet still can't speak any English at the age of 30, hmm...would that be a red flag?

Actually I'm pleased to see the conservatives in this forum remain entrenched regarding American workers. If this is the Republican attitude, I can feel fairly certain the GOP will not gain the votes of labor unions, or others (including some conservatives) who are against outsourcing of American jobs, including trade agreements such as CAFTA, illegal immigration, etc. The GOP will remain oblivious to the labor movement the same way the liberals were about the fundamentalist movement.
Townsend said:
Was I not clear? Perhaps I am mistaken....but everything I have seen so far leads me to believe that liberals think that equality of result is important....If I am wrong about that let me know now...I have been rooting for the wrong team if that is the case.
No, your conclusion does not make sense, and unless I've missed something in a post somewhere I'm not sure where you're drawing your conclusion from. Who have you been rooting for--liberals?

As for Hillary, don't get too excited (though it's entertaining). She may be the front runner at this time, but that's not the same as a shoe in. There are many other very good candidates such as Biden, Durbin, Bayh, etc. who far surpass Dubya, and even a McCain or Guliani. But it's okay with me if you want to keep obsessing about Hillary.

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Townsend said:
Was I not clear? Perhaps I am mistaken....but everything I have seen so far leads me to believe that liberals think that equality of result is important....If I am wrong about that let me know now...I have been rooting for the wrong team if that is the case.
To try to clarify, when you say "Equality of result" What is that? is it that everyone ends up with the exact same house, the exact same car, the exact same pay, get's to go on summer vacations for the same amount of time, same number of hours, same tv stations ... ect?

We're not Soviets Towny.

(wait.. do I even qualify as a liberal any more?)

SOS2008 said:
Who have you been rooting for--liberals?
The side that champions equality of opportunity....protection of the individual from the tyranny of faction....individual liberty.

Who ever supports those the gets my vote......I start the ranking with individual liberty, then equality of opportunity and last protection from the emotional whims of faction.