Finally, the beginning of the end of Unions


tgara

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2012
992
2,733
Connecticut, USA
The fact of the matter is this: There is an incredible asymmetry in the bargaining positions of individual workers and their corporate employers. Large companies have, relatively speaking, massive amounts of both power and information. Individual workers, no matter how skilled and productive, do not. This inevitably leads to situations where corporations exploit this informational asymmetry to offer both wages and working conditions that are far below the market-clearing price.
But it remains that any worker that is not satisfied with his wages or working conditions is free to find other employment with another employer that provides better wages, benefits, and conditions. On the employer side, they do not want to lose their best workers, so they do all they can to be competitive in the marketplace by providing competitive wages and benefits. As one extreme example, look at the tech industry. Tech companies often poach desirable employees from competitors, luring them with added salary, opulent working conditions, and crazy benefits (free meals, transportation, and even things like reproductive and fertility services).

But that is the private sector. The case in the OP regards a public sector union and its ability to use mandated union dues to advocate for political positions that certain members do not agree with. The troublesome part is that since the employer is the government, negotiations regarding wages, benefits, etc., is inherently political and therefore the union is conducting political speech. Some union members disagree with that political speech, but are compelled to abide by it through their union dues. The issue is how to split this out. It will be interesting to see how SCOTUS rules.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
11,830
Midlife, Midwest
But it remains that any worker that is not satisfied with his wages or working conditions is free to find other employment with another employer that provides better wages, benefits, and conditions. .
But that ignores the fundamental asymmetry of both information and market power between worker and employer.

If a worker quits a job to search for another, they lose 100% of their income. An employer might be temporarily inconvenienced by the loss of a trained and skilled worker, but in a large organization, with potentially hundreds of individuals doing similar jobs, the work can be re-assigned to ensure no net economic loss.

Employers also tend to reward tenure among their employees. Not just in paying higher wages to longer-term employees, but also in terms of the vesting of pensions and other benefits. An employee who stands to lose $100,000 in 401(k) benefits would have to work a long time at a higher wage to recoup that loss. That gives an employer an opportunity to underpay more experienced, and theoretically more productive, employees.

Most of the "benefits" we literally take for granted: things like a 40-hour work-week, weekends off, paid vacation, and basic health and safety regulations - all of these are the legacy of organized labor. Not the pure generosity of employers. Whether you are a member of a union or not, anyone who is an employee is the beneficiary of the unions of the past.
 

tgara

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2012
992
2,733
Connecticut, USA
But that ignores the fundamental asymmetry of both information and market power between worker and employer.

If a worker quits a job to search for another, they lose 100% of their income. An employer might be temporarily inconvenienced by the loss of a trained and skilled worker, but in a large organization, with potentially hundreds of individuals doing similar jobs, the work can be re-assigned to ensure no net economic loss.
Unless they are fired outright, most workers secure new employment before quitting their current job.

Employers also tend to reward tenure among their employees. Not just in paying higher wages to longer-term employees, but also in terms of the vesting of pensions and other benefits. An employee who stands to lose $100,000 in 401(k) benefits would have to work a long time at a higher wage to recoup that loss. That gives an employer an opportunity to underpay more experienced, and theoretically more productive, employees.
Wages and benefits are (or should be) based on productivity, efficiency and merit. Yes, employers tend to reward longer-term employees precisely because they are the most productive. New hires by contrast often take 1-3 years to learn how to become really productive and efficient at their job, but in the meantime, the employer is paying full wages and benefits to a less productive person.
 
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R.Perez

macrumors 6502
Feb 16, 2010
386
2,181
Philadelphia, PA
The weakening of unions is directly linked to the decline and stagnation in wages since the 1970s. They are essential in giving workers a voice and power in a completely unequal power relationship between employers and workers. While the right-wing has distracted folks with false claims about immigrants taking jobs, they have systematically dismantled the most important power structure in support of workers. Not all unions are equal, and some definitely phone it in. Some have also betrayed workers they are supposed to represent by protecting benefits of senior members and allowing wages and benefits for new members to get negotiated away. That needs to change. Unions should operate in a democratic way and represent all of their members, regardless of seniority, with a unified front. Unite Here! is a great union that has made wonderful strides for hospitality workers in Nevada and Hawaii. We need more unions like that and like IWW that promote democratic processes. I have never crossed a picket line and will always stand with unions.
 

VulchR

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2009
2,327
10,221
Scotland
Unions are a leftover vestigial waste from the 19th century. They are no longer needed and should have been destroyed outright decades ago. With this vote coming up, it will begin the process of significantly degrading the power of Unions by taking away the one thing they need to influence politicians... money!

The law they are overturning is the one that forces employees to give part of their paychecks over to the Union, even if that person wants nothing to do with the Union. Imagine being taxed to pay for Canada's healthcare, even though you live in the U.S. Makes sense, huh?

I say good riddance!!! And I am glad that Trump's Supreme Court Judge is getting this opportunity to kill off something that has eroded America's cities (like Detroit and what the Auto Union did to it!)

Link: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/02/21/unions-sound-alarm-as-supreme-court-takes-up-fees-fight-gorsuch-seen-as-pivotal-vote.html
Oh my. You really have drunk the capitalist Koolaid. Collective bargaining redresses the power imbalance between employers and workers, and overall the people in the West were happier when unions were strong. Personally I think the path of wealth and power inequality that we're on is unsustainable, leading to only one outcome: widespread violence and conflict that will hurt everybody. It is as though the ruling cast no longer see the pressures building up in the society and no longer values the social structures that act as relief valves. Anything that weakens unions just brings the social collapse closer, but hey, they wealthy will just bugger off to New Zealand.
 
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haxrnick

macrumors 6502a
Aug 4, 2011
530
1,936
Seattle
Bet the OP is also a blue collar worker who voted for Trump and thinks Republican's hopes and dreams for the country will benefit him. Trump did say he loves uneducated people.....
What good does guessing what OP might be other than make you look like a pompous ******* who repairs cell phones for a living?
 
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colourfastt

macrumors 6502a
Apr 7, 2009
884
523
I agree; end the unions. Also, end everything the unions brought with them: the 40-hour workweek, workers' compensation, the end of the "fellow servant rule", employee benefits (paid holidays, paid vacations (not that anyone in the US gets those anyway), health insurance (same), OSHA. If Ayn Rand and the "ultra-capitalist" society is going to win, let it win totally.
 
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LizKat

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2004
5,306
29,710
Catskill Mountains
I agree; end the unions. Also, end everything the unions brought with them: the 40-hour workweek, workers' compensation, the end of the "fellow servant rule", employee benefits (paid holidays, paid vacations (not that anyone in the US gets those anyway), health insurance (same), OSHA. If Ayn Rand and the "ultra-capitalist" society is going to win, let it win totally.
There's a lotta wheels for the nextgen to have to reinvent at some point, one pitched battle after another, if we formally embrace that path to the bottom. It's possible some of the next generations may decide we've sampled enough of that trip already, and so comes the time to make a U-turn. Our younger voters are getting more into running for office and voting, not just talking and marching, and 70% of them don't like this Republican Congress.
 

VulchR

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2009
2,327
10,221
Scotland
There's a lotta wheels for the nextgen to have to reinvent at some point, one pitched battle after another, if we formally embrace that path to the bottom. It's possible some of the next generations may decide we've sampled enough of that trip already, and so comes the time to make a U-turn. Our younger voters are getting more into running for office and voting, not just talking and marching, and 70% of them don't like this Republican Congress.
The same is true about young people and the right-wing parties in the UK. The anger of younger people against older people here is palpable, even in Scotland where people and policies are less draconian than England. I am shocked at the level of anger in people in their 20's and 30's, but it's understandable. I think we're headed for another youth revolt that will make the 1960's look like inter-generational harmony and bliss. Good luck to older people on pensions or any other benefits that can be curbed, capped or eliminated by the younger generations. You reap what you sow.