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Sun Dec 9, 2012, 06:54 PM

Why We Need Labor Unions After All

There are many reasons why some executives don't like labor unions.
They can create an "us versus them" culture within companies and organizations, instead of putting everyone on the same team
They can create a culture of entitlement
They can restrict flexibility and hurt competitiveness
They can drive companies to move jobs out of the country, to places where there are no unions
They can become career employment for their leaders, who pay themselves well (much better than the workers they're representing)
They can maintain ludicrous compensation and benefit levels for jobs based purely on seniority
They can force companies to treat all union employees equally, regardless of the relative skill and value of particular employees--thus reducing incentives for people to do a great job
Etc.

But unions came into being because company owners weren't sharing enough of their companies' wealth with the rank-and-file employees who helped produce it. Look at the news headlines over the past few weeks -- employees are speaking out against low pay and no benefits. Hostess Brands, the maker of the iconic Twinkie, is closing because of a standoff with its union employees, but a judge recently ruled that Hostess management will still receive bonuses before the company is liquidated. Employees at American Airlines, Wal-Mart and fast food chains in New York City are protesting unfair pay practices. Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit in California are striking over charges that terminal operators have outsourced jobs.

And, unfortunately, with the decline of labor unions, that lack of sharing is again increasing.

Namely, we've developed inequality so extreme that it is worse than any time since the late 1920s.

Contributing to this inequality is a new religion of shareholder value that has come to be defined only by "today's stock price" and not by many other less-visible attributes that build long-term economic value.

Like many religions, the "shareholder value" religion started well: In the 1980s, American companies were bloated and lethargic, and senior management pay was so detached from performance that shareholders were an afterthought.

But now the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Now, it's all about stock performance--to the point where even good companies are now quietly shafting other constituencies that should benefit from their existence.
Most notably: Rank and file employees.

more . . . http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/why-labor-unions-172114831.html

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