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Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:30 PM

Unions suffer steep decline in membership

Source: Associated Press

The nation's labor unions suffered sharp declines in membership last year, led by losses among public sector workers in cash-strapped states, cities, counties and towns.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unionization rate fell from 11.8% to 11.3% of all workers, the lowest level since the 1930s.

Total union membership fell by about 400,000 workers to 14.4 million. Teachers unions were among the hardest hit, with the ranks of public school teachers and educators falling sharply.

Unions also saw losses in the private sector, even as the economy expanded modestly. The private sector unionization rate fell from 6.9% to 6.6%.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/23/unions-labor-employment-workers/1858201/

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Reply Unions suffer steep decline in membership (Original post)
Redfairen Jan 2013 OP
upaloopa Jan 2013 #1
patrice Jan 2013 #2
1983law Jan 2013 #8
patrice Jan 2013 #9
1983law Jan 2013 #11
nick of time Jan 2013 #3
CountAllVotes Jan 2013 #5
nick of time Jan 2013 #10
alterfurz Jan 2013 #20
DaveJ Jan 2013 #4
Squinch Jan 2013 #6
DaveJ Jan 2013 #13
Squinch Jan 2013 #14
DaveJ Jan 2013 #16
Squinch Jan 2013 #17
1983law Jan 2013 #7
stultusporcos Jan 2013 #12
Bigmack Jan 2013 #15
antigop Jan 2013 #18
Squinch Jan 2013 #19
question everything Jan 2013 #21

Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:33 PM

1. Thank the right and the "why should you get

something I don't have" mentality.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:39 PM

2. At-will employment is legalized discrimination. I have yet another friend who found this out

this week.

People fear for their jobs.

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Response to patrice (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:23 PM

8. Can you explain that?

 

Not sure I understand how employment at will is discriminatory.

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Response to 1983law (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:49 PM

9. People can be fired for practically anything at all, without recourse, EEOC offices are charged

with VERY narrow responsibilities regarding discrimination in employment, primarily: race, gender, or age, I think, and establishing a termination on any of those grounds can be an un-reasonably difficult, long, and expensive process for most people.

I know there are avenues through the NLRB for addressing employment injustice; I don't know the specifics of those, but I can guess that there's probably quite a bit of one-size-fits-all incongruence between what the NLRB does for the entire nation and the sorts of things that can be extremely detailed and specific to a particular relatively unique work environment.

"At will" is the legal tag for the employer's rights in terminations: even though there may be nothing wrong with your work, or even if it is superior, or if you have created something that has become the employer's property and some issue develops between you, the creator, and the employer-owner, and users of whatever, say, something that the employer-owner of the intellectual property that you created doesn't want users to know about the product or process, for example . . . stuff like this can result in termination, but also anything else that the employer desires to terminate for, as long as an employer can avoid a case that they are prejudiced and discriminating on the basis or race, gender, or age, they can fire you for ANYTHING, because you are employed legally "at (their) will" alone.

So terminations can be for whatever reason, dressed up a bit with whatever hokey window dressing an employer can conjure or nothing at all, a few words in some employee handbook, or a "job description" or a job title get changed, and you're out, and even though everything about you and your work and productivity is perfect or at least adequate if not actually above average, everything you do or have done, all value that you have built into an enterprise, all employee virtues and efficiency, all of that does not matter. You can be legally fired for no apparent reason whatsoever . . . but the actual reason can be things like: someone's friend's niece's daughter needs your job, or you expressed a religious view that someone didn't like on break or at a party or something, or didn't smile right at a certain type of compliment, or the employer suspects you of union sympathies, or . . . . anything. Barring a legal case for some type of discrimination or sexual harassment, you are employed 100% at the employer's will and they can fire you for anything or nothing, no matter what.

Personally, I have been thinking about the logical contradictions inherent in the concept of "at will", but I'm not a lawyer, so I ought to go read up a bit.

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Response to patrice (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:58 PM

11. It works the other way too.

 

As an employee, you can freely quit your employer for any reason and without any notice. That's the flip side of that coin. If you are looking at unions as a way to create a contractual arrangement between and employer/employee, then that will end run "at will" but open up a whole other can.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:51 PM

3. So how do we turn this trend around?

 

I was a union member my whole working life, retired now, but being in a union afforded me a good living wage, good working conditions, good bennies, and a comfortable retirement.
We need to somehow convey the benefits of union membership loud and proud.

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Response to nick of time (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 03:20 PM

5. You can continue to pay dues in retirement

That is what I choose to do. I know who butters my bread.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:53 PM

10. Already doing so.

 

But thanks for the info for those that don't know that.

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Response to CountAllVotes (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:07 PM

20. me, too!

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:52 PM

4. We need to figure out how to bring union benefits to regular jobs

Seeing as how 90% of people aren't in unions (and some union jobs aren't that great either), we need to focus on non union employment issues more than ever.



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Response to DaveJ (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:10 PM

6. Think of what you wrote there. Now. Don't you think the answer is unionizing non-union employment?

That is the only way to bring union benefits to non-union jobs.

See?

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Response to Squinch (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:36 PM

13. I don't see why we can't do both

Are we supposed to live in a world where only union workers get to retire? A decent retirement/pension is worth well over $1 million probably more like $2+ million. Union workers are approaching 1% status.

Non union workers deserve just as much chance at a full life. This could be done be making SS more livable. Encouraging the creation of good jobs, and discouraging bad jobs, which the current Democrats seem to be fully pursuing. Whereas Republicans think a minimum wage job is as good as any. We can't return to that frame of thought.

I don't care what color your collar is white blue or orange or if you belong to a union or an internet chatroom. There should be dignity in life for everyone.

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Response to DaveJ (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:46 PM

14. The purpose of a union is to get those things for the employees. The unions

arose because individuals are not in a position to negotiate with the employers to get those things. So if you want to get those things, you need a union.

It isn't a matter of deserving. Of course everyone deserves it. It is a matter of how it is possible to get it. If the employers have all the control over the rules of employment, it doesn't matter how deserving you are, you aren't going to get what you are asking for.

Unions are the mechanism to get what you are asking for.

You say you don't see why we can't do both. Without unions, how do employees get an equal voice in the rules of employment? (Not a rhetorical quesion. Seriously, what else do you think would do it? I don't see any alternatives that would work.)

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Response to Squinch (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:58 PM

16. I think we're heading in the right direction already

We want to get to a point where nobody needs to worry, and nobody is seen as better than anyone else due to their status. Fact is that everyone can't be in a union. Most people do not even keep the same careers for more than a few years. Obama mentioned that social safety nets encourage risk and innovation, an environment where people are not frightened to step out of line.

I don't think we need to live in a world where people are expected to follow a prescribed path in order to retire, which unions often have. If that's what someone wants, that's fine. Most careers, though, do not even have a prescribed path.

If we continue to pursue innovation and vote Democratic I think things will work out. Personally I think that technology is at a point where most people should not even need to work, and most jobs are unessential and unnecessary.

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Response to DaveJ (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:06 PM

17. There has never been a time in history where nobody was seen as better because of their status.

Don't get me wrong, I think it is a lovely idea. I just feel certain it won't happen.

But don't listen to me. I thought phones with cameras were just a dopey idea!

I am lucky enough to have a career where I can advance and move around but still have the benefit of a union, so I don't think I considered the lack of mobility that is percieved with unions. I do think that if unions were more widespread, that would be less of an issue. For example, the construction unions are independent of the employers. It gives the employees more of a protected free agent kind of status.

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Response to DaveJ (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:22 PM

7. That's a great way to look at it.

 

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 06:59 PM

12. America has forgotten its history along with over 30 years of

 

non-stop anti -union propaganda on TV and radio.

It is going to take people working in conditions similar to what they were like before unions before America figures it out.

It will also take solidarity and that is in very short supply. I have seen a number of discussions about cars here and it is appalling the number of people here who buy non-union made cars. It is the second biggest one makes in their life and multiple times too during one’s lifetime and a very easy way to help out union workers.

Solidarity!

If you say you are a Democrat, show it and vote with your wallet anything less and you are a nothing but a poser in my book.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 07:56 PM

15. The young... and not so young...

... are going to have to do the whole Labor thing all over again.

Strikes, slowdowns, confrontations with the goons...

The whole bit.

There is no other choice.

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:13 PM

18. Yep..the labor movement .....all over again. nt

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Response to Bigmack (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 08:21 PM

19. And it's tragic that we didn't learn the lesson the last time. Or the time before that. Or......nt

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 12:11 PM

21. The business world has changed

It makes sense when you have a large corporation like Ford, or even IBM, that employes many people many with similar skills.

But we've moved to smaller businesses , many owned that are not incorporated, that employ fewer people each with individual skills.

They don't have much in common and their compensations cannot be compared for them to offer a united front.

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