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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 06:06 AM

What Would a Country Without Labor Unions Look Like?

Weekend Edition December 21-23, 2012

Race to the Bottom

What Would a Country Without Labor Unions Look Like?

by DAVID MACARAY

What would a country without unions look like? Before answering, we should clarify labor’s role, both historically and presently. The purpose of a labor union is and always has been to raise the standard of living for working people. Simple as that. And by “standard of living” we mean wages, benefits, and working conditions, all of which are acknowledged by federal labor law to be legitimate topics for discussion in collective bargaining.

Of course, anti-labor propagandists like to pretend that unions are cesspools of greed, corruption and ineptitude, and that the only things they care about are consolidating power and living high on the hog off the membership’s monthly dues. That’s the rancid and misleading version of unions they try to peddle. Unfortunately, misleading version or not, many people believe it.

~snip~

If there were no unions, working people would have no means of resistance. Obviously, having no means of resistance is tantamount to having no leverage, and without leverage—without some form of bargaining power—we become sheep. If there were no unions, the arrangement would devolve into your classic “buyers’ market,” with management in the driver’s seat, and working men and women along for the ride.

Historically, market forces tend to push wages downward. If there was no union apparatus to prop up wages, working people would find themselves more or less in free-fall, eventually dropping all the way down to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour (which, if you worked 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, and never missed a day, pencils out to $15,080 per year).

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/21/what-would-a-country-without-labor-unions-look-like/

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Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply What Would a Country Without Labor Unions Look Like? (Original post)
Judi Lynn Dec 2012 OP
Iggy Dec 2012 #1
Coyotl Dec 2012 #3
Iggy Dec 2012 #8
Coyotl Dec 2012 #2
ashling Dec 2012 #4
SharonAnn Dec 2012 #5
PETRUS Dec 2012 #7
SharonAnn Dec 2012 #9
Brigid Dec 2012 #6

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 06:48 AM

1. We Can Already See

 

what a country without labor unions would look like: the child poverty rate in our nation is up, and the gap between the rich and the poor has grown.

FAIL.

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Response to Iggy (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:22 AM

3. This would make a great chart, circa 1960 to present.

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Response to Coyotl (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:26 PM

8. Correct, and People Need To

 

face the fact: Our nation is one of the most expensive nations in the world to live in-- what nation is more expensive? Monaco?

We obviously have some of the most expensive health care in the world.

The notion we can get rid of unions, union level pay and benefits is a complete joke. but it's what our nation is about now: LOWERING the bar, lowering the standard of living for the poor and the middle class-- all while the massively wealthy get more wealthy.

The center cannot hold.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:21 AM

2. REC. Thanks

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 08:36 AM

4. In a word: Pottersville



&list=PL9EF004C90CEB8483

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Response to ashling (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 09:10 AM

5. It's one of the 3 things I ask people when they say they're conservative. I say "I bet you're not"

1. In the American Revolution, whose side would you have been on? The liberal American Founding Fathers side or the conservative British royalist/loyalist side?

2. In the matter of Christ's death, whose side would you have been on? The liberal apostles and followers who believed in Christ or the conservative political (Roman) and religious (Jewish Sanhedrin) side?

3. In the moview, "It's a wonderful life!", whose side do you root for. The liberal George Bailey or the conservative capitalist, Mr Potter?

To me, these are three examples of the differences between 's "conservatives" and "liberals".

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Response to SharonAnn (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:50 AM

7. Interesting points. Do you ever get a thoughtful response?

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Response to PETRUS (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:22 PM

9. Of course not. But I hope I've given some food for thought.

It was things like this, and reading Molly Ivins, that got me to thinking that maybe my "conservative Republican" beliefs were not consistent with my real beliefs.

And, this was the mechanism I used to expose my husband to "liberal" thinking. He went from being a "conservative Republican" to a "liberal" Democrat. This mechanism and pointing out how the "conservative" position often caused serious economic hardship for most of society, except for the 2%.

I think we often grow up espousing something that is our parents' beliefs and/or our peer group's beliefs.

It's a process as we work through thinking about our values, beliefs and actions. Then we become aware of how our political beliefs and actions (esp. voting) are an important way of how we express our values and beliefs.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:18 AM

6. I live in IN.

I already know what a country without labor unions looks like.

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