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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:45 PM
Original message
The campaign against unions



The campaign against unions
A Times Editorial
Published October 12, 2006

Membership in labor unions has been in a steady decline, with unionized workers now accounting for only 12 percent of the nation's work force. There are a number of reasons for this trend. The pressures of globalization obviously exert some downward pressure on wages. A distressingly high percentage of union leaders became more concerned with their own power and perks than the interests of the rank and file. At the same time, Republican control of the White House and Congress has weakened laws designed to protect workers who want to join a union.

The latest setback to unions came in a disturbing ruling last month by the National Labor Relations Board, which held that employees with limited supervisory duties but none of the prerogatives of management can be deemed ineligible to join a union. It was a 3-2 decision, with the three board members appointed by President Bush in the majority and the two originally appointed by President Clinton in dissent. According to the dissenters, the decision could put union membership out of reach for as much as 23 percent of the work force, or almost 34-million workers, by 2012.

The case involved "charge" nurses at a Michigan hospital and whether they could be kept from joining a bargaining unit because they spent some of their time directing other nurses and overseeing shifts. The charge nurses had no authority to hire, fire or promote underlings. Even so, the board ruled they were supervisors and exempt from union membership.

Spinning out this rationale means that teachers who direct classroom aides could be barred from union membership, as could any professional worker who has a secretary.

In a time of growing income inequality, union membership seems to be one of the few ways workers can still get ahead. Wages for union members are 28 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts, and they are far more likely to enjoy health and retirement benefits. For the NLRB to stretch the definition of a supervisor in order to exclude a large swath of the labor force from these potential benefits is just another way that workers are being stripped of their leverage in the workplace.


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joneschick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hey, Omaha Steve
I seldom see much response to your posts and I wanted you to know that at least for myself----I *always* read your posts with great interest. You obviously are passionate about the rightful place of the unions and workers. I love the updates and information you keep us up on. I just have nothing to add! Please continue to post this very important information! My husband and I are both from union families and appreciate their importance! :hug:
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INdemo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. I think we all could agree Unions dont have the clout
like they once did. Several union leaders have made headlines over the last few years because of being corrupt. But unions have certainly brought about higher wages and better working conditions for all..
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oldleftguy Donating Member (419 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Union cards have been carried for three generations....
in my family. Thanks for your articles. I'm union, and I'm proud! Solidarity.
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eagler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:02 PM
Response to Original message
2. Do you feel that allowing unlimited numbers of illegals in
is going to help the union cause?
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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:13 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Well, unions traditionally...

fight for workers rights, job safety, etc... These immigrants need the same thing those coming from elsewhere in the world needed 100 or so years ago too! This is just my own opinion or observation.

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sadiesworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-14-06 04:45 AM
Response to Reply #5
10. No, unions have "traditionally" supported caps on legal immigration
and have been been opposed to illegal immigration. Unions were strong supporters of the 1924 Immigration Reform which put across-the-board caps on immigration for the first time (huge gains in wages were seen as a result). They also supported subsequent reforms. Unions worked with Cesar Chavez and liberal democrats to stop the importation of strikebreakers from Mexico in the 60's (again, huge gains in wages and benefits resulted).

Union support for illegal immigration is a relatively new development. Are you telling me that unions now support open borders? How about off-shoring and increases in H1-B visas? Oh well, I shouldn't be terribly surprised--the AARP supported the donut-hole drug bill.

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oldleftguy Donating Member (419 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. The labor movement is all about class struggle.
They love to play race against race. We are all workers who deserve equity in the system.
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NC_Nurse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. I agree with reply #1
I have learned a lot from your posts. Thanks!!! :hi:
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lakeguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
6. how can anyone be "denied" the right to form a union....
who cares what job you have. if you want to unionize, that is your right.

next they'll say you can't negotiate your wage...just take what you get and thank king george you have a job, and your head attached.
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ProgressiveEconomist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Good luck getting your union recognized w/o an NLRB-overseen
Edited on Fri Oct-13-06 10:38 PM by ProgressiveEconomist
election. That's what stops employers from simply firing everybody who signs a union card. Employer retaliation for union activity directly hits tens of thousands of employees every year, and must scare away hundreds of thousands more from trying to better their circumstances with collective action in the workplace.

See http://www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/about
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