Is the time of Unions gone?

Is the time of Unions gone?


I think the fact unions own a significant portion of General Motors is a travesty and mockery of contract law, as the bond holders were given the shaft by Obama, erasing hundreds of years of established contract law. Cant argue that. My mother was screwed out of thousands of dollars because the Indiana public school teachers retirement fund thought that buying bonds in GM would be a safe bet…considering they are supposed to be protected and paid before shareholders, but who cares about obeying the law, right? (the Indiana State Police retirement fund also took a huge hit) In regards to private unions, we need some reform. They hardly even represent the ideals in which they were established. They were supposed to protect people without capital from those who control capital. Instead, they just started using seniority within the union to control less experienced junior members. Labor unions in Europe have more support because they arent bloated and tend to work with management instead of against them. American labor unions tend to want the success of the worker, regardless of the success of the company. European labor unions want the success of the worker and the success of the company. One seems to have more of a focus on the long-term, while the other seems to just care about getting as much as possible in the short-term. Look at how American labor unions responded to the financial crisis compared to European ones. IG Metall negotiated temporary wage reductions in exchange for stock and the guarantee that wages would return to normal when production levels came back. In the United States, we saw labor unions allow many factories to close to protect the wages of senior members at the expense of junior members. I previously lived less than a mile from a GM stamping plant (owners contracted with GM) that was losing money and was put up for sale. The UAW had to approve any sale. A buyer came in, offering to buy the plant with 15-20% wage decreases to workers. They claimed that labor costs were causing the previous owners to lose money, and the only way the plant could be successful was if labor costs were reduced. Well, the UAW came in and offered early retirement or a transfer to another plant for half of the workers (the most senior workers). Of course, these senior members accepted and blocked the sale of the plant, leaving half of the workers unemployed. There were many ways that the UAW could have kept this plant open and provided hundreds of jobs, but they decided to screw over half of the workers and let it close. I cant imagine IG Metall ever doing anything even remotely similar to this as they seem to value all workers, instead of just some workers, like in the USA. (Another great example is teachers unions always firing the least experienced teachers instead of negotiating wages. Not much “solidarity” there.)
As Michael Maibach, president and chief executive of the European American Business Council, puts it, union-management relations in the U.S. are “adversarial,” whereas in Germany they’re “collaborative.”

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