“Labor Unions” by Jurwan Rhodes (a non-union welder for over 5 years)

Labor Unions

Labor unions were started in America to give workers a unified voice against management that would have weight. Until its inception employers could discriminate between employees, work employees long Hours, terminate employment without just cause among other things. As unions began to take root, employers began to feel the power of solidarity and the impact that tools such as organized strikes and pickets could have on their production, bottom Line, and public image.

Over the years many unions evolved into organizations that had an impact not only on individual companies but industries as a whole. With more bargaining power the unions were able to seek, and in most cases secure benefit packages for union workers that were envied by many, and despised by those who had to agree to them. The unions helped create a middle class, that could afford to send their kids to college, buy nice homes, and save for their retirements.

The unions at the same time created an atmosphere, in some instances where, little could be done to rectify problems with sub-par employees, who used union representation as their scapegoat. It also creates a work place where many different levels of, work ability, actual work, and work ethics were all rewarded with the same compensation. The greatest blow to unions, was when president Reagan ordered airline workers back to work. That decisive action started a movement against unions that has led to, lower paying jobs, Replacement jobs, and unions that no longer demand worker rights, equality, and an opportunity for a brighter future, but ask nicely, concede, and take what they can get.

In my experience it seems like the unions of my generations are “fighting” to keep what they can, are paying more for health care, are working under two and three tiers of pay, and have little say in much more than progressive discipline. Truth be told the unions of today are a far cry from the “teamsters” of yesteryear’s. What we have now in most case is an extension of corporate human resource management.

By: Jurwan Rhodes

Introduction to Business

11/9/2008

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