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I was just watching the news and a factory in Chicago has been shut down. The workers are staying until they receive compensation that they say they are due. This brought a question to my mind about labor unions. I know very little about them.

My broter-in-law works for a grocery store and he is in a labor union. They don’t seem to do much for the workers.

My brother works for a large manufacturer and he is in a labor union. Now and then he has to stay home because his union is on strike. He prefers to just go to work and do his job.

When these unions were started I believe they served a valuable purpose. Workers, especially immigrant workers, were being treated horribly. Children were forced into working long hours. Sweat shops took advantage of people who had no choice but to go to work and put up with the bad treatment. Someone had to offer protection and fairness. Hence, the start of the labor union.

Sometimes we hear about union leaders becoming greedy, dishonest, taking money unlawfully from the workers who pay their dues. Seems as if the only ones benefiting from unions are the leaders.

So, I’m wondering, what has been your experience with labor unions? Do you think they are valuable? Do you think they have outlived their purpose?

With 24 hour news and our world virtually shrinking before our eyes, I question the validity of labor unions. Seems as if we can get more accomplished for our nation’s workers through public opinion, CNN, and YouTube.

What to you think?




Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Dec 8, 2008
    • Cynthia, you raise some very valid points. My dad was management, my stepdad was union so I have lived with both sides.

      I’m going to compose my thoughts on this.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Dec 8, 2008
    • Hi Cynthia

      I come from a General Motors family. We were all members of the UAW at one point in time. My dad eventually was promoted to management. I will make one point. Union membership is NOT an option if you are an employee.

      You pretty much nailed it. Unions, at the inception, were godsends. Now, they are simply the other side of a big corporate world subject to the same corruption and plunder by unscrupulous leaders and a labor force without much choice. Most would rather work than go on strike as long as conditions and benefits remained fair.

      Unions are one of those can’t live with ‘em and can’t live without ‘em kind of things. I am very happy to see the UAW doing all they can to make concessions in the current crisis. They do have legal boundaries in their own constitutions to uphold as well. It’s complicated.

      Susan Haley, Fab 40 Columnist



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