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Q & A

Do you think unions represent the middle class?

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Where once unions had a place in creating better working conditions and fair and equal pay, I believe that today, there are very few groups that require union assistance and unions do not represent the middle class. While i’m sure there are some great unions out there actually serving the rights of their workers, I think that the majority of unions do little for most groups of workers.

And Eva, in regards to your comments about seniority, I disagree completely. Just because you have been at a place of work for many years does not mean that you do your job better than someone just coming in and teaching is the perfect example. As an example, my daughter is in college and has a tenured professer who has been with the school for many years. In the beginning of the year, he gave a syllabus and schedule and told students that he really didn’t care if they came to class or not, he teaches strictly from the book without expounding on anything, and as long as you show up for tests, he doesn’t care. He’s as much as told students that he’s gone in eight years and just doesn’t care anymore. And, thanks to the union, he stays right where he is, providing sub-par education.

My daughter is studying to be a teacher and she is a wonderful person full of great ideas and so much love for the profession. When she goes out into the workforce, will she be denied a job because the unions continue to fight for teacher tenure? No job should have that much security and perhaps if teachers’ (like most of us in the workforce) positions and pay were based on merit, many would work a little harder to make sure they were doing a good job.


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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Mar 1, 2011
    • NO WAY!! Most at my hubz work are union. He and a guy that do the same job [hubby salary, other guy union] make completely different salaries. Some have even complained to the big bosses to unionize my hubby as he does more work and they only will work with him.

      Movie production, go figure...




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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Mar 1, 2011
    • I agree that unions are needed just to counter balance management. But I don’t necessarily believe they represent middle class like they used too.  

      I don’t think it’s fair for a union to save the job of someone not being honorable at work. Which then causes business to charge the consumer more to make up for the slacker.  

      Grrrrrrrrr..............




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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Mar 1, 2011
    • Well the last writers strike lost many people their homes and livelihood. And the next strike the actors said they will strike with the writers. As if they need more money!!




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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Tuliplady wrote Mar 1, 2011
    • No, I don’t think unions represent middle class.  I think at one time in this country unions had a reason and a purpose for being and did a lot of good for workers.  It seems to me that now they are all about just plain greed.




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    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Aellis wrote Mar 2, 2011
    • Where once unions had a place in creating better working conditions and fair and equal pay, I believe that today, there are very few groups that require union assistance and unions do not represent the middle class. While i’m sure there are some great unions out there actually serving the rights of their workers, I think that the majority of unions do little for most groups of workers.

      And Eva, in regards to your comments about seniority, I disagree completely. Just because you have been at a place of work for many years does not mean that you do your job better than someone just coming in and teaching is the perfect example. As an example, my daughter is in college and has a tenured professer who has been with the school for many years. In the beginning of the year, he gave a syllabus and schedule and told students that he really didn’t care if they came to class or not, he teaches strictly from the book without expounding on anything, and as long as you show up for tests, he doesn’t care. He’s as much as told students that he’s gone in eight years and just doesn’t care anymore. And, thanks to the union, he stays right where he is, providing sub-par education.

      My daughter is studying to be a teacher and she is a wonderful person full of great ideas and so much love for the profession. When she goes out into the workforce, will she be denied a job because the unions continue to fight for teacher tenure? No job should have that much security and perhaps if teachers’ (like most of us in the workforce) positions and pay were based on merit, many would work a little harder to make sure they were doing a good job.




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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Ela2011 wrote Mar 2, 2011
    • I am anti-union for many reasons.  In Chicago, you can’t even hang your own bulletin board or do the simplest tasks in your office in a “union building” and that is just a ridiculous waste of money.  Is that what unions are really for?  They suck a ton of money in so many ways out of this city (our trade shows are not even affordable anymore because unions rates are so much higher than market rates) and there is no mechanism for getting rid of poor workers who have seniority/tenure (education is the best example).  Don’t even get me started on the pension issues.  There may be exceptions, but I do not see a place for unions in this country anymore.




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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Aellis wrote Mar 2, 2011
    • Eva - thanks for the clarification about your statement on seniority and your experiences and you‘re right, it is sad for the students when bad teachers don’t know when to come out of the rain.  

      But i question this statement, “"seniority,"whereby stated that it is not a guarantee for top performance...but should be if the evaluation process works through mentoring and weeding—and firing bad teachers.”  

      The problem is that 1) it’s very difficult to fire a teacher for anything because of the power of the teacher’s union 2) the evaluation process is not based on mentoring, weeding and firing with tenure taking a top spot thanks to the union.

      Teachers should be evaluated by the quality of the education they provide; not how many years they have been providing it. When i was in school, I had teachers and professors who inspired me. Some new, some old and some ancient but they were inspiring and taught me. It doesn’t have anything to do with how many years you’ve been in the education system, it has to do with your knowledge of the subject you teach and your ability to get what you‘re teaching through their little, thick heads. It’s a challenge and most teachers are saints (God bless them, i couldn’t do it) but I just think that if the unions were not involved, our educational system would actually be filled with teachers who cared about a student’s education, teachers who were motivated to teach and to expand their own teaching ways and teachers who wanted to be there.




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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Mar 2, 2011
    • @ Annie, The Actors want more pay from their unions as well. They were ‘nice’ and are waiting to see what the writers do. haha




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    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Cheekymonkey wrote Mar 2, 2011
    • Ive been waiting to answer this question.
      I feel unions once had a place and served the middle class and the country. But those days have long been gone. I think unions are a disgrace to what they once represented. They are killing the taxpayers that are NOT union and here in California unions are part of the cause for the states economy issues. Not all but they play a factor.
      Why should union people be guaranteed 85% of thier finally salary and full benefits when non union people who worked just as hard might not even get any social security or half of what they have paid into thier working lifes? Our taxes help pay for part of thier guarrenteed retirement but we pay for ours to to not get even a cost of living increase when retired.
      Tenure im against also.
      As for middle class and unions? They are not even in the same category. Maybe once but no longer.




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    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Marya1961 wrote Mar 6, 2011
    • Great question Annie!

      I remember a time when hub was in the union at his job..health benefits covered completely but the pay sucked..he is now a salary employee as he moved up in the chain of command and health benefits suck but his pay increased over the years...IMO it is all a gamble, the unions provide a fraction, then take what they can..salary workers receive a better pay (in my hub’s case), but he is screwed in other ways...he is also employed at an optometry university.

      As far as the teaching profession is concerned, I will stand by home schooling 100% and believe it may well be the thing of the future as many parents are disgruntled with the education system, this of course, does not correspond directly to unions, just my opinion.




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    • +2 votes vote up vote up

      Msj wrote Mar 30, 2011
    • My fiance is middle aged , a Veteran and HOPEFULLY will get into the carpenters union. We currently are on low income, while he has impeccable skills, there is no work, with the exception of this union job ** provided he gets this job, we weill be able to buy groceries, pay rent and go to doctors! I say UNIONS UNIONS UNIONS!heart
      He has put in his time, and is smart and a hard dedicated worker!




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