Why this Republican Thinks Unions Are Still Relevant
Record profits that companies won't share
As I write this in the early autumn of 2012, the economy in the United States is still struggling. Maybe it would be more correct to say the poor and middle class are struggling. . Most companies have rebounded and are making record profits but very little of the profits are trickling down to the person on the assembly line or the secretary in the office.
Case in point was how the Caterpillar strike ended after 3 ½ months. The company was coming off of record profits, with a $1.7 billion profit in just one quarter. Again $1.7 BILLION PROFIT in one quarter. The union buckled to the demands of the company. I read stories about union members coming out of the voting crying when the results were announced. They knew this was a game changer and realized how much they lost and would never regain. Here is a excellent story on the results of the strike.
This may be surprising. I consider myself a pretty strong republican. I must admit I work in a Union shop, almost 24 years to be exact. At times, I have often wondered if being in a Union was worth it. Five years ago we were sold to another company. My doubts about being in a union evaporated under this new management.
Besides the arrogant attitude they exhibited toward employees ( union and salary), They have dragged us through a bankruptcy and after emerging from the bankruptcy a very few individuals at the senior managenment levels split millions of dollars while people in the union have had wages frozen for years. After taking wage freezes for years they have announced we are being closed.
The classic book
Here is what bothers me. When this was put on the news, people wrote comments on this story that was posted on the web. Most of the comments were very negative towards the union and blamed the union for the closure. Comments such as “I wish I could make $60 dollars an hour sweeping with a broom”.
I often think about the fictional Upton Sinclair book “The Jungle” about the inhumane conditions in the Chicago meat packing plants which spurned unions to fight for better working conditions.
People believe that over the years, the power has tilted towards the unions disproportionally in regards to relations with management. I'm not disputing that. At one time that may have been the case. That's far from the case today. Unions are a shadow of what they once were. People have this idea that if your in a Union your set for life and can't be fired. I belong to a major union and nothing can be farther from the truth.
People that have never worked in a manufacturing field can never relate to how hard and monotonous the work is and how production numbers are king. In the process corners on safety are cut. Unrealistic production rates are established and many times the workers themselves, will cut corners on safety to meet those rates. Their jobs in most cases depend on making those rates.
Right now we have a republican presidential candidate worth hundreds of millions of dollars who when asked "how“would you fix social security?” answered “I would raise the age on when social security could be collected”.
After working 20+ years in a factory I look at the people that have been there as long as myself and longer. The environment of the work they do has aged them in ways where very few would be able to work past 64 or 65.
Experts have noted that the economy will never recover unless the record profits of big business trickle down to their rank and file employees who then can put money into the economy.
The top senior management though haven’t suffered at all. In fact their pay has increased not only through their base pay but also through stock options and sweetheart deals like putting their company in bankruptcy with dates prearranged in conjunction with investment firms that then give them millions when they “pull” out their company from bankruptcy by those prearranged dates.
Almost makes me want to vote democrat.
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- Why this Republican Thinks Unions Are Still Relevant
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