• Moliere
    3.9k
    Labor never had the power to do that. When unions were strongest, it was when the government had a policy of backing labor. When the government withdrew it's support, when Reagan shot down the air traffic controller strike, the tide turned against them and they're gone now.Tate

    How do you think the NLRA was passed?

    I agree that Reagan was a major turning point in the labor movement. Although I actually put it down to Carter who started the whole "bail out business" thang. Reagan is the spiritual successor of that line of thought, but Carter seemed to be fine with neo-liberalism.

    What should we do?Tate

    People who aren't in that situation should be supportive of unionization. Even in the bread-and-butter sense of unions - and really, anyone who has to work for a living is in that situation. No matter how much you make. There are obvious hierarchies and so forth worth recognizing. But, as far as I'm concerned at least, anyone who has ever had to work for a living should be a part of the labor movement.
  • Moliere
    3.9k
    Glad to find some common ground :)
  • BC
    13k
    One thing you do need to understand about the American labor movement is that it only existed in the first place due to federal backing, originally by Teddy Roosevelt and then Wilson. In Wilson's case it was in line with his progressive Christianity.Tate

    Well... news to me. Consider this:

    In early 1866 William Harding, who was then president of the Coachmakers' International Union, met with William H. Sylvis, president of the Ironmoulders' International Union and Jonathan Fincher, head of the Machinists and Blacksmiths Union. At that meeting they called for a formal meeting to be held August 20-24, 1866, in Baltimore, Maryland. On the first day of that meeting the National Labor Union was born. Also, on that first day various committees were created to study different issues—one of which was focused on the 8-hour system. — Wikipedia

    So, some level of unionizing was occurring at least in the immediate post-Civil War period. Congress did pass an 8 hour day law (applicable to railroads), and the SCOTUS upheld the law in 1917.

    It would be more accurate to say that the existing union movement required congressional action to establish the 8 hour day across the country. That isn't the same thing as unions existing because of federal backing. The federal government is a tool which capital and labor both use for their own ends--the former more effectively than the latter.

    The Socialist Labor Party was organized around 1873; union organizing was a major plank in their party platform. The Haymarket Riot in Chicago was 1886 -- all well before T. R. and W. W. An eight-hour day proclamation issued by President Ulysses S. Grant declaring that employers cannot reduce wages as a result of the reduction of the workday, 1869
  • BC
    13k
    Web3. however interesting it might be, is not relevant to the current topic.
  • Tate
    1.4k
    That isn't the same thing as unions existing because of federal backing. The federal government is a tool which capital and labor both use for their own ends--the former more effectively than the latteBitter Crank

    I didn't say unions wouldn't exist without federal backing. I said the labor movement wouldn't exist without it. Maybe I'm overstating it. I think there's some truth to it, though.

    I think labor unions were a tool the federal government used to wrest power away from industrialists. The rest was Christian do-gooding on the part of Wilson.

    People who aren't in that situation should be supportive of unionization.Moliere

    ok
  • BC
    13k
    But aren't disability payments a result of the labor movement? That, social security, medicare, worker's comp, unemployment payments, aren't all these things a sign of the government's historic loyalty to labor?Tate

    Maybe yes, maybe no. Social security and unemployment insurance were established by Roosevelt and the US Congress in the 1930s in the face of abject need. At least 25% of the workforce (unionized or not) were unemployed and there was growing unrest. Part of the motivation for the major safety net programs was to protect capitalism from revolution. Another motivation was to reduce poverty. Workmen's Comp was established in 1908. Medicare / Medicaid was established in 1966 under Lyndon Johnson. From Workmen's Comp to ObamaCare covers a century of time. It isn't like Congress has been tripping over itself to pass these programs--and we're still in finished! MAYBE we will find Medicare finally authorized to negotiate drug prices.

    It would be better to describe safety net programs as pro-citizen, or pro-worker, rather than pro-union. Social Security, Unemployment, Disability, Medicare - Medicaid, and Obama's health care programs were all attacked (editorialy and in court) by conservatives, with strong resistance from conservatives in congress.
  • Pie
    1k
    Web3. however interesting it might be, is not relevant to the current topic.Bitter Crank

    Mostly agreed, but it may become more relevant and therefore apply to the future of the US labor movement and not just its past. If the kids are going to organize, it'll probably be on their phones, and they probably shouldn't trust the 'free' software that makes them easy to spy on and censor.
  • Tate
    1.4k
    would be better to describe safety net programs as pro-citizen, or pro-worker, rather than pro-union.Bitter Crank

    Yea, that's true.
  • Banno
    22.9k
    Trade unions are a promotion for socialism.javi2541997

    Wonderful, isn't it!
  • ssu
    7.8k
    A far better example of what? Blair was a much a neoliberal as anyone.Xtrix

    But that's the point!

    Modern Social Democracy is part of modern capitalism. It's objectives are to curb the excesses of capitalism (as they see it), yet not to demolish capitalism. Even if they don't say that openly. They understand capitalism works and as democrats, they understand that they have to upkeep democracy, which means that there will be people with other ideas also.

    In Sweden the Social Democratic party has been in power for I guess well over hundred years now. And what is Sweden? It's capitalist, with IKEA and Volvo cars. The result is a rather wealthy population and not so many billionaires, less income inequality than in the US and a large welfare state.

    This is the part to understand from trade unions: they fit happily to the capitalist system and the economy can be very free market even with them. Trade unions, if they get powerful in the US, won't change the system. Sorry. They aren't going to be an engine of change. Even Marx admitted this possibility (unfortunately I don't remember just where the quote came) that the proletariat might not fight for the revolution, but simply demand higher wages. And along with safety issues and other work related stuff, higher wages are the objectives of trade unions.

    And this is why in the US both the right-wing (which wants to demonize the left) and the left-wing (which wants to demonize capitalism) don't actually talk so much about the European style social democracy. The left-wing of the Democratic party goes to the length of even talking about themselves as 'Democratic Socialists', not social democrats. As if there would be a difference.
  • ssu
    7.8k
    Socialism is a commonsense way for the wee folk to deal with the oligarchs ? (OK, maybe I just mean I'd the US to be more like Denmark.)Pie
    Socialism basically means that means of production is owned by the state or the collective.

    There being oligarchs means that a small group not only has wealth, which has been acquired through illegal means, but also has power over others. In a functioning democracy there can be rich individuals, but that doesn't mean they would control the legislative and political branch of the government.

    Hence in Denmark the richest people do have an important say in public matters, but they don't control the politics as to be oligarchs or have gotten their wealth through corruption. (At least I've not heard about Danes speaking of Danish oligarchs.)
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    I love unions in theory and wish my country (the US) had a significantly stronger labor movement. Particularly, I'd like to see labor represented on boards, and workers having decision making authority on risky practices like stock buybacks and debt funded dividends.

    In practice, I hate unions at work because they make discipline and changing practices to take advantage of new technology a nightmare and I dislike having to do negotiations.

    Specifically, I don't think police should be allowed to have unions at all, full stop. You can't have an effective paramilitary organization with two chains of command, where the putative commander in chief says to do one thing and the union leader says not to do it. All my worst HR cases have been with police unions too, so that doesn't help. Having to give gigantic raises to put GPS in vehicles or get bodywork cameras is incredibly frustrating, especially when you are managing a poor urban community that has had many high profile police brutality cases and whose police force is under censure by the DOJ, and still can't get reforms.
  • ssu
    7.8k
    Love in theory and hate in practice?

    Isn't that a bit hypocritical?
  • NOS4A2
    8.2k


    Yep

    Then in terms of wages, benefits, you’ve had what others thought you deserved. It’s like having two employers, except you pay dues to only one of them.
  • Mikie
    6k
    Trade unions, if they get powerful in the US, won't change the system. Sorry. They aren't going to be an engine of change.ssu

    They have, and it’s very possible they will again. Your gut feelings aside.

    And along with safety issues and other work related stuff, higher wages are the objectives of trade unions.ssu

    Not always. In fact, I’m not sure even most of the time. What unions fight for, if they haven’t been corrupted, is worker dignity. Sometimes that involves wages. Mostly it involves more involvement in decision making.
  • Mikie
    6k
    Then in terms of wages, benefits, you’ve had what others thought you deserved.NOS4A2

    Nope. But I see why those with anti-social personality disorder may think that.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k

    Sure. :rofl:

    But a lot of the hate is just that I don't like haggling and I don't like having to run dozens of different models for various proposed pay scales. I feel like they offer up so many just to wear the finance team down.

    What do they say about good negotiations though? Everybody leaves unhappy.
  • ssu
    7.8k
    It can go to that. In the end common sense should prevail.

    But the other option, that the trade unions are non-existent (or illegal) can lead to very ugly situations.

    A lot of times it can feel like "workplace democracy", which especially the Swedish like with their (företagsdemokrati): A nice thought to empower and integrate everyone to the decision process, yet is hypocritical in the end as some obviously carry the risks and reap the rewards more than others. After all, the CEO and the summer intern aren't equal stakeholders in any organization.
  • Pie
    1k
    There being oligarchs means that a small group not only has wealth, which has been acquired through illegal means, but also has power over others. In a functioning democracy there can be rich individuals, but that doesn't mean they would control the legislative and political branch of the government.ssu

    :up:

    One way to check the health of a democracy would be to see whether the will of the people is manifest in the laws. Along these lines, we'd want to see if the laws favored the rich minority or a non-rich majority.
  • ssu
    7.8k
    One way to check the health of a democracy would be to see whether the will of the people is manifest in the laws. Along these lines, we'd want to see if the laws favored the rich minority or a non-rich majority.Pie
    This is a good point.

    Someone made this inquiry from the US and the results absolutely horrible. What the voters wanted didn't matter much if anything in the actual implemented policies!
  • Mikie
    6k
    Someone made this inquiry from the US and the results absolutely horrible.ssu

    One person I know of, which everyone should check out if they haven't already, is Tom Ferguson. His "investment theory of party competition" is worth the time -- the book is Golden Rule.

    The bottom 80% of the country have almost no political power whatsoever. Their interests are simply ignored.
  • Pie
    1k
    Someone made this inquiry from the US and the results absolutely horrible. What the voters wanted didn't matter much if anything in the actual implemented policies!ssu

    Yes, that's what I had in mind. Our electoral system and gerrymandering also makes many votes seem worthless.
  • creativesoul
    11.4k


    If workers' lives and livelihoods were cared about more than profit margins, there would be no need for collective bargaining measures.
  • creativesoul
    11.4k
    The bottom 80% of the country have almost no political power whatsoever. Their interests are simply ignored.Xtrix

    In much governmental practice as well as most accounting practices thereof.

    Many government officials have acted and are acting in ways that are quite harmful to very large swathes of American citizens. There are specific pieces of legislation, as well as specific court cases, throughout the last five or six decades that have rendered the overwhelming majority of Americans virtually powerless to be able to elect someone who does what's best for them.

    When I was much younger, I used to jokingly say "We have the best justice system money can buy" as a means to point out the benefit of having a good defense attorney. It garnered very little, if any resistance. Usually people would smile while responding, regardless of what they said while smiling.

    Mind you, I understood very little about how the justice system and other governmental institutions actually worked, but don't get me wrong, I did have the basic understanding of how it was supposed to work - ideally. I had no idea how monetarily corrupt American government actually was/is until I had been exposed to more than enough adequate evidence to know.
  • ssu
    7.8k
    Yes, that's what I had in mind. Our electoral system and gerrymandering also makes many votes seem worthless.Pie
    Votes aren't worthless.

    It's also in the interest of the two parties sharing power in the US to sustain the current polarization (or division) among the voters. Americans have taken to heart the idea that giving a vote to a third party will benefit the party they hate the most. This is the idea that both parties want to promote.

    When there is the will, there is a way.
  • Mikie
    6k
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-workers-file-to-hold-union-election-in-upstate-new-york-11660687817?mod=mhp

    Another Amazon facility in upstate NY looking to unionize.

    Always like to post some good news…
  • Mikie
    6k
    Starbucks Showdown in Boston Points to New Phase of Union Campaign

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/24/business/economy/starbucks-union-campaign.html

    We better hope they succeed.
  • Mikie
    6k
    Go Bernie.



    Never realized what a worm Shultz was. Should have known.
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