10 April 2010

Some Reasons Why Robust Unions Are Important Right Now

An organizer for United Cannery, Agricultural Packing and
Allied Workers of America talks to a nighttime street meeting
at outside Shafter, California. Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress.

I came across this image today. Unions are not a panacea. But robust unions go some way to protecting people. They can afford some protection from rapacious employers who simply don't care that shortcuts they take are deadly. They can protect them from government regulators who (as Alan Greenspan did this week*) excuse their own failings and brag about an essentially 'C-' performance on the job. And unions might put some starch into the collars of politicians like Obama who, offered an opportunity to resist the consistent and extreme rightward shift in the Supreme Court over the past four decades, seems to be heading toward more accommodation with the conservatives. We need unions.
* "I was wrong 30 per cent of the time, and there were an awful lot of mistakes in 21 years." ~ Alan Greenspan, April 2010. As a devoted disciple of Ayn Rand, Greenspan surely would accept no curve on his grade - that would require him to expect altruism - and in my book, 70% is a solid C-.

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Blogger Ian said...

Well said, Jim. There must be an argument for unions (though I haven't gone looking for it yet) simply from a checks and balances perspective. Corporations are concentrated, resource-rich, and coordinated. Individual employees are the opposite, by definition. "You can be replaced" is always the easiest way to eliminate workplace dissent. Unions can help to even the scales, if only a little.

10 April, 2010 22:15  
Blogger Public Squalor said...

A healthy labor movement contributes to a democratic and fair society.

Here's a link to a post on how coal union mines are safer places to work:



12 April, 2010 08:29  

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