Comments about ‘Letters: Are unions truly serving needs?’

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Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Union membership peaked in 1970. Wages for working class men peaked in 1973 and have been declining ever since. Coincidence?

Pleasant Grove, UT

Are unions truly serving needs? Here's how you find out: make union membership (and dues-paying) entirely voluntary, everywhere. Then watch how many people sign up.

The experiment is already underway. As more and more states pass right-to-work laws, union membership is declining.

Sandy, UT

I'm sure getting information about unions from the "center on union facts" is reliable and of course unbiased.

Salt Lake City, UT

Who is Richard Berman?

Richard Berman is a Washington, D.C.-based hired gun who uses front groups to defend his corporate clients against the public interest. Using his lobbying and consulting firm, Berman and Company, as a revenue vehicle for his activities, Berman runs at least 23 industry-funded projects, such as the Center for Union Facts, and holds 24 "positions" within these various entities.

He's a shill for corporations.

Hayden, ID

The Democratic party benefits more from unions than any other organization. Union members are forced to pay union dues, union bosses donate money to the Democratic party and the Democratic party bails out union jobs. For example, nearly two thirds of the "stimulus package" went to public sector unions; school teachers, firefighters etc. Money laundering with taxpayer money!

Murray, UT

What a strange pair of values. Liberals are all for illegal aliens coming to get the 'right to work' but are against citizens have the 'right to work' without paying the extortion to the union.

No one should ever be forced to fund the democratic party just so they can have a job.

Murray, UT

1970, the year truck drivers realized the union would shoot them for trying earn a living and feed their families.

And blue calls Berman a 'hired gun'.

Unions are the ones who are the syndicates with hired guns.

South Jordan, UT

"Union members are forced to pay union dues, union bosses donate money to the Democratic party"

If you even cared about facts and reality you would know that the law prohibits spending of dues money on political contributions. But don't let that get in the way of your worldview.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Are unions truly serving the needs of their members? Given lower membership and declining wages, likely not. But I am not sure the reason (or the answers) are what the letter writer imagines.

Copy Cat
Murray, UT

@ isrred

"If you even cared about facts and reality you would know that the law prohibits spending of dues money on political contributions. "

Yes but criminals don't obey the law, even if, and especially if, they are organized criminals.

But don't let that get in the way of your worldview.

American Fork, UT

I love it. "Center for Union Facts". You could substitute the words 'tobacco' or 'pharmaceutical industry' for 'union' and get the same level of truthiness; the same idea of what the purpose and motive of such an organisation is. Or you could just substitute 'NRA' for the entire phrase.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

I think you would find the decline in working class wages runs paralell to increased illegal immigration and amnesties granted by well-meaning but misguided politicians.

Of course, more illegals voting and more poor voting means more dem votes, and that's what the dems really want, not quality of life for their constitutents.

yes, we know the law forbids unions from donating dues to politicians, but that has not stopped them from doing it. And there are other ways they promote the dems - I remember being courted by a union and getting their newsletter. I had to check twice to make sure it was not published by the DNC. It was not, but it certainly could have been written by them.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

It's no secret that unions were infiltrated by those that wanted them destroyed. To that extent that they were poorly managed on purpose, no.

But having suffered an injury at a large company because my manager just couldn't bring himself to slow down on short term goals so I could manage my safety I think the loss of unions and the threat of unionization is a real loss. I know if I had had representation it wouldn't have happened.

Burke, VA

Most of us work today without the benefit of union membership because the wages, salaries and benefits we receive are acceptable because of past union activity.

How many employers would pay the wages and salaries they pay and offer the benefits they offer if it had not been for strong unions in the past standing up for the common worker and fighting for those wages and benefits?

Safety in the workplace is such an important aspect of worker satisfaction. Some jobs are inherently dangerous (such as construction) and so it is important for employers to adopt safe working conditions and practices. Once again, just like with wages and benefits, the private, non-union sector has had to catch up to the benefits enjoyed by union workers if they wanted to acquire and maintain a competent workforce.

It's popular and easy to portray union leaders and thugs and criminals (and some of them have been) but most are just honest leaders who care about the welfare and fairness offered to those of us who go to work everyday. Let's all stop trying to find fault with unions and get over the paranoia that seems to surrounds them.

Sandy, UT

This is an offensive letter. Hostess was mismanaged. Businesses go under because of mismanagement and poor decisions. Period. Business that makes unions a partner are successful. Roland Keyser is spot on. Since 1979, the average middle class wage has gone from 27k to 31k while the 2% has seen wages more than double. You can't blame illegal immigration for that. Productivity has steadily climbed and Econ 101 would have you believe wages would climb proportionally but it hasn't. The minimum wage should be around $17/hr but it isn't. Over 50% of those receiving assistance have jobs. Is that something you can blame on unions? Contrary to the opinion of the popular right, taxes are the lowest in 5o years. Where is this extra cash going? Secret foreign bank accounts and the like I think but it isn't going to the American dream for the middle class.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Here we go again with the Union bashers...

Every car you drive, every plane you fly on, everyship you sail on --- thank a highly skilled Union work-force -- mainly in America, Germany, Japan and Korea.

Every cheap plastic toy, every cheap quality tool, every disposable throw it away junk item...thank the Communists in China and exploited labor in Mexico, Bangladesh, and Malaysia and their fire prone fatories.

Unions do nothing more that assure those who actually produce the product, get their fair share of it.

FYI - Unions broke down the Iron curtain of Communism -- not all the bombs, guns, tanks, ships and planes could ever buy.
Why do you think Unions are out-lawed in COMMUNIST China.

Sandy, UT

Many people have no idea how unions work or operate. It is illegal for unions to use dues or working assessments for political activity. Yet many individuals have commented here, claims it happens all the time. Where is your proof?

As far as pensions go it is federal law they have to be funded to a certain level. If the pension is underfunded the members either have to take a cut in pay and contribute that to the pension, ask the employer to contribute more money per hour(which will never happen) or reduce the monthly pension benefit.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Hilarious! Utterly hilarious!

Hilarious how this letter writer cleverly omitted the fact that Hostess went through 7 different CEOs in 10 years. Each CEO gave himself and his cronies bonuses while running their company further into the ground. Yes, workers took hits. Millions in pensions were lost prior to filing for bankruptcy.

While workers saw losses in their salaries, pensions, health benefits, and jobs, the CEOs saw bonuses.

And this letter writer has the gall to blame "the unions?"

The problem with America isn't with unions or with "workers." The problem with America are the get rich fast schemes which attract our CEOs. CEOs who care more about making a quick and easy buck and less about actually building and growing a company.

Unions aren't a threat.

Greedy and incompetent CEOs are.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

I've never been a big fan of unions. But I do recognize their necessity. If businesses really want to make unions unnecessary, they could simply practice better management and insist on fair pay. Unions only exist because of abusive management practices. This isn't rocket science.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Every trade, skill, profession, association, occupation, preference, race, religion, age and every other group of people can be classified as a union. People unite to increase their influence over their world. There’s strength in numbers.

The reason workers unions are so demonized and hated is because they threaten and can effect the profits of the rich and powerful.

Contrary to the propaganda of business, a union of scalawags who live off the labor of others, workers unions are no more dishonest, cruel or evil than the other groups of people on this world.

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