Symposium 2012: With recent developments in Michigan, are unions going to become obsolete?

Sydney: Unions have certainly been under fire lately. The recent events in Michigan have greatly weakened the power of unions and it seems likely that this will continue. Many politicians are also critical of unions, especially on the Republican side. It almost seems that the unions have become a scapegoat for the state of the U.S economy with claims they are holding big business (among other things) to ransom. However, unions are important because they protect workers’ rights and help ensure they receive fair pay.

Many people are also leaving unions where they have the choice because they believe that union demands and a lack of willingness to compromise has led to companies having to declare bankruptcy. However, it is virtually impossible for one person to negotiate and receive the same rights as a union can with its level of organization and weight of numbers. Unions will continue to weaken but there will come a point where many workers will believe that their rights have been eroded too far and they will decide that they need a union to stand up for them.

Michigan: Being raised in Michigan I understand how accepted and strong labor unions were. I think that unions at one time were needed. We now have many agencies and laws to protect workers. Unions may have played a part in the loss of our manufacturing in the U.S.. After the recent vote in Michigan unions were very weakened. It is just a matter of time that we will see the end of the unions.
Cartwright: I’m not sure that unions will ever be totally obsolete or will ever disappear, but I do wish they would go away. They’ve outlived their usefulness. They were developed at a time when there were no laws or regulations pertaining to worker safety, and they served a useful purpose about a hundred years ago. Now, we got plenty of regulation regarding workplace safety, and unions have become economic terrorists, holding companies hostage by threatening to strike in order to extort more money from the company.

And I’ve got to say that I often wonder about the mentality of people in unions. Do they not realize that someone is getting rich off their union dues they pay each month? It’s just a vast business enterprise, and the workers just keep giving their hard-earned dollars to the union bosses and machines. The union is there to take the money but how many workers ever get to cash in on the union dues? Does the union help members who are facing foreclosure? Haven’t heard about that. Did the union save the workers’ jobs at Hostess? Nope. Did the unions save the jobs in the steel industry? No. Where’s the union when you need them? I mean, really, you’ve got to be pretty much brain dead to belong to a union in this day and age. But if you look at the kind of people in the unions, you’ll see that they’re predominantly supporters of a progressive socialist agenda so it’s no surprise they lack the mental capacity to understand they’re being taken advantage of.

RMC3: I agree that unions have outlived their usefulness. They’re just absurd in this day and age. Look at what happened after Superstorm Sandy. Non-union utility workers from the South go up to New York to volunteer their services in the clean up and get turned away by the union workers. And how did the union labor work out for the people that were affected by Sandy? Not very well from what I understand. Let’s get rid of the unions and let the free markets determine the appropriate wage level for screwing in a screw or putting a bolt or nut on a car.

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