June 15th, 2011
04:05 PM ET

What does the future hold for organized labor?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Wisconsin's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a law that limits the collective bargaining rights of most state employees does not violate the state constitution. It's a major victory for Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The decision limits the ability of most of the state's public employees to bargain over their wages. Raises now will be limited to inflation unless voters approve other pay increases. Also, public employees will be required to contribute close to 6% of their salaries to their pensions and pay more than 12% of their health care premiums.

Thousands of union backers camped out in the Wisconsin Legislature earlier this year in an attempt to stop a vote on the measure. Fourteen Democratic state senators fled the state, and their duties as elected officials, in support. But the measure passed anyway.

The collective bargaining ruling in Wisconsin is yet another sign that organized labor is losing its power in this country. In a very different case in Seattle, the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of the machinists union is alleging aircraft maker Boeing moved jobs from union factories in Washington state to a new nonunion plant in South Carolina in order to save money. The NLRB says Boeing moved to South Carolina to get back at unionized workers in Washington who have previously gone on strike. The NLRB wants to limit Boeing's growth to Washington state. Boeing and the South Carolina politicians disagree and call the case an attack on job creation.

It's a hard sell to defend these unions in such a tight economy. We've got a 9.1% unemployment rate in this country.. Many Americans haven't gotten a raise in years. Others have seen their hours cut back and are making less today than they were a few years ago. In this economy, you have to wonder if these unions can ever regain the power they once held.

Here’s my question to you: What does the future hold for organized labor?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Alex in New York, New York:
Unions need to globalize. Labor is now a global market and, unless unions can expand their reach to affect the global market for labor, nothing they do here in the U.S. will result in anything except more jobs lost overseas.

Marcelo in Los Angeles, California:
Unions are outdated, plain and simple. Our country has so many fair labor laws in place to protect the American worker; today's labor unions are tantamount to cutting off your own hand to spite your arm.

Richard in Oak Harbor, Washington:
Corporate executives have betrayed the workforce that made them successful. Outsourcing American jobs to developing nations is an effective union busting strategy. Without jobs to unionize, there is no future for labor unions.

Dave in Herndon, Virginia:
Hard to say. If the Republicans gain power, organized labor is done, along with living wages, access to healthcare and the little things, like hope.

Just as after the Great Depression when the unions were needed to save the lives of the working poor, the unions will be necessary to save the lives of the working poor because of the current great depression.

Paul in Nova Scotia:
If what is going on up here in Canada is any indication, they are self destructing. I believe that organized labor should start to redefine themselves in order to match up with the times. The old way is done. Our Postal Union is about to become a thing of the past because they don't have the smarts to see the handwriting on the wall and bargain with some sense.

Jeff in Bishop, Georgia:
Mr. Cafferty, I have no issue for or against unionization for the private sector, but I hope the organized labor in the public sector becomes as obsolete as Anthony Weiner's soon-to-be irrelevant political career.

Mark in Oklahoma City:
Jack, your question is sort of a moot point. How can we form unions around jobs that don't exist?

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. Russ in PA

    If we had a free market system, organized labor – and corporations – would not have special privileges. Would not have special rules giving them advantages over other businesses or persons. In other words, if we had a free market system, both the corporations and the labor unions would have competition.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    June 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  2. Bob Kobs

    Organized labor has a bright future. It is our only line of defence against predatory corporations; predatory capitalism. You think corporations and republicans care for anyone but profits?

    June 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
  3. Tom in Desoto, TX

    The effort of big business with the supports of many in Congress continue it's onslaught on what is the shrinking middle class. Wages and career opportunities continue to shrink as jobs flee our country. Union wages have traditionally been the economic force in increasing non-union wages. As this onslaught continues there will be more people in poverty at an increasing rate.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  4. Brad, Portland, OR

    Republicans have crushed unions in private industry with the "right to work" laws they've purchased in states across the country, and now they're doing the same with unions in the public sector.

    And for the most part, Democrats are too wimpy to do anything about it.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  5. Ed from Texas

    With apologies to Monty Python: Other than weekends off, vacation, sick leave, health care, safe working conditions, and giving rise to a middle class in this country, what did unions ever do for us?

    June 15, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  6. Kevin SD CA

    What does the future hold for organized labor?

    Organized government labor or private sector labor?

    If we are talking about government labor it needs to be seen for what it is; and that is, glorified welfare not middle class values!

    All organized labor needs to start holding itself to production standards and end results which actually deserve the benefits that they are demanding.

    It enrages me that organized labor supports Mexican slave labor from the open borders, and then demands entitlements for not competing in the real world!

    June 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  7. Gary H. Boyd

    Unions are the result of the philosphy that there's strength in numbers and there was a time when that actually applied because it gave the common man a place at the table. However, with an enormous pool of unemployed out there today, management can tolerate loss of large numbers and simply hire replacements without missing a stroke. I'd say unions are like the dinosaur that got so big it didn't realize it had lost its tail.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    June 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  8. lou

    If the republicans get their way, there will be no future for organized labor. Corporations will rule paying us what they want, taking away health care, and weasling out of retirement packages. The old union jingle..'Always look for, the union label...it shows we make in the USA.' will be replaced with, 'you're on your own, baby.'

    June 15, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  9. Paul From Austin Texas

    Organized labor will regain an important part of the american dream. When companies realize in the end the U.S. worker is still more productive and takes less time off then only the slave and prison labor China has.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  10. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    The middle class is realizing what business has known all along. There is strength in numbers. Unionizing will restore a living wage, pensions, safe working conditions. Our grandparents did it. We can too.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  11. Greg in Arkansas

    I remember the days when only the husband worked and on one salary, a family could afford a home, two cars, summer vacation, medical care and a little spare cash for emergencies....all... with only a high school diploma.

    Then, Labor Unions became a dirty word. Corporations convinced workers that because some unions were corrupt, all unions acted against their best interest....so....instead of ending the corruption in unions, we ended unions by relocating union jobs to other states for cheaper wages, off-shored those same jobs to another country for still cheaper wages or imported foreign workers willing to work for less pay than American workers.....all the time blaming unions.

    Today, American companies are sitting on nearly 2 trillion dollars (cash) that they are unwilling to invest in either new products or new jobs while they enjoy the lowest tax rate in history.....BUT....they cannot seem to make the connection between better wages and higher sales.

    If the trend of Lower Wages = Smaller Economy is not reversed by business and people can no longer afford to feed their family, organized labor will be back with a vengeance.....or....we will join the ranks of the other 3rd world economies.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  12. Conor in Chicago

    So long as the Corportists control the media, government, and simple minded among us, there is no future for organized labor. Organized labor is designed to reign in the access of corporate wealth by banding together to demand all things necessary to live a decent life like fair pay and fair working conditions. So long as the intellectually deformed among us allow the Ayn Randians to make the them believe that giving them more power will totally just work out for them this Orwellian nightmare will continue to get worse.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  13. MNResident

    Labor unions have their place in many places, like team sports and relatively unskilled labor in dangerous positions like mining as they fight for safety and health issues. HOWEVER, if the fight is ALL about the money (especially if it is taxpayer money), then it is time to realize that our country just may not have that much money to throw at things anymore.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  14. David in Tampa

    Looks about the same as the rest of the working people in this country DISMAL; followed shortly thereafter by third world like poverty. I hope neither happens but given the politics du jour a likely occurrence.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  15. Dave, Orlando, FL

    A deep dark hole into which organized labor will be pushed. I despise labor unions, but they are a necessary evil that keeps overbearing corporations in check. Both need to balance each other so that neither gains too much power. I the 50’s and 60’s labor held the upper hand. Today the company has its way with labor, thanks to the crooks in Congress and the current arch conservative Supreme Court which always looks kindly (and with an extremely biased eye) toward corporate interests regardless of how unconstitutional and how contrary to US values they rule.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  16. John from Alabama

    Jack: I believe there will be an increase in Union membership, because of the Governor of Wisconsin's actions against teachers and state employees in Wisconsin. Unions have been willing to neogiate under collective bargaining before going on strike or other work stoppage measures. Today, Unions have seen the light, and it is not at the end of the tunnel. Unions will be more prepared to take actions that may seem counter productive at the time, but can be blamed on the Republican Governor of Wisconsin.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  17. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Unions are a thing of the past. There are 23 or more right to work states in America and the Unions can not compete there. They have out priced themselves to the point of extinction. Companies can no longer afford to pay all the benefits unions require of them and still make a profit in America. They are leaving by the droves for countries with cheaper labor and less restrictive government regulations. What few companies there are left in America are becoming leaner and meaner. The sad part is all those people that paid dues for all those years to Union's will be left standing by the side of the road as the rest of America moves on down it to greener pastures.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  18. diridi

    Unions are fine and protected by law, but not their wages....look, with these unions, hourly wage is 28 dollars...shame.....even no worker in America get that much amount....shame....we need to fix these problems....it is the reason, they shifted to South Carolina. Boeng is supposed to be in washington state...o.k,

    June 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  19. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, I have no issue for or against unionization for the private sector, but I hope the organized labor in the public sector becomes as obsolete as Anthony Weiner's soon-to-be irrelevant political career.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  20. Steve, from NY

    Organized labor unions suck. They are good for the people they represent after they milk the members money as dues.
    The problem is that they milk the people that are not members of the union. Those people see their property taxes go up and up every year, mainly in States like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. to pay the union workers.
    The other problem is the union members are not hard workers at least the ones that I was exposed to. I'm sure there are exceptions. As an example the local government workers work from 9:00AM to 5:00PM with a 1 hour lunch. As soon as the clock hits 5:00PM they're gone. If they have to work overtime, that's a killer. They want double pay for that. They don't have to make big decisions because if it's a wrong decision, they will get criticised. Therefore it's better not to make any big decisions because there is no consequence.
    Look at all the companies that have no union representation, they are more successful as compared to union companies. There is no incentive for union workers to do well as compared to non union workers. There is also no incentive for a union worker to do more, above of what is required of him because it's not part of his job description.
    The big problem currently, the unions are supporting Democratic politicians with dues that they collect from Republican paying members. Basically these union thugs are like organized crime, they collect protection money. That's why the unions are not popular. If they did their job like they are suppose to, more people would join the unions. So yes the future of unions are bleek unless they improve their image.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  21. JK (Minnesota)

    First off before I answer, I am not a union member. I would hope it remains with less of the greed some have shown. Without it, those persons who so strongly dislike them may find themselves being treated the way the Republican governors are treating organized labor – less pay, less benefits, less concern for worker safety, etc. That's the part that non union workers don't seem to understand.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  22. Jayne

    If many more of our jobs our outsourced, there won't be a need for labor unions. I'm glad I'm not a young person in this country.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  23. Paul E

    If what is going on up here is any indication they are self destructing. I believe that organized labor shoud get their head out of you know where and start to redefine themselves match up with the times. The old way is done. Our Postal Union is about to become a thing of the past because they don't have the smarts to see the handwriting on the wall and bargin with some sense.

    Paul E
    Nova Scotia, Canada

    June 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  24. Peg in NY

    Hard tellin', not knowin', Jack!

    June 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  25. Tina Tx

    Jack it is not only organized labor but all of us who will suffer. When people keep voting in the Republicans all American workers will pay the price. The Republicans want to keep busting unions and regular pay back to minimum wages if they can get away with it and then have the worker scraping by while they live high off the hog. I am tired of telling people to quit voting for the Republicans. People have to be shown and along the way I suffer for their ignorance.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  26. Ken from Pinon Hills. California

    Big money with help of the Republican party, will eventually kill America's labor unions.
    It looks bad for a working population too ignorant to understand organized labor helped create the most prosperous standard of living in the world. A standard that produced a economically vibrant middle class that filled the coffers in the marketplace. Wages and benefit packages elevated America's standard of living for all workers, and for not only union workers.
    It bodes ill for the future of our country that may resemble third world countries where the masses live in poverty to the pleasure of the wealthy.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  27. Scott in Bellingham

    Organized Labor must contract to survive. Having overreached, Organized Labor will now pay the price, wither away.

    Some workers may elect to retain their unions, that is their prerogative, but may be at a disadvantage by doing so.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  28. pat in Michigan

    Well It has been under attack since Guilds were formed in the olden days of craftsmen.
    Where ever you Have a system where greed is the overiding driver you will have a worker/owner conflict.
    Unless I am mistaken The former head of the federal reserve made the statement that "Unions provide a stablizing factor in the wage /benefit part of the equation."
    The Problem started when certain political mouthpieces for business owners started to demonize the union movement. At the same time the unions were asking for over the top benefit packages.
    Ultimately ,responsible representatives must negotiate a mutually benficial and balanced agreement that will be a win /win for both sides.

    June 15, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  29. Joan G

    They are about 10% of workers today – and their pensions are bankrutping States. Guess I'll give them 5 yrs and they will be gone.
    Joan G

    June 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  30. JENNA

    What does the future hold for organized labor?

    I hope that it Organized Labor will grow again. I seriously don't understand why people are buying the LIES about it hook, line, and sinker.

    Guess we all forgot what Unions did for ALL of us. You know like a 40 hour work week, a minimum wage, protection from bosses, child labor laws, safe working conditions, etc..

    Why the GOP want to destroy UNIONS is beyond me. I guess they are bowing to their "Base" – you know CORPORATIONS. They are obviously more important than Americans.

    Roseville CA

    June 15, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  31. David from Herndon, VA

    Hard to say. If the republicans gain power, organized labor is done, along with living wages, access to healthcare and the little things, like hope.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  32. john

    it depends on how many politions they buy.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  33. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    I fear that the labor movement will continue to decline because the right-wing has been able to drive a wedge between mostly white blue collar union and non-union workers. it seems like non-union workers would rather tear down unions out of spite rather than organising and fighting back for their OWN jobs and benefits.

    the Wall Street Weasels and Corporate Outsourcing Quislings are LAUGHING at so called "Blue Collar Republicans". they are "The Chickens that Vote for Colonel Sanders"

    June 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  34. Dave in Phoenix

    Right now the rich are working to destroy organized labor, and like sheep normal people are blaming low income employees for all of our economic woes. I predict a drop in organized labor for a small time, but once folks realized they have been hoodwinked and we are all slowly becoming wage slaves, they will revolt and organize again.

    In short, it may dwindle down and start to fade away, but it will never die and may come back with a vengence.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  35. Joe CE

    With the loss of geavy industry and blue collar qorkers, organized labor has become impotent. May hang on in education and possibly government while a while but largely insignificant.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  36. Rick McDaniel

    Decline and death.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  37. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I think right now the future for organize labor is bleak the republicans are doing everything in their power to destroy organize labor. But this always runs in cycles. Back in the days of the sweat shops people got fed up and join a union. Then unions became so powerful and corrupt causing people to dislike belonging or joining a union. Now that companies are starting to make their workers do the job of three workers for less money and benefits people will start rethinking belonging to a union.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  38. Gerry

    The original concept of organized labor and the strides it made at the turn of the century are noteworthy. Unfortunately as it gained strength it gained corruption. Todays organized labor has out lived its usefulness. They served as their own assassin. Wisconsin was the leader and many states will follow. Economics will force states to dramatically reduce the influence of labor unions. They just can't afford it. Had this occurred years earlier we might still have Kaiser Steel and SeaTrain two of many that have been destroyed by organized labor.

    Ash Fork, Az.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  39. Sylvia from San Diego, CA

    Organized labor has outlived it usefullness and purpose. I look forward to the day when they are gone. Perhaps then, we can compete in the global economy.....

    June 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  40. Karl in Flint

    At the rate organized labor is being attacked and defeated; I foresee another “Sit down Strike” like the one here in Flint in 1937, only it will be nationwide and shut down both the public and private sectors. It was the downcast attitude of the greedy, primarily Republican, business owners that bought about the original incentive to organize and history will repeat itself. The wealthy makes money on the backs of the working class, but if the working class doesn’t come to work, they lose money and a lot of it. Hopefully they have learned that shipping job overseas severely limits the market for their products in this country if it becomes a banana republic. You can’t sell anything to people that aren’t making a living wage.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  41. Rick in Tucson

    Put a fork in it, it's done. Now, if we could only get the millions of us looking for work some sort of employment, many of us are willing to take the penny's anyone will offer at this point.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  42. Richard Oak Harbor, Wa

    Corporate executives have betrayed the workforce that made them successful. Outsourcing American jobs to developing Nations is an effective union busting strategy for Republicans to capture the lionshare of profit in a growing international market at the expense of the Middle Class. All the wealtiest Americans need is military and police protection from the eventual response of the nuveau poor who were once proud union members. Without jobs to unionize there is no future for Labor Unions.

    June 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  43. Eve of Texas

    The median income of middle and poor classes of Americans has declined as the union membership of unions has declined. Although unions have committed abuses in organizations, they are necessary to counterbalance the abuses of management. If republicans continue to break up unions, the middle class will continue to decrease. What a bunch of sheeple there are in the US. Eve of Texas

    June 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  44. Steve in Michigan

    There's a sucker born every minute.... As long as people are willing to give up fees out of their paychecks for these fat cats .... there will be unions ready to take their money.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  45. Kathie

    I live in Wisconsin where our dictator in chief is destroying unions, giving tax breaks to the rich corporations, undermining education, etc. if the rest of the country does what walker has done our country is finished!

    June 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  46. D.Wilson

    The republicians are trying to destory the unions. If they win the election the unions will be done for. Look at the Republician debate. They want gut the NLRB, for right to work [less], gamble social security away. They say they want to create jobs, what? minium wage. Union jobs offer good wages and HEALTH CARE benifits. Before UNIONS you had the wealthy and poor who had to work long hours in poor conditions just to survive. The UNIONS gave us the 40 Hr work week, overtime pay, and holidays off with out worring about losing your job.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  47. Pete in Georgia

    Organized labor...............UNIONS................are nothing but organized parasites who's time has come..............and gone. They do nothing but steal money from workers who are afraid to work in the market place without a blanket and pacifier; increase the cost of doing business in America; embolden foreign competitors who are laughing all the way to the bank; and last but not least help elect public officials who share in their parasite something for nothing doctrine.

    Beyond pathetic.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  48. Cy Gardner

    Not much better than the future of the US. The rich corporations and Wall Street plunderers won't be happy until the entire country looks like Flint, Mich. How soon before we take "In God We Trust" off the money and replace it with "Will Work For Food". ? Cy Arlington, VA

    June 15, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  49. Loren

    Organized labor faces the same problems as the Democratic and Republican Parties, being held hostage by ideologists bent on forcng through their narrow vision of what works for America. Until they realize that the world has changed, they will continue fighting a losing battle.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  50. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York


    Three things need to occur.
    1. ) Unions need to recognize that their halycon days are long gone and trim benefits
    2. ) The American government needs to reciprocate prohibitive tarriffs on countries doing the same to US exports,
    3. ) US companies need to pay payroll, social security, and FICA taxes on the first $25,000 of every American job outsourced into re-training and education programs for displaced workers.
    Will any of this ever happen in the greatest democracy in the history of the world. Of course not.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  51. sheila

    Organized labor is suffering dramatically and what's unfortunate about this is everyone, union member or not, will have their pay, benefits, hours affected negatively by these changes. However, with everyone making minimum wage or less there won't be too many people able to afford the goods & services these companies offer and the companies will soon be suffering as well. These decisions are bad for workers and the country.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  52. Ram Riva

    Under the GOP?....ABOLISHMENT !!!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  53. Janne from NC

    Nothing I hope. My husband was a member of the UAW until the Ford Plant he worked at was closed down. He and thousands of other workers lost their jobs for no other reason than the completely unrealistic demands the union made on Ford. Please tell me why Ford should pay our legal fees ?! Yet the union made sure they did along with many other stupid things. Now look at those people in SC waiting to go to work at the new Boeing Plant, do you think they feel like the union has helped them ?! Back in the day Unions had a place but NO MORE. They hurt more than they help.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  54. Mike in Minneapolis

    I have never belonged to a union and I have always done all right. On that note, I have a feeling that the reason I have always done all right is because of other people's unions, so I would say that their future is a concern.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  55. Janne from NC

    Jack, why don't you follow up on those GM employees caught drinking and smoking pot on their lunch break. I bet you a days wages they are still employeed at the GM plant because the union makes it IMPOSSIBLE to fire anyone. They make sure there is no accountablility for job performance.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  56. Bubba

    Remember the good old days of 4-5% GNP growth and 4-5% unemployment. Remember when your home was worth three times what it is now? Those were the good old days – the Bush years.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  57. Larry, RI

    Jack, you know that if Republicans keep getting elected there will eventually be NO organized labor. I would be cautious if I were a private sector employee in voting for them. Many of the PRIVATE SECTORS working conditions, hours, etc. are due to the efforts of unions. Instead of realizing this and working WITH the unions for the betterment of their own places of employment, there seems to be an effort to dismantle them. Be careful, you might get what you wish for.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  58. Sean in Michigan

    In the past there have been so many attacks on supposed union "thugs" that went unanswered, no one even bothered to learn why the labor movement started, how it (not the government) created the middle class, and how every single worker, union or not, benefits from it.
    If nothing else, the current political rage is starting a conversation, and eventually these attacks will be seen for what they are – an attack on the middle class. I see the unions getting weaker, but in the end I think they'll be stronger for it in the long term.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  59. Rob in NC

    Why don't we bail them out like we did the banks and auto companies? We got such a good return on our investment for that!! Too many people are out of work and the "everyday" "average" person is stuck because our government could care less about them or their troubles. Rob in NC

    June 15, 2011 at 4:38 pm |

    given the nature of the leaders, who think its all about who you know in govt, and the willingness to advocate for more industrial regurgitated jobs , the kinds of jobs they shake down the democrats for is what gurantees that we have blue collar snobs who have enough money to act bourgosie when they drink the happy hour sours and devour the evolving progress for the wants of unsustainable jobs that undermine our health and destroy our country with desperate measures that still empower the shareholders , who dont work but get the tax breaks the workers dont get, cuz the union leadership is a bunch of sellouts, wanting to imbibe on their own accomodations that come with power

    June 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  61. Iris in L.A.

    Unless we all want to end up with a 'Mac-Job" at McDonalds, Wal-Mart or someplace similar, any one who is an employee of any company, should be supporting unions 110%. They are our only hope for increased wages, benefits and job security.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  62. Sandstone.

    "Was just thinking! About 45-minutes ago I bought another jacket from the thrift-store, and you would be surprised (or would you?) about the amount of goods that are made in South America and sold in North America. Organised labor covers the globe, not just the USA, and factories produce on the smallest piece of dirt they don't have to lease, or pay tax for, of any kind!"

    June 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  63. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Union membership was on a long decline until Republican Gov. Scott Walker over-reached and raised awareness of what organized labor had accomplished. I'll bet that union membership begins to increase again as workers fight to keep those accomplishments. Most folks agree weekends, the 40 hour week and workplace safety are generally good things.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  64. dave in nashville

    Bright future for the union bosses, bleak for the ones paying their dues. They are absolutely part of the reason manufacturing moved either out of state or the country.

    But they took good care of themselves, just like congress, and the worker gets screwed again. Sickening.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  65. Mark in Oklahoma City

    Jack, your question is sort of a moot point. How can we form unions around jobs that don't exist?

    June 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  66. Sandstone.

    "You see I know Wisconsin is a large Textile State!"

    June 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  67. David

    Wish we can do the same in California. The combined pension and salariesof State Workers surpasses anyone in the private sector when factoring in the unemployed. California State Workers have job security and have a hiring process slanted to interdepartmental transfers first. They should have a 401K retirement plan just like the private sector, instead, through CalPERS, the taxpayers provide a guaranteed bailout to them on any looses in investment returns. This is unheard of in the private sector. The upper 1/3rd wage tier of California State Workers make between $100-250,000 per year per person. The median salary is $65,000 per year without the benefits and pensions. Today, we have a 2 class society between the well-to-do public sector employee and the struggling private sector workers, yes, college degrees included.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  68. webster

    Public service unions are a conflict of interest.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  69. John MacDonald

    Jack When the union go then company will quickly cut employee's wages so that the bottom line get fatter. we will be back to will the company's controled our lives. union need to think about the future, but the workes need to remember the past.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  70. Union supporter

    Union's are the main driving force for wages in this country and without them we have seen the middle class income stagnate while the super rich in this country get all that much more affluent.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  71. Jeff of Peoria

    Unions are outdated. People are getting the salaries and benefits that the market will bear anyway. The only difference is their RIGHT to pay union dues.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  72. Mark

    If you are worth any grain of salt, you don't need a union. Unions are political clouts now for the Democratic Party. I use to be a member of the IAM in Puget Sound, Wa. State. I declared myself a "non member" and instead of paying dues to the union which supported Democratic party legislators, I sent my dues to Guide Dogs of America in Ca.
    I didn't want a dime going to the Democratic party.
    Unions are destroying the educational system in this country. If you don't see it, you're blind and an idiot. Tell my why a college educated teacher needs a union for representation?

    June 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  73. thoremann

    Just when I think I could not hate this country anymore, something else is always there. Fareed Zakaria is right, The wealthy will be fine because they will still make money from offshore plants. But we will have nothing–no salaries and no beneftis, in a country that does not want to provide health care. And there will be no one to protect us or speak for us. The Republicans have succeeded in destroying organized labor. (Add this to your question about violence Jack.)

    June 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  74. Bill

    If unions survive, the US economy will fail. Unions served a purpose in the past but we have plenty of laws and regulations (many thanks to unions) in place to protect workers today. Unions negotiate unsustainable benefits for today's workers that cause businesses to ship jobs overseas so there are no jobs for tomorrow's workers. On top of that the FILO policies and the inability to fire workers is ridiculous.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  75. Damon

    We actually need it because companies use layoffs and the bad economy to threaten current employees but the big bonuses for higher ups continues. How is it they can find money for bonuses for the higher ups but not the regular employess or continue to hirer workers?

    June 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  76. dennis in pa.

    no future! the jobs will just go overseas. i worked in a clothing factory that went bankrupt due to overseas products. if the owners or boards of companies/governments can't keep costs down then the unions wont have any members left to pay them. my dealings with unions have been dissappointing. i have only seen them help keep bad employees employed. if you look at the strongest unions they represent very rich sports players. millionaires fighting for more millions! the little man gets the shaft always! unions are done in the u.s.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  77. Gerald (Tampa, FL)

    There are hardly any jobs left so what's to say about labor unions? If unions want to be a part of the solution to tackle high un-employment, then by all means I support them. If all they want is a pay-check of their own, they need to take a number.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  78. Ron Lafond


    Unions along with collective bargaining was a necessity when employers in industrial mills exploited workers resulting in child labor laws and occupational safety rules. Such is not the case today with the SEIU (state) and AFGE (the federal union) labor leaders whose purposes are to extract pay concessions and retirement benefits from weak middle managers adding to the cost of federal and state budgets only to plough back their contributions to politicians to perpetuate this corrupt practice.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  79. John ....... Marlton, NJ

    Organized labor has evolved from collective bargainning to legaized extortion and strong arming. We've watched the demise of american manufacturing and are witnessesing the failure of our public education system, all at the hands of labor unions.

    The most telling of labors future was President Reagan's response to the Air Traffic Controllers strike ... sadly we've lacked a leader with such foresight since.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  80. Christian

    I think unions will always need to be around to keep businesses, mainly large corporations, from exploiting labor. Today, many people enjoy paid time off, vacation time etc. because unions fought for them. I think if they were to disappear, greed and the ever pressing need to produce would show it's ugly face in the form of management abusing their employees. Adjusted for inflation the middle class' wages have been flat for a very long time while the rich got wealthier over the same period. There's not much of a trickle down effect going on which is why workers must stay together to push up the standard of living.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  81. swin

    Beginning with President Reagan, big government, big corporations, and big wealth have waged a war against organized labor. As a result, the share of the nation's wealth that the working man has been allowed to keep has been declining. There is now more wealth in the hands of fewer people in this country than at any time since the Great Depression. Now that there are no consumers left and the nation is buckling under the debt load that resulted from trying to maintain a moderate standard of living for everyone, the nation is on the verge of collapse. So who do we blame? The unions? Are you kidding? You got it all backwards. It is not the little power that organized labor has left that is causing our economic problems. What is causing our problems is that organized labor, aka the working stiff aka the little guy, has virtually no power left. NAFTA was the final destruction of the working man. Ask yourself one question – In the 1950's when organized labor helped to guarantee a fair wage for all working people in America, when there were protective tariffs that protected our domestic industry and prevented our workers from having to compete with the third world, when most workers had health coverage where they worked, would there have been any need for socialism and Obamacare?

    June 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  82. Marcelo - Los Angeles

    Unions are outdated – plane and simple. Our country has so many fair labor laws in place to protect the American worker; today's labor unions are tantamount to cutting off your own hand to spite your arm.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  83. mame from montana

    jJack if they break the unions as they are tying to do. The big companys will again own the stores,and housing. people will again be only paid enough to pay these bills. There will be no middle class. However, that is just exactly what big money is working toward.
    Sad but true.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  84. abby, texas

    Even in bad times unions have are vital. People seem to forget what life was like for workers before unions. A refresher for you and your viewers, Jack: The Ludlow Massacre resulted in the violent deaths of 19 people during an attack by the Colorado National Guard on a tent colony of 1,200 striking coal miners and their families at Ludlow, Colorado on April 20, 1914. The deaths occurred after a day-long fight between strikers and the Guard. Two women and eleven children were asphyxiated and burned to death. Three union leaders and two strikers were killed by gunfire, along with one child, one passer-by, and one National Guardsman.
    Sadly, the future for organized labor is going to be what the GOP wants and what the corporations want, and the GOP will ensure that workers will be wage slaves working for corporations that will wield even more power over their employees.
    Enough said?

    June 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  85. Mike

    Unions were created at a time when there were very little protections for the worker. Those times are past. We now have laws on the books that protect the worker.

    I see bumper stickers that read "Out of a Job? Keep buying foreign." Well, foreign offers comparable products at a lower price. If our union workers got paid what they do in non-union shops, the price of goods would go down.

    Unions are out-dated and currently useless.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  86. Paul Laska

    When we note compensation increases each year barely keeping up with the cost of living index, a dilution of medical benefits, the elimination of other perks such as defined benefit plans, is precisely the time “selling” labor unions become paramount. I believe there is little argument that we’ve seen business’s in general have the upper hand as it relates to compensation, benefits, hiring, etc…and it will take a collective effort to right the shift. Labor unions can potentially play a viable role..

    Unions have most certainly lost their power base, however, I see Wisconsin as a battle ground state from which will usher in a new era of renewed emphasis on a shift of the power balance in the work force of today.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  87. max in ny

    The future looks bleak for our unions, environment and economy. One minute- they're top news and people care, and a few weeks later they're forgotten and Weiner's wiener and the Casey trial become top stories.

    The masses are always attracted to these sex/murder stories...I wonder if they'll ever wake up and care about real issues.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  88. mike, oregon

    unions don't seem to recognize I should have the freedom not to join a union and have part of my salary confiscated as a condition of employment.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  89. Bob

    Politicians are the union’s worst enemy. Politicians are the ones who devised the format and tax shelters for corporations to move off shore. Politicians are the ones who favored and encouraged corporations to move their manufacturing offshore, for political clout in those countries, etc….

    Once the exodus began, there was no stopping it. Now look, as a nation we are broke, heavily in dept, the future is dismal, the manufacturing industry and the other peripheral business are gone, and we have become a weaker nation for this.

    What’s the solution, until we obtain competent politicians, we as a people and nation are doomed? Vote all incumbents out of office and send a message to these fools – we have had enough of your self-centered cowardness!

    June 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  90. Anthony Cusumano


    Hopefully the future has no place for them.....I work with them in the Hotel industry and they are a complete disgrace! Try getting them to move a table that is maybe 5 ft pass there work area and you have to deal with a uneducated shop steward dictating labor law they he just read off of Google! They have hijacked the good workers of America.


    June 15, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  91. Scott

    The more unions are busted the more freedoms we loose and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer business as usual in the good ole USA. Eventually people will wake up and see we the American worker have been sold out in the name of profits. If nobody has money to purchase the products these companies make more and more jobs will go away .

    June 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  92. Peter McMahon


    Organized labor needs to realize their relevence ended in the 1950's They have as much to do with Americas demise as the bankers on wallstreet.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  93. Bryan, Colorado

    Clearly they're support will continue to dissappear. They seem to ignore the fact federal, state and local goverments are broke. 12% of this nations work force are union and and 88% are not. Sounds like a small special interest group to me. They use nonunion minimum wage workers to picket for them in the heat and cold. They lie to us and the list goes on. Can't wait for unions to become extinct.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  94. Bob

    The future for organized lbor isn't much different from that of most groups in this country, other than politicians and those connected to wealth which, often, they did nothing towards creating. Grim. When greed, complacency, narcissism, and amorality rule, society as a whole sinks. Many governmnt workers and ex-military members receive far too generous pensions and benefits, but, at the same time, those hell bent on destroying the middle class and public education, including most republicans, whether for personal gain or based on crack-pot ideologies, and generally both, aren't helping. Perhaps only a serious calamity can bring this country back to its senses. Good luck. If I am ever able to, I'll flee. Tired of the rudeness, coarseness, violence, and amorality that has taken over the very different country that I grew up in.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  95. josh

    First, and unions are more of a pain than benefit.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  96. Peikovian

    Unions push non-union workers to the unemployment line. Unions slow down productivity and discourage investment in their companies. All of this adds to inflation, which hurts workers everywhere. The myth is that wages would never be where they are without unions. The truth is that wages rise as companies compete for good workers, and fall as these companies fall. Detroit's auto makers and Hollywood's "runaway productions" are great examples of how to wreck an industry with artificial demands. LOS ANGELES, CA

    June 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  97. Devon Thomas McGuire Cook

    Organized Labor's power is no longer waning, it is waxing. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling was harshly criticized by it's Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson for being highly politicized, and the pendulum of power is swinging back to the Democrats and Organized Labor in my great state.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  98. Jessica, Sparta, NJ

    Jack, the future doesn't bode well for union members and the general population. I'm a union worker and I have only had one raise since 2005 and that was when I switched jobs. Unions help stand up for the rights of workers. The late 90's and 2000's were a "lost decade" for wages and benefits. Most Americans saw an actual loss in wages and bennies when you factor in inflation, all inflation not just the "core" inflation. Were going down hill and the companies are just pitting the working class against each other.

    June 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm |

    I got to say, as a federal employee, I contibute 12% of my salary for retirement and currently pay 35% of my health care premiums with the threat from our gov't looming over my head of having to pay 50% in the near future and a pay freeze for possibly 5 years. On top of that we are not allowed to bargain or strike.
    I'm not for busting unions, but i find it hard to have a whole lot of sympathy for them right now.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  100. David in Florida

    American workers are smarter and more skilled today than the more unskilled and nearly illiterate European immigrant workers of 70-90 yrs ago. The job of organized labor leaders could best be served in Mexico, Eastern and Southeastern Asia. If those leaders can effectively increase the cost of manufacturing overseas, then maybe our US companies could be convinced to bring those jobs back to America. And if the AFL-CIO can bring a better work environment to Mexico, there would be fewer illegals coming to America.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  101. Ken

    Many of the original reasons for unions has be codified into law limiting the need for them. And every time a union strikes in order to get more benefits, they are viewed more negatively as doing so for themselves over all other Americans. Unless they adjust to the modern world, they will continue to shrink and decline into insignificance.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  102. Pat

    There is no future for organized labor or for the middle class in this country, Jack. For anyone new to the job market, I would recommend moving to a more advanced country and starting your job search there.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  103. Rich in Texas (The Job State)

    Unions are a lot like government. They just can't stop seeking more power and growing for the sake of growing. In todays world as a country we have to realize that we are competing against other countries for EVERYTHING. Comprimise is required and the unions stopped compromising a long time ago. I am a small businees owner and I just can't afford them if I want to compete. There is a reason I moved from California to Texas. It was the only way my business could survive.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  104. Judy D

    Hopefully they will all soon be a thing of the past, as will the effects they've had on state budgets, private companies and our education system.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  105. Scott

    Organized labor has been unwillingly to face the reality that there is a market for labor and that the price of labor must be flexible to compete in the labor market. By insisting that wages and benefits must always increase, unions eventually price themselves out leading to jobs going overseas while public employee unions do not flex wages, etc with declines in government revenues. Unless unions adjust to these realities their future is bleak in the new world order.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  106. Eshu

    While I understand the need for finding ways to address economic trouble, I am discouraged by the fact that long-term worker's rights–not their benefits, their rights–can be permanently abridged. I can accept certain limitations on state employees who are paid directly by taxpayer money in order to balance the budget. But since this law goes farther and makes it harder to maintain unions, it signals a potential end to the kind of bargaining power that brought us such basic expectations as 40-hour works weeks and overtime. How many of those rights will be retrenched before unions regain their strength? Not in my lifetime, and I fear the losses in rights–not benefits, rights–to come.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  107. Anna from Illinois


    In the past, unions have fought for the 40-hour work week, overtime, safe working conditions and competitive wages and benefits not only for their members, but all working people. Today, unions are the only things standing between workers and the corporate oligarchy that is taking over this country. The Fox News-watching public needs to wake up and realize that right-to-work states like South Carolina are simply right-to-work-for-less-than-everybody-else states. We need to support all unions and union members, or pretty soon, these Republicans will have us working for 80+ hours a week for about $1.00 a day until we are either 80 years old or DEAD!

    June 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  108. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Ontario)

    At the moment, organized labour, with its insistance on always wanting "more", is just as destructive to America as is the sole current corporate goal of "maximizing shareholder value".
    Eventually, I hope, unions will lose their greed and evolve into protecting the workers from employer abuses, and corporations will change their goal into something like "managing the corporation for the benefit of the shareholders, the workers, the communities in which the plants and offices are situated, and America as a whole".
    If both change their main focus, then surprisingly, organized labour and corporations will actually work together to improve America.
    Oddly, massive improvements to America would also occur if Democrats and Republicans worked together to pass sensible compromises.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  109. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    Unions are a part of the problem of why the economy is the way it is today. You can't get blood out of a stone. NLRB should be happy Boeing took the jobs to South Carolina rather than China or India. Whatever happened to Free Enterprise? Unions made such out of sight demands on so many companies that they left the country. They are responsible for putting many people out of work. When the economy is this bad people are satisfied to even have a job to feed their familiies. A half of loaf of bread is better than none. The unions will never be as powerful as they once were because the economy just can't support their unrealistic demands.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  110. harry

    when I lived in california the supermarket union workers (who got paid a lot of money) would go on strike to get more money. This all kept the prices high at grocerie stores. when I moved to Florida I was amazed at how much lower the prices were at the grocery stores. I think unions break the backs of consumers with outrageous pay to unskilled employees, setbacks when they go on strike and all stores are closed and High prices to meet those demands. As long as we have unions we will never overcome the savage beating the Chinese are applying to use at this moment. Soon nobody will have anything because of ridicules union demands.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  111. John Johnson


    Unions had a time and place in the history of this country. That time has come and gone. Their day, and their effectiveness, is over. Good workers don't need Unions. It's the lazy majority who hide behind them.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  112. frank

    Unions killed The steel industry and almost killed the auto industry. Now they are killing government jobs and education. They just can't seem to ween themselves off of union dues.

    We are better off without them.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  113. Ed from MD

    More people complaining about their pay right at home rather than going to meetings to complain.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  114. Baba

    I can't think of a single industry that has benefited from unionization. The inevitable outcome, while it may mean higher pay and benefits for a time, is reduced competitiveness and fewer jobs in the long run. Think steel, automobiles, airlines, newspapares; the list goes on and on.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  115. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville Texas

    Disoranization! Why should someone get paid more doing the same job just because their in a union? Why should public employee's have any advantage over those who pay taxes and therefore their wages? Why should we be saddled with poor performers who have job security because of a union card? Welcomne to the real world folks.
    Why shouldn't Boeing go to where labor is less restraining? It's a free country isn't it? It sounds like union folks have bitten the hand that fed them a few times too many and that hand has hand enough.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  116. The Mudshark in Oregon

    There is no future for labor, period. Unless you are one of the top 400 (who control more than half the wealth of this country), you and your offspring have only slavery and indentured servitude to anticipate. If our fearless leaders (D or R) have their way, the middle class will be non-existant within 20 years. Bring on the new world order, comrades, I'm retiring in Mexico soon.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  117. jeff spraul

    organized labor is more important than ever. Every working person feels pressured on everyside on everything from working longer, harder, and for less money. Corporations have a belief that workers exist on behalf of the company and that workers are a replaceable commodity. I believe that the workers typically are the resource that make a corporation successful or not. Every worker has by now heard the phrase " needs of the business dictate ".......... how about the needs of a working mother or father? Who can help me? Organized Labor is the only resource I have to stand up the corporate greed........

    June 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  118. Sara

    As a unionized teacher I'm tired of being the scapegoat for the non-unionized workers. I haven't recieved a pay raise or even a COLA in 4 years. Government employees are not the over paid gluttons that we are portrayed as.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  119. ramses

    Much too much power to the organized labor & others will result in high wages & benefits. US is no longer competetive in this world & jobs will go to low labor countries. We are a free maket enterprize country & the corporations have a right to take jobs any place they like. Jobs will be outsourced, jobs will be lost in the US, tax collection will come down, more deficit and a bankrupt country.Greed has to stop, spending by US govt has to come down, we need to balance the budget by crating more jobs. Simpler life style need to kick in.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  120. JFS

    Hopefully it will get stronger. Especially when analyze why all of these politicians and corporations scream Socialists of organized Labor. Fact is, the fastest growing global economy, one of the biggest US destinations for Manufacturing Outsourcing, one of the largest global investment choices(including US Corps & WallStreet)..is a country called the United Socialist Republic of China. Guess no one has time for historic research any longer. Thank you technology and ignorance.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  121. Glen

    Well since my raise will be tied to inflation, I will never make any more money than I am right now. The Wisconsin DPI has a requirement that I have continuing education credits, which I have to pay for out of pocket. I pay buy supplies for the classroom out of my pocket. When you consider grading papers and planning lessons, I work at least 50 hours a week. I now have more children in my class than ever before and with the passage of the IDEA act I have a more challenging class make up than ever before. Now on top of all that I am being told that I am lazy, underworked and overpaid. There are problems with the union protecting people who I call paycheck collectors and asking for ridiculous items. But overall to make teachers a scapegoat for the budget problem and take away our ability to negotiate things like class sizes and working conditions it a recipe for disaster in public education. There is much more to this attack on unions, this is an attempt to eliminate the Democratic Party which receives much of its donations from unions as the Republican party does from businesses. This “budget” bill is wrong and mean spirited and Governor Walker should be ashamed of himself for divisiveness he has brought to our state.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  122. Joe from Brigantine, NJ

    It certainly looks like the union movement has met hard times, much of it due to they and their leaders being too greedy. When times are good the Politicians,, in the case of public unions hand them the key to the city and corporate executives give them damn near anything they ask for. However, when times get tough it all changes. Looking forward it is a grim view ahead for union negotiations. if any.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  123. Robert

    For government workers (including public school teachers) the furure is apparently very good – they have the politicians by the "Anthony"! In this recession the only real growth, in both employment numbers, and compensation and benefits has been federal government workers themselves, and in spite of all the drama, public school teachers!

    U.S. unions are fighting to preserve a 19th century anachronism that has its roots in communism and European socialism. Each of those has either failed, or is failing, to produce sustainable economic growth (or in the case of schools, excellence in 21st century job skills)against Asian competition. Unions promote victim mentality, mediocrity, and a sense of perpetual entitlement when the U.S. needs energy, initiative, creativity, and accountability to produce global standard quality and a return to robust economic leadership.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  124. andyz Lynn, MA

    The rich want unions to disappear. Their republican allies will execute any law required to accomplish this tasking for their rich masters.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  125. Kim Smith

    Wow! There is something organized in America? Don't worry, if it has anything to do with improving the life of working Americans, the Republicans will kill it as fast as they can.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  126. cal

    It could be good if the two side work together.If the goverment and company show some understanding for the worker living wages and daly heath problem. Union would have to show some give in not trying to run the company in the ground ,

    June 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  127. Chris Watford

    There was a time when Unions served a purpose. They are no longer needed, and in fact an impediment to businesses and the continued vitality of our economy. As far as public sector unions, they should never have been allowed. People take jobs with the government for security. For this, they give up earning potential that they might get in the private sector. Taxpayers are sick of footing the bill for public sector workers lavish benefits.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  128. Richard

    Our Country has been based on checks and balances as in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. It is similar with labor and business. Although we see a cyclical change when one side grows , the other side will grow as a balance. Organized labor is here to stay. Since when are the employees the problem and not foreign competition? Well run companies beat their competitors. Poorly run companies blame their employees.

    San Diego

    June 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  129. jjdid

    Unions served their purpose during the early part of last century. With the strict labor laws, and people's higher knowledge and work standards, unions are really limited on their purpose. But no organization ever wants to give up its power....

    June 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  130. Lav 1 (Atlanta, GA)

    A few years ago I left one career and started working for a union transportation company. I did not do my homework before coming over here. I honestly can say that the union is not there for the benefit of each other or the company. They are strictly there to take from a company for themselves. There are labor laws to fight for the issues that existed back in the days when unions were created. It amazes me how a large company can not compete with non union carriers because of the cost associated with the unions. It also amazes me how employees continue to defy there supervisors, steal form the company, threaten management, curse at management and tear up equipment and when they are wrote up and terminated they continue to get there jobs back with back pay. Comapnies pay these employees a very fare salary and the return from the employee is no where near sufficiant. In my opinion, reducing there power is better for the future of the of business that exist and future businesses that plan to compete in the market that they are trying to survive in.
    I have also heard union memeber say they would rather run a company out of business rather than take a pay cut. When you return the statement that you do realize that companies will not hire you to work for them when they realize that you are from a union carrier, the employee responds that he is not worried about that and that the union will take care of them. It's just amazing how brain washed they are about their own organization and where they are headed.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  131. Bill in New Mexico


    Global competition is the final end of organized labor in a world of many nations.

    But, organized labor has a chance if labor's goals can cross culture lines of the whole world. It may be possible, but it is going to take time and the realization of a common enemy–a tyrannical management.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  132. Frances Cappelletti

    Since the Republicans took over in the last election It doesn't look good . I hope it doesn't go back to the bad old days when my parents and grandparents had to sacrifice a lot to make life better for all working people.

    I would suggest people study history. We now have eight hour work days, five days a week, workers comp, decent pay, child labor laws, and so much more. FDR and the Unions made the middle class. The large corporations and the very wealthy don't like this.


    June 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  133. Ken, Vail, AZ

    If left to corporations and the politicians that they own, in this case Republicans, the future for organized labor is very bleak. The intent of corporations is to drive down wages to maximize profits. They don't move jobs off shore because of high tax rates, they move them because of dirt cheap labor, no regulations or environmental standards. Unions stand in their way.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  134. curtis in philadelphia

    I wonder if in the future the new middle class, you know the security forces that will protect the top.05% in their gated communities will be allowed to unionize? Why would they bother to, they will have to be well paid for that new class system to make sense. Besides, they'll have the guns.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  135. Brian Wickremasinghe - Woodland Hills

    Companies are in business to make profits. They have an obligation by the employees and the share holders. We have been held to ransom by parties with hidden agenda’s for far too long. Why is it wrong to find the most conducive climate to do it?

    June 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  136. Lori - PA


    I'm on the fence with this one. On one hand, I see how organized labor helps us when it comes to how much people are paid, and what benefits they get. On the other hand, I've also seen how organized labot has hurt us. We have a Teacher's Union that makes it extremely difficult to fire bad teachers. Not to mention that organized labor is going after Boeing for opening, or wanting to open, a plant in South Carolina. That can't be going over well for the people of South Carolina who are looking forward to applying for a job at Boeing. Right now, I'd say the future of organized labor looks uncertain.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  137. Gigi Oregon

    What makes you blame unions for job losses. I blame corporate America moving out and overseas with jobs to bring down our wages to a leveling of world wages. They are the 'haves' we will be the "have nots" The unions built America with forcing corporations to value labor. Republicans want to build right to work states..."if you won't work for pennies someone else will". If we let the republicans win we will be in the same level of standard of living as the tag label of your latest garment or cooking pan. Made in ***** cheaper. Need a job vote republican and work for pennies. And don't worry about the debt let your grandchildren pay for it.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  138. Joe

    As long as we have the judicial branches legislating from the bench and the media giving power to those "big wigs" and politicians who want to abolish workers rights, our hopes for Unions to fight for our rights are similar to the oppressed in the Middle East.
    We are reverting back to the nineteenth century with a two-class society. I know which class I am in Jack, how about you?
    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    June 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  139. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    It would be good if they started pushing for more labor ownership of union workplaces (and the imposition of employee democracy – including the election of management) – if not, it is doomed.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  140. Deborah Seibert,. Co

    Their time has come and gone. They were desperately needed when they were formed. Now, they just cause trouble and their greed is rampant. It's time the liberals cut them loose.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  141. Ralph Spyer

    Organized labor, has given the American worker 1 a 40 hour work week, 2 a pension for every union member,3 welfare when your children become sick,4 a clean and safe work place, 5 overtime pay. The future of the quality of life in America is in the future of the American organize labor.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  142. Hal Schwartz

    We cannot afford the continued demise of labor unions. They are the only defense we have for the working class. Since the early 80s, there has been a concerted corporate effort to destroy unions so that workers have no power to defend and expand decent working conditions and wages. That has led to the decline of union membership resulting in the steady erosion of workers standard of living at the same time that the distribution of wealth has steadily increased for the corporate elite.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  143. Mike in SA

    The only future they had was when they were able to force people to join against their will. State after state is seeing how poor that unconstitutional lawmaking turns out to be and state after state is turning right-to-work. Unions face a dismal future because states are now allowing people to choose for themselves.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  144. Rob

    People are approaching the union argument from the wrong direction – "If I don't have the benefits unions provide, then no one should." Instead, people should, and I believe one day will, be saying,"If I don't have the benefits unions provide, how can I get them too?" We should all strive upwards insteading of striving to pull people down to our level.
    Bremerton, WA

    June 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  145. Richard in Alaska

    It's going to be hard but once people do a little research on what gave rise to organized labor hopefully it will survive. People need to look at the 1800's and early 1900's, the coal mines and sweat shops of the garment industry that gave birth to the unions. The Supreme Court gave the corporations status as individuals. They can buy the politicians openly now. Their goal is to go back to the days of the sweat shops and slave labor.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  146. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Wait for the next election and then ask that question again. First the Republicans wreck the economy, now they're going after organized labor AND Medicare. One thing is fairly certain – Walker won't get re-elected. He should relish his 'victory' while he can.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  147. barbara in nc

    I'd rather pay dues to a union than take a lower salary so that the corporation could pay it's CEO millions more for doing nothing.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  148. Mark from Voorhees, NJ

    If those concerned, the people, vote out those that are trying to steal their rights and their money at every turn, then the future of a cooperative society, and organized labor could be bright. If corporations and their lobbyists and donors prevail, then the only organized labor will be slavery.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  149. Howard

    Hopefully there is no future for these archaic institutions, my only hope is that they slowly fade away vs. burning out in a flash of angry protest and political game play. Unions played a dramatic and important role in the shaping of the America we know today but like the cowboys who tamed the wild west (or made it wild) they have lost their relevance to todays society as a whole. Today (in large part due to the Unions of yesteryear) we have OSHA, the EPA, and a more informed populace participating in democracy than we ever had. That being said, we no longer need protectionist organizations setting standards of life for their members only while the rest of America struggles to make ends meet.

    The most insidious of these organizations are the Public Employee unions who have set a standard of existence for them selves which is greater than that of the taxpayers who pay for their salaries and benefits.

    If we as Americans desire higher wages then we should do it together through the political process which our forefathers set in place and has evolved into the wonderful (not perfect by any means) system we have today where we can see every segment of our population represented. We can raise the minimum wage for everyone, create a healthcare system for everyone, we can strengthen social security for everyone (maybe even create something better).....we can raise the standard of living....FOR EVERY ONE!

    I know there are some out there who will argue that the Unions today have created benefits which some how trickle down to the rest of us (Because I get paid more your employer will pay you more so you dont leave and take my job....what ev) but I do not believe this argument holds any real weight anymore.....if it ever did.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  150. Tom Walker

    Political issues are like a pendulum. The further things swing one way the further they will swing the other way in the future. When folks do the math and figure out they can't own a home, raise a family, send the kids to college, pay for health insurance, and retire on 10 bucks an hour the Scott Walkers of the US will be out and unions will come back strong.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  151. ken

    Unions only for working conditions!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  152. ArtInChicago

    Jack, organized labor is going the way of the rotary dial phone. It still functions in today's society, but barely.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  153. Rob (Bremerton, WA)

    People are approaching the union argument from the wrong direction – "If I don't have the benefits unions provide, then no one should." Instead, people should, and I believe one day will, be saying,"If I don't have the benefits unions provide, how can I get them too?" We should all strive upwards instead of striving to pull people down to our level.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  154. Ed

    As long as there are politicians, there will be labor unions. One cannot exist with out the other.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  155. Dot knoxville TN

    Without unions the worker has no powerThe right to belong to a union was won over great odds and men lost their lives. I see a time when that fight will have to be won again. Unions were pitted against non union and there was a lot of workers who wanted what they got but did not see unions as the way to get the pay they should have, so they would rather see the union worker get less. Its like cutting off your nose to spite your face, I wish I had a chance to join a union maybe I coud have gotten a better pay I feel I was just used

    June 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  156. keeth in cali

    Never forget the folks who brought you the weekend.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  157. Dennis north carolina

    unions are needed but not in the same fashion as the past. each employee should be able to form a union at their place of work so they can deal with management on wages , benefits and working conditions. the state should be the middle man to keep everything fair and legal.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  158. Aaron

    Ok I don't know Jack, Jack, about Wisconsin and all the intricate details of their problems but I have lived in Seattle for several years and I can honestly say that as a liberal, the NLRB, single handedly turned me AGAINST unionized labor. These people held Boeing hostage for several months a few years ago asking for more benefits, more than the amazing package they were already receiving, all while the new Dreamliner was grossly behind schedule.
    It made me think, if I was so derelict at my job and my duties I would be fired so why are these people, who were already receiving a great benefits package but yet grossly behind schedule, asking for more???? You know in the private sector, you ask for a pay raise when you do good and COMPLETED work not when the job is still 2 years behind production.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  159. Marc W

    Unions have had their day in the sun. Unions have been exposed as the corrupt organizations that they are. The unions share blame for the condition of the US auto industry and they as as a whole, business and job killers.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  160. WKH

    My dad grew up in the coal fields of W VA. when John L Lewis was fighting for the cold miners union. He was later a local union rep with a railroad. He was a dyed in the wool union person that was never open to discussions about the value of unions.

    Three years ago before he died at 86 he told me the unions were a good force in this country but they have totally turn into exactly what we fought against.

    They have no place in this country in todays business world.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  161. Travis Fields

    Steep rises in Health Care costs and the ease of outsourcing jobs have put a double-whammy on Unions for more than a decade.

    But it doesn't have to be this way.

    Las Vegas hotel workers unionized via "card-check" rules which make it easier to unionize quickly. Their wages average $3 more per hour than non-union hotel jobs. Was the Vegas economy hurt by hotel workers making more money? Hardly.

    Australia has a Minimum Wage people can actually live on - $15 an hour. How's their economy doing? A lot better than ours. Look it up.

    High wages create a strong middle class. A strong middle class is good for the economy. We won't win a race to the bottom.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  162. Travis Fields

    (Writing from Los Angeles, CA)

    June 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  163. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    We must look at organized labor as an innovation of it's time and opportunity for new innovations for the 21st century.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  164. wayne

    At one time they were needed. Over the years they have ruined this country and should be out-lawed. PERIOD !!!!!!!!!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  165. Brian

    There is a better future ahead for unions.

    The assault on unions for the past 30 years has given us nothing but lower wages and decreased job failure.

    The policies of Republicans were supposed to give us prosperity and instead have given us failure that may take us a decade or more from which to recover.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  166. tonyvolu

    i fret the day that unions could be eliminated,iworked for years in
    manufacturing and know without a doubt that i would not have made the living that i did.i was a union leader and had to scratch and fight for every dime we earned and dread the future in america to trust
    the greedy corporate leaders that we have today to treat a worker fairly.
    i am an old man today and i know that if corporate and right wing greed keeps it up i fear a revolution amongst labor.i kid you not if i were a young buck leader and political and right wing kept shafting
    us i would lead the charge .aimed at the right people being the republicans and the super rich that are trying to control free america.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  167. Jean Paul Sartre


    Unfortunately it is about much more than just attacking "Organized Labor Unions", both public and private; it is really about attacking the entire American middle class way of life.

    It isn’t enough that the richest 2% of people in this land of the free and home of the brave control virtually everything in this nation, now, without even a wink, they want to tell you that you can’t have a job that pays a living wage; you can only have a job that keeps you in perpetual servitude…

    I’m from Wisconsin and I can tell you that the American middle class has had about all it will take of this type of bourgeoisie madness…

    June 15, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  168. Felton

    We are all on our own, if your not a strong individual, your going to be a victim. The war is on the middle class, which is predominantly white, so, the rich white is demanding the middle class white reduce their expectations or simply be run out.

    Interesting how the class divide has now included the formally middle class white, added to the "upper lower class".

    The war is on.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  169. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Union labor is what built this country, In my early years I belonged to a union and for the past forty five years I've been in management but I still believe your union produces the best product and service, it will be a sad day in America if the unions go away, that will start the slow decay of the United States, products will be shoddy made, companies will go outof business becasue people will not buy worthless products and the list goes on.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  170. Sniffit

    Simple. Recall elections give WI back to the Dems by about this time next year. The WI Supreme Court's abuse of precedent and proper appellate procedure as eoquently explain in detail in Abrahamson's dissent has only added fuel to the fire. Once WI is back in the hands of people not owned by the Koch brothers and their ilk, who are clearly trying to deepen and accelerate our country's slide into plutocracy, they'll give the public unions back their collective bargaining rights. The best part: Walker and his idiot gaggle of GOPers have guaranteed Obama 10 electoral votes.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  171. Lee In Texas

    Unions are not some magical or holy form of organization. They are corporations that sell labor services. Like other corporations they can be more or less answerable to their supposed owners, the workers whose labor they sell. Like other corporations when they make their product too expensive to compete in the markets they serve they will suffer losses- even when they strike corrupt bargains with government to attempt to force companies to buy their products from them. That simply drives their customers away from the places controlled by the corrupt governments who support them.

    Labor unions will thrive where they recognize the need to sell their product at competitive prices. Where they fail to recognize this they will fail.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  172. Mike

    It's done. Most of today's unions represent a skill set that is easily replaced by Chinese, East Asian, or Indian labor at a fraction of the cost. Unions are only useful if they hold a monopoly on the labor the union represents. In a world economy, only the unions that represent the most skilled workers have a snowball's chance in heck of surviving.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  173. gary

    Rise up workers. Take your country back from corporate america. The corps. are a vicious animal that destroy everything in their path. We are worse off then when our founding fathers rose up in 1776. Please for the sake of our children rise up.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  174. Daniel from Schenectady, NY

    Collective bargaining is not a right. Those who have it are abusing this luxury at the expense of the taxpayer.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  175. Dean

    Unions have done real good job building up the city of Detroit. It is now slums because of unions and the jobs they forced to Canada and Mexico.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  176. Pam

    Labor unions do not protect the middle class, do not protect jobs, do not speak for the working guy. They protect the union, the union bosses and Democrat politicians. The workers are herded together and told for whom to vote. That's not freedom. The higher wages and benefits that union bosses demand and competition cannot support causes job losses. They raise prices on consumer goods. Their day is over. The Dept of Labor protect workers.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  177. Robert in Chicago

    Unions protect the weak employees and the people in charge of the unions, that's all! They served a purpose in the back in the early 1900's when it was required to put in a 20 hour day. Now they are worthless. With so many govermental agencies protecting the workforce and their rights and with the availability of benefits and retirement packages, what purpose do they serve? If the unions are so great, why can I offer my employee's a better benefit package than the union? If the union pension is so great, why is the Central States and Western State pensions bankrupt? Why are the pensions bankrupt? Because the administrators and executives of the programs used it as their own checking account to buy cars, trips and homes. Unions protect the 10% of the workforce that are weak and refuses to follow rules and instructions. So the other 90% of the workforce has to suffer by paying unnecessary dues to a union hall that really never protects them or required. After reviewing the comments, most people say it keeps jobs in America. It is actually the opposite reason, unions are driving companies out of America. Prime example is the auto industry. Why do great American companies like Ford, GM, Chrysler and others produce their cars and parts in other countries (Canada and Mexico)? Because the unions have driven up the wages and benefits to their cadrey of employees to where the car would no longer be affordable.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  178. Bill in PA

    The Corporation; blessed be the holy name of total power and control.
    Why if we had strong and equal unions we would have family living wages, fuller employment and access to health care. We want none of that it would cost those who already own 95% of everything a percent or two and we could not allow that. Why we might want a fair income tax system, education and retirement with out poverty goodness knows what else we would ask for like, reason and truth!
    No, just give us our 2500 hate spewing radio talkers. We have no capacity to think for ourselves. We are addicted to Roger A and his lies. Murdoch is very proud, as a billionaire should be.
    We'll all watch the Stanley Cup final hockey game and forget about the welfare of our country.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  179. Edward Garfield

    Unions have become the whipping boys of the far-right for all that is wrong with America. The simple fact of the matter is less than 15% of the workforce in the country is unionized. Yeah, its that small group that is responsible for the world economy collapsing. Pleaseeeeee!

    June 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  180. Joe

    as an old Patco survivor, I feel that unions are now nothing more than a hope and a ping pong ball in the struggle between the havs and the have nots (koch bros and the rest of us)
    ..sadly, we (Patco) lost not only for ourselves, but for working men in general..

    June 15, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  181. Michael Buzan

    "Of course, Socialism {eg Unions} is violently denounced by the capitalist press and by all the brood of subsidized contributors to magazine literature, but this only confirms the view that the advance of Socialism is very properly recognized by the capitalist class as the one cloud upon the horizon which portends an end to the system in which they have waxed fat, insolent and despotic through the exploitation of their countless wage-working slaves."
    Eugene Debs 1900

    June 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  182. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – If present trends continue, organized labor has no future in the US. Unlike England, the US has no "labor" party. Thanks to our tax code, there are almost no industries left where large numbers of workers are employed by one or two local employers. Thanks to the rise of false conservatism, the working class itself has become anti-union. The forces that led to the rise of labor organization and collective bargaining no longer exist. The American worker, by voting Republican, is killing both the unions and themselves.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  183. Roy from Oregon

    Everything is cyclical. Without unions working conditions were dismal. Then workers would unionize and things got better. Then unions got greedy, corrupt and parasitic. Now were in the point of the cycle where unions are dying off and businesses are taking advantage of it. Eventually working conditions will deteriorate and unions will regain the upper hand as workers begin to buck the system. The main distraction from the cycle is global competition which wasn't an issue in the past.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  184. Court

    If you study the history of organized labor, you will realize that every American worker, both union and non-union, has whatever they have because of organized labor, even you.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  185. Gary Bonner, Lake in the Hills, IL

    "We the people" find ourselves in the toughest economy in over thirty years. The rich are getting richer; the poor are getting poorer. Our jobs are being continually shipped over seas. The banks stole our money to "recapitalize" themselves and paid out huge bonuses to the crooks who tanked the economy AND NOW WHO DO WE BLAME? WHO DO WE DECLARE WAR ON? WHO'S FAULT IS IT?

    We blame the middle-class "union employees" who never did anything but go to work everyday. This totally amazes me. HELLO SHEEP....will you wake up and come to your senses! Union workers are NOT the reason your house is worth 12 dollars right now. Union workers didn't steal a dime of your money. Just like you, union workers have far less purchsing power and are poorer than they we3re just 15 years ago.

    People, are you kidding me! Will you wake the heck up!

    June 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  186. Walt from fl.

    Public sector union contributions are a money laundering scheme for democrat elected officials. Everyone knows how it works. Dues go to democrats by contribution and democrats bargain for the unions. Pretty simple. obama laughs about shovel ready jobs and he should since he stole money and gave it to the unions and his cronies and called it a stimulus. All I can say is welcome to the real world!

    June 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  187. John MacDaniel, Huntsville AL

    There is no room for the organised labour unions of the past – as is so evidenced by the collapse of the United Auto Workers, et al, who had the automobile industry by the throat, but lost out when it could not come to grips with the idea that it was better to give something back to the industry instead of just simply taking it for everything that it could manage to get its hands on.

    The Unions became as selfish and self-centered at the Industry that they were a part of – and they both fell down and died.

    When the Corporations and the Unions work together for the better of what they are supposed to be about – only then will the Unions have a chance to prove that they are a fundamental part of the whole – and not simply be the antagonists that they have come to believe that they must be. One the other hand, the same has to be said about the Corporations. Without working together, the corporations and the unions will be as as 'teats on a boar', and the American industrial worth will become naught – without value.

    Foreign Corporations will become the standard and foreign values will reign supreme, and there will be no unions anymore.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  188. angelo

    Forty hour work week, overtime, vacation, safe work environment, better quality of life for worker and family. Protection from loss of job if become ill or even sick for a day. Many Americans do not know their history. Unions were formed to protect the working class from the greed and corruption of corporations. The middle class grew with the help of unions, as you can see now the middle class is shrinking because unions are not as strong as in the past. Corporations with the help of government blame all the problems on unions. Do you remember President Reagan? He praised the unions of Poland, yet in his own country he condemned and fired union members. Republicans say this country should be more competitive with other countries. They used the example of China, a communist country with no human rights. Wow, compete and work for wages like the communist country, and the Republicans call themselves morally righteous and patriotic. The American Dream is lost if we allow the conservatives and corrupt corporations determine the direction of our Country. For the people by the people. ????

    June 15, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  189. Josef

    It's the end. Living wages are only for the lucky. It's easier to lower living standards here than raise them in the rest of the world. But at least wealthy bankers and CEO's will still be able to afford their yachts and private airplanes. Unions are done for. America sucks.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  190. thom richer

    The heart and soul of the American dream and its people. That's all.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    June 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  191. Carla from Birmingham, Alabama

    It holds a better future than it would for DISorganized labor.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  192. yea

    unions are bad

    June 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  193. bruce

    Not much. The trend is toward starving the masses and crashing the US economy via contacting and expanding the money supply – under the control of the Rothschilds. The core structure of the banking families charging interest is what causes inflation, downsizing, and other economic crashes. Laborers are considered to be "useless eaters" by the elite.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  194. Keith

    In the days of robber-barons unions were vicious opponents of exploitation. Labor laws have limited the power of corporations to exploit workers. But the federal and state governments are not robber-barons. They are benevolent as employers go. So you put a vicious organization designed to fight robber-barons up against a benevolent employer and the unions get WAY too much.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  195. soneill

    It's over for organized labor – that is, if we want to have any hope of an economy for the future. Once all this " global" stuff was started we had to adjust to the new roles we all must play to make it work. If we are to compete with "international" labor, we have to have a pay scale that reflects reality, not one that artificially beefs up the pay scale – the price of the products or services will not compete in terms of cost. If we are to go global, we have to pay the price, all of us, even the union guys. Good luck.

    June 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  196. Kenneth Krieger

    Unions are earning twice what the average American makes. The SEIU funnels 80 million dollars a year for Democrats to pay them more the rest of America. The unions are only 7% of the population from a high of 33%, One in 3 Americans were union. The companies could not afford them and moved out of the country. The unions came about in the early 1900's, as part of the socialist, communist movement in Europe. They in bad times are not backing down and they are going to disappear. The latest aguement is Boeing can not move to a right to work state like South Carolins, but a plant in South Carolina can move to Washington state without the National Labor Relations Board's approval. Ken Krieger Cape Coral, Florida

    June 15, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  197. yea

    union have destroyed are manufacturing. Why do you think most manufacturing moved overseas. This is just the beginning, good bye power to the unions and lets get people back to work. Dont listen to just an very small amount of brainless liberals

    June 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  198. Joe from Pittsburgh

    I think it's ok for unions to bargain collectively for wages and benefits. The problems with unions are that they protect the unqualified or disinterested workers. It is too hard to fire union workers. A system where the unions were limited to wage/benefit bargaining would help solve a couple problems. Companies could fire the guy that shows up and hides or just fools around all day and never gets anything done. They could fire people who just are smart or skilled enough. The other workers would see people getting fired for not producing and they would work harder. The overall level of effort and talent would rise. The companies would be more competitive again with foreign companies. More goods would be made here as the companies became more competitive. More American goods means more jobs for more workers. We could have a system that allows collective bargaining and also rewards the productive workers instead of protecting the unproductive workers.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  199. Bob Stumpf

    Simple to Understand, Difficult to find a solution.

    It is not organized labor's fault for our poor economy. Period! After the end of World War 11, we were the strongest economic power of the world....all other countries had been devasted by the war. There was no competion. Salries were good, manufacturing was good, life was good. Then Greed took place, and our CEO's and their borads started to oursoruce overseas for the sake of profits. 50 years later we find everything is made in China and Americans are looking for jobs. There is no surprise here. Nice profits for the few and lack of jobs and prosperity for the many. Solution? The few have to stop being so greedy and we have to bring the manufacturing jobs back. No one president or one government program can possibly do this in a four year presidential term. It took approximately 50 years to get to this point and it will take many, many years to return to a true working America. It will take time, it will take sacrifice, and it will take an effort by all Americans pulling together to bring our manufacturing jobs back to our country where they belong. Yes, we can do this but we must do this together. Enough petty bickering, enough throwing stones at one another, enough blaming the other political party. It is time for our government officials to Work Together for the sake of the Country.

    Thank You,
    Bob Stumpf, St. Louis

    June 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  200. Andy - Florida

    Here is yet another issue where the philosophies of the writers bring out the worst thinking. On one side the writer claims the unions are the only thing protecting "us" against the greed of profiteering. And on the other side the claims are the unions promote poor production and high costs. Actually everyone has a little bit of truth in their claims. True, unions did do a great deal to bring all the benefits of shorter hours, higher wages and the growth of the middle class. Those accomplishments all occurred with private sector unions. But the pendelum swung too far for union power and the result can be seen best in the auto industry. Not that auto management didn't have some part in the overall failure of the American auto industry – they definitely did – but the unions got ridiculous in their accomplishments for pay for no work and benefits galore. As for public sector unions? Another story. This is a sad case of where the unions have done poorly for our economy and for everyone except themselves and their limited membership. So.... are unions in our future? In the public sector I hope not so much. In the private sector let them compete for membership in right-to-work states and that will be good for business owners and labor. In sum, they probably will continue to wane overall in membership for a couple of generations at least.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  201. Patriot

    The GOP is a Union, lets bust it!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  202. Jeff In Minnesota

    What benefits does a union actually provide in today's world? Everything they fought for over the years is now guaranteed by law or required just to be an employer. I have been a union worker off and on through out my adult life and all the unions seemed to provide was guaranteed employment for those that should be fired for incompetence. They either need to figure out a new reason for their existence or go away.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  203. Joe from Pittsburgh

    I think it's ok for unions to bargain collectively for wages and benefits. The problems with unions are that they protect the unqualified or disinterested workers. It is too hard to fire union workers. A system where the unions were limited to wage/benefit bargaining would help solve a couple problems. Companies could fire the guy that shows up and hides or just fools around all day and never gets anything done. They could fire people who just aren't smart or skilled enough. The other workers would see people getting fired for not producing and they would work harder. The overall level of effort and talent would rise. The companies would be more competitive again with foreign companies. More goods would be made here as the companies became more competitive. More American goods means more jobs for more workers. We could have a system that allows collective bargaining and also rewards the productive workers instead of protecting the unproductive workers.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  204. Tony Hamelin from St. Louis, MO

    There is no union, or union leader than can hold a candle to the appalling greed and legal theft of corporations and corporate robber barons of our day. The rich are never rich enough, and it's called 'American', or just ' Good business'. But the working guy wants a $1 hr raise to feed his or her family, and it's called 'Union Thuggery, socialism, ect'. To all the union haters...be careful what you ask for...you just might get it. Once unions are gone..you'll be forced to work for less and less until you're no different than share croppers.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  205. tom s

    Go to europe where everything is organized,last i checked if i'm not mistaken the euro is crushing the dollar,they care more about quality of life than living like a slave for pennies.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  206. Gord

    Organized labor helped create our middle classes. I grew up in a underground miners home and I remember my Dad coming home often in tears at the unsafety of the mine and the treatment he received and the verbal and physicial abuse. The union in the 1950's changed all that and negotiated safe working conditions,collective bargaining, health and hosptial benefits and pensions, much to my Dad's everlasting benefit. It saved my Dad. However, much much later when he was about to retire he had changed his attitude towards his union due to their arrogance, chip on the shoulder sneery attitude and destructiveness towards the company. This once mighty union that had been such a positive agent for much needed change became just another selfish special interest jackel. The company moved overseas.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  207. Mike in Green Bay WI

    I find it interesting that politicans can require unionized workers to pay more into health programs, retirement benefits etc - yet totally avoid changing the benefits that the POLITICANS receive!

    The benefits the US Congress and many stat legislators receive is incredible! Where is the equity there?

    I am not opposed to requiring state workers to contribute to their health and retirement benefits like most of the private sector already to. In my estimation 12% contribution to health insurance is significantly higher than what private employees receive.

    But the benefits politicians receive is too high for the length of service they perform and needs to be reformed!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  208. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    What a shame it would be if we lost the Unions as they remain our only check and balance to over zealous corporations and greedy individuals.

    It was not long ago that there were sweat shops, child labor, unlimited work hours, and many other disconcerting means for the greedy to exploit. Unions changed the thinking of the American work place for the better.

    The only way the unions will survive is to become better at the b.s. than the corporations.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  209. Nina Fox

    The birth of the unions signified a fight for the less fortunate providing equal rights. This included 40-hour work week, competitive wages, safe working conditions and benefits. Today the unions are the only thing that stands between the workers and corporate plutocracy.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  210. John

    If you want a peek at what organized labor, left unchecked, eventually does to an economy, just have a look at Greece today.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  211. Mike

    In the future we will need organized labor more than ever or we will become a third world nation with the rich and the poor.Many citizens are not old enought to remember how the middle class was make by orginazed labor.Please read your history books!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  212. William

    UNIONS HAVE BROKEN THE COUNTRY! people retiring at 40 with pensions providing far more money than my tax dollars can sustain are the problem.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  213. Tony Hamelin from St. Louis, MO

    For those who believe unions are no longer needed either because we have workplace laws (which unions helped get put on the books), or because they feel those with an education are somehow so smart they can keep the elite in check through the power of their vote in government are sadly unaware we are in a neoclassical economic era, and that means government is co-opted or completely hands off in the marketplace. All those labor laws you rely on to protect you can be swept away in heartbeat, and they will be. History proves that. Then, where does that leave us.........in a new fuedalism, with us as the share croppers and beggers.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  214. Marie MD

    Yes, jack, there's a future for organized labor as soon as all the rethugs are thrown out on the behinds from congress.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  215. ron

    Unions evolved to create laws to protect disadvantaged laborers, filling a void capitalist politicians ignored for decades. Now that a massive canon of laws and regulations has filled that void (and then some), Unions have no purpose other than self- preservation and perpetuation.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  216. Comment

    Unions have outlived their usefulness, unions have become nothing but dictators now.

    New Mexico.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  217. Nancy, Tennessee

    Organized labor has done thiis country's work force a great service in the past by helping make wages a living wage. Other companies that were nonunion competed for the employees by keeping their wages in line with union shops. With unemployment high and unions out of power, the wages for the middle class will fall and their money will have to go to the bare essentials. America should be better than this. There will be no middle class soon, only low class and lower class.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  218. Denny from Tacoma

    The future of organized labor will be better known when the current Boeing Airline case is decided.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  219. John B. in Kansas

    Unions still have a place. Unfortunately that place is now in China, India, or Mexico.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  220. Donald in New Mexico

    Organized labor should have a steak in their employment. Then the profitability of the company would also be labor's bottom line.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  221. Alex - New York, NY

    Unions need to globalize. Labor is now a global market – unless unions can expand thier reach to affect the global market for labor, nothing they do here in the US will result in anything except more jobs lost overseas.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  222. Gary (MA)

    Every company gets the union it deserves – eventually.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  223. Dale Elam

    Just as after the Great Depression when the unions were needed to save the lives of the working poor, the unions will be necessary to save the lives of the working poor because of the current great depression.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  224. Rene

    Organized labor has been discredited since the 1960's and 70's and their power has been diminished by conflicts among the unions themselves. It's time they come together and unite to fight for the rights of the workers.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  225. Carol, Washington

    Sooner or later corporations are going to step so far over the line that it will dawn on workers that they NEED the unions for their protection. My father was a member of the UAW, and I remember the stories he would tell when he came home from his dangerous factory job about how the union steward could and would stop the company from making it even more dangerous.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  226. Joyce Jenkins

    I can only hope that the violent union thugs are shunned forever. There is no need for them or their tactics any longer. We all know how they have worked hard to destroy the educational system in this country. And now they want to make the middle class pay for their benefits. The transfer of payments from union to Dems and back represents a illegal monopoly and doesn't allow representation for us working stiffs that help pay their benefits and receive less. We can't afford them anymore.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  227. Greg

    There is no future for unions in the US and they have no one to blame but them selves. Everyone need to pay their fair share and that includes the unions. Unions are the main reason jobsare going off shore. Unions need to wake up before they are no where to be found but the history books.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  228. Renaldo

    I know it is very easy to do, but please don't lump all Unions together. For example, the IBEW electrical workers Union in Ga. decided on no raises for 3 years and HUGE cut in health an welfare benefits and retirement contributions from employers. There are Unions that are sacrificing all around the country. Not all unions are built the same.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  229. greg lancaster,tx

    as long as Americans allow businesses to send millions of jobs to china and india and still have access to the American market this is the domestic outcome. Wealthy business interests and their 100% paid for enablers, politicians have turned the term working class in to a perjorative. According to them if you work for a living you have no right to a comfortable life. You are just a peasant only due another cup of gruel. Those southerners so eager to grab the crumbs tossed about by business should beware. One day they will come for your job too. We learned this lesson at the birth of the American labor movement. I have no doubt that we will learn it again.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  230. Richard, Charlotte, NC

    Thankfully the facts are correct in the article. Union works means union wages. Sorry, but right now I cant afford union wages.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  231. Kevin


    You mention the lack of a pay raise for millions of Americans might hinder the power and support of the unions of America. Don't forget, many airline union workers, like myself, have gone 4 plus years without a pay raise due to the economic climate and anti-union management. Union workers deserve a pay raise just like the rest of the country. However, we achieve this through Collective Bargaining Agreements.....assuming they haven't been revoked.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  232. Paul in Minneapolis, MN

    I think the re-election of Scott Walker and many of the Wisconsin state senators (starting this fall and going forward) will tell you the truth about how the people of Wisconsin feel about the collective bargaining rights of state workers. I predict that Walker will get stomped like a narc at a biker rally, but that remains to be seen.

    My father is a nearly-retired teacher at a technical college in Wisconsin and he will absorb a 5.8% wage decrease with his teaching contract this fall.

    It is not necessary for all workers to be unionized, but if no one is we will all be working for $2 an hour.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  233. LARRY

    Welcome back to the 1890-1920 era. Unfettered business, ffood riots, labor riots, child labor, anything for a buck! This next time around we have to do a better job of controlling our labor organizations. We got lazy and let the mob in. Now that the criminals (gov. Scott of Fl for instance) seem to control politics more pinkertons shooting at us in the streets lay ahead. to bad, but those who don't learn from history and all that.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  234. Ken in NC

    There is a bright future for organized labor because Americans know that without it, Republicans would have all of us in Plains, Georgia working for peanuts.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  235. the_dude

    It should be the end of the public labor unions but I dont see the democrats giving up their primary voting base without a fight. They will keep a bloated government or will die trying to fight for it. Once people get a taste of the good life it is very hard to step away.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  236. Hoan

    Union Labor is a good things. However, for the past 20 years, the only thing people see about the union is their greed (public union) and they only protect the lazy, unproductive worker. The way the Union view should change because of the new "Global economy". Creating and protecting Job in America. This is no longer about, fire people or seniority. The union should be keeping job here not forcing the company to move job out of the country.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  237. Lawrence W. Ratcliffe

    The attack on Unionized Labor, is just the elite of this country taking it all for themselves. Unions have lost many times in the past through collective bargaining. Unions created the middle class in America. Before unionized labor there was only two classes in America, the Very Rich and the Very Poor. Example, Boeing moving jobs from Washingtom to Georga. The people at the top of this Corporation will get much bigger bonuses because of this move of jobs!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  238. Darren

    my grandfather (who loved FDR) used to say.. "The unions will ruin this country". I never agreed with him 20 yrs ago.. Today I can say, he was a wise man.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  239. Tim New

    It is not up to Boeing whether or not the plant in SC is union. It is up to the workers. If they are ignorant enough to do the same work for less money, let 'em! Unions will come back strong when conditions get so bad that workers won't put up with it anymore. We are not quite there ...yet.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  240. jill nelson

    The closing down of unions signals a economy in decline; it would be nice on the way down if folks remember that some industry relies heavily on the expertise of those in the unions: pilots, coal miners, etc. We don't need unions in those walks of life that do not rely heavily on safety.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  241. Beverly Banting

    Not necessarily a bad thing that organized labour comes to terms with a new economic reality. Labour unions were one historical experiment in trying to balance the inequality between obscenely rich corporations and the average working population. They no longer work. The "people", i.e., most of us, will have to find another means to continue the struggle with the parasitic classes. No, I'm not a Marxist. I believe that the long struggle for equality needs to be recast yet again. In the end, we will win because equality–economic or otherwise–is the right thing.

    btw, how much does the Governor make? Who authorizes the government's raises or cuts? (Hah!)

    June 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  242. Gyrogearloose

    Unions work when they have a monopoly on labor, otherwise employers will always hire the less expensive non-union employees. The problem in a global market is that this can't work unless the unions become international, which probably won't happen for a very long time.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  243. Stephen Charchuk

    I see that the Republicans are getting their wish to go back to the "Good old days..." Why does the phrase; "I owe my soul to the company store." come to mind?

    Remember robber barons...?

    Yarmouth, NS Canada

    June 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  244. Ricardo

    What's up Jack! To rid this country of Organized Labor would be a calamity, pure and simple! If it was not for Organized Labor Unions' presence in America over the past 100 years, I honestly and truly feel, deep down to the core of my bones, that the uneducated and educated alike, the poor, the hungry, the tired, immigrants to this country, and the oppressed would still be required to work in back-breaking deplorable conditions for more 40 hours a week, which translate to less time for the family, friends, extra-curricular activities, and for less money. There would not exist worker's rights law, worker's compensation insurance, children would still be employed to manage task that an adult human body would not be able to handle. A minimal wage would not exist, hence an entire family would have to work for "Just enough!" Women would still be paid at a lower payrate for the same work. Forget about Colored folks! If Organized Labor Unions were not allowed to exist, or given any sway in the decision making of representing those individuals who cannot represent or support themselves, whatever be the reason, then the deplorable conditions will arise again, maybe not immediate but eventually.

    East Los Angeles

    June 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  245. Tom K. from Santa Monica, CA

    Good for Boeing and good for Wisconsin!!! There are plenty of labor laws already and we don't need all these Unions to protect workers. If I owned a business, by damned would I allow organized labor to extort and tell me who I should hire and that I should give them free, lifetime benefits and pensions. I would take my business out of the country before they bankrupt me. Jack, I don't know why you think the Unions have lost power. They seem stronger than ever now that they put this administration in power. Did you know that the NLRB is appointed by the Obama adminstration? That's why they can get away with suing our greatest domestic companies, who by the way, hire thousands of our citizens. Thanks for asking this great question!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  246. Robert Skeffington

    The unions had their place, and many needed laws and regulations that protected workers came about as part of their efforts. However I have no sympathy for any of them now, or certain government positions for that matter (Capitol Hill take note). I haven’t seen a raise in over 7 years; I’ve actually lost more than $10K to keep my job, so It’s time for them to step up and feel the pain the rest of us are experiencing.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  247. Tom

    The future holds whatever multi-national corporations and their lobbyists want it to hold, and that appears to be total destruction. Union membership has been collapsing for many years, and that's not because that's what the workers necessarily want. Corporations are sitting on record profits right now and making unions the fall guy for 9.1% unemployment is just more evidence of the successful brainwashing of the general population.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  248. kraig zirnheld

    future? (history) repeat. camping out? have u read (in dubious battle)? classic socialism (vs) free market. I recently fled WA state's 9.1% unemployment rate.... for TX. sure they have the (right) to move.... but if boeing or ***** want to move, remember the guys that got them all of those government contracts.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  249. George Yool

    You should ask a working person in a right to work state what it really means. We call it “right not to work.” The reason employers love right to work states is employees have no rights. They have no representation to protect them when they get pay cuts, kept part time, little or no benefits, not paid over time, and get no breaks. And if you complain you are fired and they fudge the paperwork so they don’t have to pay the unemployment. This is exactly what happens in AZ and it successfully makes the poor poorer and rich richer. Quite frankly, many people can’t afford to work here. Why take a job that doesn’t cover the gas it takes to get to work. It is no surprise this idea is being pushed by Republicans. When income tax was introduced it was supposedly to tax the rich. The rich don’t pay taxes, and they certainly don’t need more tax breaks or incentives. If you want the economy to move you have to put money in the hands of the consumers, who are the working poor, not the rich or businesses. Bailing out failing companies does nobody any favors. Better to put that money into a public works program to rebuild infrastructure and give those people new jobs than to chase bad money with good. Only a fool invests in a failing business. If we don’t invest in our public works we will have much more to worry about than poverty. These greedy fools who call themselves patriotic candidates are so short sighted they can’t see they are orchestrating their own demise. I won’t weep for them. How about focusing on real issues instead of nonsense? Or do you care that at this rate this nation will be another fallen empire in less than forty years? How patriotic is selfishness and greed? Casa Grande, AZ

    June 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  250. Ray Florida

    Jack, there is no future for unions. Unions account for less than 10% of todays workforce and this denys them the power they once had to make demands. The 90% that remain non-union can now compete for their jobs based on education and competence instead of tenure.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  251. Bob in Texas

    Jack, this is just the time Americans should rally behind organized labor, not abandon it. Our failed experiment at globalization has resulted in a lower standard of living for most Americans while the privileged few enjoy wealth beyond measure. Moreover, American workers have been pitted against the wage slaves of communist regimes (China, Vietnam) sham democracies (India, Pakistan) and other totalitarian regimes where environmental laws, workplace safety, employee benefits (health insurance, retirement programs) are nonexistent.

    American workers should unite behind organized labor to restore sensible protectionist measures and a decent standard of living for the people that actually make products and provide services of value. Organized labor should broaden it's scope and recruit associate members to help in its battle for American workers.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  252. Butch--Central Calif.

    I don't know-and the unions are far from perfect,but if labor were to lose their leverage entirely, many years of progress in safety and fair treatment will go down the toilet. Take a look at mining and those poor bastards on that oil platform. The elimination of unions would be a very sad day.Ask a farm worker.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  253. steve - virginia beach

    Unions are a major obstacle to restoring America. In the private sector they've caused a lot of the outsourcing of our jobs by pricing union workers out of the job market. Public unions are breaking taxpayer's backs with similarly excessive demands for compensation, not to mention they're incompatible with a Constitutional republic, as illistrated by their unamerican demands to dictate where Boeing can or can't expand to. We need to get rid of them but that's unlikely if we re-elect their guardian angel/head union boss to another term as President.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  254. Andres Trujillo

    Jack, I am astounded by your comments. You seem to be parroting the lines of those who rather than wanting to allow America's meddle class to bargain together for a better life, benefits and retirement, would pit union workers agains non union workers, many of whom wish they had better pay, benefits or retirement, or even simply justice and fairness in the workplace.
    Americans should be asking, why not me too? rather than tearing down the few that through their dues, are the only economic and social force, driving American wages up, or holding the line from slipping further.
    And the answer to why not me too? is organize, come together and don't be swayed by media pundits calling for further stripping workers of their rights to the American dream.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  255. Damon King

    @BobKobs ... You said "Organized labor has a bright future. It is our only line of defence against predatory corporations; predatory capitalism.", but what is the public's defense against predatory public sector unions. For that matter maybe we need a taxpayers union to defend against the predatory federal government.......

    June 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  256. RickFromDetroit

    I like the idea of raising the minimum wage because it would tighten the gap between the working poor and the working wealthy, [union members] many make over $100k a year.

    If Boeing would like to open a non union plant in Michigan, the "HALL" will give them their money's worth of scab labor. Every time a Dreamliner crashes, the "HALL" will walk into Boeing Corporate Office and hand them a "Union Contract" to sign.

    This would probably be a daily ordeal because it is cheaper to pay Union Wages than to replace Airplanes!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  257. Dianna k

    The union busting push by the Tea Party and Republican far right is an attack on the working class of this country, an attempt to blame job problems on unions and a definite plan by the Republicans to totally remove the funding of the democratic party, while continuing to guarantee that big business still buys the republican party. The death of organized labor and the demise of unions will be the demise of the rights of Amerrican workers. Repeal of child labor laws is next in the state of WI and other states that have been hijacked by the insane mentality of the tea party

    That being sId, unions should not regain some of the power that they have had in the past. There was abuse if this power and unions need to morph into more modern organizations that protect the rights of workers but guide their members towards things that will provide job security and profitability for the business. The worker cannot have no representation lest we return to the days when workers had no protections. A collective voice allows the individual some measure of empowerment from being wronged by the strong arm of business.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  258. Angela, Charlotte, NC

    Ask yourself why unions were formed in the first place.
    Yes they probably exceeded their mandate over time, but without the power that comes with organized labor, this country will fall more quickly into the "have's and have nots"
    Having been "fired " three times without notice or recompence in a state that allows it, I say this country is still in the time of Dickens!
    PS All three times I was not at fault and Boeing are happy to be in SC where the rules are probably as lax.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  259. greg leduc

    Jack, It was the union organizing of the past that created the strong middle class that we have seen evicerated in the last few decades. It all began with Reagan and the middle class has been in decline ever since. Now it is very easy to throw rocks at union members who haven't taken it on the chin like all the rest of us. We need to protect organized labor as it has been protected in Germany, the only European country that is strong despite the recession.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  260. JOHN phoenix, az

    They are done. People OUT of work see them as GOLDBRICKERS. Every state should put the same las as WI. They ruined U S Steel in the 1980's. They ruined the automotive industry in the US, except foreign manufacturers without unions.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  261. Sue from NY

    Jack, What started out with good intentions helping the everyday common worker years ago, ended up with fat cat union bosses with their hands constantly out. In my area the teachers unions have taken out ads trying to convince the taxpayers that a 2-percent tax cap on property taxes is all wrong and will hurt our children and that we should contact our congressman to vote "no" on the bill. I'd say they're more worried about what it will do to their bottom line. These ads are costing approx. 1.3 million to run. I'd say if they have that kind of money to waste on nonsense such as that, they don't need anymore of our money. Union organizations are out of control and need to be shut down all together.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  262. Mike in PA

    Hopefully, a dim future. The massive loss of jobs overseas and inability to afford to hire new workers come from decades of abuse and fear tactics by corrupt unions. Corporations no longer have any incentive to look to American labor for innovation and expansion, the unions just make it too inefficient and expensive to do so anymore. I have worked in union and non-union companies for several years, and any claims that union work is better, safer or "good for America" is just not true. In many, if not most cases, union labor ends up using more people at higher costs and provides no tangible benefits, other than making the union more money. Sorry folks, just had to tell the truth.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  263. Jacqueline Mongeot

    Why not be inspired by what other countries also victims of recession do, like Gernamy for instance? Germany had a serious economic problem about 10 years ago with the unification of West and East Germany. Corporate leaders worked with union leaders and educators to produce a skilled labor force.Then, obtaining temporary subsidies from the Government they avoided outsourcing. Germany is now productive with low levels of unemployment. Corporations survived, working with labor leaders. The country is more prosperous as a result..
    Jacqueline San Diego

    June 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  264. Patsy

    During the 1930s, labor had no rights, low wages, no retirement, no health care, and no say in the amount of hours they were required (or allowed) to work. this type of condition brought about the rise of the labor unions. I believe Corporate America will not stop until they have those days back and are using the current economic conditions to aid in bringing those days back. Unions will not have their power back until they stop holding hands with corporations and states or until working conditions get so bad again that a workers revolt is in order again....as they were in the 30s. Corporate America longs for the good old dayswhen they had all of the power and the worker had none.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  265. Andy Keefer

    It is not an attack on job creation , but an attack on living wages for the workers .
    For the businesses , the stockholders seems to be more important than the workers .

    As for the unions , their main weakness is that they are based on union locals . One union local could not care less about another local .
    IIn Europe there is no locals , the Unions are political machines who lfight for ALL the country workers .

    Andy Keefer

    June 15, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  266. Mark in MN

    I wish work ethic and creativity was rewarded over the "rights of the common worker." It just seems unamerican to me to be rewarded for just showing up.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  267. Jeanette

    Despite the union's drawbacks, they have always been the driving force behind securing safety, fair wages, benefits, 8 hour working days, and other improvements in working conditions. The presence of unions has forced non-union businesses to provide similar working conditions for their employees, as well. The demise of unions means the total demise of all fairness for U.S. workers.

    The hugh corporations that have been forming for the past 30+ years
    launched relentless campaigns to demonize unions. Everything that is accomplished by unions for the workers has meant less profits for the corporations. It should be clear to everyone by now, that those owners and CEO's of corporations have no intention of doing what's right. They have all become slaves to money. And want us to be in slavery to them. It is no joke or too bizarre to believe that these coporations want to control every aspect of our lives for their sorry benefit.

    Our grandfathers and greatgrandfathers suffered through horrible deprivation and even death to bring worker rights to themselves and future descendants. Are we really going to let these evil-minded corporations get away with bringing down our great country and all it has stood for in the past???

    i believe that the people of the United States still have more power, collectively, than these monstrous corporations. It's just a matter of how deep a hole we are willing have dug for us.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  268. David Leonard

    Jack, you missed the point of the WI Supreme Court story when you reported that the Court had ruled that the LAW was constitutional. The previous ruling had been that the passage of the law stripping negotiation rights had violated the WI Open Meetings Law. The very partisan Supreme Court of WI, on a 4-3 vote, decided that the judge had "exceeded her authority" in her ruling. Apparently the Open Meetings Law does not apply to the State Senate! This fiasco is a great example of abuse of power, the very reason that made unions essential to the worker "bees" in the first place. Solidarity!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  269. Damon King

    Overall I do NOT have a problem with organized labor. What I have a problem with is organized government workers, whereby the public has no defense against they extortionist tactics. For public sector unions to be a positive they would need to be competing public sector unions for the government to take bids from for a given job.

    But the public sector unions prevent non-union people from getting jobs in unionized government agencies, and THAT is the real problem.

    The same is true in the private sector in states that are not right-to-work. Unions do have a place when there is a really bad employer, but not at the expense of an entire industry.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  270. Rick from Los Angeles

    The days of union's are coming to a end and I fear that the days of jobsatisfaction will go with it. Unions gave us a working schedule that allowed us to live decent lives outside the factories. They gave us a defense against abusive employers who value bottom lines over safe working conditions. While it's true that Unions have grown into a monster, their is still a need to have such organizations in place to safeguard the Common person. When Unions are gone will I have to miss Christmas morning with my children because I need to get to work? Will I be on my own if I get injured on the job?

    The Future of Unions and all those who are protected by them is bleak.

    Rick for Los Angeles

    June 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  271. Jim L.

    You know, Jack, I have no objection to labor unions. I understand their origin, and I believe they have truly helped workers over the past hundred years or so. My issue is that I do not feel the public should be held hostage to greed, laziness or incompetence, either on the part of management or labor. Thank you.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  272. Lisa

    A small percentage of people enjoying what everyone else wants. Pensions, healthcare, vacation time, sick time, personal days, job security, early retirement etc... An endles list of benefits. Today, given the economy, union membership needs a reality check and quit making demands on the tax payer and corporations that are barely making it. Their strikes and continued demands make them look like spoiled out of touch brats. They aren't fighting the the everyday worker nor the big picture, only their unionized self interests – no matter the costs.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  273. Cal (Maui)

    The pendulum is swinging back Jack, it will find itself leveling out the playing field between employer and employee. We need a voice for the working class ie. collective barganing, has their been excessive demands on the part of the unions? you bet and now it's time for give back, unions are a must to curb the exploitations of workers by corporations.
    Cal Kihei, Maui Hawaii

    June 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  274. Kyle

    As a Wisconsin resident I am more upset about the handling of the issue more than anything else. Union leaders willing to make concessions, omission of certain unions (such as police and fire) and politicians strong arming are all frustrating to see from our elected officials. However the root of the issue falls back to remaining competitive. The costs associated with union labor are simply higher than that of non-union labor. Union jobs are protected against their own company and depending on the leadership of the union you can see lack productivity and accountability since processes need to be put in place to protect all union members, even when an individual deserves to be replaced.

    Those new graduates with four year degrees who get signed on to salaried positions don't get overtime, don't have union protections, and in some cases are paid less than individuals who perform a job which takes limited training or education.

    To remain competitive today in a world economy large companies need to completely relocate and re-train a complete production staff for building the same product. America's business sector along with labor leaders need to toughen up to reduce costs and keep competition in America. It's more than tax cuts, more than out sourcing – it's work ethic, education, and innovation, and cooperation.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  275. Ralph Nelson

    Very bleak. The Republicans well win the White House and another round of Reagonomics well begin resulting in deep recession and end of America as we knew it. The middle class created by FDR and organized labor well be all but dead. The middle class is already too small in income to drive the economy, that's why you have the high unemployment and lowest rate of new business startups (67% of jobs come from small business) on record. The middle class needs a leader.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  276. charlie

    For some reason Jack people seem to think that labor unions are some evil entity that are part of organized crime. Labor unions are just working people coming together in order to have safe working conditions at a fair wadge.Labor unions helped create child labor laws, helped promote work place safety and OSHA. How would you like to be working outside in 100 degree heat with no water,food,or restroom facilities, for low wages.It happens.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  277. bob

    Hopefully,organized labor will die a quck and quiet death. The country doesnt need union's productivity killing rules and thuggery

    June 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  278. aaron from OK

    The future of the Unions will be ok once the majority of Americans (under $50,000 yr.) realize that the Unions are the last line of defence from corporate greed. Wages for American workers have been stagnent for years or gone alltogether while ceo,s and wallstreets wages have soared. The very ones that have caused the recession. Let's get educated America.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  279. Jeff

    Unions should and will have a place in private industry where they offer a balance to the pursuit of corporate profits, and the natural checks and balances of the free market exist. However, they make no sense at all in the context of the public jobs sector where they simply bargain for more and more tax payer money. This effectively creates a situation where it is impossible for the federal, state and local agencies to get anything done with competitive labor rates. It’s simply wrong for government employees to be paid more than private sector employees in positions with similar demands, who are themselves paying the taxes that make this possible. Until this changes we will never to be able to afford the government service required to operate a great nation.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  280. Katherine

    Objectionable tactics = objectional organizations. Folks are beginning to figure that out, which means that most public unions, and some private ones, will go the way of the dodo bird.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  281. Jos

    Indeed, Jack, if he Republicans have it their way there will be no Unions but simply unchecked power given to the so-called "Job Makers." I am absolutely tired of the tired narrative that these poor corporations will go overseas because they are over-taxed or because the corrupt Unions are asking too much of the poor "Job Makers." The question is: how far are we willing to go to keep these corporations here? Will Republicans argue to get rid of a minimum wage and allow 7 year olds to work 7 days a week for a dollar a day? I am sure there are plenty of corporations that would be happy to stay. Since when is America supposed to compete with a third-world job market and supplicate at the feet of the one percent to keep jobs here? That doesn't sound like freedom to me.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  282. Chris - Denver

    Unions will come back once workers get sick of being exploited by the greedy capitalist pigs.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  283. Bill Minnesota

    If Unions are legislated away and the middle class continualy lose the gains they have fought for for so many years. The Union will be reinvented all over again. You can not keep the people down. They will rise up and take back their Rights. That's why they stood and died on the pickit line and we will do it again.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  284. terence Gaffney

    Unions MUST look-after its members and make the important intelligent decisions to keep the Union strong AND to make sure that members KNOW what the company or organization they work for is doing to STAY in business! It is very stupid to demand PAY increases when a business is losing money and possibly could go out of business if they give the Union pay increases – PROTECT your Union job and work with who you work for! At the same time Unions should CHECK to see what pay and bonuses the CEO and managers get! It is extremely UNFAIR when Union members give-up pay increases or even drop their hourly pay to help the business to see increases to the CEO and managers! This has happened a lot! Unions are here to STAY – without doubt!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  285. James Hamburger

    If we let our elected misrepresent themselves as in Wis. Yes unions will not have a future but, people are realizing without unions our pay and way of life will be gone. We will all be puppets of corporations and living in the streets.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  286. Reilleyfam

    We are heading into a new Dark Ages/Depression and partly because workers in this nation are unable or unwilling to stand up and demand a fair share from employers. That is made worse by illegal immigration and sending jobs overseas. We need TOTAL protectionism and we need every job in the country to be mandatory union membership. Any business that wont cooperate can be replaced with one that will – there is always someone willing to adhere to "some profit is better than no profit." Eventually this nation will be completely socialist – 50, 100 years but it is unsustainable in it's current top-heavy form & eventually people will be tired of getting scraps.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  287. Tina

    As a union member, to be honest I am not sure. Business has always worked to shed a bad light on unions and have apparently been very successful. Unions on the other hand have not done a very good job of educating the American people. Unfortunately, the American people are getting ready to learn a very hard lesson and may never get to reverse the situation. First will go the unions and their union wages and benefits, then will go the minimum wage and living wage for American people. Then, health care and all the other benefits that unions in the past fought for and people take for granted these days. We will be the third world, low wage country that businesses wish for.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
  288. michael

    I think that the future is bright for labor unions, but not in America. In the coming years as Chinese workers awaken to their sub-standard working conditions and pay they will begin to attempt to unionize. Then corporations will move their plants to the next cheap labor market. Americans will continue to see jobs disappear and wages decrease due to their desire for the cheapest product rather than the quality product.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  289. Kevin

    Union membership has dropped more than it ever has in the years between 1980 and 2011. Now consider this – in 1980 the ration of the average CEO salary to the average worker's salary was 40:1. Today, its almost 400:1. Although correlation doesn't always equate to causation, who can deny that the decrease in union membership can't be attributed to this tenfold increase in income disparity?

    June 15, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  290. Free Man

    Public unions were good at one time but have become greedy and have turned into a bunch of thugs. . . (i.e. Wisconsin/Ohio). Due to the poor economy the public is tired on paying for their high paying pension fund and cadillac benefit plans including; medical, personal leave, vacations and sick leave.
    Have you ever tried to fire a state worker of a teacher? Good luck!
    These people have abused the system and drained it dry. Collective Bargaining is not a right and it is not a guarantee. The states especially Ohio and Wisconsin are bloated with an out of proportion and inefficient state government. Programs need to scrutinized heavily and audited and after review each department should eliminate failing programs, duplication of services and top heavy management. These departments should be downsized/privatized in order to curb this overwhelming debt.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  291. Jerry in Alaska

    I'm a 35 yr plus union member Jack.
    I left Texas due to Crooked Employers to join the Union for protection & security.
    All those Unscrupulous people are now Union Leader & Members with no concept of right & wrong or good & evil only wanting thier own way.

    Jack there is one more Union coming & this Last Union is mentioned in Revelation 13:16,17 & shows trouble to all that refuse to join this Forced Governmental Union.

    Jerry in Soldoitna, Alaska

    June 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  292. Dottie midwest

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court's decision isn't about economics–it's about politics. It shows Mr. Walker's contempt for the voting electorate. Six republican senators face recall thanks to their underhanded attack on the middle class and unions.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  293. charles murtagh

    jack, the national labor relations act [1937] , prohibits employers from threatening or intimidating employees by action or speech. that is what is at issue here. ' since you went on strike here in washington, we are taking the new work to south carolina'. it is not legal to do that, if proven. these are middle class workers exercising their legal rights in the workplace. look behind the headline and do not assume the nlrb is wrong. charles murtagh, bozeman montana

    June 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
  294. Kirk

    The future holds strong limitations, demonstrations, pepper spray, men on horses, riot gear, and government resistance. It holds coprs moving out from where they do nto get a sweetheart deal for places where they do. Illonis is going to get tough on corps? Corps out for friendlier pastures. Dig it' they're all about the franklins. Cost them bread, they cop a flight to upper lower banaganga, or maybe mexico.

    Don't let them. The government works for the people, not the corps.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  295. Tony Scangarello


    Everyone (now union members included) need to go through a paradigm shift in their outlook. Thanks to the environment we are in (economy etc.), everyone has come to realize it’s time to change our ways. Unions will need to change too. How it turns out is up to each member individually.

    Let’s all work hard (along with prayers to God) that our future will be brighter for our children and grandchildren thanks to our lessons learned today.

    Tony (in NJ)

    June 15, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  296. C Sherrill

    Why should we pay a union for what Twitter can do for free? With today's social media, organizing a strike or walkout is as easy as organizing a flash mob.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  297. Don Pittman

    In this economy? With the uber-conservative plan to take a top heavy economic situation and move more of the finite resources to the top and away from the base supporting the economy? Sounds like the Republican planners ALL missed out on basic physics, not to mention common sense. But lets face facts. Without viable unions, we will soon be where they want us – back into a 2 class system – the HAVES and the SLAVES.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  298. chris c

    I'm a union member in the private sector. I'm also a Republican. I think just like everything there are good points about unions and bad points about unions. I feel it also depends on what the job is. A Teacher should not be union nor should a police officer. Its fine for a baggage handler, cashier, electrician, etc. If unions would stop protecting the worst of the worst employees( and yes they do) then many people's opinions of unions might change.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  299. Rocky in LA

    They will continue to undergo successful attacks against individual unions until unions are nearly extinct. Then someday,.....HOPEFULLY the people will, once again, realize why unions were formed in the first place....to guarantee an honest day's wage and acceptable working conditions and stop exploitation of workers. Hopefully, at this point, unions will be resurrected. .Many unions have gotten out of hand and need to "re-calibrate" their expectations and hence their demands. However....do away with unions and the American sweatshops of the early 20th century, will once again rear their heads, as the middle class dies and is buried.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
  300. Anthony Dyer

    As a forced member of SEIU in a pay to play state, I support Gov. Walker in his effort to take back the budget from unions and special interest. The union thugs that threaten and bully those that disagree with socialist union practices should be prosecuted. I also believe that every state should have right to work laws. Go Bruins!

    June 15, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  301. Dana Haltug

    What's that I hear, Jack. Oh, yeah, as far as Unions go, I hear the sound of crickets .... at the same time we'll have the roar of crowds, well the hooping it up of the top 1% of Americans l

    Dana .. New Jersey

    June 15, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  302. Spencer

    Unions are great. They are the perfect lobbyists. Think Greece.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  303. joe

    Hey Jack...we need organized labor to keep corporations from making what factories we have left into the new cotton fields,they change company policy from week to week to keep you off balance and commit the most blantant kind of safety and enviromental violations they would never get away with if a union were around and watching.the working class needs a voice and protection that unions provide.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  304. Shawn

    The future of unions looks rightfully bleak- after all, is a message like
    "Come bring your business to the US where workers determine their salaries" going to help the economy ?

    June 15, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  305. EMZ

    I remember an old story about Ford replacing the UAW. At the end, Henry Ford was told, after you get rid of all of the Union Workers, who's going to buy your cars? We're getting closer to that across the board.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  306. Eardley Ham Woodbury, MN

    The future for organized labor is very grim. I fear we are headed for another robber baron era. The Haves will garner even more lucre and the HaveNots will lose what little they have.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  307. Janet

    The usefulness of the unions has passed. Recession and a poor economy has made it difficult to pay union wages when there are so many who'd work the same job and harder for less pay. The federal and state laws are already inplace, due to the unions, to protect workers from unfair labor practices. We can take off the union training wheels, ride into future jobs and with skill, can soar as high as we want in the job market.

    June 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm |