26 responses to “Labor vs. Management”

  1. Jonathan Jacobs

    Hear, hear! The systematic elimination of the American middle class corresponds exactly with the decline in American labor union membership. But unions are coming back in a big way. Citizens United is going to bite the corporate initiative right where it hurts.

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    1. jgardner

      What does the CU decision have to do with union membership?

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      1. turbo

        “What does the CU decision have to do with union membership?”

        Seriously? Uh, okay.
        You do realize that there’s nothing in the Citizens United ruling that says only corporations and rich individuals get to spend as much as they want on political campaigns? 

        Unions get to spend as much as they want, too, and, indeed, unions have spent lots of money on political campaigns that benefit unions.

        Does this line up the dots? 

        If not, you could also try reading the news, political coverage in particular, which has spent a lot of time explaining how unions have been quite successful at taking advantage of the Citizens United ruling. In fact, unions have an excellent track record when compared with right-wing Super PACs.

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        1. jgardner

          “You do realize that there’s nothing in the Citizens United ruling that says only corporations and rich individuals get to spend as much as they want on political campaigns”

          I do. It’s a point I’ve argued on this very site.

          But I still don’t see how CU has anything to do with union membership as the CU decision referred to political speech. If unions wanted to increase membership by advertising their benefits and whatnot, they could do so even if the CU case was never heard.

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          1. turbo

            “If unions wanted to increase membership by advertising their benefits and whatnot, they could do so even if the CU case was never heard.”

            Yes. The same could be said for every use of political speech before Citizens United.

            I’m not sure how you could be missing the point here, so I’ll try some numbers.

            1) Certain people think Citizens United is a good thing, because it (Citizens United) will give them (certain people) more power to sway opinion in their (certain people’s) favor.

            2) Many of these certain people dislike unions and expected that Citizens United would give them (these certain people) an advantage over unions.

            3) In fact, Citizens United gives unions the same advantages enjoyed by the aforementioned certain people.

            4) In fact, there is a good argument to be made that unions have taken better advantage of Citizens United than the aforementioned certain people.

            5) One of the things that unions aim to do with the increased power and advantage given to them (unions) by Citizens United is to increase union membership.

            6) So, it is possible to argue that Citizens United was pushed through the courts by certain people who wanted to harm unions, but Citizens United may actually result in an increase in union membership.

            7)  Not only is it possible to make the latter argument, Jonathan Jacobs makes this argument.

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            1. jgardner

              I suppose I’m getting hung up on item #5. What in the CU decision would positively impact a union’s ability to increase membership?

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              1. turbo

                “What in the CU decision would positively impact a union’s ability to increase membership?”

                You don’t see how the election of lawmakers or government officials positively disposed toward unions would have an effect on union membership?

                Hmm. Let’s try to find your problem here.
                Either you don’t see how Citizens United affects elections or you don’t see how government affects the world.

                I would suggest you meditate on the possibility that those people who fought for Citizens United did so because they wanted extra power to influence elections and that they wanted to influence elections because they expect the people whom they help to get elected to govern in a way favorable to them.

                Or maybe you’re one of those people for whom any abstraction simply zooms overhead.

                Let’s try this: a union takes advantage of Citizens United to campaign for a candidate who promises to increase public sector employment, thereby increasing the number of members of a public sector union. 

                This is an example of a union using Citizens United to increase union membership.

                 

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                1. jgardner

                  Sorry, the op talked about the private sector (hostess, car companies and walmart) so I wasn’t even thinking about the public sector.

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                  1. turbo

                    ” I wasn’t even thinking about the public sector.” It makes no difference. 

                    Government can do all kinds of things to favor unions and increase their membership, private and public.

                    Surely, you’ve noticed that there are struggles over laws and policies that affect private-sector unions both positively and negatively? Do you think that these struggles take place for no reason at all?

                    I guess it’s sort of a good thing if a libertarian believes that government cannot affect private-sector union membership. We could pass laws requiring the unionization of every private pool of employees in the U.S., and you would have no problem with them.

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  2. DogDiesel

    “So, it is possible to argue that Citizens United was pushed through the courts by certain people who wanted to harm unions, but Citizens United may actually result in an increase in union membership.”



    It’s possible to argue about anything but Mr. Jacobs statement is pure speculation. Does this mean the progressives are jumping on the Citizens United bandwagon? Does Mr. Whitehouse need to change his tune? What say you progressives?

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    1. turbo

      “It’s possible to argue about anything but Mr. Jacobs statement is pure speculation.”

      Yes, and you are arguing with his speculation. As always, the DogDiesel point remains most mysterious to DogDiesel.

      “Does this mean the progressives are jumping on the Citizens United bandwagon?”

      As an instrument, yes. It turns out that unions are very good at working the Citizens United system, while corporations and, especially, rich individuals seem rather befuddled by it.

      But, of course, the progressive position still holds that a legal entity established by a collective under U.S. law is not itself a person. 

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      1. DogDiesel

        “Yes, and you are arguing with his speculation.”
         
        That would be a lie not that I expected anything less from you. No where in my comment do I argue against his speculation.
         
        “As an instrument, yes. It turns out that unions are very good at working the Citizens United system, while corporations and, especially, rich individuals seem rather befuddled by it.
        But, of course, the progressive position still holds that a legal entity established by a collective under U.S. law is not itself a person.”
         
        We’ll see how strong that progressive position is when they realize how much money is at stake.
         
         
         

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        1. turbo

          “No where in my comment do I argue against his speculation.” Calling his position “pure speculation” is an argument against his position.

          Also, you should know that ‘nowhere’ is one word.

          “We’ll see how strong that progressive position is when they realize how much money is at stake.”

           Progressives already know how much money is at stake, and knowing how much money is at stake has not changed their position.

          I mean: I just got done saying that unions have used Citizens United to their advantage, and now you’re trying to tell me that progressives may be happy about it?

          Not to mention the fact that this line of discussion began with a guy pointing out that unions are benefitting from Citizens United.

          So, two people point out that progressives are benefitting from Citizens United, and then you chime in to say, ‘Oh yeah?!? We’ll see what progressives say when they start benefitting from Citizens United!!!’

           

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          1. DogDiesel

            “the progressive position still holds that a legal entity established by a collective under U.S. law is not itself a person.”
             
            Another turbo twist. Democrats have been calling for the decision to be overturned so it still remains to be seen how hard they’ll keep up the rhetoric now that they know they can get a piece of the pie. Thanks for the spell check. I bow down to your superior spelling abilities.

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            1. turbo

              “Democrats have been calling for the decision to be overturned so it still remains to be seen how hard they’ll keep up the rhetoric now that they know they can get a piece of the pie. ”

              What?

              You have an assymetry here. You are saying:

              1) The Democrats are acting to overturn Citizens United.

              2) The Democrats may give up their rhetoric maligning Citizens United.

              Action and rhetoric are not the same thing. Your statement is incoherent.

              Plus, you continue to suggest that Democrats and progressives now know that they can benefit from Citizens United. This suggestion is nonsense.

              Democrats and progressives always knew they could benefit from Citizens United.

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              1. turbo

                Bonus points if you can find the spelling error in the post above!

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  3. cailin rua

    Wasn’t it the Pinto, not the Maverick, that had the gas tank explosion problem?  Didn’t Ford actually calculate they would profit more by paying off wrongful death suits than taking the car off the market, redesigning and re-tooling?  If that doesn’t speak volumes about “free market” incentives and outcomes, I don’t know what does.

    I find it interesting that so much has been written about Hostess without anyone even questioning the value of the product, including the costs of obesity and late onset diabetes.  I feel bad for the workers but wonder if they would have been more productive if they had simply collected pay while staying at home rather than producing junk food where a great deal of money is spent on advertising in order to entice consumers while subsidizing cardiologists, endocrinologists and dentists, none of whom belong to what could be called unions even though the AMA and the ADA are two of the most monopolistic unions in existence .  Still, what is involved with the Hostess situation seems like more than just a labor management issue.

    At the end of this post we get to Walmart.  What a stinking outfit.  The news has been coming in about the Bangladesh garment factory fire.  The latest from CNN says:

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/26/world/asia/bangladesh-fire-mourning/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

    ‘”A supplier subcontracted work to this factory without authorization and in direct violation of our policies. Today, we have terminated the relationship with that supplier,” Wal-Mart said.’

    . . . just like they take no responsibility for the bribes their people paid to play in the Mexican economy.  Walmart only takes money.  Obviously they refuse to take responsibility.

    The same article goes on to say:

    ‘Bangladesh’s ready-made garments make up 80% of the country’s $24 billion in annual exports.

    The country has about 4,500 garment factories that make clothes for stores including Tesco, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Kohl’s and Carrefour. The sector earned $19 billion this year as of June.’

    Those jobs in Bangladesh, and Pakistan, which had two fires of its own this year both with death tolls of over 100 – one at a garment factory and one at a shoe factory – used to be the kinds of jobs that drew the greatest portion of people who now live in Rhode Island or their ancestors.  Hostess makes a product of dubious value and the same could be said of video games but shoes and clothing are essential products.  We have lost out to  desperate low bidders who are “free” to starve to death if they so choose in their “Right to Work” countries.  Yes, indeed, it’s “get right to work” or starve for them. Even if Walmart treated their workers in the U S well, what about the way they treat their suppliers in other countries?  What does it cost to maintain a military to keep those in power who suppress their populations in order to keep production costs so low no country can compete without sinking as low?  How much of our money goes to the military and police forces in this country to secure the interests of these monopolistic corporations? Where does local money that used to circulate in the local economy go in a global economy?

    The low skills mantra, when used as an excuse to explain why R I is doing so poorly, is really a lie in a lot of ways.  I can’t remember who said it but it was the truest thing I have heard said in a long time.  It went something like, “Rhode Island should not try to emulate Massachusetts because Massachusetts is just Boston and the 128 beltway with three or four Rhode Islands attached to it.”  I don’t think people who are not interested in careers in I T, engineering and robotics should be consigned to lives in an underclass.  Most of those disciplines are concerned with developing technology that will make a lot of jobs unnecessary. How many such people are necessary?  How many well paying jobs is it possible to create in these fields?  How well should those people be rewarded?  Shouldn’t there be limits?

    We are being misled about Rhode Island’s prospects for the future.  People whose skills have become obsolete in a global economy are being scapegoated.  Why should people have to change careers so often and learn new skills all over again just because it is cheaper to move a machine shop or production operation overseas to skirt labor and environmental regulation or because technology has developed to such a point that certain labor that was necessary in the past is no longer needed and, consequently, no longer valued?  The Green Party is the only political entity in this country that understands the need to spread the work that is available to the greatest number by shortening the work week.  We should not be scapegoating people who have been pushed out of jobs by people who will push harder to pump out Twinkies and Yankee Doodles, Potato Heads and cannibalistic gambling schemes.

     
     
     
     

     

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  4. RhodeyisLost

    Unions should be abolished.  They were for a different time and are not needed now.  They carry way to much power and influence to a point they are partially to blame for RI’s condition.  They keep electing the same Democrat fools every year and lets not even mention the pensions and entitlements they demand.  Memo to Unions:  Save your money like the rest of us and work hard, not hard enough not to get fired. 

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    1. jgardner

      “Unions should be abolished”

      There is an argument to be made in support of that if you’re referring strictly to public sector unions, but not if you’re referring to private sector unions.

      “Save your money like the rest of us and work hard”

      Surely you understand that effort expended has no bearing on lifetime compensation?

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  5. RhodeyisLost

    @jgardener, I am talking about Public Unions and Pensions.  In the private sector, If you work hard, you are going to make more money that you can then save.  The Fact that Public Sector workers feel entitled to lifetime compensation is ludacris.  I am in favor of Police getting Pensions given there job is age limited and dangerous, same with FULL time firefighters.  State workers and Teachers I do not.  

    Here is the problem.  Back many many years ago public workers were given a nominal wage well under the Private sector.  In return of that nominal wage they were given good job security and pensions.  Now these state workers make more than private sector, have so much security many of them are useless at what they do and work as less as humanly possible. (Not all, but lets face it.  DMV, DOT, DOL and others don’t have a great record of hiring winners.)  They then feel entitled to a 60% Pension paid for by the tax payers!   A State or Muni Pension Member contributes 7.5% of earnings to the pension.  The State (TAXPAYERS) match that at a WHOPPING 30% !!!  This means that they can go through life not saving a dime and retire at 65% of Wages paid for by the high taxes on anyone remotely successful in the private sector.  ABSOLUTELY INSANE AND DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE!   

    I invite anyone to dispute the reality here and explain how this is in anyway a good system for the equality Progressives so much drive for! 

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    1. PinkHatLib

      So let’s get this straight… you think public sector jobs are high paying and easiliy done and yet managers seem unable to fill these positions with anyone but the most inept? Sounds to me like you should be complaining about the managers.

      btw. don’t let my mother hear you say teachers work as “less” as possible. She’d take you to school on that one!

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    2. turbo

      “The Fact that Public Sector workers feel entitled to lifetime compensation is ludacris.”

      I…I just don’t know what to make of this. Amazing. 

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      1. DogDiesel

        Oh turbo, your keen spelling mind must be spinning out of control. Isn’t he a rapper?

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  6. Jonathan Jacobs

    Rhody Is  Lost is … well … lost on his or her attack on public sector employees. No one goes into public sector employment to get rich. They enter the public sector to make a living and make a difference. All that is expected in return is security. What is expected is a decent living wage and a retirement plan that will prevent poverty when working days are no longer a viable option. Furthermore, the pay scale for RI public sector workforce is the exact median of the prevailing wage for the job classification as determined by Labor Market Information data. They do not make more than private sector, except where private sector is underpaying. The last place aversion psychology spewed by those who resent public sector workers for expecting a middle class lifestyle in exchange for civil service is sad and ugly. I thought Carcieri and his war on RI’s public sector was in the past. Apparently his legacy lives on in the hearts, minds and economy of our financially floundering state. Shameful.

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  7. RhodeyisLost

    Its the Public Sector Employees unwillingness to negotiate their Entitlements driving this state into financial Floudering.  Shame on you Jacobs for advocating a failed system of entitlements.  I don’t resent public workers, but if you think they go into these jobs to serve the people you are indeed lost.  They go into these jobs to make good money, almost 100% job security unless you get on the I-Team doing something ridiculous, and get paid 65% of of your highest wage for the rest of your life paid by RI tax Payers! They should get their salaries and have to put money into a 401K like the rest of the world matched up to 10%.  You write like these people are a bunch of Noble volunteers,  It has Nothing to do with Serving anyone, it has to do with money and retirement.   Have you had the “pleasure” of interacting with many of theses public servants?  A large percentage of them are rude, uncaring and may be willing to help only if it doesn’t interfere with their many breaks and god forbid its after 4pm.   I live near many of these middle class state workers.  They are not middle class making $90K-100K w/ full benefits and retirement.  They are upper middle class.  Add a spouse working a decent job and they are almost in Obama’s RICH class.   Besides Police and Fire who I actually think should get these benefits because of the risk and the fact at a certain age, it is not viable to work.  The guy working in an office at any state or Muni can work until 65-70?  When is working not an option for them?  and why should they get a tax-free paid golden parachute?  It makes no sense.  These are not poor people.  Many are very smart and know exactly how to work the system for maximum profit from taxpayers.  I just think they should plan for retirement through saving their own money not ours!  

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  8. Jonathan Jacobs

    Right. I know nothing about these people. Except that my father spent 34 years working for the state of RI. My father has never taken any road but the high road and is, undoubtedly, one the most honest and honorable persons with whom this state has ever been graced. And he never made over fifty grand a year even after year 34 years. Except that, in spite of the fact that I never made the I Team report, I was laid off from the state of RI after two and a half years of exemplary and necessary work. I guess I just didn’t work the system well enough. Right? And, let’s not forget, state employment wages are not tax exempt. State employees are taxpayers too. And the more they are able to receive in retirement, the more they can contribute to the economy in their golden years. Furthermore, the contractual deal made by state employees with the administration guaranteed that their retiement was not to be gambled in a volatile stock market. It was just that: contactually guaranteed. Watch who you start spouting off to about who knows what about whom. I made a difference and I made a living and my aspiration was to be middle class, not rich. I helped people with their unemployment in their greatest times of need and then I was on the other end. Except now, seeing as the state of RI is a direct reimbursable employer, rather than a contributory, you as the taxpayer are paying my unemployment rather than your tax dollars going towards me performing a service for the neediest people in the state. And, for the record, the Public Sector employees requested negotiation of contractual obligations by the state and the state refused to negotiate and pushed through the bill without honoring requests for further talks. That is the primary concern in this lawsuit.

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