Unions
Unions in this country have had a checked past and now an undervalued future. In the 20's & 30's the union movement was one of violence by organizers, against organizers by business thugs and organized crime involvement. Organized crime involvement increased after WWII and strengthen its ties to organized labor. In the 50's & 60's American post war prosperity created ever increasing jobs and middle class wealth. Unions helped this process through collective bargaining. This increased wages, and benefits helping to propel blue collar workers into the middle class. Unfortunately, union leadership did not do what business leaders of successful companies do over time - they did not plan for the future. Instead they continued the continued the wage and benefit model to the point that it drove up cost to consumers, requiring close union shops in major cities (NYC, Chicago, etc). With technology change in the 80's & 90's union membership began to decrease and became less valuable. The parasitic 'wage & benefit' negotiating strategy destroyed their 'host' employers (both private companies & public governments). If they had leadership who could have built business plans to anticipate the impact technology would have on their membership, they could still be providing value to American workers and businesses. Instead, they are now only a left wing political group, forcing unions dues to be paid by non-members and using same for political benefits. With almost no value remaining for the country, they have declining membership and have become a drag on economic growth. If union leadership would develop a plan, that both political parties could align with, there is a chance they could reclaim an important role in the America economy of the 21st century.

Ruling Clears Way for Unions

8/28/15
from The Wall Street Journal,
8/27/15:

Fast-food, construction to feel effects of labor board decision on temp and contract workers.

Contract workers and other temporary employees will be able to more easily unionize following a landmark ruling Thursday by a U.S. federal labor regulator. The ruling from the National Labor Relations Board will ripple through the fast-food, construction and other industries that rely heavily on contract workers and employees of franchisees. Previously, such companies were considered by law to be a step removed from many of their workers when certain labor disputes arose. The decision, which came in a 3-2 vote on a single case before the board involving sanitation workers, is the latest to attempt to tackle the core question of who counts as an employee in a modern economy that is increasingly reliant on shift work, contract workers and other temporary employees. The Labor Department, for example, has been cracking down on companies it says misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying taxes, overtime pay and benefits. Uber Technologies Inc. is facing such accusations by drivers in California that the company has disputed. Meanwhile, the NLRB has pending cases that claim franchisers such as McDonald’s Corp. should be held responsible for alleged labor law violations at independently owned restaurants.

Many businesses have fiercely opposed the change, and not surprisingly. Companies increasingly have been turning to temporary contract workers, a business model that gives them more flexibility to add or shed workers as needed. “If this decision stands, the economic rationale for hiring a subcontractor vanishes,” said Beth Milito, senior legal counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business. “It will make it much harder for self-employed subcontractors to get jobs and of course it will drive up operating expenses for the companies that hire them.” Union groups, meanwhile, have complained to regulators that many businesses exercise control over the pay and working conditions of certain workers but shirk their duties by refusing to claim them as employees.

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