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Letter: Right to work: Unions can't fight the Constitution or First Amendment

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  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 8, 2012 5:19 a.m.

    Another politicized issue with no grey area.

    GOP - unions are always bad. They demand unfair wages and benefits from corporations causing them to be uncompetitive.

    Democrats - Unions are always good. Saving the poor worker from an oppressive corporation that will force worker to work in unsafe conditions for pennies.

    How about this. Look at every situation in a case by case basis and determine where "fairness" falls.

    Seldom are things black and white.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 7:07 a.m.

    Re: "I think the unions in Michigan or any state will have very little luck in taking the First Amendment out of the Constitution."

    Yeah -- they'll never get it out of the Constitution, but President Obama has shown them they don't need to. They can just ignore any law or constitutional provision that stands in the way of their leftist, anti-freedom, anti-American agenda.

    Just like the President.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 8, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    The counter argument could be made that prohibiting unions entirely also offends the 1st Amendment.

    George Will's piece that this letter is based on is full of misleading hyperbole.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 8:59 a.m.

    Mr. Johnson, a few questions.

    Do you work eight hour days?

    Do you work five days a week or do you work more?

    Do you receive fair pay for the work you do?

    Do you have a safe workplace?

    Is your job reasonably secure?

    If you answer YES to those questions, then you need to thank a union.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 8, 2012 10:28 a.m.

    The reason people in this country have safe work places, fair pay,5 day work week, and are reasonably secure job has NOTHING to do with unions and everything to do with employers having to be competitive to attack the talent they need to succeed in the marketplace. I know; I was once a recruiter and an interviewer for my employer. If we didn't offer those benefits, the best talent went to those employers who did! The legacy of unions in America=Made in China.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 8, 2012 10:35 a.m.

    Opps, my typo, attract talent not attack. sorry

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    So Mountainman, when you write: "everything to do with employers having to be competitive to attack the talent they need" that makes me wonder.

    I wonder why employers have to attack their workers as so many of them do? Why not just play fair and be honest?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 10:55 a.m.

    I have to agree with Mountainman when he says, ". . . employers having to be competitive to attack the talent they need. . . "

    If employers would just stop attacking their employees and consider them as valuable parts of their businesses, there would be no need for unions.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 8, 2012 11:06 a.m.

    I was pretty good at attracting the best talent. I got a promotion!

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    @mountainman. You are wrong. You obviously do not your history. Did companies stop employing young children in mines and factories because they had to start being competitive? Was emergency egress and fire suppression systems introduced in building codes and laws because companies wanted to save lives? Or was it because several hundred people died in the early 1900's because doors in factories were chain locked by business owners preventing the employees from getting out?

    Did business owners voluntarily stop making their employees 16 hour days and start paying them time and a half after forty hours a week? Did business owners start offering safer and better working conditions because they wanted to stay competitive?

    Business owners started giving all these benefits because of unions.

    It's funny you mention china because a china factory worker can't even afford the stuff they make. China doesn't even have a middle class and they also do not have unions. Also why isn't the Chinese worker wealthier than the American worker? By your definition they should be. They have no unions, no child labor laws, no environmental laws.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 8, 2012 11:48 a.m.

    @ Shaun, you make good points but that was 150 years ago. The job market in America has changed. In today's high tech world, it takes the greatest creative talent to succeed in today's business world, not child labor. Case in point, are you earning the same salary today that people did then? That is mostly because today's jobs are not like they used to be for the vast majority of Americans. My point was to ATTRACT and maintain the best talent, companies have to compete with salaries and benefits.
    As far a China is concerned, most jobs in China are manufacturing jobs, not high tech jobs and Americans have voted with their wallets and prefer to pay much less for their goods made there than they would have to pay for goods made here because union workers demanded more pay, which means more Americans can afford more if they buy cheaper goods made in China. Unions and American consumers drove these jobs overseas!

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 12:10 p.m.

    MM, if you would take the time to do some research and try reading, you would learn that the first American businesses to start sending jobs to China did not do so to seek reduced labor costs nor higher profits. They were hoping to stimulate new markets in other parts of the world.

    In fact, shipping jobs overseas does not appear to have had much, if any effect on the companies' profit margins nor on prices American pay for those products here at home. When corrected for other inflationary costs, the greatest influences on corporate profits and consumer prices have been due to stock manipulation by some aggressive hedge funds and other shady operators. There may also have been the influence of foreign investments into some of our larger corporations which resulted in internal pressures to move jobs and manufacturing overseas.

    The real story is so complex and convoluted that it will probably never be possible to trace it all out. Blaming unions is a carelessly easy way to find something to blame.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 12:15 p.m.

    To our good friend Mountanman, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Whether it was last month, last year or 100 years ago it is true. We have seen middle class wages stagnate as a direct effect to the decline of unions. I am not advocating unionizing in every situation but you should recognize the contributions and when unions are in tandem with employers nothing can stop them when the product is good. Everyone of us have benefitted from union sacrifice and to deny is shameful. Unions are the best example of true democracy in action.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 8, 2012 12:44 p.m.

    A "union boss" doesn't work for free. He wants a percentage of your wages to do "his" job. What is "his job"? His job is to get you more money, fewer hours, better working conditions, etc. What if you're already working "fewer hours"? What if you already have good working conditions? What if you're already paid more than the value of your job? What is the result? That company is going to go somewhere else for its labor!

    That's the fundamental flaw in "unions". The "boss" must do something to get paid. If there is no value to what he is "doing", he won't get paid. You can "strike", which means that you will have either no paycheck, or a reduced paycheck. You can do a "slow-down", which means that you're cheating the people who pay you to work a full shift at full effort for the money that you agreed to accept.

    Why not concentrate on upgrading your skills so that you can always provide a greater value to your employer than the employer expects? Why not add value to YOUR job? Save the "dues". Invest in yourself.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 1:37 p.m.

    The right to work is a part of the freedom of any and every American both union and non-union. When taken as the right to be gainfully employed.

    The right to work when taken as the right to choose who will represent us is in extreme distress whether you are talking politically or business wise.

    Regards employment, the employee he has the options of joining with other employee, forming a union and electing the leaders of that union or he may decline to join with others having the notion of representing himself.

    There is of course, society and it’s government who represents the welfare of the worker as a means of providing the best workforce available to business needs.

    When a person declines to join with others, he defaults to being represented by the employer’s chosen and controlled extension sometimes referred to as a supervisor, crew chief or just boss. This arrangement often works well. The employee is relieved of having to be concerned about right and wrong. But if the employee does encounter something wrong that the employer thinks is right, his only recourse is the quit.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Dec. 8, 2012 1:56 p.m.

    MM, your argument is valid when talking about highly skilled and educated workers.

    It does not generally pertain to lower skilled workers.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 2:12 p.m.

    Any businessman must dread seeing a union rep telling he is going to organize his plant. Unions are dinosaurs. There are plenty of laws protecting workers. The teachers union in Wisconsin lost half their membership once they were not required to join or pay dues. Unions are a drag on the economy and have destroyed many industries.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    @mike Richards. Upgrading your value has really nothing to do with it. Our Costco workers any more valuable than Walmart workers even though Costco employees enjoy better pay and benefits? Costco has made a choice to pay more than the industry average but companies who actually value their employees is shrinking everyday.

    Maybe if more companies valued their employees then unions would cease to exist.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 2:29 p.m.

    If business was a football game.

    The business team would be the offensive team. Comprised of well trained, coordinated, highly incentivized, professionals. Before each play they would meet together and plot the strategy for their next action. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each of the defensive team helps their plan. Their goal would be to get the ball across the goal line where they would divide up the gate money.

    The employee team would be made up of individuals selected at random from the neighborhood to be paid a reasonable fee for their help in presenting the entertainment for the crowd. The defensive players would be discouraged from talking to each other and coordinating their actions. And if some did get together some others might decline to work together and line up well outside the play area. After all their pay is the same, win or lose.

    Of course business isn’t a game. But the competition is much the same between the management and workers as many competitive sports.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Dec. 8, 2012 2:36 p.m.

    Unions tore down Eastern European Communism and beat the Societ Union.

    Not Capitalism, not the Military, not eve Ronald Reagan.

    It was Workers UNIONS.

    BTW -
    It's also why Communist China has out-lawed Unions.
    We would not want the People having the power or the right to Assemble and possibly Revolt now, would we?

    That would be SOOooooo un-American!

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Dec. 8, 2012 2:40 p.m.

    Oh ya - one other thing ---

    America didn not have a problem with illegal immigration entering the U.S. work force when Unions were strong.

    If you weren't a citizen, Union would not let you in, and you could not work.

    The rise of illegal immigration to the U.S. came with these stupid "right-to-work" laws.
    Because there was nothing in place to stop them.

    But go ahead - praise the Businesses and blame the Unions.

    History and facts are on my side of the debate.

  • L White Springville, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 3:37 p.m.

    I can hardly believe what I'm reading.

    What would it cost a business to train somebody to stock shelves? What amount of training is required? What does that worker have to do that is "special"? What would it cost to train someone to train a cashier? How many years of advanced schooling?

    The reality is that if someone can be replaced with two hours or two days of training, their value to a company is not nearly as great as someone who needs a bachelor's or master's or doctorate degree. It doesn't matter how big a stick a union is pounding with, the cost to replace an employee is proportional to the skills required not to the needs of that employee.

    If someone wants to earn a big salary, they had better spend their time developing needed skills. Demanding more than you're worth is stealing. Having dozens or hundreds of people marching around, chanting threats against people who trusted them enough to pay them for their value, shows only that dozens or hundreds of people can be enticed to steal together.

    Invest your money in a business or get training.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 5:12 p.m.

    @ Mike Richards 12:44 p.m. Dec. 8, 2012

    Inquiring sarcastically; what then is the difference between a Union "boss" & venture capitalist?

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 6:39 p.m.

    Some powerful leaders in both Big Business and Big Labor have been corrupted by the money and influence they wield. But we still need unions as a counter-balance against the tendency executives have to treat workers as commodities instead of humans. Their ability to do this has been severely weakened in their struggles with Big Labor since the 1950's. While I support right-to-work laws, I would also like to see other federal labor laws changed to make it easier for unions to organize and press their causes.

    Another good place to start would be to enforce anti-trust laws against employers. In case you haven't heard, some employers will conspire with their supposed competitors, and against their workers, to artificially suppress wages. The practice is easy to participate in and hard for regulators to prosecute.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Dec. 8, 2012 6:53 p.m.

    L White said,

    "...It doesn't matter how big a stick a union is pounding with, the cost to replace an employee is proportional to the skills required not to the needs of that employee.

    "If someone wants to earn a big salary, they had better spend their time developing needed skills. Demanding more than you're worth is stealing...."It

    If there are no unions or government regulators to balance corporate greed, workers will be paid only enough to keep them alive, despite their education. Oppressing the worker in his wages is stealing.

    Malachi said it better.

    "And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against...those that oppress the hireling in his wages...." (chap. 3, v.5)

    One worker has no negotiating power against a corporation. The playing field is inherently tilted in favor of big business.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 8, 2012 8:11 p.m.

    Hooray for the union at Hostess. They cost 18,000 people their jobs.

    Every company should have a training seminar where employees learn how to run a break-even analysis on the company with each employee required to justify his wage.

    Each employee should have to put up twenty-five percent of his wage into a profit sharing plan so that each time the union makes wage demands, the employees could share in the losses.

    Each union "boss" should have to negotiate every loan required by the company and guarantee proper payback.

    Until you own a business, you have no idea how hard it is to make a profit; but unions don't care about a business staying in business, just ask the (former) employees at Hostess.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 9, 2012 8:50 a.m.

    @mike richards. Hostess would of went out of business regardless of whether it was union or not. If management is more concerned about short term profits and bonuses than improving the company then it will not survive.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Dec. 9, 2012 11:26 a.m.

    LWhite, your comments are offensive. Richards, I hope you enjoyed your vacation while the vulture capitalists destroyed Hostess. This was an example in the extreme that showed one how to destroy a company by company management. Your comments are misinformed.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 9, 2012 3:00 p.m.

    Hostess won't be gone.

    Only the 18,000 employees who had hopes and dreams of retirement pensions will be lost.

    4 CEOs in 18 months.
    Each walked away with Million bonuses for destroying a 100 year old company.

    And you blame the Bakers, not the Takers.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 9, 2012 7:34 p.m.

    Re: "It's also why Communist China has out-lawed Unions."

    Red China has not outlawed unions. They exist there, much as they do here -- regime-controlled organs for enforcing big-government thought.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Dec. 9, 2012 7:46 p.m.

    Unions shouldn't be necessary at all in a democracy OF the people FOR the people. But where money rules....

    Unions pushed lawmakers who codified 8 hour workdays and overtime laws. You'll notice that exempt employees (white collar) who were never historically represented by unions don't have such 8/40 work hour rules/laws. I know plenty of people working 60 hrs a week minimum.

    If you want a glimpse of what the US would be without unions just look to Japan. They've even created a word for death by overwork - Karōshi

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Dec. 9, 2012 9:04 p.m.

    Strange how so many posts get "lost" at the DN.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:01 a.m.

    If you want to join a union - fine
    If you need to force people, against their will, to join your union - then you are the problem

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:45 a.m.

    Mike Richards
    A "union boss" doesn't work for free. He wants a percentage of your wages to do "his" job. His job is to get you more money, fewer hours, better working conditions, etc.
    12:44 p.m. Dec8
    ----------

    ...and healthcare, retirement, seeing that your job isn't given to illegal immigrants or outsourced. AntiDiscrimination laws? - Unions.

    Meanwhile -- As opposed to the "regular boss" who tries to give you less money, for working more hours, in less than ideal conditions, ect.?

    FYI - That "regular boss" doesn't work for free either. He gets a percentage of YOUR labors. In fact, the more he keeps from YOU the more he keeps for himself. Paying you is a necessary evil.

    ===================

    procuradorfiscal
    Red China has not outlawed unions.
    7:34 p.m.
    -------
    Umm yes, they have....
    The only "Union" in China is the "All-China Federation of Trade Unions".
    ACFTU has a monopoly in China and the creation of competing unions is illegal. As a tool of the government, ACFTU does not act in the best interest of its members (workers), and does not defend workers' rights.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 2:02 p.m.

    The DOL has replaced the need for unions as far as working conditions are concerned. The DOL grew out of the unions as a government task master to enforce the unions demands. Workers taxes pay for this oversight. Why should we have forced union membership on top of the DOL?

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:33 a.m.

    Right to work laws are not about the Constitution. They are all about killing Unions funding so that they can not make political contributions. They result over time in reducing the wage standard in any state adopting them. That may in fact make a given rigt to work state a competive advantage for corporate relocation, but the cost is wages that are not much above subsistance.