Like It or Not, We Need Unions Again
Henry Blodget's not a fan of organized labor, but companies aren't doing what's right
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Aug 2, 2013 10:34 AM CDT
Demonstrators in support of fast food workers march towards a McDonald's as they demand higher wages and the right to form a union without retaliation, July 29, 2013, in New York's Union Square.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

(Newser) – Henry Blodget has always hated labor unions. They "create an 'us versus them' culture," drive jobs overseas, overpay their leaders, and often uncouple performance from compensation. "But we've now developed a bigger problem," he writes at Business Insider, namely the worst inequality since the 1920s. "Corporate profit margins are at an all-time high, [but] wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low." Why? Because companies have bought into "the 'shareholder value' religion," believing their only duty is to boost near-term stock prices.

"Great companies in healthy and balanced economies don't view employees as 'costs,'" he argues, but "as the extremely valuable assets they are (or should be)." Instead, companies today pay employees as little as they possibly can. It's bad for everyone "because rich people can't buy all the products we need to sell to have a healthy economy. And it's also just not right." In a perfect world companies would voluntarily share the wealth, but that's "heresy" for the shareholder value faithful. So it's time to raise the minimum wage, and/or bring on the unions. Click for Blodget's full column.

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Showing 3 of 142 comments
cornelison
Aug 5, 2013 3:48 AM CDT
There are some really stubborn people here who hate unions. The stereotype of union members is like shooting yourself in the foot. Union members are usually in the middle class. Unions have taken a hit in pay for more than 15 yrs. I AM in the middle class. I AM in the investor class. Loss of the middle class hurts the economy and there is less spending. Gravitating unearned wealth is going to the 2%. It's sucking the life out of the economy. The middle class grew when wealthy people were taxed at 90%. The middle class started to die when rich folks received deep tax cuts. When jobs were shipped overseas it drove down wages starting 30 yrs. ago. Free trade eliminated industrial jobs and unions.
KooKooforCocoPuffs
Aug 3, 2013 10:06 PM CDT
Unions were important back when they were first invented because working conditions, pay, etc., was, indeed, horrible. They were good things then, but have turned into bloated, self-serving institutions that create a ridiculous sense of entitlement in what are often under average workers. I watched a bunch of union people parade around with signs during a strike recently. They were crowing about having to partially pay for their own health insurance - most of the idiot protesters were smoking and an average of 50 lbs overweight. Are you frikken kidding me? Many look at union protections as an opportunity to NOT work and suck the teat. Unions are ridiculous now. Here in Vegas, every time a culinary union member is looked at cross-eyed on the job, the union's going on strike. Perhaps if unions were banished and people actually had to strive a bit, the entire US would be far better off?
HMD-SMD-ITY
Aug 3, 2013 8:43 PM CDT
I can only say what I saw when I applied to work for UPS. They did a mass employee indoctrination at the local hub. We were not yet hired and it was a time for them to air out all the particulars with everybody at the same time. There were about 30 people in the room. They went through the spiel about pay, benefits, hours, and such. Then when the guy in the suit was finished he said, "Well, now to the not so nice part, you do realize this is a union shop and even though this state has right to work, this is after all a union shop. So you can choose not to join when asked, but you won't get much work. Oh, we can bring you in for a couple hours now and then, but don't look for a 50 hour work week if you are an independent. So with that, I introduce the union steward for the local UPS shop." So this guy enters who is a spitting image of Tony Soprano, I swear you not. He gets up, pulls up his pants, and says, "Okays, dis is a union shawp. Sees, we likes it thats way becauses you dunt have to deal with the one-at-a-timing-it. I means I dont have time to work outs a contract for you as a person sitting there by your lonesome. I prefers to works out the contracts for 1200 people at ones times." So then he says, "Any of youse who dunt like dat, ders da door." I have never done this in my life but for the first time since being asked this in grade school, I actually took that option and left the meeting. Have any of you out there ever left when someone said "there's the door." Well I did it and never looked back. So a week goes by and the Tony Soprano character calls me. "Hays, youze didnts finish the job day a week ago, what's the deal and all that stuff?" I told him I just didn't fell good about all the union talk." Then he said, "Awww that's just the usual boiler plate junk Ize tells everybody, don't be so afraid of us, its not like we are the mob or anythings like that."