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September 5th, 2011
05:34 AM ET

Talk Back: Do unions help or hurt America?

From CNN's Carol Costello:

Last month, labor activists in Wisconsin successfully recalled two anti-union state lawmakers after Governor Scott Walker took on public unions and effectively killed collective bargaining earlier in the year.

Labor union leaders who contend that a war is being waged against hard-working Americans by anti-union lawmakers, point to this success, among others, as evidence that they have not lost power.

However, only 11 percent of the U.S. labor force is now represented by unions and middle class workers continue to be faced with plateaued wages and a wage gap that is growing wider and wider. Critics blame the labor unions for these situations, arguing that their large pensions and greed have forced companies to send jobs overseas.

Talk Back: Do unions help or hurt America?

Let us know what you think. Your response may be read on this morning's broadcast.


Filed under: AM Talk Back
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. MeLoN

    Union greed is the cause of many problems in the US. Unios protect lazy, worthless employers and adds costs to products.

    September 6, 2011 at 5:23 am |
  2. JW

    Unions are why we're paying over $30K for a car.

    September 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  3. Marguerite Donnelly

    Have unions helped America?

    40 hour work weeks
    Safety standards
    child labor laws
    disability benefits
    worker's compensation
    overtime pay
    benefits
    retirement

    Those of you who don't like unions might want to review your history as well as current events. Remember the Triangle fire? Young women were locked into a firetrap of a building for long hours, sewing shirtwaists. When the building caught fire, hundreds died. Many threw themselves from the top floors of the building rather than burn to death.

    Similar problems exist in some third world factories today. Recent anti-union legislation in some states has convinced me that workers rights in America are eroding fast. We can no longer take workers' rights for granted.

    September 5, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  4. O. G.

    It's about time that union mwmbers realized they have been scammed, slammed, lied to and used for their money and their votes by a president and administration who care about nothing but their own agenda and power. They need to relaize that their unions have been infiltrated and corrupted by communists, criminals, and progressives who also use them as their aarmies and banks to promote their marxist agendas. Unions have been suckered and used by these people and the sooner the members realize this and take back control the sooner unions can once again be a viable sensible bargaining tool instead of just a radical political entity controlled by those who have no regard for anyone but themselves – especiall those like "Brothers Trumka, Stern, Ron Bloom, Van Jones and the worst marxist of all B. Hussein Obama. Take a lesson from what happened to the unions after they helped to enssure the russian revolt under Lenin. They didn't live very long. Wake up and take your unions back!

    reitired union Bus. Mgr.

    September 5, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  5. Melody

    Unions clearly help American workers. I have never been a member of a union but I have benefited by working for employers who also employed union workers. Because of that, my wages were higher, my benefits better and the workplace was far better to work in. However, when Bush II took control of this country, the real serious union busting started and my work conditions (at the same employer) got worse as they laid off workers making those who remained work even more hours but without pay, while the company and it's high level managers got huge raises and bonuses. I support unions completely. I don't support corrupt management. And, there's a lot of corrupt management in corporations.

    September 5, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  6. Russell Reynolds

    It takes Capital, Management(Planning) and labor for any business to operate and suceed. Each component desereves it's fare return. Capital through dividends and interest, Management through salaries, labor through wages. But man has not developed a way to pay Capital, Management and labor it's just rewards. Labor has long been exploited and grossly underpaid. If gross profit where equitably distributed to Capital, Management and labor in direct proportion to their resective contribution to production/productivity net profit should be restricted to maybe 20% of gross profit and the balance 20 % to management and 60% of net profit to labor as production and productivity bonuses.
    As technology reduces the work force Human Capital\Labor becomes more and more valuable. Because now technology allows one person to do the job/s of two or three. As this situation continues the traditional one/two wage earner family will be supporting more than the traditional family... but the extended family as well. Because jobs will not exsist.
    Russell,
    Florida

    September 5, 2011 at 9:59 am |
  7. Joe

    Unions may have their problems, but we are better off fixing how unions are run than giving aways our basic human rights as workers. People are worried about the Democracts taking away our guns, but the Republicans would take away our right to orginize, to have basic rights as employees, take away your money and benefits. THEN YOU CAN'T AFFORD A GUN. Think about it!!!

    September 5, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  8. Rachel

    Unions are needed now more than ever. Corporations are taking more and more and giving less to workers, and sending good jobs overseas. But yet they still expect us to have the money to buy their products or use their services. Americans need to wise up and unite against the tyranny.

    September 5, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  9. Dorothy M

    USA is a democracy, but it is also a capitalistic nation and the two arent' the same. The unions have been the leading voice for the workers in our capitalistic competition with the employers. Since the per cent of workers in unions has decreased to about 17% the income gap between the workers and employers has expanded to excessive levels. I think there is a connection between the two.

    September 5, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  10. Christie Weber

    Unions are NOT the problem, they stand up for the worker in a world market. We need to look in the mirror for the problem. If Americans both employers and workers would just support our job building, our ethics and values, and our environment with their decisions and purchases, instead of buying into the greed promoted by "Cheap Prices" at the counter, we would be just fine right now. Americans need to stand for SOMETHING in the world, or it will not stand for long. Unions are what made U.S. great and we need them more than ever.

    September 5, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  11. Brad

    Like most of the current discourse, it's an overly simplistic question. Unions (like government) are not all bad or all good. But I would argue that they're still very necessary in today's America.

    September 5, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  12. Paul

    Unions were absolutely crucial in defending and protecting workers, and paved the way for rights in the modern workplace. However, the union I see now looks more like a large corporation than a defender of workers. They are greedy, top heavy,focused on political influence, and propaganda. What americans need to realize is its not the union workers that are the problem. Its the union's upper echelon, the insurance companies, the political machine, and all the other corporate hands in the union workers pocket. Propaganda and content have left us blind to the fact that those in power create and control the social \ economic climate we live in. We need to stand together as americans not non-union and union and get rid of the top heavy waste and look out for one another back on the ground level. For example, I have seen plenty of pickett lines up against non-union american citizens, but I didnt see one union say or do anything when illeagal immigrants were marching in our streets for working rights. As a union worker myself I can tell you that not everyone was happy with that in-action.

    September 5, 2011 at 9:00 am |
  13. Chere

    Unions help protect workers, worker rights and ensure Americans are paid a fair wage. I am sick and tired of people saying union members are "unskilled!" So, the police, the fireman, the railroad employee, the welder, the electrician, etc...are all "unskilled" and overpaid? I guess only those on Wall Street, driving the Hummer, made by the overpaid and "unskilled" union member, is worth his/her salary and "skilled!"

    September 5, 2011 at 9:00 am |
  14. James

    I can't even understand why there is debate on this issue. We live in a World economy now. It's not Ford competing with GM in the U.S. – we compete with companies from all over the World in every industry. Unions have absolutely destroyed our ability to compete. Why should someone who installs one bolt on the same assembly line 100 times a day make $50/hour and have lifetime benefits? Make these workers compete like the rest of us do everyday! The hell with these jobs going overseas, there are thousands of people right here in the U.S. who would do the job for $15/hour with the same or higher level of quality. In the meantime they are drawing unemployment and using food stamps to survive putting the country deeper into debt. Hiring some of these unemployed workers is not a option – in many cases – because Unions control most large manufacturing workforces. Fortunately for the U.S economy, the Unions are fading fast ultimately allowing the U.S. to once again be an economic World power (I hope).

    September 5, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  15. Evelyn Gilbert

    Unions were started by miners for safer working conditions. Now all they do is get people more paid holidays, sick leave, vacation packages and insurance benefits. They pay higher wages than most businesses can afford to pay. It is getting to the point where the government is the only employer that can pay union wages, and see where it has gotten us! Everyone forgets that the small business and self employed people who can't afford to give themselves such benefits and raises still have to pay the taxes that give the government people their high paying jobs. It isn't fair. Try firing a teacher (another government job) and see how hard it is. It doesn't matter if they can't teach, it's impossible to fire one.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  16. BBKing

    President Abraham Lincoln's words during the dark early days of the Civil War. "Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed," he told Congress in December 1861. "Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration,"

    September 5, 2011 at 8:51 am |
  17. Lou

    Unions are necessary in larger corporations and municipalities. They insure a balance in employee financial stability. Moreover, unions insure the market is there for expensive American manufactured products with job security. A desirable American car cost $40,000. Yes, unions are very important, particularly, with the realistic unemployment level at 15%. Tax dollars are dangerously down. Rebuilding our country is like renovating a house. You don’t know for sure until you look into the structure. We have a serious case of termites left by past administrations. I don’t see the GOP helping with pest control. They appear to be feeding the termites in an effort to gain political control.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  18. Pam

    Unions do not hurt America. Corporate greed hurts America,Without representation, workers would be forced to work 365 days a year, no vacation,and no benefits. Unions help the workers get a piece of the pie,rather than just a bite, which is what the greedy ceo's and managers want them to have.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Anthony Gugino

      Pam do you know that CEO's are employees and not owners? Shareholders are the most important consideration in every publicly traded company. Do you think that all the jobs lost through attrition helps workers get a piece of that pie? Do you think terrible workers should be protected while there are many great workers in the unemployed +9%. You probably don't care, because your union protects you, and that's all you care about, is yourself,not the country, or your neighbor.

      September 5, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  19. Alan W. Moore

    Labor Unions have historically provided a standard of living for not only the Union Members but for the working public at large. Evidence prevailing wage which provides a living wage, Health Care and retirement all for one competitive price. The enormus amount of uncontrolled fraud in Government contracts and the unchecked criminality in the Stock Market, and an unrelenting flow of foriegn workers are toxic not only to the future of this Country but obviously to the existance of Unions. President Obama needs help the Union Workers and pursue the many corrupt Union leaders. Alan Moore

    September 5, 2011 at 8:44 am |
  20. Matt, MN

    I suppose it depends, are you a CEO of a large corporation, or a family of 4 who are trying to survive on a small paycheck or two. Unions in my opinion are a must. Because of their early organizing, we got overtime pay, slashed child labor laws, got people 8 hour work days, weekends, pension plans, sick leave, etc. I think if it was up to the big boys, a family of 4 regardless of age would all have to be working 80 hours a week and would have no benifits: Thank GOD for the Unions.
    Thanks CNN.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:42 am |
  21. Joanna

    WHERE IS THE COMMENT I POSTED 30 MINUTES AGO...???

    September 5, 2011 at 8:42 am |
  22. Dr. Oh

    If you listened to labor leaders who speak out on TV you would get the impression that the only people who "work hard" are those who belong to unions. If I include things like delivering papers and caddying as a youngster, I have had over seventy jobs in my lifetime (67 years) and have never been a member of a union...and proud of it! There was a time when unions were important but I believe that in the past 20 years they have oversold their usefulness.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:41 am |
  23. Morry

    Labor unions are still an important part of our society. The argument that non union workers suffer due to the "high" demands of unions, is not true. non union wages remain the same with or without unions. The hatred the Republican party has for unions today demonstrates their love for corporations. In the early 20's, when coal miners in West Virginia literally owed their souls to corporations, Then President Harding ordered American heavy bombers loaded with bombs and WWI poison gas to bomb the miners. Fortunately, the bombers never made it to West Virgina, many landing in Virginia.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  24. Judy

    Unions helped create the middle class. Without them we would be like China and no one would be able to afford the products they create. I live in a right to work state and I make $20,000 to $30,000 less a year than I could in another state. I am salaried so management can require me to work late or come in extra for no pay, which they do regularly. I have not had a pay raise for 3 years and had my pay cut in 2009 retroactively for the entire year and all of it was taken out of one check. I wish we could have a union.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • Karen Blanchard

      You can have a union unless you are a supervisor who hires and fires. Please contact me at karen.blan@yahoo.com for more information.

      September 5, 2011 at 9:11 am |
  25. Nan

    As former Detroit resident I have personally seen the destruction to this fair city and much can be placed at the foot of unions. I have no quarrel with the workers themselves, of more importance are the representatives who negotiate unsustainable packages. The city of Detroit is a shadow of itself and won't come back in the near future. Were unions necessary when they began, definitely, there were abuses galore, now we have regulations and oversight agencies. The auto industry, minus Ford, is rebounding only by reaching into taxpayers pockets via Washington's "gifts" and tax breaks. What I wonder is if the members of the unions are fully aware of how much of their money is being spent on political actions, not their benefits. When an organization can give nearly half a billion dollars in one election season should that organization be considered a "shadow government" able to author legislation without the benefit of being elected? The mention of collective bargaining without noting that it was only for public sector unions is disingenuous. Why should ordinary taxpayers subsidize benefits they will never dream of receiving? There is a balance missing. One of the mentions is the salary of the "Middle Class", having personally known what it is like to own and sustain a small business, this comment is shortsighted. There is no employer who would not like to raise salaries for their employees, but when survival is in question, noone takes a salary raise. Being married to a man who started his own company a little over 10 years ago I can tell you that we have taken everything we have saved and earned over the past 30 years of marriage and put it into the business and have had to add more in the past years. That is the truth of small busiiness.
    Nan,
    Chicago

    September 5, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Karen Blanchard

      Unions spend money on political action because all of the gains they have made for workers over the last 100 years can be lost with one piece of legislation. The fight for workers rights is never over when corporations are constantly trying to increase profits by decreasing worker benefits and wages. Would you rather have a third world country where everyone needs government subsidies to live or just beg in the streets to survive?

      September 5, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Chere

      Nan, corporate greed is what has destroyed a strong labor force in this country and ultimately crippled Detroit's economy. Unfortunately, previous presidential administrations allowed corporations to slash jobs and fair wages to Americans and shift their operations overseas to countries where they could get away with paying a worker $3.00 per hour (if they're lucky), provide no benefits for them, adhere to no safety regulations and if dispose of their employment without cause. Meanwhile, the CEOs rake in record profits. Union dues are paid and every member understands a portion of that money is used for political action to ensure union survival. So I guess according to you, the average taxpayer should be responsible to help pay for the police or the fireman (in large cities)? They are union workers!

      September 5, 2011 at 9:18 am |
  26. Al

    A union's admin. structure e.g., committeemen, alternates, bargaining chairmen, etc. are all being paid by the company. This just another unproductive layer of cost that must be absorbed before a company can cross over into a profit level.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  27. RickFromDetroit

    Years ago the unions were good when they represented the majority of the people and theIr primary role was to eliminate patronage and build a middle class standard of living for everyone. Today, the unions are the biggest patronage organizations in the country. The unions have said for the past 30 years that they have all of the "GOOD STUFF" and they will only represent the "GOOD ONES." This has left the country with the same financial mess that former Teamster Boss Jimmy Hoffa Sr. tried to eliminate 50 years ago when he tried to get the Congress to pass legislation requiring standard wages for all workers whether they were union or non union. This type of policy would have kept the middle class standard of living & consumer spending up, and provided for a strong economy. We decided against this and attempted to provide the same type of policy by using Wall Street profits to replace union & workers wages. As we have found out over the past 30 years of the Reagan Era, THIS WAS A DISASTER.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:38 am |
  28. akae6360

    The main question is, if unions weren't here to help maintain what little we've maintained the last few decades, what state would we be in today? Is it realistic to say we should let the corporations give what they think we're worth, aren't they shipping jobs over seas to pay 50 cents an hour and there are no laws against abuse?

    September 5, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • st68

      If you don't like jobs being shipped over seas, don't buy anything made overseas! Buy AMERICAN!

      September 5, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
  29. Michael Renshaw

    If there was not a strong inference being made and cultivated in America about Unions hurting Americans we would not even be entertaining this red herring. The Political right and the aliases( Tea Party, conservative, evangelical ) have been successfully working on denigrating Unions. Their first shot came with laws the allowed companies to move their companies overseas to cheap labor markets. It was not the Unions that brought America to the brink of bankruptcy, it was Wall Street and the banks. No! Unions are not hurting Americans because they are the only courageous voice of working Americans because they can not be bought by the rich. The rich have tried and that is when the unions became tainted with corruption charges. Many fought and died to remove that influence. Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it. The Tea Party dragon is standing over it's wounded prey, will they succeed? Stay tuned to the possible next dark chapter of World History?

    September 5, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  30. Steve Seaman

    Unions are not good any longer. In these economic times unions do nothing but keep prices higher. Without the UAW we could afford new cars. People do not realize that a union employee in the UAW can make $25.00 per hour flipping burgers in the cafeteria rather than working the car line, where is the rationalization in that?

    September 5, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Paul Decker

      Good point. If we unionized burger workers, lawn service, etc., then it would take three or more barbers to cut your hair, one that uses the clippers, one that uses the sissors, one for the eye brows, and one to comb it out.

      September 5, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • wayne Adams

      you will not n=be happy untill they repeal the child labor laws and abolish the 40 hour work week. Globalism is the problem. We had an ecconomic ballance 10/15 years ago,,,,We can go back and we should

      September 5, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Fred G.

      Steve,
      I am a union electrician in a right to work state. I was non-union before I organized in. The difference in quality of life is completely a night and day difference. The quality of craftsmen is equal, humans are humans, you have good and bad. What you do have in the union is a pride of belonging to a group of workers who can hold their heads up and say they are providing the best life for their family they can in their respective industry. Unfortunately, their is still a feeling of entitlement from the older guys who feel that they are a superior work force than non-union. The days of unions holding a 50 or 60 % marketshare in the industries are over, unfortunately. Now the profit competitive nature of business makes CEO's make decisions to cut costs which, non-union companies have an edge. They don't have the overhead or "burden" of healthcare, retirement or pensions. They also don't have regulations on the qualifications of the craftsman. I have seen many cost plus or T&M projects where illegal aliens or unqualified personnel are flooded into a job to keep the profits rolling. It's a body count and nothing more. There is a new motion in the electrical union called the "Code of Excellence" which every union electrician must subscribe to. The jist is 8 hours work for 8 hours pay, making a personal commitment to do everything imaginable to make the employer profitable. I think you are about to see a resurgance in the unions at a more competitive scale. We have seen a great deal of our benifits slashed, especially in health care, to be more competitive. God Bless the Unions.

      September 5, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  31. Larry

    Unions have outlived their usefulness. Once upon a time when owners and management exploited workers with 12- and 16-hour days unions arose and saved workers. But then the unions themselves became another exploiter, an exploiter for greed. Witness the fall of Detroit as a world leader in auto manufacturing and the migration of so many jobs overseas, for example. However, as long as ownership and management are around, unions need to be around as a counter-balance. The real problem is greed–greed and power of owners, management, and unions.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:01 am |
  32. The General

    Carol, Compare the question about unions and discuss what is important to an employee like yourself and your job with CNN. When you take a job with a company, do you negotiate for the max salary and fund all of your future based on percentages from that salary. Example,do you believe your company should offer you a retirement plan or compensate you in a way that you can fund your retirement on your own. Discuss a 401k. Discuss whether health care is part of your employee package or included in your salary to cover premiums. Discuss whether your contribution to Social Security should provide you a benefit later in life or should we accept this as an additional tax to the federal tax we already pay, and recieve nothing later on during retirement. If you do not expect the benefit, then why should you have to pay the tax. Hopefully these are good enough questions for you to discuss them on the air, rather than just read and file. Thanks for even reading this

    September 5, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  33. Ed Gibson

    I have to say Union are not the problem, the union sets the pay wages for everyone in management. It is sad that under NAFTA and China good nation standing we no longer make anything. The corporation have in fact went to the lowest bidder in the world, Slave labor. Remember a corporation is not a person and is not reasonable for anything or anybody. The union represent you the person. Yes they got out of hand in the pass, but now Corporations are out of hand. We need a balance again, when the typical CEO is making three hundred and twenty five to one, 325 to 1. This number is just sad. Looking at big business and the people I have to support the people. Union did not drive company offshore our goverment paid them inorder to support unfair trade agreemnents and slave labor wages and housing.

    September 5, 2011 at 7:58 am |
  34. John In Bellevue, NE

    Unions have killed America! Unions are the reason nothing is made in America anymore.

    September 5, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • Snydley

      Unions HAVE NOT killed America. The reason nothing is made in America anymore is because our government has passed unfair trade deals with countries, and been allowed to move overseas where they can hire people for slave labor wages. That's all they're concerned with, the bottom dollar!! Tell me John, would you be willing to do your job for the same price your company could hire an overseas worker? I think not! It's time the government penalise companies that move offshore to hire slave laborers and force them to bring jobs home!

      September 5, 2011 at 8:37 am |
  35. Richard

    How can anyone say that the unions are hurting America, when its the unions that first fought for workers rights and workers safety. Sure some will say its because of unions that it costs American companies to do business in America, but if it wasn't for unions I am sure that you would have "sweat shops" across America and we would be like workers in China, India, and Mexico. Tthe real culprit is the American government in bed with big business and all the tax breaks they give big business to take their business out of the country. The taxation inequities on imports and domestic need to change. Some of these foreign countries still subsidize their money. I feel that if it is not completely made in the GREAT UNITED (union) STATES OF AMERICA. We also need to stop the illegal mass migration into the United states also but that is for another discussion.

    September 5, 2011 at 7:53 am |
    • O. G.

      Richard says: We also need to stop the illegal mass migration into the United states also but that is for another discussion.

      Then I suggest you tell the unions not to back the democrat party. I know for a fact that the IBEW backs the the idea of giving amnesty to the illegals. I have contacted my Bus. Mgr. of the L U and the higher up in the IO in D.C. and this is what they told me and they also told me that they don't believe in the Constitution of the United States. Just like Obama does not believe in the Constitution.

      Unions have done amazing things for the average worker historically. Where they went South was creating this circular model of political protection, cash donations for favors, and on and on it goes.

      I have to laugh a bit, because politically the big mistake the unions have made is getting in the tank 100% with the Democrats. If they would have spread the money around they may have had a broader base of support in congress.

      A retired IBEW member and Bus. Mgr.

      September 5, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  36. Doe Hall

    Unions are not the problem, Corporate greed is. Ten years ago, the biggest employer in the U.S. was GM and the Union was alive and well. Remember what the standard of living was like for these workers? They could afford to buy the product that they made. Ten years later, the biggest employer is Walmart, $9.00 an hour. And look at the Standard of living of these employees. They can't afford to buy a house, have two kids, own a car, pay for insurance and send kids to college. They can only afford to by groceries and pray for a Union job!!!

    September 5, 2011 at 6:34 am |
    • Matt, MN

      absolutely, their chinese made furniture is out of reach for most of their salaries also.

      September 5, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  37. John

    With Teamsters Union and without college, I was able to retire at age 53 with $1,200 a week. Without Teamsters Union and without college, todays people can expect to work until they die with at best 10-15 dollars an hour. All companies should be mandated by the government to be Teamster Union affiliated.

    September 5, 2011 at 6:34 am |
    • Paul Decker

      We should all be school drop outs, join the union, demand we retire after 12 years of work with 2,500 a month and drive our businesses into the ground! Comon John think about this. Dump the labor unions!

      September 5, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Matt, MN

      Absolutely John, My dad worked for the United Transportation Union, back in the 80's he was making upwards of 70,000 a year with limited education. It's time to get the ball rolling again, Bring back the Unions.

      September 5, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  38. SANDJO

    We know and you know that unions help the American Economy, by allowing its citizens have a sense of feeling of knowing that they are not driving to a dead end j.o.b. (just over broke), and giving them a feeling of respect, security, and above all GREAT BENEFITS!!!

    September 5, 2011 at 6:33 am |
  39. Brenda Quanstrom

    Our service-oriented Americans: police, firefighters and teachers are willing to serve our country even though their salaries are low. The only incentive is the security of a pension and healthcare. Unless unions stand up for them, these benefits will be taken away. I hear wealthy friends advise that these people should "invest" their money so they would not need a pension. The wealthy are so out of touch with the income of a teacher earning less than $50,000/year. There is no "extra" money to invest. These service people are the backbone of our country and we will lose them without these bare-bone incentives.

    September 5, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  40. joe

    no. unions help the common man, corrprate greed is what is hurting all north americans.

    September 5, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  41. ioan

    The unions greed got the auto industry in trouble and now is the postal workers turn.I wil not use USPS just for that reason UNIONs that are too much in to politics

    September 5, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • TRM

      In 2006, Congress passed a law requiring the Postal Service to wholly pre-fund its retirement health package – that is, cover the health care costs of future retirees, in advance, at 100%. The Postal Service, which is a corporation owned but not funded by the federal government, is the only government-related agency required to prefund retirees' health benefits. THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH USPS NOT UNIONS!!! The Republicans made sure the usps would fail with extreme LAW...

      September 5, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  42. Dan

    There are certainly times and places for labor unions. There are also workers who used to be members of unions who no longer need them because progressive employers value workers' input and involve them in decisions. Where employers abuse safety rules and take advantage of workers, there is the need for unions. Besides, some of the larger unions have become self serving businesses themselves.
    Dan
    Pennsylvania

    September 5, 2011 at 6:10 am |