The Weekend = Unions

In 2011, Management has too much power; Labor suffers as a consequence. Right now, the workers of America are getting the shaft.

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source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/business/economy/19leonhardt.html?scp=6&sq=jobs&st=cse

“Restoring some balance to the relationship between employers and employees will be more difficult. One problem is that too many labor unions, like the auto industry’s, have been poorly run, hurting companies and, ultimately, workers. Of course, many other companies — AT&T, General Electric, Southwest Airlines — have thrived with unionized workers, and study after study has shown that unions usually do benefit workers. As one bumper sticker says, “Unions: The folks who brought you the weekend.”

Today, unions are clearly playing on an uneven field. Companies pay minimal penalties for illegally trying to bar unions and have become expert at doing so, legally and otherwise. For all their shortcomings, unions remain many workers’ best hope for some bargaining power….

That the financial crisis originated here, and was so severe here, surely plays some role. The United States had a bigger housing bubble than most other countries, leaving a large group of idle construction workers who can’t easily switch industries. Many businesses, meanwhile, are reluctant to commit to hiring workers out of a fear that heavily indebted households won’t spend much in coming years….

Alone among the world’s economic powers, the United States is suffering through a deep jobs slump that can’t be explained by the rest of the economy’s performance….

That the financial crisis originated here, and was so severe here, surely plays some role. The United States had a bigger housing bubble than most other countries, leaving a large group of idle construction workers who can’t easily switch industries….

Relative to the situation in most other countries — or in this country for most of the last century — American employers operate with few restraints. Unions have withered, at least in the private sector, and courts have grown friendlier to business. Many companies can now come much closer to setting the terms of their relationship with employees, letting them go when they become a drag on profits and relying on remaining workers or temporary ones when business picks up.

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