Manufacturing and craft unions helped created the American middle class. A study of union history will show that many people sacrificed in the union struggle to win a fair wage for workers. A living wage, health care, workers compensation, social security, retirement plans, overtime pay, health and safety standards, paid vacation, sick time, and workplace due process rules are benefits that unions created.
The aforementioned benefits are afforded to union and non-union workers today. However, unions made it possible for non-union workers to benefit from early union activity.
The current trend of shipping manufacturing jobs overseas and to Mexico is for the purpose of increasing profits for large corporations. Many in the business community argue that in order to compete, manufacturing jobs and other services must be moved out of America. However, the same executives that are arguing this point are making huge sums of money with bonuses. Simply put, the greed of senior business executives is the driving force in moving production processes out of America.
On the other hand, the union movement is being hurt by government employee unions who have outrageously generous wages and benefits. Most government employees are unionized and have good paying jobs with outstanding benefits. And, they have little concern about layoffs or a decrease in benefits. Since government functions and jobs bring no real value to the economy in terms of production, the cost to taxpayers and the economy in general is a burden.
Unions are now relying on government unions for their dues and money, thus over-taxing the public. Unions have not taken up the hard task of convincing our leaders that outsourcing manufacturing and service jobs is damaging our middle class. Bill Clinton's Democrats and the Republicans passed NAFTA, which made it easy to ship jobs out of America. For some reason, the unions did not get too excited about this. Now, the manufacturing and service unions are on the ropes.
Unions need to move quickly to lobby congress to repeal NAFTA and pass laws that encourage business to stay in America. And, business taxation and work rules should be relaxed, so that businesses will want to invest in America. Plus, workplace litigation should be minimized, because lawsuits brought against companies for questionable employee conduct is costing millions.
For example, lawsuits can be brought against an employee and a company if one employee looks at another employee in a sexually suggestive manner. Flirting, with the wink of the eye, might be grounds for termination and cost the employer millions. According to American Association of University of Women
(AAUW), "words, looks and gestures", are grounds for sexual harassment claims.
The AAUW is pushing for even more subjective definitions of sexual harassment by including psychological abuse, when the supposed victim feels that the workplace is hostile. By changing subjective feeling into objective reality, the entire sexual harassment issue is starting take on a life of its own. The AAUW wants any man looking at woman with bedroom eyes to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The AAUW
says, "In short, if someone shoots an unwanted sexual look your way, you've been sexually harassed."
In conclusion, businesses will stay in America, if the business climate is profitable. So, unions need to get busy and lobby congress to make this happen.