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I have been on both sides of this fence over the years. I was a union member, union officer, and am now in management(non-union facility). The one thing that I found to be true is that unions only get what management is willing to give. For many years unions asked for outrageous wage and benefits packages and managment was only to willing to give them to avoid strikes. Lee Iacocca (spelling ???) even stated that simple fact. It was easier to give the unions what they wanted and pass the cost on to the consumer, preserving profits and bonuses. During my union days I was always of the opinion that "if their given, I'm taken". The wages are not really the problem anyway. It is the benefits packages that were given to the unions over the years that are causing the largest cash drain to the auto / steel industry. Supporting a retired workforce is expensive and retirees do not contribute by creating product. If I remember correctly, Bethelehem Steel is using their BK to get out from under their massive retiree burden.
Not saying that unions are innocent here, but I do think that management should share in 50% of the blame.
As a side note to all this, when I was a union officer, the people that got into trouble, and expected me to get them out of trouble, were usually marginal employees. The personnel that did their job and came to work everyday rarely needed union intervention
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