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Several posters have stated that unions have outlived their usefulness. I tend to agree that the big three are hurt by the unions, and the unions themselves cost American jobs. Because the United States has one of the most talented, skilled and intellegent work forces, companies are willing to pay a permimum for American workers.

Look at any ECON 101 text book and see what the real wages of Americans are across the board, and they are amoung the highest in the world. This is across all industries and is not limited to Union jobs, and since the majority of all jobs in the US are non-Union, the Unions are not the reason for the high salaries. Again, more ECON 101, when you form a union, you artifically increase the cost of labor, causing a higher price for the raw materials to produce the end product, meaning you reduce the number of buyers in the market. This means the company will maximize profits buy reducing the number of items produced. This means fewer jobs in the industry. By allowing an industry to hire non-union workers, companies have a reduced labor cost per product produced, thus they can maximize profits buy highering more workers. The total amount of salary is higher in this case, there are just fewer people earning top salaries. (This is not even including the lost salary each and every union employee loses in paying Union dues.)

That being said, I work in the computer industry. I work for a contracting outfit that is hired by pharmacutical companies to prepare statistical reports for the FDA on new drugs. I record every hour that I work so that my company can bill someone for my time. I am also consider an (overtime) except employee. I work in an industry were a 45 hour work week is expected, and 50+ hour weeks are the norm. (No, I am not really complaining, I am well paided and I truly enjoy what I do ...) My point though is if I worked in a union shop, I would not be an except employee, and I either would get paid overtime or I would only work 40 hours a week. (It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that any time I work over 40 hours a week is free money for my company. Especially since the implosion, no one complains to management about the hours spent, as the loudest complainers from before are already gone.

Unions can serve a very useful and necessary purpose, but in the case of the UAW, it seems their primary goals anymore are to maximize their own profits, by preventing people from opting out of the union, using union dues to elect representatives that will keep the current work rules in place to maximize their power, and to place the interest of the union over the interest of members in individual plants. The unions are also very short sighted, in that when they hurt the companies providing the jobs, and force plant closing they are lossing jobs, and thus revenue for themselves. They are also making it more likely that one of the big three could go under. Look at any of their balance sheets, an earlier poster stated that their biggest expense without any kind of return is retirement benefits. Imagine what these companies (and I am not advocating it as it would be morally wrong) would do, if they declared bankrupcy, and reorganized minus the retirement liability? At some point, unless the UAW realizes their mistakes, this will happen.

Sorry for the long rant, hope it made a little sense.

Jim E.
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