proof positive that we actually still need unions.

As many of you have surely heard, the New York Times recently wrote an expose of the working culture at, which got a fair amount of coverage and some vigorous responses from Amazon.

This is on top of the articles from 2011 that were published relative to the working conditions in warehouses, where the claim was made that Amazon had stationed ambulances outside of those warehouses because workers were fainting from the heat.

If you want to know why we actually still need unions, here’s the proof positive.

Unions are no longer popular, and especially public employee unions are now often despised. And, to be fair, unions have made tactical mistakes over the years, sometimes refusing to compromise under circumstances where compromise would have been well-advised.

But there is a reason that unions were established to begin with and that we have a National Labor Relations Act. The reason is that sometimes people need to bargain collectively —  because management is almost always more powerful than individual employees with respect to negotiating leverage — and sometimes that collective power is need to push back against unfair and unhealthy workplace practices.

The news is not uniformly bad, of course. There have been some generous benefits provided in certain famous high tech companies like Google or Netflix, for example. But let’s face it, not that many of us can work for Google or Netflix.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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3 Responses to proof positive that we actually still need unions.

  1. Anonymous says:

    As someone raised in a blue collar (proud) household, I will always be pro-union. Yes, many unions have made tactical errors, and some are probably not playing fair, but when the power groups make those same errors and do things just as unfair (and worse), no one seems to come out swinging for the dissolution of power packs. My line of work isn’t blue collar, and there is no union in my own profession, but I will always be a pro-union, blue collar proud, hard working, white collar woman.

  2. foywminson says:

    Yes, many unions have made tactical errors, usually because the ones running them only have a toe in the water, not their whole body, or even a whole foot. If the workers suffer because of a bad deal, it’s oh, well, we’ll get a better deal next time we negotiate. Meanwhile, the union workers live with the bad deal, and the union bosses still make their big bucks. After all, the union has to remain strong, so the unions dues still have to be paid, regardless of how the workers are shorted. Problem is, unions tend to become just another big business. Maybe there should be unions within unions to keep the union bosses honest.

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