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Unions produced the middle class



Published: Wed, September 21, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Unions produced the middle class

Kudos to Chuck Altiero for his response to Bill Johnson’s Sept. 4 column about how unions are costing us jobs.

Unions gave us better working conditions, better wages which made it possible for us to buy homes, buy cars, buy better clothing, vote for school levies, police and fire levies and pay higher tax increases. Unions are what made the middle class, which made us the great country that we are.

Now the answer is to lower our standards down to the standards of the slave labor countries. Why do we see unions as the problem but not the companies that are actually the ones who close and move to other countries for cheap labor? These are our neighbors and families that they are putting out of work that actually buy the products they are selling.

Yes, we do need the so called “job creators,” but they also need us, the buying public. When they take from us, we take from someone else. We all need each other to do well for all of us to do better, but it seems as though the CEOs feel they are they only ones that count.

Joseph Lenefonte, Youngstown


Comments

1card64inmyrtle(26 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

UNION FOREVER

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2paulparks(235 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Public sector unions are now destroying our country.

Unsustainable perks and bennies are sucking the private sector dry.

Vote yes on issue 2 to keep more money in your pocket!

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3Philo(99 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Although what Joseph said has a great deal of merit, I have to agree with Paul's comment when it comes to Public Sector Unions. I really don't care what the private sector unions do because I can vote with my feet. I can either choose to patronize, or not patronize the companies that these private sector union members work for. Not so with the Public Sector unions. Personally, I don't believe SB5 goes far enough. Public sector unions should be outlawed entirely. If working conditions and or pay get so bad then the public sector workers can quit and come to the private sector. At that point, the law of supply and demand will kick in and public sector wages and benefits will increase to a level that will attract the appropriate workers. Vore yes to keep SB5 the law of the land.

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4300(554 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Supply and Demand isn't applicable to public goods.

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5paulparks(235 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

300,

Supply and demand is applicable to employment - both public and private.

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6300(554 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Employment is "labor market", which is not the same thing as a public good.

Philo simply doesn't realize that he is 100% dependent on public goods, and that he could not survive without them. Public goods cost money, however, and must be paid for.

To try to apply the labor market model to firemen, police, teachers, prison workers, etc. doesn't work as smoothly as some might like. Under Philo's condition, we'd face a destruction of public sector services. He thinks this would lead to some sort of equilibrium, but that would never happen in reality. What we'd have is an educational system like India, a judicial system like Russia, and a fire fighting system like those clans in Gangs of New York.

I know it's become trendy to use economic terms to support one's political leanings, but the problem is that most people don't seem to understand what these terms are or how they're applied to real situations. That's why it takes students 6 years of studying this stuff full time even to reach an entry-level understanding of economic principles.

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7SAVEOURCOUNTRY(470 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

300,
Well said. Paula and Philo are in Private sector land or something. Economics has driven the bennies in the public sector to what it is today to try an attract the best and brightest teachers , Police , Fire to serve our communities.
They won't believe the truth when said, If SB5 passes, the middle class worker will have less money in his pocket by at least half. I know countless teachers that has said this already that Boards of Ed. will do, cut pay in half and double what they pay for 'bennies'. Yet management (the upper middle class levels Like Superintendents polic and fire chiefs will see huge double digit raises and they still won't pay for any "bennies' or retirement! Collective bargaining works well as you see everyday public unions giving back more and more so the public doesn't lose out on quality services. Pass SB5, your streets will get plowed half assed or not at all. Call 911 in an emergency like medical, your response time will double, triple or even higher becuase job cuts back beyond what is acceptably save ( I.e. one rescue squad for Mahoning county). Yet with all the cut THAT will occur, no one will see lower taxes. thats the funny part.
If you beleive what i say is lies, I want to be the one to repair your car, You'll believe anything and I will get rich off of you stupidity

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8AnotherAverageCitizen(1174 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

11% of our workforce are union workers. On Sept 11, 2001, 20% of those who died in the WTC were union workers. Why such a high %, because the UNION FIREFIGHTERS and POLICE went INTO the buildings to assist others getting out. They put their life on the line for us and GAVE thier life for you But, many still think they get to many bene's and perks for giving thier life.

.

Many of you want to blame public unions for running the state broke. Why do I not see an outcry from you folks when kasich gave his staff double didgit raises? There are THOUSANDS of public workers that BOE's, kasich and township trustees can start making payments toward their retirement. Union workers pay toward their retirement, the administrations are the ones that put zero dollars and collect the pension. They are the ones citizens should look at more closely.

Union workers built this country to what it is today. Our roads, infrastructure, bridges, buildings, are made by union workers.

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9jmagaratz(166 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Organized unions have existed for over one hundred years in the USA.

It is only in the last 75 or so years that they achieved most of their goals viz-a-viz collective bargaining and the use of strikes. This is what created the underpinnings for a solid middle class.

Their biggest mistake was in letting President Reagan succeed in firing the PATCO air traffic controllers. That was the time for all unions to shut the country down in the interest of preserving their hard won existence.

It was President Reagan who successfully used "divide and conquer " as a strategy for a new form of class warfare--Government Employees vs. Private Employees.

Now it is up to the unions to regain their leverage by focusing on targets of opportunity to defeat their opponents at the house and senate levels of government. They don't need the President of either party. They only need the legislatures.

If they fail in this, they deserve to die out.

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10paulparks(235 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Economics does not apply to public goods, eh?

Would those cops in Boardman still come to work if they made 60k rather than 90k? Would the professors with those cushy 100k + jobs still come to work for 80k? Would 70k gym teachers still come to work for 50k?

Yes...Yes...Yes...!

There has to be a dose of common sense economics injected into the "juiced-up" public sector compensation packages.

Call it "public goods" or "public services," there comes a point where the price exceeds the value of what is being provided.

Everybody instinctively knows this. And that is the dirty little secret that will make SB5 successful this November.

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11paulparks(235 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

AAC,

Who cares? They got paid, didn't they? And very very handsomely... overpaid!

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12charms(228 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Go get 'em paulparks!!!

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13charms(228 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

SOC,

Is this all you've got? Scare tactics? You're the one in fantasy land.

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14commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Higher pay does not make for a better teacher, policeman, firefighter, etc. If they didn't like doing these jobs they would have chosen another profession. You can't deny the benefits played a major role in picking these jobs

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15Woody(451 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Unions hold people back. They dictate the wage a person has to be paid. You could be the most productive, dependable, and indispensible worker a company has, but if you are in a Union shop you make the same as the guy that shows up late and loafs through the day.

And lets stop the BS about the Union providing for a 40 hour work week. Companies were doing that well before the unions showed up. Was it across the board, no. But Henry Ford and others, in the 10s and 20s, long before '35 when the NLRA took effect, before the unions, had 40/48 hour work weeks. He used it to attract the best workers he could.

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16Stan(9923 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Does anyone know what happened to Youngstown Sheet and Tube ? They dont seem to be around anymore . . ..

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17charms(228 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Unions have outlived their usefulness, rocky14. Only the union thugs believe otherwise.

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18VindyPost(436 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

OH NO!...
I see Charms, PaulParks, and probably Streetsmart made it back from Pluto, aka dwarf planet. Did you see Kasich there? Life on Earth's been great w/out you.

UPDATE:
Vast Majority of Ohioians Dems and Teapubs All Agree,
** An Overwhelming VOTE NO on ISSUE 2 ! dead and buried.

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19VindyPost(436 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

^^ Yes, Rocky14, ^^
Exactly what AAC states in
Comment #8.

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20Woody(451 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

rocky14,

reading comprehension is something you are not good at. I didn't saw all companies had 40 hour weeks in the 10s and 20s, I said a few had, and the trend was going that way, Unions or not.

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21rasims(9 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

As unions have declined, so has the standard of living and the middle-class standing in America. That is an indisputable fact. Management has become wealthy off the backs of workers.

Why do you think management and HR people HATE unions? They want absolute power and all the money for themselves.

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22SAVEOURCOUNTRY(470 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Woody,
Only Henry Ford believed in reduced hours and giving his employees a living wage. That's what the business world is failing this country today. They want, Like most companies in the early 1900's, to pay employees a much smaller wage, yet charge costumers higher prices.
Although Ford reduced workers hours on his own. No one else would have done it if not for two major laws passed in 1936 and again in 1938 (BOTH PUSHED FOR BY UNIONS). The first was the Walsh-Healy Public Contracts Act which called for overtime pay after 8 hours work. Secondly, the Fair Labor Standards Act that created a five day 8 hour/ 40 hour work week. Henry Ford wasn't campaigning for such laws. BUT UNIONS WERE!!!!!

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23charms(228 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

SOC,

Love the history lesson but what have unions done for me lately? You're living in the past.

Unions got everything they wanted long ago - now they make no sense.

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24commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Rocky, State FACTS when you say Repubs want to "take away S.S.%medicare". Who said that? the only thing they want to do is reform the program so it stays solvent. (was it OK for Obama to CUT $500m from medicare?)
I have worked for both a union shop and management job and the only people that the union helped was the "goof offs" that didn't want to work and the rest of us had to cover for them.

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25SAVEOURCOUNTRY(470 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Unions and everyone else's mistake occurred in the 1980's. The problems we face today, we can thank the great Ronald Reagan. When he fired the air traffic controllers, every red blooded American that considered themselves middle class needed to strike, union membership or not. That was the beginning of the decline of America because business saw that as weakness among the work force. They were right.

Now as rocky correctly points out, Republicans wanting to become President want SS and medicare and why? So we invest in their pyramid game so they can get richer off our money. Then when we need it, its all gone. Wake up fools are smell the rotten eggs our leaders, both parties have, are cookin' up to bring American down!!!!!!

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26HonestAbe(274 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

""Unions produced the middle class." That's past tense folks.
Unions were necessary 70 to 80 years ago, because they worked for the little guy. Today they walk with communists, socialists, anarchists etc."
Sorry to say this but the person who wrote this has very little concept of history and are only listening to their propaganda outlets. Unions have always been associated with commies and socialists in the US. They have lost their influence in the past 30 years since raygun's repackaging of old elitist principles and since unions are no longer protecting the middle class the middle class is disappearing while the very rich are getting more so on the backs of the working class. Sure there are laws and regulations protecting the workers but the workers won't ever be able to protect themselves from the big companies alone. If you think that the world is different now than it used to be, you are living in a whole different world than reality. The working class are people and not a commodity. If you don't believe that then go and ask them.

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27SAVEOURCOUNTRY(470 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Local Mayors say no to issue 2 or SB5. Why? Unions are giving back and/or wage freezes. A wage freeze is a cut in pay, paying more fro healthcare is a cut in pay. Mayors want to bargaining fairly, not dictate as SB5 calls for ......a dictatorship.

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28jasoninohio(119 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Unions suck. Only union employees get a raise becasue the calendar turns another year. For the average joe, if oyu don;t do a good job, you don't get a raise. If you work in a union you get a raise no matter how hard you do or do not work.

To call the unions the backbone of the middle class is a joke. There were hundreads of non-union small businesses that have done it the right way for over 100 years.

Do the right thing Ohio and vote yes on SB 5!!

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29VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

There seems to be a huge disconnect over what SB 5 is all about. Who is telling us the truth here?

Forget me for saying this, but SB 5 isn't about getting rid of the unions... It's about having them pay their fair share towards health care costs (15%) ... and 10% towards their retirement, just like regular citizens do. This sounds more than fair to me, as I pay more than that!

No where does SB 5 say they will eliminate Unions.

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30commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Rocky, Obama is also pushing for changes in S.S. and medicare --so what's your point? Obama already cut $500m from medicare and nothing was said??

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31SAVEOURCOUNTRY(470 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

VINDAK,
Sorry to bust your bubble, public workers already pay 10% of their retirement (its in the Ohio revised code) and many pay for healthcare. Local governments have been getting perks back from workers. What you speak of is the little lie Shannon Jones and Hitler KASICK want you to believe. Its actually management level in the public sector that pay nothing for healthcare and retirement that still won't after SB5. Elected officials also are not effected by SB%. They get everything 100% free from us, the taxpaper.
Local mayors understand business 101, the Governor doesn't. Perhaps thats why he is a failure as a business leader, look at lehmann brothers. Business 101, a happy work force is a productive work force. If you bargain fairly (SB5 does not), rather than dictate (SB5 calls for) you'll get more production.
Thank you local mayors for seeing the big picture. your smarter than those in Columbus to see the major negative effects of SB%.

VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2!!!!!!

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32charms(228 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

SOC,

What I find most amusing about SB5 furor is that public sector unions are already going backwards and defeating SB5 will just put them in the same lousy position they are already in.

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33SAVEOURCOUNTRY(470 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Charms,
I would rather be in the same position I'm in now, Barely making it as compared to working with two degrees at walmart wages as you want to see happen. Can't you see, that alone will kill the economy in Ohio that from about 3/4 million works get salaries cuts added with another 150,000+ job losses SB5 is going to cause to this states economy?
Either you never took an economic class or are stupid on Kasick COOLAID!
You want high poverty like every other RTW State, don't you?

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34charms(228 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

SOC,

You are confusing the public and private sectors. I am not against unions in the private sector, just the public. And I think we can have good jobs in Ohio (both sectors) even if Issue 2 passes.

I think the anti-Issue 2 people are using a lot of scare tactics.

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35Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

"saveourcountry", How about take a few minutes and tell us just how SB5 will cut the salaries of 3/4 million workers and cause another 150,000 to lose their jobs. You got my curiosity aroused. Or did you just make that up?

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36SAVEOURCOUNTRY(470 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Charms, Its those in support of SB5 that are confusing the facts.
Is SB5 in law currently? No , Yet eeryone says public workers should pay for their own pension. They do and its 10%. Management like superindents, police and fire chiefs don't. Yet SB5 says public workers must pay 10%. Its already law. As local mayors have said. Unions they bargaining with are payin higher % for healthcare. NO NEED for SB5 when everything it ask for is already taking place. Unless, its to break unions first in the public sector. Once they are gone, private sector unions are next. Along with poor public services becuase every office and school are well under staffed.

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37SAVEOURCOUNTRY(470 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Dan
It you don't understand what I'm saying, it tells me two things. !) you have not read SB5 completely. 2) you may have drank the coolaid. Local mayors have said they do not want to become dictators. That is how bargaining is to take place under SB5. The mayor and councel bargaining with the city unions. Unions want $15 dollars an hour. Mayor says $5. after months of bargaining, the final decision rest completely with the one side of bargainers. What do you think will happen? Workers get $5 an hour. Wages will be cut.

Its like this, You and I are in a car accident. You claim $5,000 in damages and a Claim you only lost $50. You say lets go to court to solve this dispute. I'm the Judge, I have final say with no appeal. What do you think you're going to get. It be clear in the simulation you are the union and I am management.

Currently the law allows for an abatrator that is payed for by both parties to settle disputes. Ksick wants you to believe the government pays for it all. NOT TRUE!

THAT IS SB5! Its a dictator's wish list to run things without being fair.

That will allow schools, police, fire and courts to cut jobs so management can get higher raises and we the taxpaper still pay for their reitement and 100% of their healthcare

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38snydro0108(61 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

I was in Liberty the other day, talking to a Union worker who is putting the bridge up and the on-ramp to I-80. How long has that construction been underway? Any guesses? Do you think those Union workers are Union workers from the Mahoning Valley? No. They are staying at the Super 8 Motel and it is TOTALLY paid for. They arent even from OHIO!!! So, good on ya, Youngstown for contracting your work out to NON Ohio taxpayers, Non Valley Workers, and you want to talk about no work in this area? We are basically importing union workers from Kentucky and New York to build OUR bridges and roads. That makes sense!!

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39charms(228 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

SOC,

Where is your proof that once public sector unions are gone, private sector unions are too?

How many states have no state public unions and still have private sector unions? I would imagine there are some.

Public employees still don't get it. People haven't just seen their take home stagnate, it has lessened.

Roll back the raises in the public sector - of the past few years for a good start. Then go from there.

90K cops in Boardman, 100K+ professors at Youngstown State, 70K first grade teachers... stop the madness - vote YES on Issue 2.

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40vor2011(14 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Keep fighting with eachother while the filthy rich become the filthy richer! Apathy, Ignorance, and Misdirected anger - the three tools we all give the upper 4% to keep the bottom 96% right where we are. Newsflash - it doesn't matter what party are elected officials are in, none of them give a damn about any of you, your future or your interests. Quit arguing over ridiculous crap like teacher's salaries, the people who handle our most valuable resource and have more required education than everyone you know besides your doctor and lawyer, and start demanding that the damn politicians make some decisions that help the majority of us. All of you who argue back and forth with non-sense spoon-fed by the media and politicians are no better than fat cats on Wall Street or the greedy politicians?

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412muchtax(321 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

.Most people have no problem with private unions, it is all the public unions that have been too greedy for too long and now the majority of private sector people are getting real tired of paying for these unbelieveable perks. one of many examples are how OHIO STATE PATROL retire after only 20yrs work to go double dip as a ohio state truck inspector or how all the fireman and police can etire, then work another 3yrs while all the 3 yr pay goes into a separate fund while you collect your retirement. The private sector is finally waking up to 5 & 6 thousand dollar pensions for teachers reitiring in their 50's. The vindy should see how many people in from the county and city are on disability or retired below the age of 55 I think we would all be shocked.

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42Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

You really think a cop , fireman or teacher should be on the job into their 60s or 70s . You want a 70 year old fireman to carry you out of a burning house ?

Get a grip.To many fire fighters in Youngstown have had heart attacks on the job some dropping dead in their 40s . This is not an old man's job. Neither is the adrenaline pumping police job.

As for double dipping I agree.

See who is really screwing you in the private sector -banks/ corporations with a bought off government. They stole pensions from teachers too. Now they want to get it all. Don't pull others down see who is screwing everyone so you can pull yourself up.

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43snydro0108(61 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

There will NEVER be a candidate for public office, who will be Anti Union in this area. True story....two union members report to work at 11pm. At 11:32 they leave the premesis, go to McDonalds, rent 2 movies, and come back to work. They said they didn't do this....They swore this didn't happen. The Union went to bat for them, saving their jobs for them. The only issue was there was a camera at the gate where these guys came to and from work and it snapped a picture of their license plate when they left and when they arrived again. Even WITH this evidence, the men were suspended 1 week WITH pay and that was the only thing that happened. Sounds like a PAID WEEK VACATION to me. Now, the funny part of this story isn't the stupidity of the workers who actually did this, but what was the funny part is....when they went in for their hearing, they were asked their stance on Issue 2, SB5. They, BOTH, had no idea what it was, but said if it was good for the union, then they would vote for it. They had NO idea what the bill involved, yet they said "if the Union says it's good, then we think it's good." Now if I left work, got CAUGHT leaving work, lied about it, still collected pay WHILE I was at the movie store and at McDonalds, I would lose my job INSTANTLY and maybe have a lawsuit against me. These two guys, both 15 year Union Members, got PAID to not go to work. That's YOUR Union at its best!

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