Reading Robin Smith's article castigating unions and giving examples of poor behavior on the part of a few, reminded me of what Jesus said, "why beholdest thou the mote that's in thy brothers eye, but considerest not the beam that's in thine own eye."
Why were unions necessary in the first place? Read, Making Steel and Killing Men by William Hard, written in the early 1900's. It exposes the mayhem in the steel industry.
"As many as 598 victims at the Illinois Steel Company alone in 1906. For every man killed in an industrial accident in Germany, eight in the United States were killed or disabled." Hard said, "the American Institute of Social Services reports that 536,165 are killed annually in Industry."
A factory fire in New York in 1911 killed 146 workers; some were teenagers as young as 14. There were no sprinklers, no audible alarms and the stairwells and exits were locked. Many jumped to their deaths. This created the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
Further, just during the years of 1907-1909 there were 50 coal mine disasters resulting in 1,179 deaths. Deaths were occurring in coal mines as early as 1869 with nothing being done. Thank God for John L. Lewis. And Edwin Markham exposed the "sacrifice of children in the glass factories, at the loom, in the mines, in the box factories and sweatshops."
Labor unions were and are a godsend for the American worker. It's a shame a labor board was turned down at VW. Steve Cohen rightfully said, "UAW and VW were working to redefine American labor-management relations for the better." Mark Wiedmer said it best, "Unions exist to begin with, because too often private enterprise has done the wrong thing by its employees and a nod to the almighty dollar." Amen.
Wilbourne C. Markham Sr.
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Mr. Markham Sr.,
With all due respect every example you cited was over 100 years ago. Since that time there have been two world wars, the civil rights movement, 18 presidents in office and the creation of OSHA in 1971. I guess my point is while unions were vital to creating safe work standards and practices 100 years ago the times have changed.
Unions have destroyed internal communication lines between employees and employers over the last 30 years which is vital when it comes to having a teamwork atmosphere and a productive and safe work environment. They have become immersed into politics while donating excessive amounts of union dues for political campaigning. Take a trip to the UAW headquarters and stroll around Detroit to see what a city that is dependent upon the union has been turned into.
Just remember, 100 years ago smoking was considered good for you but we as a society now know the detrimental side effects and what it can truly due to someone’s health. The UAW is a cancer I would prefer to keep out of Chattanooga. Once again, congrats to the VW workers and Chattanooga.
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Respectfully, Mr. Markham, I must disagree with your premise that Labor unions are a godsend, for anyone other than their thug leaders and the Democrats. In each and every instance you’ve stated that unions did good things, the dates began in the early 1900’s, citing cases in 1906, 1911, 1907-09.
I was born in 1951 and grew up in Detroit. The “big 3” and the steel mills and associated factories employed almost everyone I’ve ever known. I agree that in the “old” days, prior to instant news and cell phone cameras, oversight was a necessity as abuse mainly went unreported. However, since the 80’s, with TV’s in every household, and real “journalists” reporting real news, it became less likely employers would take a chance of abusing their employees.
I actually knew some of those who worked for Jimmy Hoffa, way back in the day. Let me tell you that unions have become nothing but blood sucking leeches on the backs of hard working Americans. The union (thugs) leaders ride their extravagant vehicles, have their mansions, bodyguards, yachts and contribute greatly to the Democrat party, who in turn do them favors. This has been the cycle of the political and union relationship for the past 30-40 years. Everyone knows this. In a free society, the worker accepts a job (position), salary or wages, benefits and then that employer, without all the hassle of union thugs, can employ more people. You can watch on the news, union workers in Auburn Hills (not Detroit anymore- the Democrats ruined that city) went out to lunch, drank beer, smoked pot, and went back to build American vehicles. And they didn’t even get in trouble. And they are still working.
As an old Detroiter, I’ve always been upset with those who didn’t buy American- but no more. Why buy a piece of junk built by drug addicts, and make the loud-mouth Chicago style thugs (union leaders) richer? I promise you, Chattanooga workers made the right choice, even after being strong armed, by who? Oh yeah- the union.
Moving here to Chattanooga in 1992 was so refreshing after living in the union stronghold of the Detroit area my entire life. We don’t need or want to walk down that path. Just take a look at Detroit today- it’s war torn and run by gangs. The ex-mayor in prison for- yes, corruption. Don’t trust the unions. They are out for their own power and wealth and don’t care about you. I promise you that.
It’s not over. But until those of us who lived through it speak up, the unions will keep getting richer and having more power. There was a time in history unions were good. But like everything else, corruption, greed and evil took over and now, runs this country. God bless us all.
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The fact that Wilbourne Markham has to go back 100 years to show the relevance of unions probably explains why the vaunted UAW has gone from 1.5 million members in 1979 to 390,000 today. Mr Markham must have missed the creation of OSHA in 1972 by a Republican President, rather surprising since that great friend of working people the Democrats, had controlled the White House for 28 of the 36 years before Nixon was elected.
It is no coincidence that the UAW is headquartered in that great worker paradise of Detroit, the once prosperous city that the UAW and their Democrat allies they always support have turned into a replica of 1945 Berlin. And now after being bailed out by the U.S taxpayers what is the UAW doing, well they are raising their dues to build up a strike fund.
I actually think the Works Council is a pretty good idea for VW, just as long as the job destroying monster the UAW isn't involved. Be involved UAW workers, just don't send your hard-earned money to beautiful downtown Detroit.