Notes on Economics - Unions
Here (thankfully, since I am ready to move on) are the last unpublished economic notes, on the subject of unions, about which John in Phoenix and I dialogued in the comments following the recent posting on globalization.
Civil rights came to American unions in the 60s and 70s, helping raise the economic prospects of African Americans, but labor leaders do not seem to be emphasizing this group in their new organizing efforts.
The NFL effectively busted the players union in 1987, but this last season had all the players wearing the initials of the deceased union president on their helmets.
The AFL-CIO chooses to function more as a lobby group, while splinter unions believe organizing more workers is a better approach.
France changed the law to allow more hire/fire power over young workers to solve a problem of "bad hires". What really was needed was better training for students to be better workers and better training for managers to be better managers.
Another problem with retirement based on private investment by the retirees rather than on the guaranteed benefit plans the unions used to negotiate is that those near retirement, when the market drops, decide they cannot retire, which keeps a job away from someone who needs it, which in turn hurts the economy and adds to the downward spiral.
Today, the NY Times had an interesting article about the many year struggle of nurses in Kentucky to form a union in spite of ongoing illegal intimidation by the corporate employer.
Before leaving the subject of economics for this round, I highly recommend this excellent PDF format article by Joe Keefe the head of the sustainable investing based Pax Funds. It is a well reasoned view on the wisdom of adopting a long range approach to economic viability, factoring in social and environmental concerns. The article includes some historical context and proposes some meaningful changes.