Loc: Port Angeles, WA
We are just finishing up with a 5 week long strike by GM union members. That reminded me of when Canada developed their own auto industry. At the time there was a lot of talk of why this was happening as the same union was representing both sides, and, I suspect, still do. Anyway, all the talk boiled down to a simple fact. Auto plants, in America, had a serious problem. The auto makers had to supply their workers with health insurance (bet you know where I am going). The auto unions are famous for providing really high end health insurance, its one of the main thing that the American side unions brag on and that the workers are very happy to have.
This last strike was not only about money but making sure jobs were available. Union members got the money but not the job assurance. There was simply no way GM could guarantee jobs in America and a lot of the reason is Amnerican for-profit healthcare. The unions lost that one. The simple fact that when the Canadian auto industry got established is was because it was cheaper to build the cars in Canada than the United States because Canada got rid of their for profit health care system and supplanted it with single payer, non-profit driven healthcare. At the time there was no Mexican auto industry, but, there is now! Mexico too has a single payer, not for profit, healthcare system.
Think on it. In America it costs them, a LOT of money to provide these fancy healthcare insurance programs but, not in Canada or Mexico. This isn't about poor wages, etc. its about the Americans having a screwed up for profit healthcare system. Nobody mentions it, nobody, apparently, cares. Its also interesting that unionized auto workers are the ones trying to assure their jobs but afraid that government provided healthcare (non-profit) might replace their cadillac health insurance which actually threatens their jobs. Its really time for a bit of healthcare education.
The claim that we have the greatest healthcare in the world is simply wrong. When world healthcare is ranked we are 37th, behind places like Chile, Costa Rica, northern european countries, France, etc. http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/best-healthcare-in-the-world/. In that list there is only one country relying on Insurance companies and that would be Switzerland. That being said the Swiss control costs and everybody gets covered and its affordable (not like ours).
So, our for-profit healthcare system is not only about healthcare but economic stuff, like JOBS!
While I agree with your criticism of American health business JGW, wasnít the anger of the rank and file union members and cause for the first negotiated contract with GM vetoed on account of the tiered employee system and using outsourced labor in the plants? Ditto on GMís decision to assign plants in Ohio as Ďunallocatedí as a way or getting around employee buyouts when plants are shuttered, under terms of the old contract?
I ainít sayin your wrong about your health biz criticism, but donít you run the risk of undercutting the message by casting the strike as being predominantly about healthcare when it reads more about workers fighting managements efforts to reduce compensation and job security? But yeah, healthcare in this country is a joke. Fully agree.
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
I suspect a misunderstanding here. I think my own verbosity is at fault. I thought my points were: We have a for-profit health system supported by, basically, individuals. Unionized auto manufacturers are forced to buy classy healthcare insurance for its employees under our for-profit healthcare, this does not happen in Canada or Mexico. Because of this its costs a lot more to manufacture cars in the United States.
My other point is that those employed by car manufacturers, in the United States, are concerned that the basically socialized healthcare that some Democrats are espousing is also a threat against their really good employer paid healthcare insurance.
At the same time, those same employees are determined to make their employer guarantee their jobs in the face of their product costing more to make and sell than the same product being manufactured in Canada or Mexico.
My point is that their employer paid healthcare is, even though everything is paid for is actually not the greatest healthcare in the world and there are other options.
I also had another point in mind, that was never stated. The first is that those union employees, in America, are fighting against a socialized system which, if properly implemented, would be better than what they have now and their jobs would actually be more secure without a strike which didn't really help with job security anyway in the end.
Its strange. I really don't understand my "health biz criticism" insofar as what you were talking about. I did not suggest healthcare was responsible for a strike I simple said, or suggested, that their concern about keeping their paid health insurance might be misplaced. I thought that because they just might get better healthcare and also help in security their jobs at the same time. I am, incidentally, for well regulated unions but some of the stuff I have seen, over the years, makes me wonder.
I also suspect that the concern over socialized healthcare, provided by government, is a problem because we have a president who is working, very hard, to destroy anybody's faith that gov can actually do anything successfully.
I remember once, a long time ago, when a friend of mine, the Teamsters guy in town, was given a pay increase and they moved him to the big city. 6 months later he was back. I asked him what happened. He told me really nothing but everybody in that big city office was packing a gun and they made him very nervous for a number of reasons. He got them to send him back here to his old job. I also remember when Teamster dues were building casinos in Las Vegas. I believe they lost membership when their own membership lost faith in them.
I decertified 2 major unions in businesses I had. I was asked to do this by my employees because they felt their dues were too much for the return they got. I didn't care either way as I always got along well with both Unions. At the time this was not an easy thing to do but we got it done. I do not want to start an argument about this stuff and wasn't trying when I wrote what I did.
I've never had much experience with unions, Florida has always been a "right to work" state. Near as I can tell, when they're run right members get all sorts of nifty perks but union leadership often just adds another layer of corruption.
So a very small percentage of Americans are represented by unions while the rest of us are at the mercy of corporate whims and have no recourse but to toe the line or find other work. We are easily replaced because there is always someone somewhere who wants your job no matter how shi**y it might be. When they become disillusioned they'll move on and another body will replace them.
A better solution by far is to legislate fair wages, health insurance, training, workplace safety, and all the other things some Americans get through the unions and others forego completely. Union members have become a privileged class of workers who heap scorn on anyone trying to get the same privileges outside the union.
Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...
Dunno about 1960ís radicals but I do know about unions. Grew up in a union household, been in a number of them. Never understood boomer and GenX aversion to em. Glad to see the public support growing for them again. Itís as though without them we have allowed for a return to an economic and political situation that created them, as a reaction, in the first place. Would have been easier to read a history book of American labor and avoid the current situation but, then again, thereís not a lot of history books being written on labor.
Bernie was a 1960s radical. He hasn't changed a lick since then and you espouse many of his ideals. I don't think boomers and X'ers have an aversion to unions. Anybody that can get a cushy union job will grab it if they can. But government and corporations have fought them tooth and nail and have managed to essentially destroy them over the years.
In the most recent auto strike the union is trying to regain some concessions they made during the Great Recession because the auto industry has regained all they lost and are once again profitable. Unions helped out the corporations when they needed it and now the corporations refuse to help the workers. Corporate greed has killed the unions not boomers and xers.
Good coffee, good weed, and time on my hands...
Loc: Port Angeles, WA
As far as I can tell the unions lost, just like Hillary lost. The other side, in both cases, has a genuine talent for telling believable lies about the opposition whilst the opposition thinks that if they don't respond it will all go away because "nobody could possibly believe .......". Hillary did that for about 40 years. The Unions have come by that later in the game plus, whilst that was going on gov was nailing the unions for stuff they just should not have been doing which actually made/makes it hard for the unions to respond. I firmly believe that both lost due to simply not fighting back in any meaningful way. I have come to regard this as what I call the "Hillary Affect" but, it think, "the Hillary Disaffection" might be more to the point.