TED Conversations

Greg Worden

Entrepreneur and Adjunct Professor of Sustainable Business, Worden Associates

This conversation is closed.

Are unions in the US still relevant?

Hostess is closing eliminating 18.500 jobs due, in part, to 5,000 bakery union members striking while the Teamsters had already accepted a deal. True, the company had been mismanaged but this appears to be an example of a union cutting off its nose despite its face. The US has some of the best worker-protection laws in the world. Is this an example of good union leadership or is it an example of unions acting as though it was still 1905? Are unions still relevant in the US today?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 17 2012: I feel that in the context of the global economy, unions are simply outdated. Yet we wouldn't want to let the capitalist engine grind through our workers anew. The solution, as you allude to, is enlightened government-- better basic worker protection laws. The destiny of unions should be an attempt to fight for the basic rights of ALL through the government of all, no longer the pocketed protection of some.

    But this is why I also have a bit of disdain for GOVERNMENT UNIONS. Government should rightfully exemplify the highest protection of the worker, so to unionize against government is outright excessive! By unionizing against government, a pocket of people are unionizing against the rest of their fellow citizens, in essence. Is there a greater travesty than this?
    • thumb
      Nov 20 2012: I certainly agree. I'm tend to be biased in this discussion. I've never been part of a union nor had any occasion to want to be so I naturally question their relevance today, at least in the US. I should think that unions are needed in places like China or Vietnam though. Workers there need protection and civil rights. You also make a good point that we can't simply let employees be completely ground down so some level of protection is needed but I think we're in agreement that that is largely in place already at least in the US.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.