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Do Unions still serve a purpose in American industry?

Right to Union (Or right to work) laws that give individuals the right to opt out of unionization in certain state have been been shown to increase the economic well-being of a state or municipality. Extremely union friendly areas (Such as Detroit and Chicago) have been exponentially harmed in terms of both industry and the public good due to heavy unionization.

Due to the highly regulated nature and subsequently safer environments of modern American industry, do we still need unions? If so/not, why?


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  • Nov 1 2013: As said below, unions are there to protect its members. That being said, I strongly believe that unions are doing the job of what a government should do, or have rules about. I have worked in both environments.

    In The Netherlands, before '78, it was not necessary at all to be a member of a union to have the proper benefits. The rules and benefits were set by the government. A socialistic government. Many, if not most, workers were not union members (it is illegal to force someone to be a member in order to work there). There were more benefits for the workers there than anywhere in North America. Strikes were extremely rare because the unions and business managers were organized differently than here. Both sides had access to all the same financial and organizational information. So there was negotiation, that is what it was. It was not like a war as in England and North America.

    Seems to me that unions in North America exist to protect its workers against the company's disregard for its workers. The two sides face each other as opponents in a war, and as in any war, both sides lose. Especially when the union says, "hurrah we won!!" while the business is now bankrupt.
    Some time ago I read an article in the NYT called "Going Dutch" writen by a manager that went to work in Holland.. nice!

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