Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gov. Nikki Haley: Union Jobs Not Welcome In SC

The vote against unionization on the part of Tennessee VW workers followed a scare campaign on the part of the state's GOP and well-funded right-wing groups. Following this unfortunate event, Gov. Nikki Haley (R) of South Carolina said, "we don't need unions in South Carolina" since "associates appreciate that direct relationship with their employer." Do they appreciate the state's ranking of 44th out of 50 for income? Is there a relation between the lack of unionization and that ranking? Can "associates" trust that their employers will always act in their best interests? How can a governor say that any kind of employment is unwelcome in her state? Regardless, Haley states, “We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don’t want to taint the water.”


Michael J. Mand said...

The problem with the union/non-union debate is the pendulum swing between labor and management. Neither side approaches negotiations as a potential win-win situation. Labor wants higher wages (certainly reasonable) without productivity advancement (not reasonable); management wants employees to contribute more to offset the rise in health care costs (reasonable) and to their pensions (even more reasonable) without offering higher wages to ease their workers into this new, but possibly necessary dynamic (not reasonable).

Unions, while they are fighting for workers' rights, are having a difficult time right now because the general public views them, one, as corrupt and two, as reaching into their own pockets at a time when disposable income is at a low.

Representatives are elected to protect the public interest. That means protecting tax-payer dollars. Right or wrong, pension and health care costs are being blamed for the financial crisis in Detroit, and many people feel that their own municipalities may be next. Union leadership must deal with that perception. As someone who has had experience at both sides of this debate, I'm not so certaiin that that reputation hasn't been earned.

And the pendulum continues to swing back and forth, never stopping at the midpoint.

Jeff Tone said...

Actually, the pendulum has been swinging only toward the management side for a long time. Productivity has been increasing on the part of the American work force, but it has not been matched by compensation. Meanwhile, corporations are realizing tremendous profits.

It's not a coincidence that these trends are occurring while labor unions have declined. The perception you mention is a result of well-funded scare campaigns, mentioned in the article, that persuade workers to vote against their own interests.