UAW Local 2179

10 Reasons Unions Are Needed


  1. FOR CHECK & BALANCE IN TODAY'S WORKPLACE

    The founders of this country understood the need for checks and balances in maintaining freedom.

    In Union Workplaces, we sit across the table, face to face with management and negotiate rules that apply to them and us.

    But a nonunion workplace is different. Their management has near total power.

  2. AS A FORCE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE IN AMERICA

    Unions are the single most powerful forces for social justice in America. For instance, few neighborhoods, churches, or schools are as racially and ethnically integrated, as are American unions.

    It is a matter of principle with this union and others to fight racial, sexual and other forms of discrimination.

  3. TO REDUCE THE GAP BETWEEN RICH AND POOR

    Income inequality in America is growing. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer, and the middle class is stagnating.

    America cannot tolerate that kind of gap and still keep its values intact.

  4. TO MAKE OSHA AND OTHER REGULATORS DO THEIR JOB

    A Fire at a chicken processing plant in North Carolina billed 25 workers when locked exits prevented them from escaping. This is terrible, and it could have been prevented.

    State safety officials had never inspected the 11-year-old plant. That is why in the UAW, we negotiated our won safety standards - usually far in advance of federal rulemaking.

    But unions also play a large but largely unnoticed role in making sure tha government regulation is as effective as possible

  5. TO STAND FOR AMERICAN JOBS

    Over a Decade ago the UAW was sounding the alarm about trade. But few were listening.

    We were told that manufacturing didn't matter, that trade deficits didn't matter, that U.S. superiority in high tech industries would make up for the decline of basic manufacturing industries.

    Long before it was popular, we decried the influence of the foreign lobbies, and condemned U.S. officials who saw their position as U.S. trade negotiators as stepping stones to careers as high-paid lobbyists for foreign firms.

    Today more Americans see that Japan does not play by the same rules. American unions are consistent. We are not double dealing on trade with one policy for Japan and another for Mexico.

    By Standing up for American job, we are standing up for America's future, for jobs for our kids, for a strong economy to support social Security.

  6. TO SERVE AS A BULWARK OF DEMOCRACY

    This country will never survive as a democracy without free trade unions. Those who believe in unions can disappear and managers can manage their workers without union representation is talking about an autocratic totalitarian state.

    From Poland to Zambia, trade unions are in the forefront of changes that are bringing an end to one party rule.

    For over one hundred years, independent trade unions have been a huge counterweight to concentrations of economic power in the hands of a few people.

  7. TO PUSH FOR THE HIGH WAGE & SKILL SOLUTION

    Our greatest growth in productivity came while American was strongest. And during the last decade - years of declining union strength - productivity growth has been lackluster.

    High performance organizations require much greater worker involvement, which in turn is most effective if workers have an independent source of power to represent their interests.

    UAW members have been enthusiastic supporters - and in many case the initiators - of quality programs. We know our jobs depend on producing quality products and delivering quality services

    Decent wages, high productivity, and high quality add up to the union prescription for the future.

  8. TO STABILIZE THE U.S. ECONOMY

    UNION contracts, our role in keeping middle class incomes strong, and the benefits we negotiate for our members all play a role in stabilizing the U.S. economy.

  9. TO PROTECT WORKERS FROM SHENANIGANS

    I put too much faith in the company taking care of me. I figured: 'Your pension is secure, you're all set', " says Dick Lehnert. He calculates he had $171,000 in a company stock plan he received instead of a pension, but today his 9,800 shares of stock are worth 75 cents a share.

    Big time financial games have cost him not only his nest egg but his job as well. When his old pension was terminated, he had no contract with the company and no one to represent his interests. Alone against a giant publishing company, it's not really that surprising that he lost and lost big.

    Union workers have contracts to protect them, a union willing to take up their legal cause, and power that comes from being already organized when disaster hits.

  10. TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUAL WORKERS

    THE BILL OF RIGHTS is 200 years old. But few Americans know that these Constitutional rights stop at the work place.

    The First Amendment, for example, protects our freedom of speech against government abuses - not employer abuses. While union workers have a union to protect their jobs, nonunion workers have a few legal rights to free speech.

    And even where those rights exist in law, it's not that easy to enforce those rights. Many nonunion workers believe that if they have been wronged by their employer, there must be a law against it.

    One nonunion worker called a Michigan attorney to complain his employer had just taken away break time. But without a union contract spelling out breaks, there was no way the attorney could help.

    Without unions, most average workers are just out of luck.

    ....................


    "If I were a worker in a factory, the first thing I would do would be to join a union"
    --Franklyn D. Roosevelt--



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