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Back Talk

Is American Union Strength Threatening the Economy?

Fredi Hairston Larry Billion

By: Fredi Hairston and Larry Billion

Source: "Back Talk," Virginia Tech, 13 October 1967.
The original text, spelling, and punctuation have been retained.

The following opinions are not to be construed as those of either author or the newspaper. Back Talk is designed to present both sides of an issue. Therefore, personal opinions are not necessarily expressed within each writer's article.

Pro - Fredi Hairston

It cannot be denied by anyone that unions have played and are playing a vital part in America's history. Without them employers would still be practicing discriminatory actions. Prior to the increased activity of unions, during the depression years and before, an employer was free to go out to the entrance gates of his factory and choose his employees by "looks". This meant, of course, that the Polish, Italian, Jewish, and Negroid were the last to-be hired.

Unions have bought organization to labor. With organization comes power. This is essential for unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled laborers. If the blue-collared workers have no power, they are at the mercy of their employers. Labor, through unions, has managed to lighten the work day and raise wages from the subsistence level.

If for no other reasons than these, unions have served their country and mankind. It must also be noted that various types of insurance and other fringe benefits have been acquired by the blue-collar worker through the diligent efforts of their bargaining agencies--the unions.

A good example of modern benefits which unions have brought is the new agreement reached between Ford and the U.A.W (United Auto Workers). In this new contract, the auto workers are guaranteed a minimum annual wage. With advances like this taking place everyday, the possibility of an increase in the number of people living in poverty is greatly reduced.

Con - Larry Billon

American labor unions, as they exist today, are far too busy powerful. Unions are also a threat to the stability and welfare of the United States economy. These organizations are detrimental and must be abolished.

Presently, unions are immense and powerful. These societies of workers actually control the economy and government of this nation. If a major union such as the United Auto Workers, decides to strike for increased wages, many complementary industries are also effected.

Hence, the entire economy may suffer with adverse results occurring..inflation. In actuality, unions are even able to control the government. Large unions can very effectively lobby and get desirable legislation passed through the Congress. Also, a majority of the popularity of the population are members of sundry workers' associations. Therefore, American unions are enabled to control a major portion of the voting public. Such a factor opens the path for virtual union controlled government representation.

The basic idea of unions, to improve the workers' position, is extremely desirable and worthwhile. However, the power is being terribly misused. The unions are perpetually demanding more and more. This insatiability is a hinderance to the American economy and causes inflation. Certainly, the unions must be stopped before their wants are carried to unacceptable extremes. At one time, the United States feared an economy and wage structure controlled solely by the employers. Then the Taft-Hartly Act of 1947 and similar legislation was passed. Now, a "labor dictatorship" exists with this nation. Is such a condition desirable? Is it necessary? No, on both counts!

The government must do something about the union situation in America today. Before long the predicament will, undoubtedly, get out of hand. Once the all powerful force was business, now it is labor. A balance between the two factions must be attained by governmental means to insure the economic security of this nation. The extraordinary power of unions must be abolished.


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