What are the advantages and disadvantages of the NLRAWhat are the advantages and disadvantages of the NLRA

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The advantage is that labor unions were given some power. Workers could collect and get rights. The disadvantage is that this makes building things in America more expensive, and this has resulted in factories being sent overseas and many jobs being lost forever.
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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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I feel that Labor Unions serves to create better and safer working conditions in the beginning. While I am sure they still function in that capacity in recent years what is released publicly is the fact that Labor Unions have done nothing but drive up wages to a point where factories are no linger able to pay. This has been used as the excuse for companies leaving the US for cheaper labor.

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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With such Acts there is always a difficult path to walk between efficiency and the rights of workers. Any act that ensures the rights of workers and makes their situation better is of course very important, yet at the same time others have pointed out the long-term impact of such Acts in terms of reducing the overall efficiency of companies and businesses. For the majority of workers, however, the NLRA was good news, and perhaps we need to focus on the needs of the majority in cases like this.

You write: "perhaps we need to focus on the needs of the majority in cases like this."  Shouldn't we be focusing on the needs of the majority in the  majority of cases?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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With such Acts there is always a difficult path to walk between efficiency and the rights of workers. Any act that ensures the rights of workers and makes their situation better is of course very important, yet at the same time others have pointed out the long-term impact of such Acts in terms of reducing the overall efficiency of companies and businesses. For the majority of workers, however, the NLRA was good news, and perhaps we need to focus on the needs of the majority in cases like this.

jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In reply to #4:

It definitely takes two to tango when you start out.  But what happens when the tango isn't working and one side wants out?  That's where the problems come in.

GM participated in making the contracts that killed the, true.  But when they realized they were being killed, the unions (IMHO) acted shortsightedly by trying to hold GM to a system that was okay in the '50s but not in the new century.

All I know about the NYC teachers' union is what I read in the Times, but the whole "rubber room" smacks of the same kind of thing.  The union tries to hold on to things that are no longer workable.

To me, it's similar to a marriage where the husband says to the wife "before we had kids you did all the housework.  Now we've got 4 kids, you should still be able to do all the housework.  After all, you were fine with it back then..."

The rubber room problem was created by Chancellor Klein and then blamed on the teachers' union.

A teacher would be accused of some misdoing, perhaps correctly so.  What should have happened is that the teacher should have been given a hearing in a timely fashion, then either dismissed or reinstated.  Instead, the NYC Dep't. of Ed. kept the teacher in a holding pen for months, or even years, before getting around to making a formal accusation and then conducting a hearing.  In the meantime, the D.O.E. played the game of saying that teachers were collecting salary while sitting around doing nothing. 

When Chancellor Klein finally abolished the rubber rooms about one year ago, he publicly congratulated himself for solving a problem--a problem that he himself had created.

Don't even start tangoing with that guy. 

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In reply to #2 (my old friend Pohnpei):

I always get a little annoyed when people talk about "union" contracts.  Contracts are like tango--they require two partners. 

 Here in New York City, the public school "teacher's contract" is commonly blamed for every societal ill from nuclear proliferation to the common cold.  What most people (even most teachers) fail to realize is that there is no such document named "The Teacher's Contract."  It is called "The Collective Bargaining Agreement."  It is an agreement between TWO parties, namely, the teacher's union and the City of New York.  If there is something there that is inappropriate, please blame both parties, not just one. 

In the meantime, this agreement--like others that have been made under NLRA--gives some strength to the "little guy."  Considering how much power and money the "big guys" have, what's so bad about giving a little of it to the little guys?  Based on my knowledge of history, the big guys have never failed to take care of themselves.

It definitely takes two to tango when you start out.  But what happens when the tango isn't working and one side wants out?  That's where the problems come in.

GM participated in making the contracts that killed the, true.  But when they realized they were being killed, the unions (IMHO) acted shortsightedly by trying to hold GM to a system that was okay in the '50s but not in the new century.

All I know about the NYC teachers' union is what I read in the Times, but the whole "rubber room" smacks of the same kind of thing.  The union tries to hold on to things that are no longer workable.

To me, it's similar to a marriage where the husband says to the wife "before we had kids you did all the housework.  Now we've got 4 kids, you should still be able to do all the housework.  After all, you were fine with it back then..."

jmj616's profile pic

jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

In reply to #2 (my old friend Pohnpei):

I always get a little annoyed when people talk about "union" contracts.  Contracts are like tango--they require two partners. 

 Here in New York City, the public school "teacher's contract" is commonly blamed for every societal ill from nuclear proliferation to the common cold.  What most people (even most teachers) fail to realize is that there is no such document named "The Teacher's Contract."  It is called "The Collective Bargaining Agreement."  It is an agreement between TWO parties, namely, the teacher's union and the City of New York.  If there is something there that is inappropriate, please blame both parties, not just one. 

In the meantime, this agreement--like others that have been made under NLRA--gives some strength to the "little guy."  Considering how much power and money the "big guys" have, what's so bad about giving a little of it to the little guys?  Based on my knowledge of history, the big guys have never failed to take care of themselves.

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Since Unions are considered the enemy of efficiency and profit, there is a natural capitalist tendency to want to destroy them or make it very difficult for them to recruit and operate.  This is exactly what happened during the Gilded Age and the early decades of the 1900s, as labor organizers found it very difficult to organize or win concessions from management. 

By giving Americans the right to collectively bargain--to negotiate in groups for their contracts and working conditions--FDR created a middle class in this country that has survived mostly intact for over 75 years.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I assume that you are talking about the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 -- more commonly known as the Wagner Act.  This was a law that was passed as a means of giving unions more of a chance to establish themselves without companies using various tactics to intimidate workers or prevent the union from organizing.

I would say that the main advantage of the Wagner Act is that it helped workers get better wages and working conditions.  This is something that was badly needed back in those days and is something that unions are good at doing.

The downside of giving unions a lot of power can (you can argue) be seen today in the problems of companies like GM.  Labor unions that get too good of contracts saddle the companies with huge costs later on down the road.  These can make the companies less able to compete with other, lower-cost companies.

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