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Public/Private Sector Unions

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As far back as I can remember unions have been a large slice of cold war Americana. When I was younger, talks around the dinner table was of union issues and most of all, dependency on a union in some facet. I lived in a Sacramento community that relied heavily on some form of a union and the defense industry. Federally operated defense industries adopted unions in order to regulate employment and have a set wage when filling incumbent vacancies. Unions were a positive organization to belong to and carried much clout when issues would arise in the workplace. Private sector unions today have lost most of the bargaining power they once had and are in a state of disarray.

Unions are organized labor groups that collectively bargain for proper wages, safe work environments, and most of all improve the quality of life for the workers. In an observation, Durbin (2005) exclaims the outlook for organized labor seems to grow worse by the day in this year of turmoil for unions in the United States. Nevertheless, Delphi Corporation a supplier of auto parts filed for bankruptcy affecting thousands of jobs. Delphi, which employs 30,000 U.S. hourly workers, filed for bankruptcy after the United Auto Workers refused to accept a cut in workers' average wage rate from $27 (A22.5) an hour to $10-to $12-an-hour (A8-to-A10-an-hour) range (2005, Durbin). Northwest Airlines is flying while the mechanics union is striking.

Unions are facing pressures from globalization, competition for deregulation, and losing it power due to member sentiment. Unions stereotypically make employers adhere to specific salary and benefit requirements that usually compensate the worker in their favor. Companies like Wal-Mart and Intel are very anti-union. Compensation packages for non-executive employees from such companies offer no advocacy or bargaining for an increases in salary. Technology companies have opted out for unions and in some essence left the unions for "Blue Collar" workers.

The future of public/private sector unions in the United States evolves with globalization. Countries like



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