Re: Union Busting or Standing up for Union Rights- Where do you stand
posted at 11/5/2012 11:10 PM EST
In response to red75's comment:
I don't consider the NHLPA a union in the traditional sense - if they were then worker safety would be a more prominent issue in these negotiations.
That said, like a few of you I've been on both sides of it - both unionized worker and management, and I see the good and the bad, particularly in regards to unions going out of their way to protect unproductive or just plain bad workers. Drives me nuts.
But beyond the worker-protection and wage aspects of unions there's anther area where I think they play an important role for the general public - quality control. This is especially true of trade unions and professional associations/guilds.
In my industry as ownership was quickly consolidated in the late 80's through the 90's and into today, there was a concerted effort by ownership to break the unions and guilds, and it worked amazingly well. 20 years ago almost all news agencies and major publications were union shops, now almost none of them are. The decrease in unionization correlates almost perfectly with a decrease in the quality of media and journalism that we've seen in NA. Beyond just the aspects of worker protection and wages, these unions and guilds also had quality standards, similar to those of trade unions. But in the journalism guilds the quality standards were based around ethics and modes of conduct rather than building or ticketing standards. As the guilds and unions were systematically broken up, so too were those ethical and rules of conduct standards. We as an industry were no longer held to the same codes of conduct that had been previously enforced by our unions.
As anyone who reads a newspaper or news website these day can attest, that collapse of the unions and guilds has led to a correlating collapse in the quality of journalism. Kent, Cronkite, Murrow, Bernstein, Rather, Jennings, Woodward, Sinclair, Green, Frum (Barbara, not her kid), all of the giants of my industry were union people. Hannity, O'Reilly, Breitbart, Beck, Ollbermann, Coulter, Grace, Blitzer, Drudge, Eklund, the list is massive, are not, and as such are not held to the same standard of conduct. (From a hockey fan standpoint, consider that the last major sports news organization that remains a union shop is TSN, and compare their quality of hockey coverage to other sources).
So in this way, there's another aspect of the decline of unions that has hurt us as a society.
Kabuki Democracy/Eric Alterman is a must read for you after reading the above.
I sincerely would love the NHL/NHLPA to get it on!