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Thread: Are unions "liberal?"

  1. #1
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    Default Are unions "liberal?"

    A thought about unionization that has been nagging at me just rose to the surface as part of a conversation with a friend. The conventional wisdom seems to be that unions are valued more by the left than the right.

    The right tends to present itself as favoring smaller government, limited regulation, and more freedom than the left. It strikes me, therefore, that the right should be pro-union as limiting the rights of unions to exist would be a higher regulatory, lower freedom outcome.

    The conflict for the right, it seems, is that besides being lower regulatory and higher freedom, unions are perceived to make things more difficult for business to operate, and the right is also pro-business.

    I'm interested in people's thoughts on this topic.

  2. #2
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    Default Left or Right

    My take on this is...

    The right doesn't want to abolish unions but is wary of unions taking too much advantage and power over non-union groups.

    ie. UAW and their delicious work for nothing plan where they don't get laid off but receive a good chunk of their pay for being on call or

    Other unions who can force raises over contract periods even though people who pay those taxes are not keeping up and getting zero raises.

    Or still other unions who can leverage their might to get pension plans and health plans that do not correspond to what happens outside of union environments.

    The problem is the accumulation of power that most probably offends the right.

  3. #3
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    Default

    The problem is the accumulation of power that most probably offends the right.
    That is delicious irony, Alan.

  4. #4
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    Default

    I'd say that's a loaded question, implying that a one-dimensional characterization on the "liberal-conservative" axis is meaningful. And using the "who's in favor of them?" operator rarely produces meaningful results.

    Dave

  5. #5
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    Default

    Dave, I'm not saying that liberal-conservative is the only meaningful axis (please suggest others, perhaps socio-economic?), but it's an important one. I'm not sure that I've ever heard a conservative say anything good about unions, and it's the rare liberal who condemns them.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Dave, I'm not saying that liberal-conservative is the only meaningful axis (please suggest others, perhaps socio-economic?), but it's an important one. I'm not sure that I've ever heard a conservative say anything good about unions, and it's the rare liberal who condemns them.
    Useful axes include preferred economic system (capitalism is region on this axis, not a point), preferred monetary policy, preferred range of social freedom, belief in rule of law, responsibility to others, and attitude toward organized religion.

    Using the words "conservative" or "liberal" to characterize an individual is like limiting your description of a sunset to the words yellow and red.

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