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Are labor unions a relic of the past?

Roger Showley, U-T SAN DIEGO

Friday, December 14, 2012

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Kelly Cunningham, National University System
Answer: NO

Past contributions made by organized labor in America can be recognized, from imposing 8-hour days to workplace safety to sick and vacation leave benefits. There is a place for unions representing labor interests. But unions also discourage workers from being more productive, reducing incentives from labor competition, and even preventing the hiring of more workers. Moving forward the challenge for American workers is to compete in a global marketplace demanding flexibility, innovation and rapid deployment of capital and labor to meet changing customer preferences. Absent such changes, which unions resist making, the decades-long decline in private sector union membership will continue.