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Do Labor Unions Have too Much Power Ken Parese PoTown Dan:

As another alma cum mater of ol' Con Ed U, let's balance th' scale some more...

Unions quite possibly have outlived their usefulness:

* In 1965, teachers in the NY Metropolitan area were earning on the average of $5K/year.

* In 1965, engineers, non-management IBM were earning on the average, $11K/year, non-union, NY metro.

* In 2000, union teachers in the NY metropolitan area with 25 years of service earn $65-70K/year. The teachers are screaming bloody murder because the union isn't doing enough for them and complain that they have to put up with many incompetent "colleagues" but both unions and rank and file resist a merit system to replace the archaic "tenure system".

* In 2000, engineers, non-management IBM, non-union are earning $65-70,000K after 30 years of service. Unions are trying to make inroads into IBM after a history of non-union activity due to "down-sizing" or layoffs or whatever has occurred. Employees are being asked to do more with fewer resources and the benefits have been drastically reduced. A merit system still exists.

There is a levelling off of two professions and the comparisons point this out.

In the blue collar arena, the NY City plumbers union just opened up its apprenticeship program again with a promise of $39/hr after only 5 years of service plus $78/hour for overtime. The current experienced commercial union plumber earns about $41/hour plus double-time for O.T. or $85,280 for full employment plus O.T. These are individual tradesmen, not entrepreneurs.

The unions have done wonders for its constituency.

But (and that's a big BUT), there's a downside to all this...we all have to pay the for this unionism; there is no motivation for quality or incentive for being the very best.

Our educational system is in shambles, our work ethic is mediocre and our manufactured products are inferior to off-shore manufacturers. We shouldn't accept this mediocrity...but we do.

But, there's some light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Japan has adopted some of our Yankee arrogance and mediocrity and has been producing inferior products at high cost. Toshiba, Panasonic and others have been forced to subcontract to Korean companies such as Goldstar and Samsung. It's interesting how the pendulum swings.

We'll save the alliance of union and OSHA for another day. You know, OSHA (Our Saviour Has Arrived).

KP from PK

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