Do we still need labor unions?
via AP

Do we still need labor unions?

#FightForWorkers
#UnionsAreObsolete
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About 35 percent of American workers belonged to labor unions in the 1950s, but today that number is closer to 10 percent. This has many wondering if labor unions have become obsolete. A Supreme Court case is threatening to put unions past the point of no return. Conservatives think this is a good thing; unions are more focused on collecting dues than helping workers and are no longer needed in the modern workforce. But others argue unions are more important now than ever. Someone needs to fight for workers. What do you think?

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#FightForWorkers
73%
#UnionsAreObsolete
27%

The Supreme Court is hearing a case that has the potential to make labor unions a thing of the past. Janus v. AFSCME will decide whether government employees can be fired for refusing to pay unions dues. The majority of union workers today work in the public sector, so this case has the potential to fundamentally change the role of unions in the workforce.

A ruling for Janus will trigger an exodus of union members who held their nose over union politics. We saw this in Michigan; after the state enacted a right-to-work law in 2012, the Michigan Education Association lost 25 percent of its membership. 

Critics argue labor unions have become obsolete. According to Rasmussen, 57 percent of voters think union leaders are out of touch with members. The policies they're advocating for either don't help members or are totally counter to what people care about. Some of the policies that unions fight tooth and nail for, like the minimum wage, only affect a small share of Americans. It's hard to recruit new members with such a narrow message.

The landscape has changed too. Blue collar jobs are being replaced with office tech jobs. Tech companies have little appetite for the rigid workplace rules that come with unions. Their ability to move quickly is what makes tech companies so powerful to begin with. That's incompatible with unions.

Unions are trying to solve a 21st-century problem using 20th-century methods. They protect workers at the cost of innovation. If a company is going broke anyway, what's the point of having a good healthcare plan? America doesn't need unions as they are right now. They're a relic of the past struggling to remain relevant. 

Supporters say unions are more important now than ever. It's increasingly clear that few politicians actually care about workers. Trump claims he will fight for the average American but, in the same breath, proposes cuts to social programs that hurt struggling workers.

Unions provide the only platform that gives workers power in the workplace and in American politics. As individuals, people have little to no power in their workplace or in American government. Unions give people, no matter their education or income, the means to stand up for themselves and fight for what they need. It forces those in power to give workers a seat at the table.

Unions are nothing without their members. That's what gives them power. The American middle class is shrinking. Economic gains are going to the wealthy. Workers must come together and fight for themselves. No one else will.

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