The Instigator
Ron-Paul
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
zgb1997
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

Public Labor Unions Are Beneficial to Society

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
zgb1997
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/27/2012 Category: Economics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,691 times Debate No: 27555
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (2)

 

Ron-Paul

Con

Full Resolution:

Public labor unions are beneficial to society.

I will be negating this resolution.

BoP is shared.

Definitions:

Public Labor Unions: "An organization intended to represent the collective interests of workers in negotiations with employers over wages, hours and working conditions. Labor unions are often industry-specific and tend to be more common in manufacturing, mining, construction, transportation and the public sector."[1] Public means government run.

Beneficial: "Conferring benefit; advantageous; helpful."[2]

Society: "The body of human beings generally, associated or viewed as members of a community."[3]

Rules:

1. The first round is for acceptance.
2. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
3. No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
4. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed from all moments after the debate has been formalized.

Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the other person.

Debate Structure:

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Presenting all arguments (no rebuttals by pro)
Round 3: Refutation of opponent's arguments (no new arguments)
Round 4: Defending your original arguments and conclusion (no new arguments)

Sources:

[1]: http://www.investopedia.com...
[2]: http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3]: http://dictionary.reference.com...
zgb1997

Pro

I accept this challenge, and as the pro side, my task will be to prove that public labor unions are indeed beneficial to society and why.

I am looking forward to a good debate and impatiently await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 1
Ron-Paul

Con

I would like to thank zgb1997 for accepting this debate.

I. Economics

I.a. Unemployment

Labor unions are determinal for the economy. They increase overall unemployment and increase the prices of regular consumer products.

How do they increase overall unemployment? A business has revenues and costs. The business uses the revenue to pay off the cost, and the remaining money (if there is any) is profit. Unions forcibly raise wages for employees. This raises the amount of cost they pay, which reduces their profit, and a lot of times forces the company to endure a loss. If the business is incurring a loss, they are forced to either reduce costs or increase revenue. The only ways to reduce costs is to shrink the company, which will inevitably result in the loss of jobs, or to directly reduce the amount of employment, which of course raises unemployment. The only way to increase revenue is to increase the costs of products, which in the long run will not work as the demand curve will shift to the left, resulting in negligable increase in revenue.

Many studies confirm this correlation:

"By restricting the number of eligible workers in an industry, unions essentially decrease the labor supply, shifting the labor supply curve upward. As a result, the existence of unions increases the average wage above the level that would naturally occur in the market. Yet the intersection of the new labor supply and demand curves also occurs at a lower employment level. Thus, there is a higher level of unemployment, as essentially businesses can afford to hire fewer workers at the elevated wage."[11]

"It raises the wages of workers above the market clearing level and creates a situation in which there are more people who want to work at the wage than there are firms who want to hire at the wage. In this way, labor unions increase the wages and benefits of workers who are employed, but may simultaneously increase the number of workers who are unemployed."[1]

In the long term, unionized jobs disappear and unions need to replenish their membership by organizing new firms. Union jobs have disappeared especially quickly in industries where unions win the highest relative wages.[2] Widespread unionization reduces employment opportunities.[13]

Empirical evidence can back this up further:

Manufacturing jobs have fallen in both sectors since 2000, but non-union workers have fared much better: 38 percent of unionized manufacturing jobs have disappeared since 2000, compared to 18 percent of non-union jobs.[3][13]

Labor unions can also lower the amount of jobs by constricting the amount of development a company may achieve:

"It has been a well-established fact that unions reduce the numbers of employed workers by mandating wages that move in an ever increasing upward spiral. (The average union wage is 28% higher than a non-union wage). In such situations, cash for hiring new workers diminishes as does cash for R&D and capital improvements."[4]

Economic research demonstrates overwhelmingly that unionized firms invest less in both physical capital and intangible R&D than non-union firms do.[5] One study found that unions directly reduce capital investment by 6 percent and indirectly reduce capital investment through lower profits by another 7 percent. This same study also found that unions reduce R&D activity by 15 percent to 20 percent.[6] Other studies find that unions reduce R&D spending by even larger amounts.[7]

Research shows that unions directly cause firms to reduce their investments. In fact, investment drops sharply after unions organize a company. One study found that unionizing reduces capital investment by 30 percent--the same effect as a 33 percentage point increase in the corporate tax rate.[8][13]

I.ii. Inflation

Now of course, companies can raise prices, and of course, this affects consumers:

"Furthermore, those high union-mandated wages result in increased prices for manufactured goods. It has long been an established fact that as labor costs increase, demand for consumer goods diminishes and the pool of consumers shrinks."[4]

"...if unions successfully raise the price of labor, employers will purchase less of it. Thus, unions are a major anticompetitive force in labor markets. Their gains come at the expense of consumers, nonunion workers, the jobless, taxpayers, and owners of corporations."[9]

II. Working

Labor Unions encourage sloth because they discourage laying off and even firing. Why? Because they want to protect their members from unemployment. How does this encourage sloth? Becuase since they discoruage firing, then the things that companies fire employees for like sloth, can not be an excuse for firing. It takes many times doing the exact same bad thing and that thing has to be pretty bad for a unionized worker to be fired. So they tend to be less productive then non-unionized workers because they can get away with it.

"The reason companies like Wal-Mart don"t want unions isn"t because they"re anti-union, but labor unions promote laziness and apathy. Laziness and apathy cause businesses to go bankrupt."[10] If too many of these unionized workers are in the company, the company can not operate to market capacity and therefore go out of business. Another way Labor Unions increase unemployment.

III. Other Workers

Unionized workers forcibly increase wages for themselves, and the businesses have to lower their wages for non-unionized workers. Not to mention, they take away health benefits, vacation time, etc... for them too.

"Labor unions tend to be inclusive. Those who choose to join the union gain all the benefits, but it may be at the expense of those who aren't members. That can cause strife within a company where certain employees, based on their job duties, are offered membership, while other employees have to work in conditions not quite as favorable. Corporations find that having a labor union within the company is not cost effective. Other employee salaries are kept at minimum wage or there are no health benefits due to the high cost of employing labor union members."[12]

Labor unions hurt the economy and consumers while helping very few.

Sources:

[1]: http://www.sparknotes.com...
[2]: Bernt Bratsberg and James F. Ragan, Jr., "Changes in the Union Wage Premium by Industry," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 56, No. 1 (October 2002), pp. 65-83
[3]: Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson, "Union Membership and Coverage Database from the Current Population Survey," Industrial Labor Relations Review, Vol. 56, No. 2 (January 2003), pp. 349-354
[4]: http://stephencabotblog.com...
[5]: Robert Connolly, Barry T. Hirsch, and Mark Hirschey, "Union Rent Seeking, Intangible Capital, and Market Value of the Firm," Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 68, No. 4 (November 1986), pp. 567-577
[6]: Hirsch, Labor Unions and the Economic Performance of U.S. Firms.
[7]: Julian Betts, Cameron W. Odgers, and Michael K. Wilson, "The Effects of Unions on Research and Development: An Empirical Analysis Using Multi-Year Data," Canadian Journal of Economics, Vol. 34, No. 3 (August 2001), pp. 785-806.
[8]: Bruce C. Fallick and Kevin A. Hassett, "Investment and Union Certification," Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 17, No. 3 (July 1999), pp. 570-582.
[9]: http://www.econlib.org...
[10]: http://www.broowaha.com...
[11]: http://www.ehow.com...
[12]: http://www.corporatehx.com...
[13]: http://www.heritage.org...
zgb1997

Pro

I thank my opponent for presenting his arguments.
According to the rules, I shall now begin the presentation of my arguments.


My task shall be to prove why and how the influence of unions is good and beneficial to society.
Without further ado, I will begin with my analysis.


1. LABOUR EFFICIENCY

1.1. Workers' contentment

The heart of all labour and production are the workers. They work, produce and basically keep all production going. Of course, one of the most important goals of a state's economy is to achieve efficient labour so that more goods are produced; which in turn increases export rates, the quantity of goods on the market (and supply for the citizens). By extension, efficient labour strengthens the domestic market, forming a solid basis for a strong economy. It is obvious that efficient labour is extremely important and strived for.

The question is: how does one achieve efficient labour? The value of labour is equal to its efficiency, and its efficiency is equal to what is invested in said labour.
Just as one would invest capital in labour, one must also invest care. A happy worker is a productive worker; many employers have followed this maxim and it hasn't been proved wrong yet.

To achieve the happiness of workers, they must be given the opportunity and right to negotiate with their managers and employers on an equal level. Such an approach has more than one benefit, and those benefits are:

a) Reduced stress concerning potential wage-cuts and sackings
b) Ensured acceptable work conditions, ameliorating the work environment and increasing efficiency
c) A collective spirit amongst workers

Achieving those benefits is the task of labour unions; since workers cannot effectively make their demands and needs recongized except by force (history proves this very well), labour unions listen to the workers' demands and negotiate them as equals to the employer.

Such a need has been present ever since the rise of modern labour, to achieve solid conditions and prevent employers from creating a cheap workforce whose interests will not be cared for: "Industrialization in America brought conflict and stress between businesses and the labor force as mechanized production begin to replace household manufacturing. In the 19th century, an effort to count the balance of power more evenly, the labor force began to form Labor Unions that would help them to bargain for better rights." [1]

Workers that are not stressed out during work are more focused, that is undeniable, while labour unions also represent the workers as a whole, thus achieving a direct workers <-> employer contact and profiling the workers as equals to the manager/employer. In such a situation the workers think collectively, ponder their interests together and achieve cohesion; which is a crucial part of the creation of efficient labour. Such cohesion is only achieved by giving the workers voices, which has been very well recognized in modern society as well:

"It is about time that thinking people [in the UK] recognised that trade unions are a good thing, integral to democracy as representatives of working people who would otherwise be voiceless." [2]

As already said, happiness increases efficiency.
An unhappy labour force is not only inefficient, it also not cost-efficient - it results in employee disengagement. Such disengagement costs US companies 300 billion US dollars annually. [3] This evidence further backs up the link between happiness and efficiency.
Workers whose demands are not met in the name of saving money are less committed, and even less likely to come to work. It is obvious that workers who do not show up will are not saving any money.

All in all, a stable relationship between workers and employees is democratic and necessary for a healthy environment, and thus, must be assured. To assure it, one supervises it with labour unions.
Labour unions offer workers representation, increasing their happiness, which increases their efficiency; this has been backed up by evidence.


1.2. Working time (quantity of time spent on efficient labour)

Another factor of efficient labour is time spent. The more time spent working, the more work will be done; as simple as that.
A situation where workers cannot make their demands considered (and there is no ideal, utopian world where such events do not occur), forces the workers to abandon labour to strike, revolt or enact other measures; for even if their demands are considered, in most cases they will not be fully satisfied (the cause of most revolutions and revolts throughout history). Not only do such situations and events create disarray, they leave an empt space in time when no work is completed.

Labour unions, on the other hand, represent the workers simultaneously with work being completed, thus achieving effective represetation of the workers as well as fluid, efficient work.

It is thus proven that untreated unhappiness also costs time; another problem efficiently solved by labour unions.

Labour unions simply provide the shortest, best paved road to efficiency; the goal of all labour.


2. BENEFITS TO SOCIETAL VALUES AND ECONOMY

2.1. Societal values

In the constitutions of most countries it is written that each and every citizen must have an equal opportunity for fair labour.
This means that all must be offered the chance and right to a healthy work environment and that all workers should have this opportunity.

The only way to achieve this is through labour unions. Each sector of specialized workers has its own labour union, and that union protects their right to a healthy environment. Giving each class a representative protects equality of opportunity.
The second segment of these societal values is that the right to work is achieved (closely linked to 2.2.), increasing employment rates and giving workers the right, as is the basis of the current system, to offer their "commodity" (work) for an employer's money in a "fair trade".

Through protection of the basic rights concerning work and the workplace for all workers, labour unions promote positive social values, and thus are beneficial for society.


2.2. Economic benefits


Unions protect the rights of their workers, and also promote the efficiency of their workers. Not only through happiness and efficient time (1.1. and 1.2.), but also through direct influence on the economy.
Among other things, unions can [4]:

  • Increase the marginal productivity of their workers. This is often done through training.

  • Support restrictions on imported goods through quotas and tariffs. This increases demand for domestic production and, therefore, domestic labor.


By giving the workers a better environment, one achieves a better chance for workers to hone their skills in a certain job, thus, again, increasing their efficiency. In an environment with more available things to use, potential productivity is automatically increased.

As I've already stated, a strong domestic market is the basis for a solid economy. Unions protect the domestic market through lobbying for restrictions through quotas and tariffs, and thus make domestic products more profitable. The bigger the quantity of domestic products, the bigger the export rate and the lesser the need for imports; effectively reducing expenses and bringing capital from transactions abroad.

A society rests on a solid economy, and labour unions, as I've proven, support the economy.


To onclude, I offer two graphs showing the opinion of American citizens on labour unions [5].






Following all this, I state that it has been shown that labour unions are beneficial to society

Sources:

[1] http://www.helium.com...
[2] http://www.opendemocracy.net...
[3] http://www.thegrindstone.com...
[4] http://www.investopedia.com...
[5] http://www.gallup.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Ron-Paul

Con

I would like to thank zgb1997 for preseenting his arguments.

I. Labor Efficiency

I.i. Worker's Contentment

My opponent is basically trying to say that labor unions are beneficial because they gain collective bargaining rights to the individual worker, and that this makes them happier and more productive. However, this falls apart quickly.

One, labor unions are extremely undemocratic. In this startling statistic: "After all, less than 10 percent of America’s current union members have voted to have a union in their workplace—in many cases the union was already established and the worker had to join as a condition of employment."[1] If workers want to leave this environment: "Moreover, most union constitutions consider any attempt by a member to secede from the union—including on an individual basis—a punishable offense that can result in steep fines and even termination of employment."[1]

Therefore, unions are undemocratic and do not necessarily protect the wants of the worker.

Second, labor unions reward for membership, not hard work. Not only does this encourage sloth, but this also is unfair to all the hardworking workers out there.

Consequently, union contracts compress wages: They suppress the wages of more productive workers and raise the wages of the less competent. Unions redistribute wealth between workers. Everyone gets the same seniority-based raise regardless of how much or little he contributes, and this reduces wage inequality in unionized companies.[2] But this increased equality comes at a cost to employers. Often, the best workers will not work under union contracts that put a cap on their wages, so union firms have difficulty attracting and retaining top employees.[3][4]

Finally and most importantly, if unions put strains on workers, there is a more viable option for employers:

"Recently, Boeing was sued by the National Labor Relations Board because the company tried to move factories from the heavily unionized state of Washington to South Carolina, a right-to-work state.

In this economic environment, unions aren't protecting their workers against evil corporations. Instead, they are protecting them from the droves of unemployed citizens looking for work.

Boeing has no moral obligation to keep jobs in the U.S. If the government tries to restrict Boeing's flow of capital, Boeing can just as easily take the jobs to China. In a global economy, a state that allows powerful private-sector unions will lose jobs and experience slow economic growth."[5]

I already stated in Round 2 that labor unions cause unemployment, and I just reaffirmed that unions tend to be unfair in wage distribution. This certainly does not promote happiness among workers.

I.ii. Working Time

"...Labor unions promote laziness and apathy. Laziness and apathy cause businesses to go bankrupt."[6]

Labor unions tend to promote laziness (note I already explained why earlier), and wasted hours shouldn't count as worked hours:

"As a result of the high wage rates, employers can afford to hire fewer workers; as a result of curtailed production, employers need fewer workers. Thus, one group of workers obtains unjustifiably high wages at the expense of other workers who are unable to find jobs at all."[7] The same thing applies.

Unions also tend to increase the amount of strikes and lockdowns.[8] "Besides raising compensation costs, unions reduce government efficiency in other ways. Unions tend to protect poorly performing workers, they often push for larger staffing levels than required, and they discourage the use of volunteers in government activities. Further, they tend to resist the introduction of new technologies and they create a more rule-laden workplace.
In the private sector, businesses can mitigate such union-caused inefficiencies. Unfortunately, public-sector managers have little incentive or flexibility to make such changes.
A final type of inefficiency created by public-sector unions is the cost of strikes."[8] This is also a hinderance on total work time and especially on potential work time (i.e. time that could have been spent on business expansion and R&D that is now wasted).

I ask my opponent, is there any evidence to his claims?

II. Benefits to Societal Values and Economy

II.i. Societal Values

I have already countered most of this (especially the part about employment), but I will touch on my opponent's claims that unions give workers rights and protects them (note I have already countered some of this in I.i.).

"It was the economic self-interest of employers, that led them to raise wages and shorten working hours – not the pressure of labor unions. The eight-hour day was established in most American industries long before unions acquired any significant size or economic power."[7]

"The laissez-faire ideology and its offshoot, the "Industrial Revolution," blasted the ideological and institutional barriers to progress and welfare. They demolished the social order in which a constantly increasing number of people were doomed to abject need and destitution."[9]

It has not really been the unions that have helped workers' plights. Capitalism has given the workers the rights they deserve.

Also, "As a result of allegedly “pro-labor” legislation and of the monopolistic power that labor unions enjoy, unemployed workers are not free to compete in the labor market by offering their services for less than the prevailing wage rates; employers are not free to hire them. In the case of strikes, if unemployed workers attempted to obtain the jobs vacated by union strikers, by offering to work for a lower wage, they often would be subjected to threats and physical violence at the hands of union members. These facts are as notorious as they are evaded in most current discussions of the unemployment problem – particularly by government officials."[7]

II.ii. Economic Benefits

On marginal productivity: "Further ambiguity is occasioned by Allen's (1984a) finding that absenteeism is at least
30% higher among union worker."[10] "As a consequence, productivity growth tends to be slower in unionized firms and industries. Increased management opposition to unions, and declining union coverage and employment within most sectors of the U.S. economy, appear to be predictable responses to the relatively poor performance of highly unionized companies during the 1970s."[10] Unions lower productivity.

On tariffs: "...the underlying truth about protectionist tariffs is that they aid domestic producers who've failed to meet the needs of domestic consumers."[11] Tariffs are bad, so the fact that unions are encouraging them is bad in itself.

Finally, my opponent brings up two graphs that show the "popularity" of labor unions. Not only does my opponent commit an Ad Populum fallacy, it's also wrong; it's old.

Look at this graph:



[12]

This newer graph shows 20% declines in union approval. Therefore, the public seems to be split on them.

Sources:

[1]: http://www.forbes.com...
[2]: Freeman, "Union Wage Practices and Wage Dispersion Within Establishments"
[3]: David Card, "The Effect of Unions on the Structure of Wages: A Longitudinal Analysis," Econometrica, Vol. 64, No. 4 (July 1996), pp. 957-979
[4]: http://www.heritage.org...
[5]: http://www.alligator.org...
[6]: http://www.broowaha.com...
[7]: http://www.nathanielbranden.com...
[8]: http://www.cato.org...
[9]: http://mises.org...
[10]: Addison, John T. Hirsch, Barry T., "Union Effects on Productivity, Profits, and Growth - Has the Long Run Arrived?"
[11]: http://www.forbes.com...
[12]: http://www.gallup.com...
zgb1997

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response. I shall now attempt, as demanded by the rules, to offer my rebuttal to his original arguments.
A point-by-point analysis of my opponent's round 2 shall thus be offered.

I. Economics

I.a. Unemployment

In this argument my opponent attempts to explain how labour unions increase unemployment.
My opponent first says that unions forcibly raise wages for employees, which supposedly causes losses for the company and forces it to raise prices.
The problem is that my opponent failed to look outside the pure capitalistic sphere of labour; yes, in theory my opponent may be right, but in reality, the wages offered to the workers are a repayment for their labour, proportional to its quality. The greater the quality of labour, the greater the wage demanded - that is true. However, the greater the quality of labour, the greater the effectivity and productivity.
As for the reduction of the amount of employment, unions themselves fight against it; and there is no reason to change the quantity of workers if it is productive, which I have now, and in round , proven to be true. My opponent's logic falls apart the moment it leaves the sphere of profit, because he fails to consider the human factor.

Despite a large body of positive psychological research into the relationship between happiness and productivity, happiness at work has traditionally been seen as a potential by-product of positive outcomes at work, rather than a pathway to success in business. However a growing number of scholars, Boehm and Lyubomirsky included, state that it should be viewed as one of the major sources of positive outcomes in the workplace. [1].

My opponent then claims that unions reduce labour supply, but they do exactly the opposite. They motivate workers to work through the offering of solid work conditions. If cooperated with properly, unions can definitely increase labour supply. What my opponent is trying to say is that there will be more workers demanding a certain wage than employers offering it. However, employers are aware that costs can be repayed through productive work and they are aware that productive work is achieved through happiness.

He then again talks about limiting development through enforcing higher wages, to which I've already offered my rebuttal.


I.ii Inflation


My opponent uses a possible inflation of prices as his next argument. It is true that unions might cause prices to rise, there is no denying that. But, as I've said in round 2, labour unions strengthen the domestic market, making it the only true source of goods (eliminating or restricting imports). Thus, the spending in the domestic market increases, because the citizens must buy goods somewhere; increasing the capital in the domestic market and forming the basis r a strong economy.
I thus argue that a certain rise in prices may not be negative as my opponent suggests.

As for the claim about the price of labour, I have alreay explained that the price of labour is proportional to its quality.


II. Working



My oponent claims unions increase sloth because they protect their employees' jobs and discourage firing. On the other hand, however, it has already been pointed out in round 2 that unhappy workers are lazy workers; they have no motivation for work and they are certainly not productive. Sloth is encouraged by employee disengagement, which is caused by unhappiness. Unions serve to combat that.

Yes, perhaps unionized workers are more protected. But, if they are motivated to work and aware that they will be offered good conditions and a fair reward for their labour, I see no problem in that. One must always look to achiev productivity, and I have proven how unions succeed at doing just that.


III. Other Workers

My opponent's final argument is based on how unionized workers increae wages for themselves etc. That is most logical; who else would they increase wages for? There is no discrimination or inequality between workers. Workers have the choice to join a union or not to; no one is forcing them to do anything. Workers that join a union will push for an improvement to their conditions. This is all about choice and I do not see the relevance in this argument.



Back to my opponent.

Sources:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...



Debate Round No. 3
Ron-Paul

Con

I would like to thank zgb1997 for this debate.

I. Economics

I.a. Unemployment

I will first attack again my opponent's premise that unions increase productivity. "It is only by imposing restrictions on the economy which reduce productivity that a union can provide an economic benefit to its members. In a free and open labor market a worker will be able to receive a wage that reflects his productivity and which is no higher than what comparably skilled workers are receiving elsewhere in the economy... And it is productivity that has increased over time in response to the incentives and direction provided by competitive markets that, at least until recently, made U. S. workers the best paid in the world."[1]

How will they work harder if they are paid more and don't have a chance of getting fired? If you didn't have a chance at getting fired, no matter how little work you did, would you do less or more work? Simple. Less work. Why? Because you can get away with it. People like doing as little work they can. And labor unions encourage this by preventing firing.

"The reason companies like Wal-Mart don’t want unions isn’t because they’re anti-union, but labor unions promote laziness and apathy. Laziness and apathy cause businesses to go bankrupt."[2] If too many of these unionized workers are in the company, the company can not operate to market capacity and therefore go out of business. Another way Labor Unions increase unemployment.

Now on to my opponent's latter premise that labor unions don't reduce the labor supply. Take a look at it from this graph:

Labor unions decrease the quantity of labor in the workforce.

[3]

Think at it this way: "Unions are labor cartels. Cartels work by restricting the supply of what they produce so that consumers will have to pay higher prices for it. OPEC, the best-known cartel, attempts to raise the price of oil by cutting oil production. As labor cartels, unions attempt to monopolize the labor supplied to a company or an industry in order to force employers to pay higher wages. In this respect, they function like any other cartel and have the same effects on the economy. Cartels benefit their members in the short run and harm the overall economy."[4][5]

Finally, my opponent doubts the mountain of empirical evidence I have to support my claims. I will pull out a few more to close my point here.

"This pattern holds across many industries: Between new companies starting up and existing companies expanding, non-union jobs grow by roughly 3 percent each year, while 3 percent of union jobs disappear. In the long term, unionized jobs disappear and unions need to replenish their membership by organizing new firms. Union jobs have disappeared especially quickly in industries where unions win the highest relative wages. Widespread unionization reduces employment opportunities."[5][6][7][14]

"Unionized manufacturing jobs fell by 75 percent between 1977 and 2008. Non-union manufacturing employment increased by 6 percent over that time."[8]

This chart will solidify my point:



[8]

Labor unions do increase unemployment.

I.b. Inflation

This explains the process pretty well: "If unions succeed in wage hikes, and employers raise the prices they charge consumers to maintain their own profit margins, and the supply of money remains the same, then something else has to "give." Either the prices of goods and services in nonunion sectors have to fall and offset the union sector hikes, or people's cash balances need to fall, in terms of their purchasing power."[9]

"When market conditions are such that producers whose labor costs have risen cannot raise the prices of the goods they sell, a curtailment of production results, as indicated above; and the general population accordingly suffers a loss of potential goods and services."[12]

In fact, labor unions tend to work as monopolies [10] and this obviously increases the prices of goods.

Unfortunately, there isn't much direct statistical evidence of this, but the correlation can be easily seen. And like I said earlier, tariffs are bad.

II. Working

"Workers can't advance much or at all on their merits, but must generally progress within the limits defined by union contracts. Employers may have trouble weeding out ineffective employees if they belong to unions. In theory, at least, unionized workers might become so comfortable and protected that they lose the incentive to work hard for their employer..

Even in some cases outstanding workers are pressured by the union to not go the extra mile...So here you can thank the unions for poor production on the employees part, and jobs that have moved over seas, where it is more affordable to get products made..."[11] Unions do encourage sloth.

III. Other Workers

I'll repeat this again: "The average union wage is 28% higher than a non-union wage"[13] Higher wages for unionized workers. Higher wages for workers who do the exact same thing as other workers, but those other workers don't get higher wages is unfair. And plus, since non-unionized workers work harder than unionized workers (since, as I proved earlier, unionized workers can get away with not working while non-unionized workers can't), it is even more unfair the unionized, less hard working employees make more money than the non-unionzed, more hard working employees. Dosen't that sound unfair to you? And plus, when the company has to lay off workers due to the effects of the labor union, they have to lay off the non-unionized workers first, since the unionized workers are protected by the labor union. The only time a unionized worker can lose his job is when the company goes out of business. Dosen't the non-unionized workers being laid off first, even though they are the harder working workers, seem unfair to you too? And don't tell me that they deserve it because they did not join the union. They choose not to join the union because they don't want the company they are working for to be forced to shut down and they don't want to lose their job.

Labor unions are determinal to soceity and should be eliminated.

Sources:

[1]: http://www.fee.org...
[2]: http://www.broowaha.com...
[3]: http://mises.org...
[4]: George Borjas, Labor Economics, 3rd edition (Columbus, Ohio: McGraw-Hill, 2005).
[5]: http://www.heritage.org...
[6]: Henry Farber and Bruce Western, "Accounting for the Decline of Unions in the Private Sector, 1973-1998," Journal of Labor Research, Vol. 22, No. 2 (September 2001), pp. 459-485.
[7]: Bernt Bratsberg and James F. Ragan, Jr., "Changes in the Union Wage Premium by Industry," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 56, No. 1 (October 2002), pp. 65-83
[8]: http://freemarketmojo.wordpress.com...
[9]: http://mises.org...
[10]: http://www.forbes.com...
[11]: http://www.sodahead.com...;
[12]: http://www.nathanielbranden.com...
[13]: http://stephencabotblog.com...
[14]: Peter D. Linneman, Michael L. Wachter, and William H. Carter, "Evaluating the Evidence on Union Employment and Wages,"Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 44, No. 1 (October 1990), pp. 34-53.
zgb1997

Pro

I thank my opponent for this debate.
In this final round, I will attempt to offer a defense concerning my original arguments

1. LABOUR EFFICIENCY

1.1. Workers' contentment

My opponent attack my point about productivity as a result of collective bargaining rights by saying unions are undemocratic. He says union membership can sometimes be a condition for employment, but I do not see how that is undemocratic. It is just the same as any condition; except this one actually offers benefits to the employee as well as the employer. As for unions who consider termination of membership secession, I do not see how unions can fire a worker since they have no direct jurisdiction over employment.

Then, he says unions reward for membership, which is correct, but not in the way he understands it. If one is the member of a union, he reaps the reward of having a powerful, fair negotiator on his side. I do not see how this promotes sloth (as said in round 3), or this is unfair, since everyone has a chance to join a union.

My opponent then argues that unions compress wages. I must point out it seems my opponent thinks unions are all-powerful. It must be said that unions have an indirect, negotiating influence and all "union contracts" are a result of a negotiation process between the union and employer. No union can enforce anything without holding talks with the workers and employer.

He then repeats his argument about unemployment, but as I've already pointed out, unions do not increase unemployment; they simply improve conditions for the currently employed.

1.2. Working time

My opponent repeats his argument about sloth, and I see no need to repeat what I've said.
I will only point out that it is logical that a negotiating process involving a certain plan will last less that one that is unorganized, without a strong negotiator, and as such decrease productivity and working time.
Then we hear the point about how unions resist new technology, which is illogical - since the strive to improve the workplace, they will most definitely accept new technology.

My opponent then asks me if I have any evidence, to which I reply that I already offered a source proving this in round 2.

2. BENEFITS TO SOCIETAL VALUES AND ECONOMY

2.1. Societal values

My opponent bases his rebuttal on the point that capitalism has given workers the rights they deserve. I must then ask why is it that capitalism brought on both of the greates economical crises, why is it that capitalism is causing the world's economy to fall apart, and unemployment rates to skyrocket?
Unions are necessary to stop corporate capitalism from, as Ambrose Bierce said "achieving individual profit without individual responsibility" [1] , to give the workers rights as opposed to the employers and protect class equality; which is definitely a value we should strive to achieve.

My opponent then goes as far to point out unions will stop unemployed workers from getting jobs through violence, while he has no evidence for his claims. One cannot simply throw such accusations around without proof. Unemployed workers, if not members of a union, cffer their services for whatever amount of money they wish. Unless my opponent can prove that unions control any and all spheres of the labour market, his rebuttal is completely illogical.

2.2. Economic benefits

The point about absenteeism is directly countered by the evidence I've already offered through this debate.
As for tariffs, they protect domestic producers as a whole, creating competition between different producers on the domestic market. Competition forces producers to improve the quality of their goods, improving the domestic market, and forming a strong domestic base [2].
Without a strong domestic market, one must resort to large amounts of imports and can easily fall into foreign debt. Thus, I've proven tariffs are good for the market.

Finally, my opponent attacks the graph I've offered as being old, which may be true and in that case I apologize, but the graph my opponent offers still shows that more people approve of unions than dissaprove. And, if my opponent claims this is an ad populum fallacy, then why does he offer the percentage of workers that voted to have a union in their workplace (round 3)? Is that not also an ad populum fallacy?


After all this, I believe it has been proven that labour unions are beneficial to society.
I once again thank my opponent for the debate.

Sources:
[1] http://www.brainyquote.com...
[2] http://www.apo-tokyo.org...
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
Sources:

[1]: Freeman and Kleiner, "The Impact of New Unionization on Wages and Working Conditions"; Lalonde, Marschke, and Troske, "Using Longitudinal Data on Establishments to Analyze the Effects of Union Organizing Campaigns in the United States."
[2]: DiNardo and Lee, "Economic Impacts of New Unionization on Private Sector Employers: 1984"2001."
[3]: Robert Krol and Shirley Svorny, "Unions and Employment Growth: Evidence from State Economic Recoveries," Journal of Labor Research, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Summer 2007), pp. 525"535.
[4]: Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian, "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 112, No. 4 (August 2004), pp. 779"816.
[5]: http://www.heritage.org...
[6]: http://www.marketplace.org...
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
On GM:

GM is in deep trouble mostly because the United Auto Workers have festooned the company with rigid work rules and extravagant costs. The 2007 collective-bargaining agreement, for example, required the automaker to pay up to $140,000 in severance to a worker whose position was eliminated. And that is nothing compared to the enormous health-care costs these companies are laden with. The average cost of employing a worker at the Big Three, including benefits, was nearly twice that of Japanese automakers. No wonder the automakers are hemorrhaging cash.

A bankruptcy judge would bring some reason to labor costs and create a GM that could emerge stronger. But the unions have a better idea. They plan to use taxpayer money to fund their juicy compensation. And they know they can count on Obama and the Democrats to help them. All told, organized labor contributed over $74 million in the 2008 campaign cycle, 92 percent of that went to Democrats.

History will tell a simple story about GM: Union bosses successfully negotiated sweetheart packages that destroyed GM's competitiveness. If Obama was serious about creating an enterprise that can thrive in the future, he would have demanded that the union bosses resign along with Wagoner. Instead, it's payback time.[6]

I agree Wagoner was pretty bad, but unions put a significant contribution to the table. GM would not be in near all the trouble they are in now if they were even the least bit unionized. And, GM will become more competitive as unions lose their monopoly status there.
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
Continued:

Labor cartels attempt to reduce the number of jobs in an industry in order to raise the wages of their members. Unions cut into corporate profitability, also reducing business invest- ment and employment over the long term.

These effects do not help the job market during normal economic circumstances, and they cause particular harm during recessions. Economists have found that unions delay economic recoveries. States with more union members took considerably longer than those with fewer union members to recover from the 1982 and 1991 recessions.[3]

Policies designed to expand union membership whether workers want it or not"such as the mis- named Employee Free Choice Act"will delay the recovery. Economic research has demonstrated that policies adopted to encourage union membership in the 1930s deepened and prolonged the Great Depression. President Franklin Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act. He also permitted industries to collude to reduce output and raise prices"but only if the companies in that industry unionized and paid above-market wages.

This policy of cartelizing both labor and busi- nesses caused over half of the economic losses that occurred in the 1930s.[4] Encouraging labor cartels will also lengthen the current recession.[5]
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
@Elder:

This is unions' contribution to the economy:

The balance of eco-nomic research shows that unions do not just happen to organize firms with more layoffs and less job growth: They cause job losses. Most stud-ies find that jobs drop at newly organized compa-nies, with employment falling between 5 percent and 10 percent.[1]

One prominent study comparing workers who voted narrowly for unionizing with those who voted narrowly against unionizing came to the opposite conclusion, finding that newly organized compa-nies were no more likely to shed jobs or go out of business.[2] That study, however"prominently cited by labor advocates"essentially found that unions have no effect on the workplace. Jobs did not disap- pear, but wages did not rise either. Unless the labor movement wants to concede that unions do not raise wages, it cannot use this research to argue that unions do not cost jobs.
Posted by TheElderScroll 4 years ago
TheElderScroll
Sorry about the double post. I cannot believe it happens again.
I attempted to refresh my browser (Chrome) after I received the 505 warning message.
And my message got double posted...
Posted by TheElderScroll 4 years ago
TheElderScroll
In my previous post, I also suggested that you did not properly mention the nature of unions (labor-intense industry) and the issue of mismanagement in your arguments. It was a response to your point "I.a Unemployment" in your opening statements and your chart (Private-Sector Employment Growth) in R4. For example, many "Very Low Union-Monopoly" states are also the home to many high-technology companies/finical firms and the nature of business determines that they tend to outgrow many labor-intense industry. I was not entirely convinced by your statements mainly due to the fact that you did not include/exclude alternative explanations. Moreover, Pro"s counter-arguments (happiness & productivity) offered some compelling reasons for me to believe that Unions are not evil. In weighting all the arguments, I eventually decided to vote for Pro.

In essence, I feel that it is inappropriate to blame Unions for everything and Unions may make a sizable contribution to the economy by protecting the workers from being abused/exploited by their employers (allude to the word "beneficial").

As for GM. The bankruptcy of GM is the result of both UAW refusal and mismanagement of the companies.

Wiki: George Richard "Rick" Wagoner, Jr. (born February 9, 1953) is an American businessman and former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors. Wagoner resigned as Chairman and CEO at General Motors on March 29, 2009, at the request of the White House. The latter part of Wagoner's tenure as CEO of General Motors found you under heavy criticism as the market valuation of GM went down by more than 90% and the company lost more than $82 billion USD. This led to his being named one of the worst CEOs of 2008.

Therefore, even without the Unions, it is hard to believe that GM would flourish under George Richard"s leadership. The failure could be a vindication of his incompetency.

Please let me know what you think.
Posted by TheElderScroll 4 years ago
TheElderScroll
@Ron-Paul
Don"t worry. It also offers me an opportunity to further explain my positions.
I vote for Pro in this debate primarily because "one thing that eventually prompts me to vote for Pro is that I have yet seen Con offer compelling evidence to support the notion that unions would bankrupt companies." You suggested that since you did not explicitly mention bankruptcy issue in the debate, it would deem to be unfair to judge you on the point you did not include. I would partially agree with you and partially disagree with you. First, let me explain why I employed the word "bankruptcy" in my original statement.

Why did I use word "bankruptcy."
Although you did not explicitly mention bankruptcy issue, you did allude to it. You suggested that the unions for increasing unemployment rate and prices of regular consumer produces ("They increase overall unemployment and increase the prices of regular consumer products). You also suggested that labor unions encourage sloth. Last but not least, you suggested that unionized workers forcibly increase wages for themselves. All contentions invariably conveyed an impression that the Unions should bear ALL the responsibilities for the dismay experienced by the companies, and people should blame the Unions for the companies" failures. Therefore it was not unreasonable for me to assume that you would suggest that all the failures (perhaps bankruptcy as well) would be the direct results of Unions" activities, even if you did not explicitly state it in your arguments. That would be the main reason for me to employ the word "bankruptcy" in my statement. After reading your" comment, however, I am feeling that word "bankruptcy" may not properly capture the essence of your arguments, therefore I am willing to substitute word "bankruptcy" with other words such as "failures" or "dismay", but the replacement will not alter the rationale behind my vote.
Posted by TheElderScroll 4 years ago
TheElderScroll
@Ron-Paul
Don"t worry. It also offers me an opportunity to further explain my positions.
I vote for Pro in this debate primarily because "one thing that eventually prompts me to vote for Pro is that I have yet seen Con offer compelling evidence to support the notion that unions would bankrupt companies." You suggested that since you did not explicitly mention bankruptcy issue in the debate, it would deem to be unfair to judge you on the point you did not include. I would partially agree with you and partially disagree with you. First, let me explain why I employed the word "bankruptcy" in my original statement.

Why did I use word "bankruptcy."
Although you did not explicitly mention bankruptcy issue, you did allude to it. You suggested that the unions for increasing unemployment rate and prices of regular consumer produces ("They increase overall unemployment and increase the prices of regular consumer products). You also suggested that labor unions encourage sloth. Last but not least, you suggested that unionized workers forcibly increase wages for themselves. All contentions invariably conveyed an impression that the Unions should bear ALL the responsibilities for the dismay experienced by the companies, and people should blame the Unions for the companies" failures. Therefore it was not unreasonable for me to assume that you would suggest that all the failures (perhaps bankruptcy as well) would be the direct results of Unions" activities, even if you did not explicitly state it in your arguments. That would be the main reason for me to employ the word "bankruptcy" in my statement. After reading your" comment, however, I am feeling that word "bankruptcy" may not properly capture the essence of your arguments, therefore I am willing to substitute word "bankruptcy" with other words such as "failures" or "dismay", but the replacement will not alter the rationale behind my vote.
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
Sources:

[1]: Timothy Dunne and David MacPherson, "Unionism and Gross Employment Flows," Southern Economic Journal, Vol. 60, No. 3 (January 1994), pp. 727"738; Richard B. Freeman and Morris M. Kleiner, "Do Unions Make Enterprises Insolvent?" Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 52, No. 4 (July 1999), pp. 510"527.
[2]: Dunne and MacPherson, "Unionism and Gross Employment Flows."
[3]: David G. Blanchflower, Neil Millward, and Andrew J. Oswald, "Unionization and Employment Behavior," Economic Journal, Vol. 101, No. 407 (July 1991), pp. 815"834; Jonathan S. Leonard, "Unions and Employment Growth," Industrial Relations, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Winter 1992), pp. 80"94; Richard J. Long, "The Effect of Unionization on Employment Growth of Canadian Companies," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 46, No. 4 (July 1993), pp. 691"703.
[4]: James L. Medoff, "Layoffs and Alternatives Under Trade Unions in U.S. Manufacturing" The American Economic Review, Vol. 69, No. 3 (June 1979), pp. 380"395.
[5]: http://www.heritage.org...
Posted by Ron-Paul 4 years ago
Ron-Paul
@TheElderScroll II:

First, sorry about the double post. Second, I want to cover your argument about the auto industry:

Consider General Motors. GM shed tens of thou- sands of jobs over the past decade, but the UAW steadfastly refused to any concessions that would have improved GM"s competitive standing. Only in 2007"with the company on the brink of bank- ruptcy"did the UAW agree to lower wages, and then only for new hires. The UAW accepted steep job losses as the price of keeping wages high for senior members. If GM does file for bankruptcy, it will likely emerge as a smaller but more competitive firm. It will still exist and employ union members"but tens of thousands of UAW members have lost their jobs.[5]

Finally, even if all the evidence I provided wasn't true, the point wasn't covered in the debate, so voting shouldn't be judged by it anyway.

Also, I adequately proved that unions increase unemployment and slow economic growth.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 4 years ago
iamnotwhoiam
Ron-Paulzgb1997Tied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:20 
Reasons for voting decision: Con backed up his points with more evidence, but Pro's point about contentment of the workers is hard to refute.
Vote Placed by TheElderScroll 4 years ago
TheElderScroll
Ron-Paulzgb1997Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: An interesting debate. My vote goes to Pro. Please refer to "Comments" for details.