‘Your Turn’: United Auto Workers Launches Campaign to Unionize Tesla::After the UAW won contracts with the Big Three, it’s seeking to unionize 150,000 workers across a dozen companies including Tesla.

  • @specseaweed
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    1523 months ago

    This is a very exciting time. I’ve been a union guy for 25 years and I will go to my grave not understanding the fierce resistance to unions by my X gen and the boomers. When they would say unions were bad, I’d say let’s make ours amazing and… they just refused.

    I never thought I would see the resurgence of American labor unions. This is an absolute joy to see.

    • @RedditReject
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      583 months ago

      Depending on where you lived you were plied with anti-union rhetoric. I remember back in the '80s and working at a department store and they had us watch “training” videos about how we were a big family and how unions broke up that family and made us adversaries. I thought it was a bunch of bull, but I’m sure there were plenty of folks that bought into it.

      • @[email protected]
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        243 months ago

        I think the most common explanation for anti union sentiment is this:

        Most of the time, our justifications for doing anything are post-hoc: we decide based on gut reasoning, then invent a justification after we’ve already made up our minds in order to convince ourselves that we’re creatures of logic.

        When companies show those videos, it does two things: it intimidates, and it provides ready-made arguments for post-hoc justification.

        They intimidate workers from organizing, but no one’s ego can accept that. If someone says “let’s unionize”, most people think (subconsciously) ‘Fuck!!! That’s scary! We’re not strong enough, and I’m gonna get totally beaten down if I stick my neck out!!’

        And then their brain does it’s thing and translates that into justifications, and when it needs words to form justifications, it draws then from the handy dandy premade justifications they were given during their intimation session. It’s like, ‘You’re a bug, and if you fight us we’ll step on you! Now here’s a balm to soothe this massive wound to your pride. You’re welcome. Now get back to work.’

        • @[email protected]
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          123 months ago

          Most of the time, our justifications for doing anything are post-hoc: we decide based on gut reasoning, then invent a justification after we’ve already made up our minds in order to convince ourselves that we’re creatures of logic.

          Woah, are you telling me that people are not rational thinking creatures instead act purely on emotion. Cause I fully support that statement.

          We have stop using the “reasonable, rational thinking” person as a standard. If people were truly that, there would be a lot less people in debt, more people taking care of their health before problems arose, and less bullshit overall.

        • @RedditReject
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          73 months ago

          True. I remember thinking it was a load of crap, but it certainly got the message across that I’d be alone and out of a job if I tried to form a union.

          And I also remember lessons in class where the textbook weren’t l went into great detail about the corruption and mob ties of some unions, but very little about anything positive. There has definitely been an effort on the part of powerful folks to denigrate unions.

          I remember reading The Jungle in college and getting a much different perspective of labor laws and union value

      • @banneryear1868
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        3 months ago

        They don’t understand or see themselves as workers because of things like this, they see themselves as individuals who will succeed if they just try their best and be their most “authentic” selves or whatever BS they use. Most important message they try to send is your position in the economic system is about you as an individual and not because of your class or relation to capital.

    • @Buddahriffic
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      273 months ago

      I’ve been in one union and it was a corrupt joke. That said, it was still the best unskilled job I’ve had by a large margin.

      • @[email protected]
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        263 months ago

        I’ve been in two, and both of them were this way. Tossed most of us under the bus to protect a small group of older employees. We definitely need more unionization, but we also need to weed out the unions that are counterproductive.

          • @[email protected]
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            93 months ago

            Public employee unions are a bit different though because unlike labor unions there is a third interested party in addition to management and labor, namely the public.

        • @specseaweed
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          173 months ago

          My first union had that reputation. I became a steward and was known as a reformer. Honestly, they weren’t particularly corrupt or self dealing, they were just really bad at messaging for the employees. Over time, it just became “common knowledge” that the leadership was secretive and self dealing.

          I don’t mean that to say that yours wasn’t self dealing. Those existed and continue to exist. But I have also never been in a union where the labor body was involved and took it seriously and also had those kinds of problems. If there’s one takeaway I learned from unions, it’s that we get the union we deserve. When we’re in it and active as a body, those were always the best unions. When we have an apathetic labor body, we have an apathetic union.

          There will always be factions like every other human activity. People will often be tribal to the detriment of the whole. But at the same time, in my experience, those most against “unions” were almost always the people least involved or not involved at all.

    • @[email protected]
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      163 months ago

      McCarthyism and the decades of fear mongering and misinformation about communism and red scare tricked generations of Americans into thinking that the most patriotic thing you could do is die in your work boots for minimum wage.

    • partial_accumen
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      43 months ago

      I’ve been a union guy for 25 years and I will go to my grave not understanding the fierce resistance to unions by my X gen and the boomers.

      Certain specific professions like IT, and its mercenary culture, don’t fit well with the collective bargaining model. For many other professions/careers, a union can be a great tool for workers.

      • @[email protected]
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        273 months ago

        By “IT” do you mean tech? Because as a software engineer, I’ve seen turnover rates of 1-2 years for some of my favorite people I’ve worked with. If they actually had bargaining power, we know via studies done on unions and turnover rates that these engineers likely wouldn’t dip as quickly and take institutional knowledge and their smart brains with them. Tech is so allergic to unions that it is literally inflicting damage onto itself - managers will tell you how expensive it is to hire new people because it takes months for them to catch up to your codebase, but the higher-up leadership is completely unwilling to listen to the data on how to actually retain people. They don’t care if unions increase productivity or that the elasticity between productivity and salary is >1.0 as the unionisation rate grows (per studies done in Norway), because they don’t want to lose their complete control over companies to collective bargaining.

        • partial_accumen
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          -63 months ago

          You’re making good arguments why a company employing IT staff (software devs, engineers, architects), but where is the argument to the benefit of the worker themselves in this case?

          I’ve seen turnover rates of 1-2 years for some of my favorite people I’ve worked with.

          This is a benefit to the worker. They’re leaving because they got a better paying gig or less work/fewer hours for the same amount of money.

          • @[email protected]
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            3 months ago

            This is a benefit to the worker. They’re leaving because they got a better paying gig or less work/fewer hours for the same amount of money.

            Yes, because there’s no union there to bargain for better pay, bonuses, more time off work, and so forth. Tech is a new industry where workers have more bargaining power on an individual level because expertise is so sought after. Now imagine combining that with unions and we’d probably all be doing 4 day work weeks already, like unions are currently bargaining for in various countries. We’d likely also have more time for tech debt, as unions increase certain types of innovation.

            Like, if unions can do this for McDonalds workers after a sympathy strike in Nordic countries:

            Every few months, a prominent person or publication points out that McDonalds workers in Denmark receive $22 per hour, 6 weeks of vacation, and sick pay. This compensation comes on top of the general slate of social benefits in Denmark, which includes child allowances, health care, child care, paid leave, retirement, and education through college, among other things.

            Why would we assume tech workers in a very profitable industry wouldn’t be able to get away with even more?

            • partial_accumen
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              03 months ago

              Yes, because there’s no union there to bargain for better pay, bonuses, more time off work, and so forth. Tech is a new industry where workers have more bargaining power on an individual level because expertise is so sought after.

              We’re in agreement. The individual has all the power to bargain for themselves better pay, bonuses, more time off work, and so forth. A union in this case not only adds no value, but subtracts value because it dilutes the benefits across more people. There is certainly a good chunk of dead weight in IT, those that let their skills stagnate or don’t put in effort to the team. I’ve worked with a number of them. At one point I’ve personally been one of them before I understood it. Much of the individual bargaining means gaining resources that, if spread evenly, would go to some of that dead weight. Keep in mind, even dead weight in IT pays pretty decently. Those folks aren’t going hungry. In some ways its one of the few partial meritocracies left, though merit here is not only technical skills but soft people skills combined.

              We’d likely also have more time for tech debt, as unions increase certain types of innovation.

              Again, this is mostly an organizational benefit, not an employee one. If the employer doesn’t heed the warnings of the employees that tech debt is increasing and becoming a business risk to the organization, the employee doesn’t have to fall on their sword to try to save the employer in spite of themselves. The employee jumps to another employer which pays more (or requires less hours). The new employer may have equally or possibly even more tech debt. So the situation for the work is unchanged but the employee’s salary and benefits are increased. This is the mercenary culture of IT I was referring to.

              Why would we assume tech workers in a very profitable industry wouldn’t be able to get away with even more?

              Because those at the far end of skilled are getting less to level out those that are less skilled or less committed. Ultimately it IS a zero sum game.

              Keep in mind, many IT skills can be very “flash in the pan” or trendy. One year you’re in extremely high demand able to demand top dollar, and others your skills are out of market favor and saturated with IT workers with the same skills that aren’t in demand and what you can earn with what you know is drastically reduced. It requires the constant prognostication of what going to be in demand next, and the effort to learn those skills to be skilled up if those skills go up in value for a time. Its a huge gamble. You bet right sometimes can demand a kings ransom for more hours than you can bill. Other years you bet on the wrong skills and have learned something nearly worthless or so short lived it wasn’t worth the effort.

              Savvy IT people (and other industries that work the same) understand this cyclical nature and save during the fat years to be able to live okay during the lean years.

              • @[email protected]
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                03 months ago

                Couldn’t agree more as a software engineer who recently switched jobs. Unions are fucking amazing in most industries, but I can’t help but feel it would hurt workers more than it would benefit us in tech. You could guarantee 5% a year raises indefinitely and it still wouldn’t be enough. Even at companies where you consistently get 10% raises per year + bonus you can just jump and hit 20%+.

                Software engineers can also have insane risk tolerance career-wise because we make enough money to build massive emergency funds and investment portfolios to fall back on if things go south. This is all without considering that sometimes you just don’t vibe with a team, or you stop learning and want to go elsewhere to expand your skill set. Under a union, which usually awards people based on tenure, you’d be punished for making these sorts of moves despite them making you a better software engineer.

                • @banneryear1868
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                  3 months ago

                  I’m a unionized tech worker going on 15 years and many of my close friends from college have similar career paths minus the unionized position. There are a couple who are now in senior leadership management level and make more, but those wouldn’t be unionized positions anyway. Everything considered I make more and have better benefits and conditions as a result of collective bargaining, and all the downsides people bring up I’ve likely had personal experience with, but when I talk about these things with my private-employer friends it usually leads to, “if you think that’s bad…” Like I’ve seen ineffective people be fired and all that. I’ve moved around a bit, had promotions to different salary bands, all within the union.

                  Overall I think given the amount of capital thrown in to tech industry vs how people work and are compensated, it’s one of the fertile grounds for organization and worker actions. Especially when it comes to outsourcing work to countries where workers can be more easily exploited because the labor laws are so much worse.

          • @demonsword
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            23 months ago

            They’re leaving because they got a better paying gig or less work/fewer hours for the same amount of money

            nah they’re just part of the last layoff

            • Dave
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              23 months ago

              This. I’m a computer programmer, never been in a union, but after twenty years of startups I cannot believe how good it is to be at a small, stable, employee owned company.

              Only looking back do I realize that the people doing the actual work were never in control, and just how damaging that is.

              To pour you life and soul into building something (time, and time again), and then have it taken away from you again, and again.

              Never going back.

            • @[email protected]
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              03 months ago

              Unions can’t really prevent layoffs unfortunately, but can guarantee severances. However most tech employees already receive generous severance packages.

              Software engineers also still sit at half the unemployment rate of the rest of the US despite the layoffs throughout this past year.

              I’m very pro-union, I just don’t think they belong in tech given how much power engineers already have, and that power being entirely dictated by the ability to jump ship yesterday.

    • @nucleative
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      -63 months ago

      I’ve never been in a union, but there was an era where individuality and meritocratic means seemed like the pathway to unlimited success but this doesn’t really map over to blue collar work. Unions were not likely to help because they batch outstanding workers at the same level as the lowest performers on the team.

      But unions work a bit like an alternative to minimum wage. All the boats rise with the tide, so if the UAW scores big with some mfgrs, other auto workers are going to want a piece of that too or they’ll switch.

      This can backfire though because a lot of jobs can still be automated if they aren’t economically feasible.

      • @[email protected]
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        63 months ago

        In my union good workers get paid above scale or they get promoted or they move to a different company that will pay them above scale. Also, people have reputations and if you’re a complete fuckup of an employee, you will either be fired or laid off and eventually you’ll find yourself on the “available for work” list down at the hall, but never getting hired because nobody wants to put up with your bullshit. You will say that it’s a kind of informal blacklisting, which is true, but I’m in the union too and they can’t make me hire people I know I don’t want.

    • @[email protected]
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      3 months ago

      If they were up against a competent c-suite, this would be a failed effort from the start.

      “cybertruck” is going to be a massive flop and and an embarassment and that is a perfect opportunity to “downsize” and have a semi-legit reason to fire anyone who doesn’t spit with enough vigor at any calls for unionizing.

      But acknowledging that glorified SUV is a flop is a step too far and it will be marketed as a success. Which gets rid of the cover.

      I have no idea if UAW will succeed. But I think we are looking at a LOT of wrongful termination lawsuits (speaking of, did the twitter ones go anywhere?) and a massive poorly executed social media campaign on a single dying site.

  • @[email protected]
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    793 months ago

    Really love Shawn Fain’s attitude of fighting with the corporations. More victories unions to start win, the easier it will be grow unions across of sorts of different industries.

    We had Starbucks stores unionize, an Amazon warehouse unionize, and UAW winning major concessions.

    • Adub
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      173 months ago

      I was a little bit worried about Shawn’s strategy but he married his big pitch to the tried & true method of pressuring Ford first(more family owned & Detroit/Michigan connection to contend with). Proud to say he got a lot a lot of the strong labor points out there in the public. Glad we are seeing benefit from having more labor friendly president(we can always do better but glad we have something).

    • @[email protected]
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      3 months ago

      Starbucks organizing still blows my mind. Young people working in restaurants have traditionally been the most difficult nut to crack, as they mostly see it as a short term thing. I guess times change and perception of economies with it!

      • @[email protected]
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        113 months ago

        People are getting tired of watching the rich get richer at the expense of everyone else. The fact that are people who the drive and skill to organize is something we should be celebrating.

    • @jandar_fett
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      3 months ago

      Man is gonna fuck around and get ass-assinated.

      EDIT: That means he is doing a bang up job for those not paying attention

  • Uglyhead
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    3 months ago

    I can’t believe this. You will ruin the company and make it go away. Earth will remember this! Fuck off!

    Muskrat— probably.

      • @NocturnalEngineer
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        153 months ago

        Never knew it was illegal in the UK. Didn’t surprise me though to learn it was Margaret Thatcher who outlawed it again in the 80s.

      • TheSaneWriter
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        103 months ago

        Repealing that act should be one of the largest priorities of leftists in the United States. I wish people talked about it more.

      • @[email protected]
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        93 months ago

        When you make your next union contract, get the expiry date the contract to be May Day. If everybody’s contracts expire on the same day, it’s easier to have a general strike day in the future.

      • @[email protected]
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        83 months ago

        This might be a stupid question, but how does this law apply to non-union laborers looking to unionize, but aren’t technically union yet?

    • Cosmic Cleric
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      113 months ago

      Now if only they had the same support that unions do in Sweden

      More people believe in unions than you may realize.

      Don’t just focus in on the shills/bots and what they’re saying.

  • @[email protected]
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    393 months ago

    Fine, don’t work here then. Fuck you.

    Workers will kill Tesla and the whole world will see it. They’ll judge

    Musk in a year.

  • @[email protected]
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    283 months ago

    Do you work at Tesla? Do you know more about this union drive? We’d love to hear from you. From a non-work device, you can contact Jules Roscoe at [email protected] or on Signal at (415) 763-7705 for more security.

    On Signal? Wow, I like that.

  • @Merlin404
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    153 months ago

    Go go you! Most people in Sweden expect those that drive Tesla want a union to! It should be the default on all bigger companies!

    • @SirQuackTheDuck
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      73 months ago

      “Son of slavery-driven diamond mine owner refuses union talks!”, “how to eat dogshit”, and much more, coming up after the break.

      • TherouxSonfeir
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        43 months ago

        I’m sure Elon Musk believes that dog shit is very nutritious and all of us at the bottom should be glad to have some

    • @hark
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      193 months ago

      That’ll go about as well as the full self-driving capability of tesla vehicles.

    • Liz
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      113 months ago

      They originally over-relied on automation in their factories, to Elon’s own admission. There’s just some tasks that humans will always be better at, until we see a fundamental change in robotics. And no, the current AI fad is not enough.

      • @NotMyOldRedditName
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        3 months ago

        They’ve been working to solve those problems as well so they are more robot friendly. One of the problems was the wiring harness being limp/flexible so they started using a more rigid wiring system.

        Probably not good enough to have a robot replace it yet, but I bet a change like that also reduces the people hours required reducing head counts

        Edit: I was just thinking about this more, and with the cybertruck now using ethernet in its 48v system, I wonder if this will be as relevant given there’s less cabling. I guess even then it’d still be easier to have something rigid around it, but maybe it’s not even worth it now.

    • @[email protected]
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      33 months ago

      For every job you replace with a robot, you generally have to hire 3 robot technicians, 1 per shift.

  • @[email protected]
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    -93 months ago

    Unions aren’t always a good thing especially when the workers are able to come to favorable terms on their own. A lot of the time it’s just union heads looking for a cut of the deal.

    • Chetzemoka
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      33 months ago

      Favorable terms with no means of legal leverage are just wisps of air. They can and will be rescinded at the earliest convenience of the corporation, which is literally why we’re in the current situation we are today. The strongest middle class in the US existed when unions were at their peak. That is not a coincidence.

      A formal, legal union gives employees power and leverage to enforce the favorable terms that they negotiate with an employer. You can argue that unions as organizations can be subject to similar corruption as any other organization, but contrary to popular propaganda, there is nothing inherent in the existence of a union that requires or lends itself to corruption any more than any other power structure.

      Employees are legally permitted to organize a formal, legal union of their own outside the existing union organizations, but then they’re starting from scratch. Existing unions have been through negotiations, have experienced lawyers, know the process and all of its pitfalls. The vast majority of workers are better off joining an existing union because of this.

      • @[email protected]
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        -13 months ago

        You’re correct but my issue is with the corruption part. Look at Hollywood and that fiasco of a boycott and how it affected the people at the bottom of the union. Or the teachers union where is the damn near impossible to fire bad teachers and how the school system is suffering for that. Where as private schools pay more in return your job is dependent on how well your students preform.

        • archomrade [he/him]
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          13 months ago

          Corruption exists in corporate structures, too. Perhaps even especially in corporate structures.

          Unions provide a counterbalance to the leverage a company has over its employees, plain and simple.

          Neither structure (unions or corporations) is meant to eliminate corruption, but having both means the power differential is balanced, and one can’t steamroll the other.

          • @[email protected]
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            13 months ago

            Correct again, but is a union needed in every situation and how do a corporation counter balance a union

            • archomrade [he/him]
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              23 months ago

              A union that abuses their power risks the company becoming unprofitable and forcing layoffs. A company that abuses the union risks the union going on strike. They hold each other accountable. They have a mutual interest in the continuation of the company, and they negotiate within the bounds of that reality.

              Beyond this, the law places strict limits on the right to strike, and will make the union liable if they break those limits.

              Unions are an essential part of a healthy labor market, even if you yourself are not a part of one.

    • @grayman
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      03 months ago

      Yep. All tesla has to do is pay better than a union, provide decent benefits, treat people like humans, and fire the garbage employees.

  • @[email protected]
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    3 months ago

    Tesla will allow a union the same time mcdonalds or starbucks allows a union.

    We can pretend unions will solve the problems but the reality is regardless of what any worker wants their jobs are going to be automated so it needs to be a group effort to force the allowance of free re-education/re-training into a different profession (i.e. UBI with stipulations that you must retrain into a new job until all jobs are automated).

    There are no other options and you can’t expect a company to keep a position open for a human that needs breaks, sleep and to eat when their competition is automating fully and saving more money than they are because they were forced to or chose to keep humans on staff.

    This is not the age where unions have any effective impact, especially when almost every job available today will be eliminated in the next decade through direct mechanical automation or AI automation.

    The only thing unions can do is push protectionism and that will kill the economy by killing companies and then we lose the companies, the tax revenue AND the jobs.

      • @[email protected]
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        -43 months ago

        You should go complete some elementary school literature tests.

        It’s clear you didn’t understand what was written.

        Thanks for the laugh though.

    • @Holyginz
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      43 months ago

      Well that was a whole bunch of bullshit. I hope you are at least getting paid by a company for that take because otherwise you are just spouting propaganda for nothing.

      • @[email protected]
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        -13 months ago

        No counter argument or point to make, just a few insults and the typical air of incompetence surrounding someone who just assumes they’re right without understanding economics, the current state of technology both software and hardware, the impact unions have, how unions work, how unions preserve jobs, the ramifications of those preserved jobs to market competition in an era of advancements, and apparently the written word of their native language.

        An impressive display of intellect, truly.

    • @SomeSphinx
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      33 months ago

      This is not the age where unions have any effective impact

      I don’t know, the UAW looks like it’s having plenty of impact to me. As a matter of fact, unions are looking pretty strong at the moment. But to be honest, you weren’t here to argue in good faith, you made that especially clear with your last sentence.