Unions alone are not to blame for what has transpired in Detroit and elsewhere. Contracts are entered into and agreed upon by both the union and management.
Do unions have value? Certainly. But if workers slow down or goof off, it is up to management to put a stop to such behavior.
The biggest hammer unions have over the heads of management is the fear of a strike. Lengthy strikes mean the company is not making any money and stockholders may get mad. But being on strike for a long time also means that the workers are not bringing home the expected paycheck.
My dad was a member of a small local (maybe 36 members) of the old AFL. The rest of the plant (maybe 2,000 workers) were CIO. This was before the AFL and CIO merged. For several year, Dad negotiated his local's contract. They always got a raise (perhaps not as much as they wanted) and they never went on strike. The CIO however, struck the plant at least three times in my memory
Now, when a union strikes and then settles, who do you think pays the ultimate price? Do the stockholders lose money? Don't be silly. No, the workers who went on strike lost money while on strike (the union does not fully compensate them while they are out), and the purchasers of the product made at that plant pay through increased prices of goods.
When a union protects its members from the abuses of management that took place before unions came into being, they are bloody good. But when the tail begins to wag the dog, something is terribly wrong.
And while it may have happened, I have never seen any evidence of a union telling its workers how to vote in an election and it working.
Bob Brookfield, Wardensville, W.Va.