Opinions – Americans Increasingly Believe Labor Unions Benefit The Economy -Huffington Post

Interestingly, the Huffington Post reports the results of a survey showing that currently Americans are the most optimistic about unions since 2006.

Source: Americans Increasingly Believe Labor Unions Benefit The Economy

I was surprised at this headline. As a one-nation conservative, it seemed counter-intuitive. But I reflected on the results and interpreted them as follows.

This is part of the polarization of politics towards the extremes, the far-left and the far-right. Since the financial crash of 2008, many working class and middle class Americans have struggled economically with huge challenges of rising debt and healthcare costs. By comparison, big business has seen huge growth in profits, often escaping from taxes, especially overseas. Traditional jobs have been off-shored to low-cost countries, replaced by technology or gone to immigrants with higher skills. Many Americans have been forced into taking multiple jobs or accepting zero hours contracts. It’s significant that in the heavily unionized education sector, the US was recently reported at bottom of the OECD league in numeracy.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that the results are a one-off and there is no sustainable move to unionization.

Nevertheless, the results will be of interest to other advanced counties where there are parallels to the US work experience.


TUC: From nurses to patient safety, why Brexit could destroy the NHS | LabourList

Trades Union Congress

Trades Union Congress (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite being conservative in my political views, I find that I’m supporting the TUC here.

The NHS is a key battleground for the EU referendum. The TUC argues:

we’ve taken a long hard look at the facts – and here is why we think Brexit would harm the NHS, not help it … Creating a staffing crisis  Leaving the EU would create a short term staffing crisis in the NHS – and that would hit the quality of services. Just under 50,000 citizens from the European Economic Area (EEA) currently work in the NHS, including over 9,000 doctors; 18,000 nurses, midwives and health visitors; and 2,500 other professionals, such as physios and radiographers. These workers provide vital skills and expertise – and they plug gaps left by the underfunding of training places. Given the government’s plans to end training bursaries and another five year squeeze on NHS funding, getting the necessary turnabout in the numbers of home-grown health professionals does not look likely to happen any time soon. So we will end up with a staffing crisis that hurts our health service.

Source: TUC: From nurses to patient safety, why Brexit could destroy the NHS | LabourList