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Unions Moved to Left

September 20, 1987

Harry Bernstein in his Sept. 8 column keeps implying that the problems of his "client-mistress," the American labor movement, are the direct result of external pressures. Some of the labor movement's problems are of its own making.

Many union members take office but receive little or no training for the job. Yet they must negotiate with professional experienced labor consultants and attorneys representing management.

The result is problems for union members, and some have reacted. At one company where I represented management, workers threw the union out after it negotiated a one-year contract that left some workers unable to collect any vacation pay until after they had been employed for up to 32 months.

Some unions will not even support their paid staff members. I have seen unions fight attempts by their own employees to form unions, using tactics that would make the most ardent "union buster" blush with shame.

This dry rot is one reason the American worker is turned off by unions. The problem is how to rebuild the labor movement.

My proposal: When a company's employee turnover reaches 70%, a new union representation election should be held. Just because my predecessor wanted a union, there is no reason why I should be bound as almost an indentured servant with no freedom to choose. If my union acts in a professional, responsible manner, I certainly would choose the union. But if it doesn't, then let me remove the yoke from my neck.

BERNARD MARGOLIS

Agoura Hills

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