In response to a prompt from my Labor Relations professor, here is an expert from my answer on labor relations:
I don't think that unions and management will ever achieve a state of total cooperation. Capitalism is not, and has never been, kind to workers. If you are on top, it is extremely generous, but if you are on bottom, you can work your hands to the bone and still be below the poverty level. Management focuses a lot on lean processes, including getting more out of employees for less. As long as that type of relationship exists, I don't think it's possible for unions and management to achieve a state of total cooperation.
The Preamble to Constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World states: "The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people, and the few who make up the employing class have all the good things of life...We find that the centering of the management of industries into fewer and fewer hands makes the trade unions unable to cope with the ever growing power of the employing class. The trade unions foster a state of affairs which allows one set of workers to be pitted against another set of workers in the same industry, thereby helping defeat one another in wage wars. Moreover, the trade unions aid the employing class to mislead the workers into the belief that the working class have interests in common with their employers."
Management sees unions as a hindrance to productivity and higher profits, while unions see management as looking for every possible way to cut corners, even at the expense of its employees. These two attitudes may never disappear.
I have to say I cringe whenever I hear someone talk about the "haves" and the "have-nots". Labeling people who have money and people who don't have money perpetuates the myth that money is the only factor that defines the worth or success of an individual. There are coal miners, train operators, construction workers, etc. who enjoy what they do and would not want to be CEO of a company. They are happy where they are at. The problem with labeling people as "haves" and "have-nots" is that it leads people to believe you are only as successful as the size of your bank account. It bothers me that there are so many people who see blue collar workers as inferior or lazy. I worked on the production line of a factory one summer, and the people I worked with had a lot of integrity and a hard work ethic. They were not lazy, and they did not see their job as demeaning or dishonorable. Now I have a "desk job", but I'm still below the living wage for a family of three in my state. The textbook talks about unions for white collar workers, and I see a need for that. I know workers who have masters degrees and make $16/hour, and yet, the average wage for a nonsupervisory construction worker in 2008 was $21.87/hr.; and they only need a high school diploma! The degree that was supposed to put these office monkeys ahead financially has instead put them in debt for a career with little potential. Universally, management demands expertise and higher education, and compensates pitifully for it.Blue collar workers are not lazy; they should be treated with respect and compensated fairly for their hard work. And more and more I'm beginning to see that the same is true for white collar workers with higher education. They should be treated with respect and compensated fairly for their expertise and greater knowledge.