Question of the day

Here's the question I've been pondering as I watched the strike unfold at GM. Many progressives argue that unions are a necessary counterweight to the bargaining power of employers. I tend to think that power is generally about equally balanced between workers and companies--some workers have a lot of bargaining power, and some a little, but I don't see the power as being particularly asymmetrically distributed between workers as a class and employers as a class. But that's not how progressives feel, and I doubt we'll change each other's minds.

What I find difficult to argue with is that few of the progressives I know ever seem to think that there are any situations where workers have too much power. Even in situations such as the New York City transit strike, where the workers clearly have an enormous amount of employer over their employer both as a bargaining unit and as a voting bloc, progressives always side with the union.

So here's the question of the day for my liberal commenters: can workers acquire too much power? Is there any situation in which you have thought, or can even imagine thinking, that union power might have to be dialed back?

Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In