I take no side and have never had any connection to Boeing — but in my younger days I was a member of the AFL-CIO. I left the trades to go back to school. Considering all the letters about this very important issue, I felt obliged to promote a spirit of compromise and middle ground as there is no “one way” to move forward. Regarding the pension benefit, the union members — yes, the members and not their management — should consider that all benefits are negotiable and that they can bargain for changes in the company matching of their 401K contributions. This creates a more flexible and sustainable program which allows for profit sharing that can respond better economically in support of the future of labor and corporations.
Historically, from the days of Eugene V. Debs through Walter Reuther, the labor movement was the backbone of the middle class, and will continue to play a major role in its success. However, the winds of change dictate that unions need to adapt to keep this going for the future benefit of all of us. Despite the diminishing numbers, I predict that the great American labor movement will not only survive, but continue to flourish through greater cooperation between workers and the companies that benefit from their skills. The sky is not falling, but can you spell Detroit?