DETROIT (WWJ) – What lies ahead for public unions? That’s what academic leaders and labor specialists have been exploring during a conference Monday at Wayne State University.
Business Professor Marick Masters, Director of Labor Studies at Wayne State, said there are increasing challenges to collective bargaining and employee unions
“This is an unprecedented attack and it that it is one that probably has a lot of misinformation and dis-information associated with it and that public employees are not nearly as over-paid — or they’re not really overpaid — as people think they are,” said Masters. “So, I hope
it’s an opportunity to correct the record.”
President of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO Chris Michalakis, who spoke at a conference, said that unions are coming under increased attack.
“We see Republicans in Lansing, we see these Tea Party Republicans that don’t believe in the public sector providing services and serving the community,” Michalakis said. “They want to lower wages for public-sector employees. They want to raise health care premiums and really damage a lot of the benefits that public-sector workers have.”
WSU Professor Frank Koscielski said he sees attitudes both for and against unions. He said some younger student’s attitudes have been influenced by a parent’s ant-union sentiment.
But, Koscielski said for some of those students that point of view begins to shift.
“The younger generation of students is kind of beginning to see how bad things can be, where in the job market … and they see what their parents are going through and they see how difficult it is, and people ate beginning to go, oh, it seems like this is why unions came about,” he said.
Koscielski said his classroom acts as an incubator of sorts, offering business management and labor sector students a better understand of labor unions in the workplace.