Facebook and Labor Unions, Fundamental Changes

By Gary Johnson - Mar 1, 2011

The Middle East has seen self-organized groups of people ousting once powerful regimes, and this could be the sign of things to come in the US one day too. The big labor unions have possibly outlived their usefulness, as people no longer need them to organize people into groups anymore.

Tom Hayes from The Huffington Post is wondering if the big push with social media communities such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter could one day spell the end of labor unions. Like all outdated institutions, Labor unions have tried to quickly modernize and integrate into the new media. The Facebook like service UnionBook didn’t catch on and fell flat.

The internet has completely changed how groups are formed in our time; people can quite easily join different groups. There are billions of people that have already joined at least one social media platform which shows that we can organize ourselves.

People’s faith in big organizations is at an all time low following the credit crunch, and people now know they aren’t powerless. While a single person can make a difference, a large group can make a revolution.

But if labor unions do eventually die out will organizations like Facebook replace them? And if they do will it be such a good thing working for a company, and not having a union to fall back on in times of woe?

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  • Mandy, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Anyone who has any working knowledge of unions knows that FB groups can never replace unions. They can (and have) be used as a tool for creating greater communication and solidarity across industries, state lines, sectors and socioeconomic differences.

    Labor unions have been around for a very long time, and have continued to endure despite the political climate. The greedier our corporations become, the more dissatisfied the workers become as well – particularly as the gap between the haves and have-nots grow out of control.

    To the Scott Walkers of the world – keep up the hard work. You’re making ours easier.

  • Mandy

    "While a single person can make a difference, a large group can make a revolution." What do you think the concept of Unions is?? It is the Union movement's solidarity and working as one voice that has achieved so much for modern workers. Who do you think brought about important health and safety legislation? Unions are still powerful forces to promote social justice and work towards maintaining the rights and the safety of workers. Most Unions have evolved very nicely over the years and work towards improved labour relations, social responsibility and ensuring that the economy grows as that is how workers are able to feed their families. Facebook and other social media outlets are good for the general masses and a good communication tool but we are comparing apples and oranges. Unions are not just for organizing groups- they are their own social group that includes members working towards common goals: fair wages and safe and healthy working conditions.