I only had time to read a short bit, and so chose the "Unions" area. Fascinating! He mentioned that in Germany, one has the choice to belong to a union (but still of course benefits from its contract). Can I assume that workers who do not join must still contribute union dues from their pay? This is only fair and reasonable, after all.
Can someone who knows more about unions in Germany this please enlighten me on this?
Over here there are some unionized jobs where you have the choice whether or not to join, and other jobs where you must be a union member in order to be employed in that field. Some unions are more powerful than others; and a few "unions" (I'll use this term loosely) have been branded as "Rat Unions" due to their collusion with the employer, and cannot be considered real unions.
A final comment regarding unions - Big business, multinational corporations etc. all have one law: Make as much money as is possible. It doesn't matter that employees are paid an inadequate minimum wage (maybe less?), that part time workers are worked *almost* full time hours (but not exactly
full time hours) in order for the employer to avoid paying benefits, that workers who are ill treated have no recourse but to either stay and take it or quit, etc.
Wal Mart is a very good example of this. I have read on many occasions how this company has often (and in all likelihood continues to do so) violated worker's rights/human rights. See for one U.S. example: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5269131/
Consider just HOW BAD (and HOW PREVALENT) this violation of worker's/human rights was in order for a CLASS ACTION suit to be filed in court. Sure Wal Mart makes huge profits - but at what expense to its employees? If there was EVER a company (and there are a few out there!) that NEED a union to ensure workers are treated reasonably - it's Wal Mart.
Yes, there are also companies who do not have a union - some treat their workers reasonably and they in turn don't see a need to unionize. Other companies - like Wal Mart - engage in "union busting" tactics and intimidation of workers in order to prevent workers from unionizing and/or break the union.
This is why I choose NOT to shop at Wal Mart. I'm sure their share holders don't care, but I do. This horrible company is NOT getting one cent of my hard-earned money.