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Poll
Question: Are unions necessary any longer?
Yes- they fight for the working man/woman - 15 (31.9%)
No- They're obsolete and slow production - 7 (14.9%)
Maybe- but they need retooling - 25 (53.2%)
Total Voters: 47

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GabrieltheCelt
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« on: June 12, 2012, 04:39:38 PM »

Hey y'all,

 I wasn't sure where this topic would go best.  Those that have moderatorial powers feel free to move it.

Long time ago, Unions were a big deal.  They were wonderful association's for the working man and woman.  My grandparents were Southern Democrats who supported Unions and my grandfather's were life-long members of a union and they treated them very well.  But nowadays, it seems as though they're usefulness has expired.  On one hand, I admire them for being able to fight for decent wages and always giving the working class a voice.  On the other hand, they tend to slow down production by striking if they think things are unfair.  Plus, there's a whole host of other problems they present.  When I worked at UPS, the Union docked my pay for membership.  But back then (it may still be the same way), you had to work 90 consecutive days without incident to be eligible for membership.  Just as the 90 day probation was about to end, the Mgt seemed to find an excuse for a 'counseling event' (write up).  After two of these probation times, I got fed up and found work elsewhere.  But the union kept my dues when I was never a member!

I'm not sure what to think of them.  I voted 'Maybe', but they need to be retooled and reformed to be effective, IMO.

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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 04:43:07 PM »

I'd say sometimes. Though I'll vote maybe just because, with the ones I have been exposed to (pun about toxicity intended), they were completely screwed up.
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 04:44:16 PM »

Unions serve no purpose nowadays than to be a legal way to launder money for the DNC.

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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2012, 05:00:05 PM »

The only people I have ever known, living in Arizona, who were in unions (that I'm aware of) were teachers.  Of those teachers I knew, who ever actually mentioned the union (I think three or four), none of them were happy about being forced to pay union dues, and none of them liked where their forced contributions were going, and all of them would have preferred to not be in a union.
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2012, 06:50:09 PM »

I hit "maybe" because they are currently far too timid and complacent. Currently they are basically a component of the status quo to ensure smooth cooperation between workers and bosses, often channeling workers' energies into electoral dead-ends (for example, see the recent Gov. Walker referendum). What they should be (and what they often were before) is combative instruments of working people to make their lives radically better and challenge the ruling class.
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 06:55:09 PM »

I hit "maybe". unions are a good idea in theory, in practice they've become another big corporate business.
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 08:19:43 PM »

Being part of a public employee union got me a decent wage but when the union lost the ability to negotiate anything other than wages it wasn't like management started changing all the rules. For us anyway, it seemed they went out of their way to not change anything.

(edit) Oh, yeah, I said maybe.
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2012, 09:44:40 AM »

I put yes but probably should have put maybe.  My position on unions is perhaps a bit more moderate than Iconodules, but just by a bit.  I think Tallitot hit the nail square on the head, in regards to some unions.

One thing my boss once said about unions rings especially true - "Anything you say about the unions is true."  Basically there are so many of them with so many different characteristics that to some they are white knights (and there are ones like this), to others they are big corporations (and there are some like this) and to others they are just another organ of the business government (and yes, there are some like this).  I have heard about and/or seen all three of these types in RL.

One interesting "proto-union" that I saw was the suicide pact some friends formed while working at a fast food shop.  Fast food can use pretty much anyone to do the work so the corporate bosses really don't give a darn about their workers.  The store managers, on the other hand, know that having reasonable happy, trained personnel makes their life easier.  Having a dozen or so employees walk out and quit at the same time would mean that he would have to find new people, train them, and ultimately probably have to work more hours to fill in the gaps.  All the while the untrained new workers would not work as fast or as efficiently as the veterans so orders would be messed up, too much material used, and profits would decrease which would bring the scrutiny of the bosses down on him.
So what they did was if any one of the veterans were fired for a stupid reason they would quit in mass.  If one of them were treated poorly, the quality of all their work would decrease to compensate.  Sure, the manager could fire all of them, but then he'd be in the messy predicament mentioned above.  This was hinted to him from time to time, just to make sure the cordial relationship that existed stayed the same.

This right to strike is really the most effective tool in the hands of the worker and you need a union to organize such things. 
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2012, 09:55:21 AM »

The problem with unions today is that all of the things that unions traditionally fought for are either codified and enforced by the US Department of Labor or make good business sense. If that is the case, then unions cease to be useful and should be disbanded. Oh, and I voted No.

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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2012, 10:07:18 AM »

Having worked in management all of my career, I never belonged to one. Having worked in management all of my career, I realize that most workers need some sort of organization to protect their investment (i.e. their lives) in the business or public entity.

That being said, we need to 'reinvent' the traditional relationships and do away with some of the obsolete statutory rules over issues that ought to be negotiated - including pensions, tenure and civil service protection -  and do away with the type of nutty protective laws in the public sector that bind up(at least in New York State) the state and local governments. Using a 19th/early20th century model to distribute services in the 21st century is crazy and prevents effective govermental administration.
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2012, 10:56:32 AM »

I voted yes.
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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2012, 08:03:01 PM »

I think unions have their part and can often keep a business in check.   So long as that business is not funded by forceful & required funds, I think unions are fine and dandy.
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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2012, 09:29:34 PM »

I am a Steward and elected Executive Board member on an IBEW Local Union.  I voted maybe.  The main thing that unions offer their members is due process.  A person's job is as much of an investment to him /her and their family as any business is to its owners.  A union ensures that the rules are followed by both sides.  A good company has no problem with this.  An investor owned utility where I worked in Wisconsin would actually discipline supervisors and managers for violating the Union Contract.  They considered the Contract as Company Policy.  That was integrity, and grievances were few and far between.  My current employer (public sector) is run by a bunch of good ol' boy hicks that cannot keep themselves out of trouble with the Regulators, and like nothing more than to exercise their power by intruding into the private lives of their employees.  The union is the only thing that keeps these incompetent slobs in line, and that was recognized by the investor owned managers that had to be brought in to try to clean things up.  Again, I voted maybe.  In an honest company, a union has no real purpose except for collective bargaining, which some companies actually prefer.  In a rotten company, a union is a necessity - provided that it is an honest union.  I fully agree that the models that were in place in the 1930's need to be updated, but to think that everything is coded by the various governments is just plain ignorant (and I have found that most anti-union people tend to be pretty ignorant of Labor Relations law and matters). I do believe that a company works best when management is competent and well treated by the executives (which provides an example to the work force), and the workers are well represented by officers that recognize that what is good for the company is ultimately good for the workers.  I have seen this model work, and the business was profitable and ran smoothly.  I have also seen where one side or the other was not competent, and the results were not good.
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« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2012, 11:37:36 PM »

Unions are good...for their leaders who make huge salaries drawn from the workers they claim to champion.
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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2012, 07:01:58 AM »

In the United States, much of what unions sought at their founding, have become a matter of law, minimizing their importance and need.

Big labor, the auto workers, steel, and rubber workers, sought benefits and work rules that coupled with uninspired management, destroyed these once back bone industries in America.  Their biggest problem, in order to justify their existence in the '70's and '80's, continued to seek more and more in terms of remuneration and benefits, and, in the industries cited, management, in order to "buy peace," kept on giving, but since the '90's, these industries have disappeared substantially because their labor costs made these firms non-competitive.  The significant reduction of those industries today is directly attributable to their "accomplishments"  in these decades noted.  There are today, however, responsible unions, even in the steel industry.

Despite my criticisms of the big labor unions I referred to in the paragraph above, there remain, unfortunately, irresponsible corporate management that keeps the need for unions to exist.

Public employee unions are not necessary, and help keep government inefficient and too costly.
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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2012, 08:53:12 AM »

Unions are good...for their leaders who make huge salaries drawn from the workers they claim to champion.

Again, ignorance.  My salary as an elected official of the Local is $65.00 / month.  This was raised about three years ago from the $45.00 / month that it had been for years.
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« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2012, 09:00:07 AM »

I voted maybe. Nearly everybody over here are member of a union. However, their importance have become significantly smaller over the years.
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« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2012, 09:11:58 AM »

I'd say sometimes. Though I'll vote maybe just because, with the ones I have been exposed to (pun about toxicity intended), they were completely screwed up.

I was a member of a union prior to making manager in a manufacturing facility. I was supervisor of a local union IBEW and also UAW.
I had a bunch of good worker, I'd say 95% worth.  I mostly had a good relationship with them, BUT unions fail when it comes to treating it's members fairly.  What you say?  Yes, it is important to note that unions protect everyone, ie good and bad employees.  It is unfair to expect a brother employee be at their workstation on time, to not waste time during the day avoiding work, and refuse O.T. when it is requested?   I cant tell you the number of times that good union workers complained that I wasnt coming down hard enough on lazy workers.  I had to explain that in order to reprimand one bad worker I  had to have rheims of paper work proving the other 95% were doing their work properly.  It got so bad that we just had to ignore bad habits (sometimes the H.R. dept. would NOT backup supervision because of contract talks.) and hope for the best.  Well, judgement time came where our competition (non union, American workers ) were not only out producing us but were doing it at a more compeditive price.  We simply went out of business because of out dated work rules and out dated work mentalities.  Our business didnt go overseas like a lot of larger companies but was kept in the USA.  This is what we have today.  I was very sad for those who lost their jobes expecially my better workers.  Yes, I guess at the time when Unions were the only hope for mistreated workers they had their place but today with world much different and unions still cling to the ideas of yesterday.
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« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2012, 10:15:08 AM »

It really does depend on what the goal and objective is.

I was born and raised in a union (steel mill) town with generations of family on both the hourly and management side. There was a day in this country when unions were necessary to protect the rights and abuses of employees. Today we have labor laws that cover most all of those former issues. In that respect I would say unions now serve little to no purpose.  They do however eliminate such things as ‘merit’ and replace them with more of a socialistic form of management. Issues such as scheduling and pay increases are no longer based on how well you perform, or your value to the company, but instead are based on tenure and equal pay for all regardless on your performance. It is difficult to deny that has led to a decreased level of efficiency in America. Why work harder or offer more than the guy next to me when I reap the same rewards either way?

There certainly are situations where unions assure a higher pay role and benefits, but unfortunately it is often not sustainable and leads to an increased cost of goods that can cripple a free enterprise system and minimize if not eliminate a companies profit margin. Many of my family members have enjoyed a wonderful pension into their retirement for example, but now that little steel mill town I’m from is filled with legalized gambling, alcoholism, meth use run rampant, etc. as the mill is all but out of business and the economy of said town is all but destroyed.

On the other hand it is hard to deny that unions are very successful at shifting power and control from the hands of private business into more of a ‘political realm’. If one is in favor of such a power structure then unions certainly could be seen as still necessary. Regardless of which side of the fence one is on be there no doubt that unions are no longer simply an organization protecting worker rights but are in fact a for profit business themselves.

** I am neither an economist nor a union authority of any sort. I am a mid level manager in the food and beverage industry so take my humble opinion for what it is worth… probably not all that much! Wink
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« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2012, 11:51:25 AM »

They aren't perfect by far, need to grow more political teeth and more distance from the DP etc. But, compared to the alternative (termination of employment at will of the employer, no health benefits, less vacation time etc) they are worth defending. I'm part of SEIU Local One. My company's management was practically forced to let its employees join the union (only happened in 2004 or '5); they did everything possible to prevent unionization. And believe me they aren't very ethical. Not that they make a pretense either, which is more palatable to me.
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« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2012, 01:03:46 PM »

Greeting in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In the United States, much of what unions sought at their founding, have become a matter of law, minimizing their importance and need.

Nonsense, what about the laws being changed in Wisconsin? Laws are not divine, people need to stay organized and on their feet to keep what we get and get more of what we need. Right now less than 14% of American labor force is unionized, that is frightening.  What is happening? Millions of employees without benefits, with substandard wages, with minimal job security.

I think we all forget that unions are WHY we have good jobs, a living wage, and often benefits even at non-union jobs, because the unions do the heavy lifting and arm wrangling to set the bar.

I am union.  Unions are crucial.  Employers, be they private or government, do not simply pay people great wages with benefits out of the kindness of their hearts.  Labor has to collectively negotiate and demand for our needs.  Everything else is exploitation.  Why else do corporations fear union so much? Cuts into the bottom line, which is profit margin.  People before profit.

Further, read Acts 4, unions are perfectly Christian in premise.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2012, 01:13:41 PM »

I voted "Maybe".

My grandfather was a lifelong truck driver, a member of Teamsters by necessity, and he hated it. They did accomplish some good things over the years, but on the whole he despised them. He despised their political involvement most of all, as he disagreed with most of the causes they supported (using his dues) and the corruption within the organization.

On the other hand, I have other relatives who work at a company in which the entry-level employees are unionized but the managers are not, and the managers are basically raped on a daily basis by their superiors, with no recourse.

So, I support unions when they're truly used to ensure workers are treated right. But when they become corrupt, political, and wasteful in their own right, they're no better than the unbridled corporate system they seek to protect people from.
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« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2012, 02:38:11 PM »

Greeting in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In the United States, much of what unions sought at their founding, have become a matter of law, minimizing their importance and need.

Nonsense, what about the laws being changed in Wisconsin? Laws are not divine, people need to stay organized and on their feet to keep what we get and get more of what we need. Right now less than 14% of American labor force is unionized, that is frightening.  What is happening? Millions of employees without benefits, with substandard wages, with minimal job security.

I think we all forget that unions are WHY we have good jobs, a living wage, and often benefits even at non-union jobs, because the unions do the heavy lifting and arm wrangling to set the bar.

I am union.  Unions are crucial.  Employers, be they private or government, do not simply pay people great wages with benefits out of the kindness of their hearts.  Labor has to collectively negotiate and demand for our needs.  Everything else is exploitation.  Why else do corporations fear union so much? Cuts into the bottom line, which is profit margin.  People before profit.

Further, read Acts 4, unions are perfectly Christian in premise.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I was assuming (always dangerous) that Basil was referring to the fact that labor laws now eliminate the need for a union to protect employees from the sweat shops, harassment in the work place, child labor, company stores, etc. etc. that unions sought to defend at their founding. We now have labor laws that cover such past abuses. We’ll let Basil reply of course to clarify his meaning.

While I have a profound respect for your many spiritual posts HabteSelassie, which have benefited me personally, we will have to agree to disagree on this one.  Smiley
 
The laws being changed in Wisconsin have already resulted in a decrease in unemployment and an improved economy. Benefits, wages, and job security are something to be earned not demanded or entitled. Why should an underperforming employee have any security in their job??

IMHO unions are not why we have good jobs, a living wage, and sometimes benefits. In our country that has always been provided by competition in a free enterprise capitalistic society. We (America) just spent over 2trillion in ‘stimulas’ and ‘shovel ready’ jobs that are primarily government and union jobs yet unemployment has been at a historic stand still. It was indeed a noble effort but does not work. Yes, there are many reasons for our economic crises above and beyond unions. You are correct that private business will not pay top dollar and benefits out of the kindness of their hearts, but will pay top dollar to top performers that increase productivity and profit. People before profit that renders no profit will render no business and there will be no jobs, unless government supports said business on borrowed money such as has happened in Greece and is happening here now. 

I was not thinking of Acts 4. Able and Cain did come to mind though. God didn’t say its o.k. to not give me your best I’ll give you both the same accolades anyway. Capitalism depends on a merit reward system and unionization contradicts that.

With that said, to be fair, anyone that disagrees with capitalism certainly should support unions, and to answer the OP unions would in that case still be very necessary indeed.   

Peace, Grace, and Respect!
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« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2012, 02:42:45 PM »

I voted maybe, they seem to often hurt more than they help.
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« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2012, 04:23:52 PM »

I  have no problem unionizing private corporations, but I do have a problem, a big one, when it comes to unionizing public workers.  When public employees go out on strike they are striking against the taxpayers of this country.  Be they firefighters, teachers, municipal or otherwise their salaries come from you and me.  Strike against GM and I go to Ford for a car.   Strike against my kids going to school well hell im just stuck aint I?Huh

Most people in the public sector have the misinformed impression that they are striking against administrators.  But in reality it is you and me they are striking against.   Heck, even Franklin Roosevelt was dead set against government employees organizing. and he knew quite well what it would lead to.    It lead to what we have now.

Once, if you went to get a job in civil service the pay wasnt as much as a comparable private sector job BUT the benefits were great even better than their private counterparts.  Now both wages AND benefits are out of control for most municipalities and the politically weak administrators who cow tow to these unions are too weak kneed to challenge them to be more economical on their demands.  Its ALL take and NO give on the part of most public employees.  It has come to the point of "its my right to get more money" any more.   Thats ludicrous to say the least.  We need responsible reform of the union system if it is to continue otherwise you will see more and more jobs leave and more and more people leaving states and towns that where taxes are out of control.  One large example is California. they have lost over a 1,000,000 people in the last 10 years.
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« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2012, 04:36:23 PM »

With regard to Wisconisn, since I live there...

I'm not sure what purpose they served teachers. I don't see how their job conditions changed before and after unions came. My own experience with teacher unions has been negative--unseemly protests, using students for their own political ends, and closing ranks around a pedophile teacher.
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« Reply #26 on: June 15, 2012, 05:20:36 PM »

I was assuming (always dangerous) that Basil was referring to the fact that labor laws now eliminate the need for a union to protect employees from the sweat shops, harassment in the work place, child labor, company stores, etc. etc. that unions sought to defend at their founding. We now have labor laws that cover such past abuses. We’ll let Basil reply of course to clarify his meaning.

While I have a profound respect for your many spiritual posts HabteSelassie, which have benefited me personally, we will have to agree to disagree on this one.  Smiley
 
The laws being changed in Wisconsin have already resulted in a decrease in unemployment and an improved economy. Benefits, wages, and job security are something to be earned not demanded or entitled. Why should an underperforming employee have any security in their job??

IMHO unions are not why we have good jobs, a living wage, and sometimes benefits. In our country that has always been provided by competition in a free enterprise capitalistic society. We (America) just spent over 2trillion in ‘stimulas’ and ‘shovel ready’ jobs that are primarily government and union jobs yet unemployment has been at a historic stand still. It was indeed a noble effort but does not work. Yes, there are many reasons for our economic crises above and beyond unions. You are correct that private business will not pay top dollar and benefits out of the kindness of their hearts, but will pay top dollar to top performers that increase productivity and profit. People before profit that renders no profit will render no business and there will be no jobs, unless government supports said business on borrowed money such as has happened in Greece and is happening here now. 

I was not thinking of Acts 4. Able and Cain did come to mind though. God didn’t say its o.k. to not give me your best I’ll give you both the same accolades anyway. Capitalism depends on a merit reward system and unionization contradicts that.

With that said, to be fair, anyone that disagrees with capitalism certainly should support unions, and to answer the OP unions would in that case still be very necessary indeed.   

Peace, Grace, and Respect!


No offense intended, but the bolded part is not quite correct. I'm no big fan of unions, but they did indeed have their time and place in improving the working conditions for American employees. In the late 19th and early 20th Century working conditions for American workers were akin to indentured servitude- capitalism wasn't much help, as the competition was just as bad as employer x. The American workers being able to organize and negotiate as a whole with the employer was an important part of improving the lot of the laborer.

Even these days they can be a help- employers who do not wish the hassle of dealing with union red-tape have a better incentive than the kindness of their hearts to provide better wages and benefits than their unionized competitors. Given that corporations do not have hearts and seem bipolar at best when it comes to kindness, we should be thankful.

That said, some employers, particularly the small mom-and-pop organizations that are disappearing from the American landscape, can and do operate out of the kindness of their heart. My great-grandfather had a hand in getting the unions going in New Jersey, then years later he opened a restaurant. One of the unions came by and asked him to unionize his employees. His response was that if his employees wished to unionize they could. So, the union rep went around trying to convince his employees that being part of the union could be a good thing. When his employees asked what benefits they could receive and got their answer, they laughed in the union rep's face- they were getting as good as if not better from great-grandpa without having to pay union dues. After that, the union had a picket outside the restaurant- great grandpa brought the picketers coffee and food. Eventually, the fuss died down. The restaurant never did unionize.

My own working history has shown me the good side and bad side of unions. I got better benefits with most of the non-union jobs I've worked than those offered by the union jobs. That said, my current job would probably benefit by unionization- they just fired a good amount of their employees (I might be one of them) after deciding that they wanted to be tyrants about the scheduling (I'm not to fond of the place trying to bully me into working Sunday mornings and telling me that I would be let go if I asked for any more time off for school- not already scheduled time, mind, just asking them to keep in mind for upcoming schedules that I do have class one night a week. And yes, I did let them know in the interview that these two things would affect my availability).
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« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2012, 07:06:34 PM »

I hit "maybe" because they are currently far too timid and complacent.

You mean semi-law abiding and not overly disruptive to society?

Quote
Currently they are basically a component of the status quo to ensure smooth cooperation between workers and bosses...

Oh man, and the status quo, is like, totally bad, man...  You must've read the bolded bit somewhere, because in many cases it's laughably out of touch with reality.

Been on both sides though, and you're right that unions currently tend to focus on fighting for really really stupid things.

Some exist and continue to operate for good, legitimate reasons (rough times out there, and people have to push back), but others pursue a lot of silliness and entrench/reward incompetence.
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« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2012, 09:36:06 PM »

Henry Ford was paying historically high wages to Ford Motor Company production line employees, before he got stuck with a union.
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« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2012, 12:34:45 AM »

Unions are good...for their leaders who make huge salaries drawn from the workers they claim to champion.

Again, ignorance.  My salary as an elected official of the Local is $65.00 / month.  This was raised about three years ago from the $45.00 / month that it had been for years.

Whatever.  Here are some examples of the most egregious offenders:

Michael J. Sullivan, general president of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association
Salary: $1,043,023

Robert A. Scardelletti, international president of the Transportation Communications Union
Salary: $748,531

Newton B. Jones, president of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
Salary: $607,022

Terence M. O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America
Salary: $589,124

John T. Niccollai, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 464A
Salary: $532,752

Gerald McEntee, international president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
Salary: $512,369

People like this frequently lecture the rest of the world on greed yet they raise their own salaries and do not do anything to enrich a company for its clients or for its shareholders.  These people claim to be in touch with the average citizen yet they fight against such a characterization
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« Reply #30 on: June 16, 2012, 12:57:20 AM »

I  have no problem unionizing private corporations, but I do have a problem, a big one, when it comes to unionizing public workers.  When public employees go out on strike they are striking against the taxpayers of this country.  Be they firefighters, teachers, municipal or otherwise their salaries come from you and me.  Strike against GM and I go to Ford for a car.   Strike against my kids going to school well hell im just stuck aint I?Huh

Most people in the public sector have the misinformed impression that they are striking against administrators.  But in reality it is you and me they are striking against.   Heck, even Franklin Roosevelt was dead set against government employees organizing. and he knew quite well what it would lead to.    It lead to what we have now.

Once, if you went to get a job in civil service the pay wasnt as much as a comparable private sector job BUT the benefits were great even better than their private counterparts.  Now both wages AND benefits are out of control for most municipalities and the politically weak administrators who cow tow to these unions are too weak kneed to challenge them to be more economical on their demands.  Its ALL take and NO give on the part of most public employees.  It has come to the point of "its my right to get more money" any more.   Thats ludicrous to say the least.  We need responsible reform of the union system if it is to continue otherwise you will see more and more jobs leave and more and more people leaving states and towns that where taxes are out of control.  One large example is California. they have lost over a 1,000,000 people in the last 10 years.

This is not completely true, at least not in all states.  I live in Nebraska, and all public sector workers have the right to form unions to collectively bargain, even supervisors and managers.  We also cannot strike.  All labor disputes that cannot be solved by arbitration go to the Commission for Industrial Relations (CIR).  They can be appealed to the Supreme Court, but it is rare that the SC reverses the CIR.

How do the unions help?  First, due process through arbitration is far less costly than recourse to the courts.  As public sector workers, the State Constitution is the governing guide, and having binding arbitration in a contract keeps the unions and political subdivisions out of court.  Arbitration is much cheaper for the tax payer, too.  Court costs can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, with a settlement often requiring the political subdivision to pay the union's costs.  Most arbitrations cost less than $20,000, and the union must pay for half regardless of whether or not we win or lose.  Believe me, we think long and hard before going to arbitration.

Most of our actions are not against the ratepayer (I work for a utility).  Management likes to use our retirement plans and things to fuel up the people, but we have shown the public that the reason the company is paying so much for retirement now is because they did not put a single dime into the plan for 20 years.  They were using the wrong actuarial tables and provided no oversite for the contractors that they had managing the fund.  During this entire time, employees put into the fund, as was required by law.  Around 8-10 years ago, management started giving out bonuses.  Huge ones to the executives (keep in mind that this is ratepayer money).  The unions refused the bonuses when offered, and went on record in the newspaper as opposing bonuses for public sector employees.  Guess what.  Rates have gone up every year that the bonuses have been in effect, and now we are in trouble with the regulators.  We have cut union positions and replaced them with additional layers of management (making far more than the union positions replaced).  Guess what that does to rates.  Due to union intervention, much of the fraud and spending has come to light and efforts are being taken to cut costs.  It is the unions who protect the whistleblowers who point out this overspending.  We have also been given kudos by our regulatory body (the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) since our union works to handle and settle allegations against the company BEFORE they become issues with the NRC.  If these became regulatory issues, the costs to the ratepayer are quite high.

Unions can work, but there has to be a desire to make them work.  Yes, we do work with management to maintain the status quo, when the status quo should be maintained.  But often, we are the only ones who hold bad management accountable, and we are able to do so with the due process protections that we provide employees who want to point out fraud and waste.  And in spite of our current problems, our heavily unionized utility still produces electricity cheaper than the surrounding utilities, and is still below the national average for rates.  As I said before, much of the anti-union vitriol comes from those who 1) know little about labor relations, 2) don't produce anything so have nothing of value to make collective bargaining worthwhile, or 3) work in fields where labor is relatively unskilled and easily replaced.  Plus, it is mostly negative news that gets reported.  Few people are interested in reading about success, and fewer media outlets are interested in reporting it.
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« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2012, 01:10:02 AM »

Unions are good...for their leaders who make huge salaries drawn from the workers they claim to champion.

Again, ignorance.  My salary as an elected official of the Local is $65.00 / month.  This was raised about three years ago from the $45.00 / month that it had been for years.

Whatever.  Here are some examples of the most egregious offenders:

Michael J. Sullivan, general president of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association
Salary: $1,043,023

Robert A. Scardelletti, international president of the Transportation Communications Union
Salary: $748,531

Newton B. Jones, president of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
Salary: $607,022

Terence M. O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America
Salary: $589,124

John T. Niccollai, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 464A
Salary: $532,752

Gerald McEntee, international president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
Salary: $512,369

People like this frequently lecture the rest of the world on greed yet they raise their own salaries and do not do anything to enrich a company for its clients or for its shareholders.  These people claim to be in touch with the average citizen yet they fight against such a characterization

Really.  These men are paid from the dues of the members.  Since many, if not most, states in the US are "right to work", this money is paid voluntarily by the members.  These salaries quite reasonable for presidents presiding over such a large number of people.  Where is the greed when these union presidents make a fraction of what the presidents of any of the companies their men work for make?  Compare that to Utility CEOs where the low runs about $900,000 / year and the high around $10 million.  Now that is greed.  Particularly for a product that you really cannot choose to do without.
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« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2012, 09:15:16 AM »

So, if I understand you correctly, that is members of unions 'voluntarily' pay their dues in "right to work" states that the union gives them a choice of whether to pay dues or not?   Do I understand 'volunteer' correctly?Huh  Do union members truely volunteer their money to unions?
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« Reply #33 on: June 24, 2012, 10:42:07 PM »

yes, they could use some retooling.
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« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2012, 10:43:51 PM »

yes, they could use some retooling.
lol wrong thread.
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« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2012, 10:52:48 PM »

So, if I understand you correctly, that is members of unions 'voluntarily' pay their dues in "right to work" states that the union gives them a choice of whether to pay dues or not?   Do I understand 'volunteer' correctly?Huh  Do union members truely volunteer their money to unions?

Yes.  In a right to work state, one must voluntarily join the Union.  Yet, the Union is required to represent all of those under its jurisdiction whether they are members or not.  If the non-member is terminated, however, the law requires that they pay the Union for any expenses used in their defense.  Currently, about 70% of the people in my jurisdiction are members of the Union and pay dues.  The rest are freeloaders.
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« Reply #36 on: June 24, 2012, 11:11:06 PM »

After my experience with unions over years of employment, Hurray for the Freeloaders.....
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« Reply #37 on: June 24, 2012, 11:21:19 PM »

After my experience with unions over years of employment, Hurray for the Freeloaders.....

Tells me something our your morals.
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« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2012, 06:47:39 AM »

After my experience with unions over years of employment, Hurray for the Freeloaders.....
^ this

PP
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« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2012, 09:11:17 AM »

Judge not that you also will be judged..........Just a thought
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« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2012, 09:13:03 AM »

If you want to know about "Freeloaders" you need to belong to a large union.  I've seen and experienced it first hand. 
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« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2012, 09:14:51 AM »

Judge not that you also will be judged..........Just a thought

No, bro.  Your words judge themselves.  You think that the Union should try to protect your job without you joining.  Thank God Nebraska is civilized and would require you to pay them for their expenses.  I'd just as soon let the freeloaders get fired when they get on the wrong side of the company.  Free market, yo!
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« Reply #42 on: June 25, 2012, 09:27:15 AM »

Judge not that you also will be judged..........Just a thought

No, bro.  Your words judge themselves.  You think that the Union should try to protect your job without you joining.  Thank God Nebraska is civilized and would require you to pay them for their expenses.  I'd just as soon let the freeloaders get fired when they get on the wrong side of the company.  Free market, yo!

As I see it: If you belong to a union then you abide by union rules, if you dont then you dont benefit by union contracts.  I have no problem with union working with non union but Im sure the climate would not be so good.  Non union workers have to make their own contracts with the companies and have to bargain on an individual basis.  I've done it and it works.  Unions need representation to bargain for the masses.  I DONT believe that a union should protect non union workers simply because they work the same jobs.  Im not sure, however, what the legal ramifications are when a union and non-union environment exists in one company ie both types working same jobs.   
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« Reply #43 on: June 25, 2012, 01:18:30 PM »

Judge not that you also will be judged..........Just a thought

No, bro.  Your words judge themselves.  You think that the Union should try to protect your job without you joining.  Thank God Nebraska is civilized and would require you to pay them for their expenses.  I'd just as soon let the freeloaders get fired when they get on the wrong side of the company.  Free market, yo!

As I see it: If you belong to a union then you abide by union rules, if you dont then you dont benefit by union contracts.  I have no problem with union working with non union but Im sure the climate would not be so good.  Non union workers have to make their own contracts with the companies and have to bargain on an individual basis.  I've done it and it works.  Unions need representation to bargain for the masses.  I DONT believe that a union should protect non union workers simply because they work the same jobs.  Im not sure, however, what the legal ramifications are when a union and non-union environment exists in one company ie both types working same jobs.   

In that case, you should re-read what Punch wrote above.  Most of agree then that non-Union workers should fend for themselves when falsely accused by the company.  The problem is, as Punch wrote, the Union he is in is required to defend non-Union freeloaders, but they must pay for their defense. 
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« Reply #44 on: June 25, 2012, 03:26:48 PM »



In that case, you should re-read what Punch wrote above.  Most of agree then that non-Union workers should fend for themselves when falsely accused by the company.  The problem is, as Punch wrote, the Union he is in is required to defend non-Union freeloaders, but they must pay for their defense. 

I cant believe that the NLRB would force a union into such an agreement contrary to their interests.  If this is an independent union then the leadership there is clueless.
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« Reply #45 on: June 25, 2012, 03:42:57 PM »

I cant believe that the NLRB would force a union into such an agreement contrary to their interests.  If this is an independent union then the leadership there is clueless.

What you believe has nothing to do with the law.  The laws of this State require that the Union must negotiate for all persons in jobs under its jurisdiction, whether those persons are members or not.  In addition, we must defend them through the third step of the grievance process, whether they are members or not.  It is only when we go to arbitration that the non-member must pay his own way.  The only "fair" thing about it is that most non-members cannot afford the $20,000 price tag of an arbitration, so they end up getting fired.  I have seen two people within the last year that had cases that I am better than 80% sure that we would have won if they could have afforded the arbitration.  Also, the NLRB has no jurisdiction in the public sector.  That is handled by individual State law.
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« Reply #46 on: June 25, 2012, 11:57:10 PM »

Interestingly, when we lost the ability to bargin for anything but wages, while the union deals on those would cover non-dues paying employees, we were told that though dues would be voluntary but if you weren't paying dues you would not be represented at all in the event of a problem.
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« Reply #47 on: July 05, 2012, 09:35:04 AM »

The Illinois Policy Institute just came out with a report that only about half the union dues are spent on things that can be said to be directly related to the best interests of its members.  The rest is spent on junkets at Las Vegas and other spots (Chicago?) for union bosses, owning properties such as luxury hotels etc.
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« Reply #48 on: July 05, 2012, 11:53:03 AM »

The Illinois Policy Institute just came out with a report that only about half the union dues are spent on things that can be said to be directly related to the best interests of its members.  The rest is spent on junkets at Las Vegas and other spots (Chicago?) for union bosses, owning properties such as luxury hotels etc.

Just as suspected.  The union bosses just care about themselves, the employees are seen as money trees.  Shame on them.
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« Reply #49 on: July 05, 2012, 12:48:14 PM »

The Illinois Policy Institute just came out with a report that only about half the union dues are spent on things that can be said to be directly related to the best interests of its members.  The rest is spent on junkets at Las Vegas and other spots (Chicago?) for union bosses, owning properties such as luxury hotels etc.

Just as suspected.  The union bosses just care about themselves, the employees are seen as money trees.  Shame on them.
Luckily for the bosses, the employees are easily whipped into frenzy. Just take a look at public sector unions.

PP
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« Reply #50 on: November 13, 2012, 03:00:09 PM »

Portents of a major social justice conflict among the U.S. bishops rose on the first day of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall meeting Monday when retired Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, Texas, denounced a proposed pastoral statement on workers, poverty and the economy as a betrayal of Catholic social teaching.

If approved in its draft form, the statement would be "lampooned" in the Catholic academic world, he said.

Fiorenza, a former USCCB president, said the proposed statement devotes only one short sentence to the long history of Catholic social teaching on workers' rights to organize in unions, to bargain collectively with their employers and to go on strike if their demands for just wages and working conditions are not met.
....
"Every pope from Leo XIII to Benedict XVI has insisted upon the right to unionize," he said, but the proposed pastoral statement facing the bishops "gives short shrift" to that teaching.

[Update: Fiorenza was successful; the statement was not approved by the bishops.]
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« Reply #51 on: November 13, 2012, 03:56:28 PM »

Portents of a major social justice conflict among the U.S. bishops rose on the first day of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall meeting Monday when retired Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, Texas, denounced a proposed pastoral statement on workers, poverty and the economy as a betrayal of Catholic social teaching.

If approved in its draft form, the statement would be "lampooned" in the Catholic academic world, he said.

Fiorenza, a former USCCB president, said the proposed statement devotes only one short sentence to the long history of Catholic social teaching on workers' rights to organize in unions, to bargain collectively with their employers and to go on strike if their demands for just wages and working conditions are not met.
....
"Every pope from Leo XIII to Benedict XVI has insisted upon the right to unionize," he said, but the proposed pastoral statement facing the bishops "gives short shrift" to that teaching.

[Update: Fiorenza was successful; the statement was not approved by the bishops.]

Good for him, the Vatican has packed the USCCB with men thought to able to speak the talk of the Religious Right - led by Arch. Chaput of Philadelphia. A lot of good that approach has gotten the church regarding the chaning social mores in America and in reducing abortion on demand and gay marriage. This whole thing is ironic since the same meetings are to consider advancing the Sainthood cause of Dorothy Day. And the social teachings of the Pope's referenced by the retired Bishop are not very different than those of the Patriarchs of Moscow and Constantinople in recent years regarding economic issues and challenges facing the west.
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