View Full Version : Labor Unions

08-10-2003, 10:22 AM
I am intentionally opening here what might be a can of worms. But I have not seen it discussed in this forum and I am interested. This is my position: Labor unions are necessary. And a labor union with intelligent, responsible leadership is an asset to a company. I have never belonged to a union but I have worked in management in environments where unions were present and I have even been locked in a rolling mill for nearly a month while the union was on strike. I mention that only to verify my bona fides on the subject.
One of the regulars on this Bulletin Board, I forget who, said while discussing a different subject that the individual values of the worker, or lack thereof, is the biggest problem faced today by manufacturing industry. I agree with that. The slacker or the person expecting something for nothing is the type who makes unions look bad. And you will find him everywhere.

08-10-2003, 11:08 AM
I'll take a chance and add my thoughts. (holding head low to avoid the flak)
I have belonged to a union, had to in order to get the job. I noticed that the union worked for me like this..... When I worked hard and did what was required for my job, I was a "good worker" and generally ignored. Even when I needed something. When a coworker was caught doing something he shouldn't have (drug related and on the job) he used the union to keep his job. Another coworker was caught with "cute little female" on a loading dock while participating in "tandem wild monkey dance" in a dark location. Both used the union to hold, regain, keep their jobs.

Fast forward to end of college. I needed a job and went back to the same business, different location. Had to pay a fee to re-join the union. I was told that I would be brought in at my previous pay due to my work experience and previous union evolvement. Once I paid the dues, nothing. I was back at starting pay. After a long fight, I left.

Currently where I work, we have associates that just do not work. Yet the management is afarid to fire them for fear of legal issues based on multiple things. We dont have a unnion and we still cant fire someone. Even after careful documentation of problem issues.

Moral, as I see it, unions had a place at the right time in history. They once helped people who could not get better working conditions back in the day. But now, let me fight for my own money and my own benefits. I have found that I do much better than the union did for me. And if I don’t like what the company decides is good for me (it), I just take my skills, tools and books and got to the next place to help them.

(still holding head low to avoid flack)

Cheers! JG

[This message has been edited by rockrat (edited 08-10-2003).]

08-10-2003, 12:08 PM
Family member was in machinists union. Got fired by management for one of those "I am an important manager and I don't like you" reasons.

Union and shop steward did exactly nothing, didn't even show up at the hearing.

But they sure took his money for the previous 12 years............

steve schaeffer
08-10-2003, 12:09 PM
fighting for your own wages and benefits is a losing battle if you are encountered by a budget mangling, tightwad manager.

i used to work for a large company that was union, and it was a necessity. it is a love/hate type of thing, because you have slackers that make it look bad. (weve all heard about the guy that worked for ford who slept most of his work shift every day for the last 12 years, etc.)

the place i am working now is not union, we have a new management group, and we really wish there was some type of checks an balance to their power about now. three maintenance guys have been let go or posted in other roles, but not for any merit or reasoning as to why. the only thing i have noticed is that they are all 28-32 year veteren employees with 5 weeks vacation and the highest wage.
ain't workforce turnover a bitch! this should not be happening, just to save on wages and benefits. the company is shooting itself in the foot getting rid of the experienced workers for cheaper new guys like myself. i could go on about how they molest our schedules and holidays, and how they .....
so i guess it depends on the company and the individual and the guy in charge. i like to think i am fully competent within my range of abilities and skills and am an asset to the company i work for. but what about when im old like those guys were, and i move a little slower, am i going to be put on the street also because some hot shot manager wants to trim his budget down? history is known to repeat itself. and that scares the hell out of me.

[This message has been edited by steve schaeffer (edited 08-10-2003).]

[This message has been edited by steve schaeffer (edited 08-10-2003).]

08-10-2003, 12:10 PM
You'll get plenty of anecdotal horror stories about unions...but I'm glad there are unions. Otherwise we'd be back in "the bad old days" in no time.

08-10-2003, 12:21 PM
I belong to the I)nternational B)rotherhood of E)lectrical W)orkers, Local 175, Chattanooga Tn. (hence the nick ibew-gypsie)

My last job was at a nuclear plant. Limited is the number of people with no prior felonies that can pass the background check. When I got in, I found out the same people go from jobs to jobs making large amounts of money. (some as much as the TVA director I am told)

When you are new, ie: not in the click. You get the crap jobs, the dangerous jobs. DOn't like it? you can leave. If you give anybody any hint you might stay and compete for thier money, you get dosed up with radiation to the yearly limit and can no longer work as a nuclear employee. In other words, you get all the crappy hi-dose area jobs intentionally.

Brothers, no more like brother in laws.

On the other side, Unions are the reason people in the coal mines have saftey, and pretty good pay. Unions are our only defense against employers that act how ever they want. YOUR and my goverment don't care. Calling in OSHA usually just makes the OSHA inspectors get a little bribe money.
Your union works for you, you just have to see to it. I have more in retirement since I entered the union than before.

Even with a union job, watch your back. If you are not union, really watch your backside.

I was ordered to go under the 260 ton suspended by crane Steam generator at Sequoah nuclear plant. I quit. Some people I am so mad at that my vision blurs and my ears ring to think about them. (self destructive anger)

Heaven help them if I run into them when I am drinking and not thinking right. I got sued by the last person I explained my anger to.
Calm, cool and I realize it is a felony to assault someone on goverment property. (postal workers laws)

Ifg you are not union, You can apply for electrical jobs through the union if they can not fill them by the way. They don't like it,but you can. Soon you will have a union ticket, or be the first one off the job.
Right to work laws keep them from refusing anyone with proper credentials. The goverment will eventually bust all the unions down with laws.

08-10-2003, 12:27 PM
Generally I despise unions for a lot of reasons.
I agree with just about everything Rockrat said.The only exceptions imo are the trade unions like IBEW,(gypsie will weigh in here and smack my wrist) Plumbers and Pipefitters,and some of the other construction unions where they train and guarantee the quailty of the workers you hire from them.(At least that's how they claim it works).
I had a fair opinon of the machinst union(don't know which one) a friend worked in right out of school(he was asked to teach a cnc programmer how to cut metal! and when it came out he was teaching someone that was paid more the union got him a raise) but I'm afraid the unions are as bad as managment when it comes to how they treat people.
The only way they really have any power is fear of a strike or gov't intervention in an expensive court battle.
I agree that they've outlived their usefulness for the most part and may be partly(PARTLY I Said) to blame for the current trend to ship work offshore.
But I've never been in one,so what do I know.
A pal of mine at a local UAW outfit may be able to get me a temp job for about 90 days.I won't be paid union scale but the wages and shift would allow me to work the shop and put some extra money in the pot.I've got mixed feelings about it but I need the money.So we'll see if my opinion changes or is re enforced.
See I told you gypsie's be here!He types faster than I do I guess!

[This message has been edited by gamachinist (edited 08-10-2003).]

08-10-2003, 12:45 PM
I know that the union helped all those
Verizon employees get there jobs back
after verizon let them go as a cost cutting

08-10-2003, 12:49 PM
Robert, yeah, I type faster then I talk, and you have heard me talk. I usually spend more time fixing errors thou.

Programmer once, dead language now.

LONG LIVE THE SMALL INDEPENDENT SHOPS, I love making my own products to sell.

08-10-2003, 01:07 PM
To add my 2 cents worth...

I will not work for a union, unless I had to....I respect what the union has done in the past, they layed down the foundation for all of us....for this I pat them on the back...But, the union is not for me...


08-10-2003, 01:45 PM
When I lived in Minnesota I belonged to the boilermakers union. I was very active. Was on the Negosiating (spelling!) commity for 2 contracts and was a trustie. We would have really been a sweat shop with out the union. (We were with one). That being said, the only thing I see the unions doing anymore (including when I was in a union) is protecting the people who least deserve to have a job, and holding back the really good employees.

08-10-2003, 03:58 PM
Unions were a good thing - at the start. They created the middle class and gave hard working people fair wage for their labour. Times have changed - unions are an Ugly, neccessary evil now - much like Microsoft.

If employers are fair and just with employees and the employees are fair & just with their boss - there is money to be made on both side. Employee theft (stock attrition), bad working habits/mentality (coming to work drunk, drugged, pissed off, or just plain stupid), all detract from profits (wasted time & materials) - then everyone loses.

I detest unions and view them as no better than the greedy bastards they once stood up to.

Alistair Hosie
08-10-2003, 05:42 PM
Being always self employed I was never member of a union.I can't say they ever were popular with me. When I was young they nearly tore this country apart with their stupidity.Men went out on strike for absolutely the mosty trivial reasons and what did it bring us the car plants, the shipbuilding industry, etc etc all things we were good at are all gone. We have no shipbuilding left thanks to the stupidity of the unions, no car manufacturung which is British. No British motorbike industry no coal industry etc they really took the biscuit. We had the same problems here striking to save ass+++es who were just out to make trouble. Sleeping on the job, stealing, clocking in friends who never even turned up to work. When those responsible got caught, they could not be fired. The result if you bought a british car it was always sloppily made. And if it broke down which it used too freequently you had a job getting parts.All the time the Japs were taking over,they must have thought God was smiling on them. We had a three day week thanks to the miners. People coming home to no electricity sitting in the dark with no means too cook food that really made people here turn off the unions thank god they are not as powerful today. The eastern countries all benefitted thanks to our stupidity then when the factories shut down they all cried what has happened us we have no industry left.We ended up paying Hyundai and Japanese firms like Honda etc etc tens of billions to set up shop here to give our people employment what a sick joke .Alistair

08-10-2003, 10:15 PM
Well lets see,my dad was union for 25years and he got f---ed over by the company and the union so I guess that may taint my opinion of them a bit.
I too feel as though they were nessicary in the begining but no more.
I still get pissed off about the UPS strike,they didn't see all the damage they did to their customers when that happened.I know of three people who lost their businesses because of it,I myself lost money and work because of it,yea driving trucks and lugging packages around all day is hard,but so is being a machinist and those clowns had the nerve to complain about $22.00 + bennies and hour average!My driver at work had to hide and hang his head low for a year over that one.
I have never been a member of a union and don't see it happening any time soon,the unions are coruppt these days anyway.
I have friends who are union and occasional work weekends in a union shop with no problems,but some get violent when they get shown up by non-union labor,I had chipping hammers thrown at me in a shipyard by some union aholes who were upset that I finished my job long before theirs(reason being If I work through breaks and finished early I get the rest of the day off with pay)even though our companies had nothing to do with each other.I didn't get mad though,there were just a lot of missing valve stems in the parking lot that afternoon http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

08-10-2003, 10:41 PM
We have them, good or bad. In Columbus, Ohio there is a Union Hall named after a union leader that got caught stealing from the union, his name is still on the building, they still like him.

I worked as an electronics tech for a Time/Life owned company. One of the branches was union, most weren't. The union went out on strike, so they sent supervisors to take over the workers jobs.
While our supervisors and some management people went to be scabs, our shop became unionized. I then quit, because if they brought my pay inline with "like workers" I would have lost money.

I realize that unions brought in safer working environments and a fair wage for the workers, but when "professionals" like teachers, programmers, nurses need a union there is something broke in the system.

How government employees unionized is really strange, because most of their unions can't strike by what their contracts say, plus if you work in a union shop, and you chose not to be in the union, you still have to pay your "fair share". So much for the right to work.

Anyone remember the cartoon about the unionizing of the military, where they had a union tank. Before the union, commander, driver, gunner, after unionizing, those same three, plus shop steward, safety officers, negotiators, national representatives, and more.


08-10-2003, 11:19 PM
I worked in a union (IUE) shop for 3 1/2 years back in the mid 80s. The union had a large part to do with my resigning. One thing that really torqued me was having my union dues support political candidates that were for everything I'm against.

Rich Carlstedt
08-10-2003, 11:48 PM
Was a member of 5 different unions in my career.
Was a shop steward and also ran for office.
Got tired of being screwed over by the union...not the company...so I quit and became a supervisor..eventually negotiating contracts with the same union.
Talk about seeing both sides !

Unions have a place...but sometimes the union officials get fat and lazy...if you see them protecting lazy employees...it means they are the same and feel it to be "brotherly"
I also believe that some companies deserve a union !
The way they treat employees is terrible..
Folks, there are good companies and managements out there. One company, which I call "Camelot' had 500 employees ,were nonunion and we were near downtown Chicago...unheard of
They treated workers like family...to bad such fims are in short supply...

Years ago , serving my apprenticeship at a major jet engine manufacturor, 2 300 # goons from our union approached me in the parking lot and threatened to break my legs if I didn't slow down...seems I was outproducing the journeymen and they were looking bad.
And this is a defense plant.. I told my boss about it, so he moved me around so no one could count my parts..
Whenever a union agent tells me how patriotic he is, I tell him the tale...and I know it was real !
I am sure that kind of crap still goes on

08-11-2003, 12:48 AM
Locally I have Worthington Industries, which is Worthington Steel. They make propane cylinders for home gas BBQs.

When they hire you, they expect you to retire from their company, they treat their people well, and take care of them. The people who started with that company have really great retirements.

The waiting list for jobs is long and they are picky, but they make a great product and have great people.

We need lots more companies like Worthington Industries.
I never worked for them, but I know a few folks who work there. If they have a union, I have never heard about it.


08-11-2003, 12:52 AM
I should mention the union electricians who re-wired office spaces at our local plant.

One guy looked exactly like Jackie Gleason, wore white shoes and a white leather shovel hat. In one day , by my observation, he got one single outlet wired. This was after rough-in and inspection, yet.

We paid for his *efforts* the same as for the others.

I wouldn't be concerned if he had even done 1/3 the work of the other guys...people differ. But this was extreme.

In my opinion, the unions are partly to blame for the china thing. They made it expensive, and in many cases didn't try to work with management.
In other cses, management, from experience, didn't bother to try.

Unions did a great thing back in the day. They were needed, and useful.

Since that time, they have had to stay busy, which meant they found other less useful and productive things to do.

Alistair...wasn't that hospital strike 10 or 15 years ago started when a guy carried his own furnace filter up to the work area? Turns out some other craft was supposed to do it.

Alistair Hosie
08-11-2003, 07:34 AM
Oso I don't know about that one but I have heard of a guy who started a strike by using a screwdriver when he was supossed to call a carpenter to do a 30second job.
When I first got married I bought a few kitchen cabinets from a warehouse in Glasgow I lived about a hundred miles away in a place called Oban.
I went with the delivery guy to the railway station and asked the railway porter to put them on the train which left that afternoon. The guy told me that the man who dealt with it would not start till one o'clock which was the time he finished.So it couldn't be done I asked him why he couldn't simply tell the new man who took over his shift I.E started when he finished about it.He told me it was impossible as he was officially finisihed work and could not pass on any information after his shift was up.I explained to him that it would take less than a few seconds to say that there was a delivery to Oban.I had to go and find the shop steward and ask him he was mortified at my cheek and told me in no uncertain terms that it would not/could not be done.It was not on and I had a nerve to ask a man to work beyond his days hours even though we were talking about passing on a little information which any normal person would think perfectly OK and would take up no more time than the other man would to put on his jacket.Alistair

08-11-2003, 10:53 AM
You think you type slow, gamachinist? I just signed back in and want to reply to the thread but ... yikes! Where to begin?

This first part will just be general. If my fingers are still willing to type, I shall try to intelligently comment on some of the great feed back that others have given. No guaranties on the intelligent thing.

I do respect some of the things that the union has done. Safety is defiantly one of those things. The shop I work in has large presses. I am appalled at some of the things that setup personnel are asked to do, and semi-relieved when I here them tell the boss that it is too dangerous. My only concern is the poor fellow that does not have the nuggets to tell bossman that it is too dangerous. Or just does not know better. But on the other hand, there are some OSHA regs that seem a little over the top.

It can also be said that the union is responsible for giving some employees a job that they would otherwise not be able to keep. I have an uncle that belonged to the automotive union. I can honestly say the he would not be retired with all of the toys he has if it were not for the union. Jealous? A little. I whish that I was comfortably set for the rest of whatever, with lots of toys, and a house. But! Did the union make him what he is? Careful here. I believe that if he had not been in a union he would have eventually been forced to work harder and smarter by being a little uncomfortable. This is noted by all of the jobs around the house that need done but have been put off because it was easier to watch tv and hope that it would somehow get done. Now with his back he cant do any of them. He might have had a different type of job that would have been better for his bad back. (his back was injured before working.. long story, fingers tired (pant pant)) Or maybe not.

On the other hand, you could say that my father in law, who was about the same skill level when starting into the work force has done good in the union. And always tells me so. He is right, he is a smart man who I once was worried that I would never get along with (love my wife, hated that we all didnt get along). But he has since retired from a good job that was safe. The union helped the group, not him individually, when things took a bad turn. But, I still make the statement, where would he have been without the union? He was at one time looking at a job as an engineering apprentice when things were bad. But when the union got his job straightened out, he stayed because he felt that it was more stable. Remember when I called him smart just a few lines back? I think that he would have made a great engineer. Such is life.

My fear is that the union mentality is (partially) leading the US into what it has become. A society of individuals that hope that it is someone elects job to fix the gov' problems. They hope that it is someone else’s job to keep their job in the US.

The other part of the problem is the lack of good upper management these days. The instant gratification problem of this society has led upper management to think that it is more profitable to cut maintenance jobs or move jobs to Mexico only because it is easier than thinking of other ways to save money. (like taking a pay cut themselves) They dont realize that making wigits here allows the employees here to buy other companies wigits. Move the wigit to Mexico, the employee here makes no money. How can he buy the wigit?

Now, let me just say, I love the country that I live in. It allows me to type what I just did without fear of punishment. I have accepted that as a young guy, I cant have everything tomorrow. I shall have to work hard for all of the things I want. I shall also have to work hard to keep the things that I have. Such is life. If I see something that I think is wrong, I need to work to fix it. And I believe that this outlook has gotten me where I am today. I'm comfortable, I have a good job (for now), I'm looking at a better job, I am working to build an out building for a shop. And I'm working on getting equipment for that shop. I also understand that others have not gotten the breaks that I have gotten. When someone shows me that they want to learn, I refuse to tell them that what they want to do is not their job. I feed them a little something too see if they come back for more. I have taught AutoCAD to the senior machinist and gave him a way to create his dreams. That’s cool!

Steve, I agree. A "tightwad manager" will keep good things from happening. A good manager works hard to remove obstacles for his / her employees. One of a managers major jobs if you ask me. Screwing with the vacation schedule bothering you. I cant blame you for being cheesed! My business does the same thing. Then, I spend all of my time trying to make the guys happy so that they will continue to work. I'm with you on that one.

ibewgypsie - I thought that it was I)ve B)een E)verywhere W)orking. Let me check, yup, still a little green behind my ears. I'll work on that. Otherwise, I agree. Working under anything under a crane is a little worrisome. Good for you for quitting, too bad a better manager didn’t agree with your thoughts and help you fix the real problem. i.e. the dufus that told you to work under it. I would never ask an associate working for me to do something that they felt was dangerous to them. Although, I have had employees tell me they wont do something because it is dangerous. I normally take another look to make sure that I didnt underestimate something. Afterwards, I will help them make the job safe. Personally! Upper management hates it, but my associates respect me for it. (I hope!)
Ok, no more. My fingers are down to the bone, and I have some more G code to write. I guess that means you will either be glad that it over, or sad that I didn’t type myself into a coma!
Cheers all! rockrat

[This message has been edited by rockrat (edited 08-11-2003).] Spelling and general bad grammer.

[This message has been edited by rockrat (edited 08-11-2003).]

08-11-2003, 02:15 PM
OK, how many of you like getting time and one half pay for working over 40 hours a week? That is a union benefit. Fought for by the general "union" body many years back.

Here is the current rub...Congress andSenate are considering bills, one passed committee, and I believe vote already. The general idea is this. If a person makes $22,000 per year, they are now considered an "executive", thus exempt from having to be paid OT at all, just regular hourly wage. It gets better because the 'salary" rate for "executives" - salary being a straight pay check no matter how few or many hours you work - is now getting lower. OK, figuring this out on a 52 week a year 40 hour work week, the hourly rate of our new "executive class" worker is ten dollars and 58 (57.6 cents) per hour. If you really want to get crazy, figure someone working 45 hours a week - 50 weeks at a "hourly rate" without OT, and the salary becomes 9.77 (9.777). 52 week year, paid vaction of 40 hours / week, and the salary is 9.442 per hour. Unions are fighting this. This gets real convoluted, but these are figures generated by me, and only after calling a "Senate" office to see if I have the idea right.

Now, for the second current rub as to why keep unions. HMO's, benefit cuts, contract language cuts, contract safety language cuts, employee rights language cuts. The good unions look at pay second - trying to hold a level ground or slight increases, but look at Language FIRST in these times. I know this because I am a Union member of a "good" "local" of a generally "crappy" national union, and at the same time, I am also a city negotiator AGAINST a good union of national base.

There are some real crappy unions, and some real greedy "locals". I talk about if it is done right, and I have seen this done. Employee rights such as the prevention of "age discrimination" or firing a person with five years to one month from retirement - a common practice in "non-union" shops I see. The disciplining and firing of employees with "proper and documented procedure". The right to grievance - which can expose a real worthless boss, or expose a safety issue in drastic situations. Right to health care or to negotiate the costs of care, and even take part - I really believe in this part - the taking part in the reduction of costs of health care by "tax exempt savings plans" for health care, the "banking" iof savings in good years for the employees to cover "bad years" of the plans, though savings MUST be shared as well wih the employees or it does not work - incentive. A good union and management team can be honest with each other and lay out financials and work through troubles and good times, thus a good work force.

a good union also protects against unbridled greed, and the current "negotiating trends" that are being proposed 'en masse" by management "consultants.

As a part of my job as a teacher, machinist, and town official, and a member of the state "employers board (man, I get all sides), I can tell you, if you think a union only negotiates against a single company, you are dead wrong. he employers have an "unofficial union" in many parts, and their management attends "negotiating workshops and classes' yearly to tell them the trends and for what to cut, and how to "hold the line", on and on. been to these twice this year, have seen the results already as four "entities" are holding the exact lines.

OK, so good things happen with unions, some are corrupt and run for their own benefit. Some employers are greedy blood suckers, others are the people you would give your ;life for (well...). I have been fortunate to work in good situations 90% of my life, and have been the member of, and negotiator with good locals. I have also been a member of a real hell hole union, and been the employee of a rel bastard boss.

I still like unions, they have their place in the past, lost their place when things were eal good in the 80's and even mid 90's, but now have a place again in these real cut throat 2000's.

[This message has been edited by spope14 (edited 08-11-2003).]

08-11-2003, 02:28 PM

The most dangerous shop I ever worked in was a union shop, the Canadian Steelworkers Union. I've mention this before but will say it again. 50 to 100 guys burning rod at 300 amps with not a single flash screen in the plant. Moving heavy steel on the cranes with no horns or sirens or spotters. Damn near got killed there and quit before I did.

At another shop I was working on a part for an aircraft. The particular job called for me to dip a piece I had fabricated into a solution to alodine it. This required me to time it exactly and watch for a sudden color change in the part. I was standing at the bench doing just that. Now, I had joined the union and had been attending meetings with no problems and got along just fine with the crew and lead hand. While I was standing at the bench peering at that part unknown to me one of the big bosses was doing a walkaround on the upper catwalk to my back on the far side of the shop. At the end of my shift I was informed by the lead hand that I was fired for sleeping on the job standing up, not his fault, he was just the messenger. WTF???? I was not even able to recall at the time what I could have been doing to give that impression. I went to the union and they basically told me to piss off. I was young and naive back then and didn't know the finer points of looking busy no matter what you are doing. I should have put a bit of scrap in the vise next to me and stroked with a file every few seconds.

After that I made it a point to avoid union jobs at all costs.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-11-2003).]

08-11-2003, 03:37 PM
Yep, Evan one little misunderstanding and you condemn the union? You should have filed the proper grievance, if the union didn't back you, sue the crap out of them.

Yep, Rockrat I have been everywhere working, no more thank you, New vehicles should last more than 2 years.

Yep, unions suck, sometimes. The growing and growing bunch of worthless people apprenticed into the union, they can't keep a job at mcDonalds so they become electricial apprentices. They usually are family members of some electrical shop.

I got hit with a wrench for working too fast on a TVA job. It was made out to be a joke, but still left a mark. Later, I returned as a foreman on the same job. MY REVENGE, knowing the rules and cleaning house of the worthless people, calm-cool and I remember.

So, Americans Have become fat and lazy, too scared to speak up at the union meetings about indisgressions commited against them. Over and Over I hear complaints, nobody stands up at the meetings. Like a democracy each voice should be heard.

So, Companies see the grey in my beard and don't hire me, Who is going to give me a chance to prove what I have learned in 28+ years as a electrician? Recently a non-union Japanese owned company that makes parts for Toyota. I am working on the robots.

Local Union regs require at least one senior member on the job. I have seen this abused over and over. Some lazy person who just turned the age in the contract lays around and makes his wages for nothing. The union can't do much with them people. While the older workers who still work, get passed by in the job lottery. Sounds like someones brother in law to me.

I am not done with my union yet. Kinda pissed at the group at the nuclear plants thou. Wire a transformer wrong, nearly kill people and they make you a supervisor. More problems than I can type, and I type fast. Maybe the Mafia needs more involvement, not less.

I should sue My local for the problems at Sequoah, what do you think? I did file grievances that were turned down.

08-11-2003, 04:25 PM

Suing a union back then (70's) would have been at the least difficult and possibly unhealthy. Also, finding a lawyer willing to take the case may have been impossible.

I had an experience recently where I wanted to sue an organisation for defamation of character. I will not go into details about who this group was but I was not able to find a lawyer willing to take the case, not even from another city 500 km distant. They all either said they were in conflict or that they were not competent in that field. I would have done it on my own except here in Canada all defamation actions must be filed in superior court with much stricter regulations as to how actions are persued. I even asked several lawyers if they would act only as a consultant for me to make sure I filled out and submitted the correct documents at the correct time and place and they were not willing to do even that little. In the end it was impossible for me obtain legal satisfaction.

The lesson I learned is do not count on the legal system to help you.

08-11-2003, 10:27 PM
The first people to insulate themselves were the attorneys, then the corporations, then the unions.

No matter where you are at in the world, the "golden rule" always apply; he who has the gold rules!

The problem is generally, if you are right or wrong, piss off the people who can help you either now or later on, is not a good thing to do. Being right can lead you to a battle, that you may win, but you will be finacially ruined by your winning, so what did you win? While the company or organization writes off the cost.


08-12-2003, 02:30 AM
JF.. the joke was, "Want to see the world and travel? piss off the business agent".. ha ha..

Hazing is still in effect, so is black-balling. Keep them discontents in line. At least I don't have to wake up to the soap and the sock treatment.

Personal Politics, I find kissing butt very distasteful. I am very lacking in that aspect.

08-12-2003, 02:44 AM
I did't say kiss butt or brown nose, find ways a round that situation and then do your job well.


08-12-2003, 10:42 AM
Trying this again, I think that I hit the wrong button. If I post this twice, just flame me. (kidding!) http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

spope14 (an everyone) great rebuttal! I'm only on for a short time today. If I dont start acting like I'm on vacation my wife is going to cut my Harley in half with my own torch! I should never have taught her to use that thing.

spope14 - Is this new bill on line somewhere? I have heard about it but have yet to get a copy so that I can read over it well. I would guess that you are right on the numbers. Most bills that sound bad are!

I will admit that a good union might not be a bad thing. So with that, what would you consider an answer to a bad union? I can say that I have ever heard of a union being dismantled because it did more harm than good. I have heard of businesses closing up shop because they couldn’t make a profit anymore.


08-12-2003, 12:21 PM
Shops go NON-union everyday. The people just vote them out. Companies move to Dalton Georgia just for that reason. Cheap non-union sweatshop labor. I know a guy who got his car repainted just because he crossed a picket line. Laws to protect the workers, none to protect the unions.

The people in a union make the union strong or weak. One corrupt person can not stand against hundreds of comitted pee'd off members.

I think most americans nowadays are Fat, Lazy, stupid and near worthless. Most americans would not resist a takeover by a foriegn goverment unless it interruppted thier sitcoms or sixpacks of beer. Waco was proof of this, or a test.

Canada, listen to me, Invade us now.
(actually I love my country, just actually think most people are self made morons)

08-12-2003, 08:31 PM
Thanks to all for your thoughtful and sincere responses to my original question. There is one other good reason for keeping unions. I worked at a facility where there were about 3000 hourly workers and an average of maybe 1 supervisor per 15 or 20 workers. In that environment without some set of rules to go by chaos usually reigns. A union contract, whether or not you approve of every line in it, provides that set of rules. Most problems, like the worker who looked like Jackie Gleason for example, are the result of some gutless manager or supervisor not being willing to step up to and address the issues. I never heard of a union contract that endorsed slackers. And it is universally true that people will be people. It boils down to personal ethics and if a person doesn't bring those to the job with them then get rid of his/her a--!

Spin Doctor
08-12-2003, 09:29 PM
To all of you with the stories about the "union" that keeps going to bat for the worthless SOBs( I've seen it myself to godamn often )remember this. In the US the union is required under the Taft,Hartley Act to make all reasonable efforts to represent their members in any and all disciplinary proceedures. If they don't they are open to lawsuits from the member in question. As to the individuals that get away with murder on the job, that is a failure on the part of management to manage properly And if you guys really want to bitch about unions why don't you bitch about the worst of the lot. The American Bar Association

08-12-2003, 09:44 PM
Okay thats a lot about unions what about profit shares?I hear when these are done right they work really well for everyone involved,I think Lincoln electric is like that,from what I here management is moved out onto the shop/production floor where it belongs and the employees have a say in the decision making and are given incentive for better quality and production,last I heard they where about the highest paid assembly/production people in the country and not a union in sight.

08-14-2003, 01:20 PM
I've had experience very similar to spope 14
and have learned a few things from it. What
appears as a problem, usually is a symptom.
Union existence (in this day and time) is not
only for worker safety, but IMO, a symptom or
byproduct of corporate greed and fear...fear
of the stock prices declining, fear of losing
the bonuses that are tied to the P/E ratio,
etc. IF union officials and negotiators will
understand the value of mutual survival, and
not "whats in it for me", the workplace is
almost always a better place. I'm also an
IBEW member. (Power Plant)

Sometimes I have to remember that the union
is "process" oriented and for "the good of all"
and not customized only to myself. Also,
I've been on both sides and realize why the
hatreds exist. It still seems to be about
greed, fear, and arrogance.

On the other hand, the Japanese use our very
own technology and management styles to be
the competition that took our manufacturing
jobs from us. The Deming Management Method
that they use came from right here in this
country, but no one would listen because the
management and supv. would have to listen to
the workers for new ideas and input. Once
again a management decision to ignore a much
better way.

Just remember that when you walk into a room
full of people, you can know that the smart-
est one in the room is all of us...the
very premise of this forum! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by greybeard (edited 08-14-2003).]

[This message has been edited by greybeard (edited 08-14-2003).]

08-15-2003, 01:47 AM
Yeah, let's get rid of all the unions, lazy useless assholes that they are! They just want to get their members high paid jobs at the expense of company owners and investors. There are whole neighbourhoods where unionized people use their ill gotten booty to buy fancy houses for themselves and their kids and look at all the cars and recreation vehicles parked in front of them! Drive around a little more (on paved roads that those obscenely high wages have paid for) and sooner or later you will see schools!! And hospitals!! And parks where the slackers go to goof off with their families (they euphemistically call it "quality time") and that all comes right out of the company owners pockets! (And lets not even discuss the health plans those slackers get!) It`s downright disgusting what unions have done. In the good old days, if you didn`t like the color of a person`s skin, or their religion, or even the look of them, you could fire them! Fitting and proper! Everybody knows also how unions are responsible for the wrong persons getting promoted and we all know those studies that say it`s 50/50 whether the right man gets the job - unionized or non unionized shop - are just union propaganda! Unions are responsible for only 11% of business remaining in the family by the third generation. Why else would a business passed down from father to so to grandson fail? It`s impossible that it could be bad judgement on the owners part! It has to be unions at fault! Burn them all at the stake! Take back this country and make it great again like it was before there were any such things as unions say I!

08-15-2003, 02:00 AM
Then there are situations such as right now in Vancouver. The longshoremen foremen are trying to negotiate a new contract. Apparently they aren't happy with an average salary of $117,479.00 per year. They don't like the fact that they can't take much vacation during August, since that is when most of the cash crops ship. Where's my freakin violin?

08-15-2003, 02:20 AM
I am kinda peed off, but I ain't burning my IBEW union ticket just yet. You know, by my negociated wage and package, I have 20,000+ in my retirement. Not bad for someone who just wants to work 6 months a year.

Next time someone calls me "brother" I am gonna place my hand over my butt thou.

08-15-2003, 02:36 AM
I asked the shop cat if we were union and he said the mice were and that they went on strike and never came back. He seemed to have chesshire grin on his face. :->


08-15-2003, 05:43 AM
I have to add my two cents..

I don't think anyone can argue that many unions have been taken over by corrupt people who just want to fatten their own pockets ,BUT without unions working people would be at the mercy of equally as corrupt managment who just want to fatten their own pockets.
Let us not forget that American working people owe their standard of living to those workers who organized unions in the past. Anyone who knows anything about history cannot argue that fact. If not for the concept of unionization those of us who work for others would still be chained to machines, working 6 or 7 days/wk , 10 hrs/day. My Grandmother told me of a saying in her sweatshop in New York's garment district in the 30's. It went something like this: "if you won't work Sunday you won't work on Monday". Apparently her boss didn't give a rat's ass about "family values". My grandmother also passed on an old saying, 'those who grow the fig should eat it". She was a shop steward for the ILGWU for most of her years, worked all her life and never made more than $100.00/wk.

08-15-2003, 02:10 PM
I have saw pictures of women sitting at sewing tables wearing ragged clothes. Working on piece meal money. Now, they have computerized scanners that the ladies scan to acknowledge they worked and produced so they can be paid.

The sewing union from what I hear sucks, but look what they are competing against. Kids working in foriegn countries.

Read about the early electrical unions, the members messed thier pants cause the foremen would not let them relieve themselves on company time. People died everyday, the union does educate people, now some don't learn a damn thing or care, they just want a piece of the pie. That is what is wrong with AMerica in general. Something for nothing thinking.

The power crisis in California was caused by such thinking. The small companies that did not have the resources to produce, sued the large companies for the right to sell power.
They bought power at what the producers made it for, resold at a profit. This effectively stole the profits which keeps the producers going causing havoc and money problems.
The judge(s) who ruled on such things should be lynched. (but of course this is just MY feelings)

[This message has been edited by ibewgypsie (edited 08-15-2003).]

08-15-2003, 02:34 PM

California's power problems are due to the fact that not one new power plant has been built in 12 or so years. The environiks and the NIMBYs have managed to stall every single project to death. A large part of the problem is that most people have no science education and no understanding of the issues. A natural gas plant with stack scrubbers produces mainly CO2 and water as the exaust. CO2 is not a "pollutant", does not form smog and is invisible. It is a greenhouse gas and that is a concern. You can blame a large part of the increase in power consumption on the internet. See: http://www.elecdesign.com/Articles/Index.cfm?ArticleID=2677

Here in Williams Lake we recently built a 70 megawatt powerplant that burns wood waste from the sawmills. We shut down the beehive burners and the air cleaned up overnight. It has stack scrubbers and is very clean. It produces double the power the town needs (we sell the excess to CA) so we aren't having any outages around here. It can be isolated from the grid in seconds. Power from the plant is used to run the mills so we are not wasting anything. One of my customers runs a private hydro power plant and generates 150 KW that runs a rural village about 70 miles from here. No dam and no fish kill, the lake has no native fish.

I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to be more accepting of a new power plant in the 'hood after spending a few days baking with the smell of rotting meat in the freezer.

08-15-2003, 05:39 PM
I have belonged to 5 different unions and all have been good and bad. If the people don't attend the meetings and voice their ideas then the officers will run it their way. Unions as well as Government are the people. We are the ruling body. If you as a member don't attend the meetings and get involved then don't bitch about about what the officers do. If you don't vote then don't complain about who is elected.

just my .02 worth.

08-16-2003, 06:44 PM
OKay. My opinions on unions: I believe that most of the safety and pay issues we enjoy today came about because of union members who fought for them years ago. HOWEVER, most of the things the early unionists fought for are now law, so what's the point of the unions now?
I have been threatened when trying to do my job changing the locks during a NJ Bell strike. What right did they have to do that?
Locksmiths don't have a union. Too many "individuals", and small companies. This fact leads me to the following story:
I and a Russian immigrant were working on a door in a train repair building for our local commuter railroad. 3/4 of the way through, a guy comes over and asks us if we have a union card and the answer is no. He comes back with a shop steward who says he wants us to leave the building because it's a closed shop. The Russian pipes up that he's not leaving. The first guy storms off yelling that "200 people are going to walk off the job". I shut the Russian up and tell the shop steward we're done and are just cleaning up. A few minutes later the first guy comes back and says"Nothing against you, it's just that this is a closed shop..." I looked at him and said "Locksmiths don't have a union" and he shut up. Since they see we're cleaning up, they leave. A few minutes later, another guy comes in, looks at what we were doing, and picks up the phone. He starts telling someone on the phone what we're doing and then asked me if we just worked on the locks or the hinges. "Who the f*** are you?" "the carpenters shop steward".
So we left it at that.
My issue is this: Don't ever tell me that I can't work and feed my family because I don't belong to your f******g Club! I am mystified as to what the purpose of a closed shop is, other than to deny jobs to non union members. Does that mean that if someone has a heart attack in the shop and a doctor shows up, he can't do anything because he doesn't have a union card? If this is supposed to be a "Labor Movement", then how could you prevent someone from working? I found out some years later that the carpenters union is training members in locksmith skills(which is really rather funny). If unions are supposed to be about fair labor practices, how do you explain that?
I am rarely asked for a union card anymore, but my answer is always the same: "I'm one of the owners".

08-16-2003, 11:36 PM
The purpose of a closed shop is so the owners can't stuff it with scab workers.

If you vote in a union, and then can't force the other workers to be members, you don't have a union, you have a cute dues-paying club.

I am not big on what unions have become, but they were just what was needed at one time. I can easily see that if you are gonna have a union, it needs to be a real one.

A big enough shop, a few non-union workers are OK, since they won't have tools, work, safety shoes, or any other gear in 30 minutes inside the door. If there is grease to be had, it will be in their lunchbox, or pumped into their locker. They won't be staying long............

08-17-2003, 02:24 AM
OSO: I'm a little confused here. Why do you think that a non union worker has less rights than you?
Why do you call people "Scabs"? Are you saying that you don't look for the place that sells the cheapest gas? How is it, then, that the owner of the company, can't do that?
They are closing a Ford plant near me, and I read in the paper that some of the jobs for long time workers are worth $50.00 an hour. On an assembly line. Is it any wonder our jobs are going overseas?
Why do you feel that it's ok to harass and intimidate other people because they don't believe what you believe? Pumping grease into somebodies locker? Come on.Do you think such an imature, bully-like tactic is funny?
Why do you need to "force" other people to join? That kind of logic is what built the Berlin wall:The communists said it was to keep the imperialists out of their "socialist Paradise".
How is it, please tell me, that union workers are supposed to be doing top notch work, yet they seem to fear for their jobs and think the"Company" is out to get them?
Please understand, I know there are companies and bosses that try(and often succeed) to screw their workers. I realize that there is a need for unions, but i don't see the need for die-hard unionists to screw everyone whose trying to work that isn't in a union.
I'd love to hear your explanation as to why it was right for a union picket to threaten me with a baseball bat because I was paid by the company(of which I am not an employee) to change the combinations on the building door locks.

08-17-2003, 06:30 AM

I can understand your feelings.. one of the biggest problems of unions is that they have failed to encompass the majority of working stiffs in this country. They have become a "club" seeking to protect the wages and benefits of their members without trying to extend those same benefits to ALL workers.. If they/we don't change that policy it will be their downfall. Working people fight amongst themselves for scraps and the boss laughs all the way to the bank.

We have a situation now where most of our industrial jobs have gone overseas. Most of the workers in these countries work under deplorable conditions.. JUST LIKE WE DID not that many years ago. So what do we do..? We call them names, organize "Buy American".. as if that is going to do any good. There is NO way to stop the flight of industry to countries who pay their people 1/10 of what we make. If nothing else, our own self interest and survival demands that we extend these foreign workers a helping hand.

08-17-2003, 11:52 AM
Locksmith, you aren't gonna read this, but I'll type it anyway. BTW I HATE unions for their last 40 years of crap......

A union has ONE "weapon" to keep the owners from paying 50cents a day for 18 hours of work. That is the strike. Everybody stops working.

In a non-union shop, you have the same power, just quit. But nobody cares. You are replaced and life goes on.

If nobody has to be in the union, a strike is just quitting, and nobody cares. The screwing goes on with new victims.

As long as you MUST be in the union, a strike is a strike. and the owners must pay attention or they lose a lot of money.

Any questions?

08-17-2003, 01:37 PM

I am on your side. I "just quit" (STRIKE, PERMANENT) six years ago. I saw Xerox going down the tubes. So, I quit. Got all my pension money out, too. It has a nasty habit of dissapearing. They have not found anyone to replace me in the manner that my customers had become accustomed to. Tough ****.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-17-2003).]

08-17-2003, 04:45 PM
OSO: Of course I read it. Because I don't agree with you, doesn't mean I won't listen to you, or that I dislike you.
I see the value in being able to strike, I don't argue it. But to coerce people into joining the union, in the manner in which you described is awful, and unfair.
It seems to me that many people in the unions spend a lot of time protecting their jobs from other people who want to work. Some of the work rules are utterly ridiculus. Look at the following story:
My friend and I are rehanging a door in almost completed residential building(Why, BTW, should we have to "rehang" a door in a new building?). Two guys are replacing a exhaust fan in the ceiling of the laundry room(Again, in a new building).They stop because there are two wires connected;They have to call an electrician. 15 minutes later the electricain shows up, her supervisor with her. These 4 people shoot the **** for 15 more minutes and then she climbs the ladder and loosens the 2 wires.
We left, but you know they had to call her back to reattach the wires.
So, 4 people stood around and wasted 2-3 hours(Total time combined) on something that could have been accomplished in a few seconds. Who does this benefit?
Another question: Remember Eastern Airlines? As I recall it, the machinists union went out on strike. I remember hearing one of the union negotiators (on the radio),
say that they would bring down the company if they had to. They did, but I've never met anyone who could tell me how that was a good thing. Can you?
Let me explain: I am asking questions here and in my last post. If someone can answer the questions in a reasonable and convincing manner, it is highly likely that I would change my mind. I believe in compromise and the free exchange of ideas. But I'm not getting answers concerning the behaviors I have seen over the years.
No one has yet explained to me why one group of workers has more rights than another.
So you know where I'm coming from: I've been doing my job for almost 20 years, and I'm really good at it. Consequently, my services are in demand, and I never lack for work and I can do jobs on the side that pay rather well. I am in this position because I decided, years ago, to make myself as valuable as posible to any potential employer, as well as being so well trained as to be difficult to replace.
I realize every job is not like this. I'm just saying it so you realize where I get my point of view. My method of job protection is based on merit. I don't see a lot of that with the unions( or in the military for that matter);not only cream rises to the top.
Let me close by saying that I don't mean to offend. You can't get from the written word what you might if I was talking to you.

08-17-2003, 07:23 PM

Everyone...is replacable - usually by someone cheaper and smarter.

No offense, life in Xerox went on without you - no, really it did!

I can be replaced by a huge Stainless Steel phallus...or a whale turd http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 08-17-2003).]

08-17-2003, 07:44 PM
Someone said (Benjamin Franklin got blamed for it):

"we must hang together, or we shall most assuredly hang separately"

That is the union motto, basically.

In a union shop, someone who doesn't want to belong is simply taking the efforts of the union in benefiting the other workers for free. You can debate the "benefit", but the "stick together" part is real.

The non-union worker is saying in effect, "I want what you paid for, but unlike you, I don't want to pay for it, and I won't, so you have to just stuff it, and eff off".

That is understandably not real popular to start with.

If it were allowed, it also would make the union irrelevant, as strikers would be fired and replaced immediately, organizers and officers would be fired at will, any dissent from the management line would be met with dismissal.

Honestly, I can't see the difficulty "getting" this.

Now, as far as the wiring, and that sort of thing, that is a little differnt. That comes from cross-agreements between unions to not do each other's work. It is a bit silly in extreme cases.

Would you want the plumbers fixing all the locks so that you were not needed? In your case that does not quite apply, but you see the point.

The wires on the door are a, "unintended consequence" of the agreement not to "steal work" from other unions.

Nobody is gonna have to grease the lunchbox over the issue of closed shops. (and that would be "initiation" in some shops, union or not).
The reason is that the law says you can have a closed shop. The owner then cannot retain a worker unless they join.

When it comes to outside contractors, that is pretty much up to the shop steward. They may not worry about the copier technician, but probably would have a problem with equipment movers bringing in stuff and setting it up unless in .

08-17-2003, 08:42 PM
OSO: Ok, I'll go with you on some of that, but explain this to me:
Rekeying cylinders has nothing to do with anything a carpenter might do, yet here's the union training carpenters to do locksmith work. That's not very friendly and gives off the attitude of "More for us, less for you". As it is, we don't get a lot of work on construction sites because the carpenters install the locks. I don't particulary care about that, go right ahead.
But, at what point is enough enough? How greedy does the union need to be. I just don't like the attitude that no one's job is important except "ours".

08-17-2003, 08:48 PM
OSO: I reread your post and this statement kind of gets me. "Promise not to "steal work" from other unions".
So this means that it's ok to "steal work" from everybody else? This just adds fuel to my arguement that the unions operate like a club and , while they profess to be for "Labor" they're really for their own members, at the expense of everyone else.
Your comments?
PS What union would cover me? I'm curious.

08-17-2003, 11:44 PM
You are in a weird spot.

Carpenters have to set up the doors, and cut all the holes, and a locksmith would just come and put in the lock. But what if something about the hole needs filed or shimmed? The shop steward(s) would have to sort that out, or the carpenter and locksmith could just let it happen and shut up..
Makes sense for the carpenters to just go ahead and put 'em in.

You get to fix them, key them, etc.

You should ought to be in the machinist's union, except you are both management and straw boss, so you are not eligible.

As far as stealing work, that is just that there is an agreement among unions that they don't put each other out of work by doing the other union's work.
Nothing about non-union workers, that does not come up....

Like I said, united they stand, divided there ain't no union.

Here I am defending unions, and I don't even like what they have turned into.

But, I sure understand where they came from. Every union tradition has its start in a practical matter to avoid getting scr**ed by the owners, and avoid scr**ing members of another union.

If you think the unions we have are a problem, read up on the old guilds of 300 or more years ago. Those folks were BAD..

They covered folks just like you, since there weren't factories then like there are now.

08-17-2003, 11:52 PM

No, I'm not irreplaceable (I'm too f**kin lazy to look up the spelling). However, Xerox did just about bite the dust, and I saw it coming.

On the subject of "stealing work", a friend of mine was servicing a copier in a plant in the UK one day and needed to verify the wiring of the outlet the machine was plugged in to. He proceeded to unscrew the cover plate of the electrical outlet and was noticed by a member of the "brotherhood". They wobbled the entire plant for several days, a strike almost ensued.

[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 08-17-2003).]

08-18-2003, 01:48 AM
Chattanooga (ibew) has a no strike (tva) clause in the contracts. Any Wobble or strike the hall has to pay for it, big money.

Work stoppage, well the union business agent gets in his car and gets "there"...

After the Nuclear job, well they can do anything they want to thier members. For each job negociate away all the bargained for items.

FORCED overtime was one of the issues, Yes it it nice to have a life with your family and not live for the company as much as they need you. We had a overtime limit so the electricians could enjoy life and get to know thier familys instead of being the exhausted guy who sleeps on the couch one day a week.

YOU have no recourse when the union does away with your working conditions, state labor law does not apply. YOUR conditions were decided by the union hall.

08-18-2003, 08:28 PM
I have read every post on this subject, and every post has truth to it but for the people with the complaints about unions; Have you only ever heard bad things about unions or did you just write about the things that upset you? I work in a union shop my wife works in a non union shop. She comes home and tells me about people being called into the supervisors office and being told you won't be getting a raise because you didn't work hard enough to get it. Who do these people go to? You just have to eat it untill they call you in and say we don't need you any more. Oh well, I guess I'll pack up and leave without my pension or medical or anything else because they only let me work 34 hours a week and therefore I'm not entitled to anything. Do you naysayers think that if you give the employers a free hand they will all get respectable and treat everyone fairly? Yeah sure! I have been in the union for 35 years and have seen every situation that was written about on this topic. What some of you fail to realize is the company and the union both sign the working agreement (contract) In there it says what each party is responsible for. Nowhere ever have I read where the employee just has to come to work and pick up his check. If management fails to make the union abide by what they signed, shame on them. Unless you are a sports figure. One of the biggest complaints that I read was that unions have run their course and we don't need them anymore. Why do you think they were formed in the first place? Kids working in factories, unsafe conditions, poor pay, and the list goes on. Do you think that if we disbanded all of the unions tomorrow the Government would see to it that the employers would treat us fairly? We had Government long before unions and they did nothing till the unions forced the employers and the Government to do something. Now we have such great schemes as NAFTA, which just legitimized all of the jobs going out of the country. Brought to you by the Government that is going to protect your working rights. There's good and bad in everything, but if everyone sits on their duffs and does nothing about it don't expect it to get any better but don't blame all of the working woes on the unions.

08-18-2003, 08:31 PM
I have read every post on this subject, and every post has truth to it but for the people with the complaints about unions; Have you only ever heard bad things about unions or did you just write about the things that upset you? I work in a union shop my wife works in a non union shop. She comes home and tells me about people being called into the supervisors office and being told you won't be getting a raise because you didn't work hard enough to get it. Who do these people go to? You just have to eat it untill they call you in and say we don't need you any more. Oh well, I guess I'll pack up and leave without my pension or medical or anything else because they only let me work 34 hours a week and therefore I'm not entitled to anything. Do you naysayers think that if you give the employers a free hand they will all get respectable and treat everyone fairly? Yeah sure! I have been in the union for 35 years and have seen every situation that was written about on this topic. What some of you fail to realize is the company and the union both sign the working agreement (contract) In there it says what each party is responsible for. Nowhere ever have I read where the employee just has to come to work and pick up his check. If management fails to make the union abide by what they signed, shame on them. Unless you are a sports figure. One of the biggest complaints that I read was that unions have run their course and we don't need them anymore. Why do you think they were formed in the first place? Kids working in factories, unsafe conditions, poor pay, and the list goes on. Do you think that if we disbanded all of the unions tomorrow the Government would see to it that the employers would treat us fairly? We had Government long before unions and they did nothing till the unions forced the employers and the Government to do something. Now we have such great schemes as NAFTA, which just legitimized all of the jobs going out of the country. Brought to you by the Government that is going to protect your working rights. There's good and bad in everything, but if everyone sits on their duffs and does nothing about it don't expect it to get any better but don't blame all of the working woes on the unions.

08-19-2003, 01:16 AM
Well said, GB!!!

I've worked non-union as well as union and have seen a little sanity go a long way. The company has to make it before we can make it.

Excellent point about "part time employees" who do not qualify for pension, sick leave, vacation, and other benefits. Have seen families fall on hard times due to the breadwinner being selectively put on 20 hrs. per week schedule by a nonunion employer for the most frivalous "reason".

08-20-2003, 12:55 AM
GB: I admit that I am only seeing the bad parts. The more I read the posts on this topic, the more I learn. I also acknowledge the good that the unions have done. Someone being fired right before they retire, or having their work week shortened to do away with benefits, really sucks.
OSO: What's a Straw Boss?
Help me understand this situation that happened to me( I told the story in an earlier post), regarding the closed shop.
If there is no one in the closed shop who can do a certain type of work, and those who do that certain type of work are not unionized, how is it a problem for the non union guy to do the work? How does the work get done? Who does it?

08-20-2003, 01:03 AM
Straw Boss: A work supervisor, lead hand or foreman with no real authority. He does exactly what he is told and does not make decisions. As in, a straw scarecrow.

08-20-2003, 05:05 PM
Hi Locksmith,
In regard to your question about a closed shop not having a particular tradesperson to do the job. In our shop we frequently bring in outside people to do work such as construction, cement work, CMM calibration just to name a few. The contract states that outside workers can come in to complete any and all jobs, the one catch being if the outside tradesperson will be doing a job where there is already someone employed to do that job, the company will assign someone to work with the outside tradesman. I admit that it's partly for job protection but on the other hand there are alot of things that the company man knows that he can show the outside person for the sake of safety and expediance. It all gets back to (as someone else said) using a little sanity. I hope I answered your question.