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lakeside53
06-16-2012, 12:48 PM
I don't ever get involved in this type of stuff.. but watching the news for the past few days pisses me off.

Local recycling pickup drivers want the same wages and benefits as their garbage hauling equivalents. Ok...


So... "management" offers them $85K a year plus 4% increase per year over 4 years. Oh.. Nice medical and retirement also. And... rejected! Now talk of a strike.

Am I nutz? $85K rising to $98k for driving truck picking up garbage? Sign me up. Oh.. wait, I don't have an uncle in the union ;)

Just seems way way out of line with many other truck drivers barely making a living.

Arthur.Marks
06-16-2012, 01:16 PM
This topic truly depresses me. While I agree with what you're saying from a comparative standpoint to wages available to me personally, I have a strong counterpoint. Rather than arguing a straight up blue collar job is overpaid, I would rather point out the current imbalance of wealth in our society at this point in history. When I look at the larger picture, I tend to say that 85k should be a fair wage for a garbage collector in 2012. Instead, I see people I personally know making over 600k for jobs which are no less demanding mentally as a garbage collector's is physically. Ugh. It really makes me feel hopeless. Here's to hoping this thread gets out of hand real quick and George gives it a padlock so I don't have to see it in the que again. :(

lakeside53
06-16-2012, 02:36 PM
There's not much "physical" about garbage collection in our area - mechanised lifting. Oh, one guy has to take off the lid and put it back on the grandfathered non-conforming cans (no hinged lids).:rolleyes:

Yes, it is depressing, and more so that the continous increases and high labor rates can simply be passed to the consumers who have little say in what monthly pickup costs.

Carld
06-16-2012, 02:52 PM
:eek: 85K for a recycling driver? That is ridiculous. I know they have to be out in all kinds of weather but so do the Postmen/women and they don't get that much. Maybe their union is not as powerful. What skills does a recycle driver have other than driving and dumping bins in a hopper?

The fact is that plumbers, electricians, pipe fitters, welders and other skilled workers can make $50,000 to $100,000 a year in the right area. The high schools don't tell the students about that, just that if they want to make over $50,000 a year they HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE than to go to college. Colleges are a big business ripping off the students coming out of high school and all the teachers are perpetuating this lie. Colleges are just an organization that dumps people out with high debt and no job prospects.

A skilled worker can make as much or more than a person with a college degree. The question is, do you want to get your hands dirty or do you want to sit in a chair all day.

Mad Scientist
06-16-2012, 04:47 PM
Around here the garbage men pickup the garbage, the recycle guy picks up pop cans and newspaper, the grass guy picks up yard waste.

But before they make their rounds the true recyclers, the guys with their old beat-up pickup truck, scrounge the area first looking for any type of scrap metal. I believe they look at my garbage is a gold mine. :D

No union, no benefits, yet there is no shortage of them so we can assume that they are doing OK.

metalmagpie
06-16-2012, 05:08 PM
I live in lakeside's general neighborhood. Around here all pickups are done by fat guys in temperature-controlled comfy vehicles which they don't get out of - they pull up, push a button, and the robotic lifting arm does the work.

I used to be a shipyard laborer making $15/hour in the '70s. I'd hear guys bitching about our crappy pay and I'd tell them if they kicked out the unions and advertised for laborers for half our pay the line would be miles long.

Andy, the Teamster's Union is among the most powerful of all US trade unions. You are correct - the wage you cite is skewed. To pay an unskilled truck driver 1.5X what an electrical engineering starting salary is seems ludicrous to me too.

metalmagpie

lynnl
06-16-2012, 05:19 PM
Where's it say compensation is supposed to be commensurate with relative contribution to society and mankind? :)

It would be sickening to compare the pay of the world's leading scientists, medical researchers, technology pioneers, etc., to the likes of rockstars and their ilk.

firbikrhd1
06-16-2012, 05:41 PM
A fair wage for a full days work is fine but these garbage and recycling people should be careful with their demands. In most places there isn't anything keeping recyclers and waste pick up from being privatized. Waste Management and several other waste haulers are already in business and will be happy to take over for smaller cost to a municipality or county.

Depending on where this is happening 85k may be a median income. I've heard that people who work in NY City make much more than people in smaller cities doing the same thing because the cost of living and taxes are so much higher. That's one reason they move to Florida after they retire.

Dr Stan
06-16-2012, 06:01 PM
Where's it say compensation is supposed to be commesurate with relative contribution to society and mankind? :)

It would be sickening to compare the pay of the world's leading scientists, medical researchers, technology pioneers, etc., to the likes of rockstars and their ilk.

I too have some real issues with the salaries of some professions especially stock brokers who specialize in derivatives.

That said, please let's be very careful about the OT's on this forum. I certainly do not want to see the mud slinging and name calling I have witnessed on a certain other "machinist" forum.

George does a fantastic job in this regard, but let's not over work him, especially on a weekend.

Tommo
06-16-2012, 06:07 PM
I have to say, it's admirable how civil this discussion is. However, just to play devil's advocate, its generally the accepted rule that those who are willing to negotiate their pay are in the end paid higher. That's how it works. If you shoot for the stars you might make the moon. But if this is in San Francisco, then 85k/ year to collect recycling is pretty much on par for the cost of living there. I don't know how SF compares to South Florida. Also, is this a municipal job, or is it a privately owned company?

justanengineer
06-16-2012, 06:24 PM
I'd hear guys bitching about our crappy pay and I'd tell them if they kicked out the unions and advertised for laborers for half our pay the line would be miles long.

To pay an unskilled truck driver 1.5X what an electrical engineering starting salary is seems ludicrous to me too.


My thoughts exactly.

Mike Amick
06-16-2012, 07:03 PM
I agree with Art. I think that everyone should be making those wages. The
ONLY people that are making a living wage are people that are in a union or
people with special talents that the company has to compete for.

When I was kid ... every family on the block had a dad that went to work
and a mother that was a housewife. That's gone. The wages have not
kept up with the cost of living. Companies are making historical
astronomical profits and they reward their employees by closing their
plants and moving them overseas so they can make just a little more.

You really don't know who your enemy is ... it's not the unions.

oldtiffie
06-16-2012, 08:40 PM
Is there not a modicom of envy here?

Some of the posts complaining about how fortunate or well off others are are not pretty, nor is wanting to drive (pull?) those that are that fortunate in this instance down/back to a lower pay rate and social status .

Besides that, getting upset about things that you can do nothing about solves nothing and does no good either.

aboard_epsilon
06-16-2012, 08:53 PM
I say good luck to them ..

it ain't as bad as politicians or lawyers who are on hundreds of thousands for basically pushing a pen or opening their mouth and telling lie after lie .

all the best..markj

Mcgyver
06-16-2012, 08:55 PM
I'd hear guys bitching about our crappy pay and I'd tell them if they kicked out the unions and advertised for laborers for half our pay the line would be miles long.


The problem is systemic, not the unions. Banding together and withholding labour would be a reasonable negotiating tactic IF one of the possible responses was 'you're fired'. Around here this is not allowed. This would lead to the correct balance between how valuable the skills of existing labour are vs what others would do the job for. The systemic failure resulting from upsetting this balance is production and expansion moves offshore eventually leading to the same result - 'you're fired'. In the case of the unionized service sector (particularly public where management really has little motivation to be tough - they don't have to compete) the wages go up and up. Tragic to those who've gone to school or worked hard to earn a trade. That artificially high (meaning not supported by supply and demand) wage damages us all - its a burden making us less competitive.

Carld
06-16-2012, 08:57 PM
I am reading a book about the Great Depression of '29 and one of the main contributors to the crash was manufacturing production was at an all time high, wages were not a fair living wage and the businesses were flush with money. The workers could not afford to buy the products they were making. In the summer of '29 things started coming to a head and then the boil burst.

Does that look familiar today? Are we repeating history?

lakeside53
06-16-2012, 09:28 PM
Also, is this a municipal job, or is it a privately owned company?


It's "private" - Waste Mangement, and the employees are part of the Teamsters Union.

The 'medium wage" around here isn't that high. If you think of Patrol Police and School Teachers as representing some type of medium, then it's about 2x what they get, and they have a union. In the case of Waste Management, what insentive do they have to keep prices down when they just get passed to the consumer?

Another way to look at this : if one of these drivers leaves the garbage job, can he get another even close to that rate? Anyone know of other employee truckers making $85k now and $98k in 4 years?

sasquatch
06-16-2012, 09:33 PM
A number of pay rate amounts are getting totally out of control.

Another good read of comparisons to todays situation compared to the 1929 crash is a book by "Studs Terkel"

Titled- "Hard Times".

sansbury
06-16-2012, 09:57 PM
Just wait another 10-15 years, when that truck won't need a driver anymore. That's where things start getting really interesting.

What automation has done to manufacturing jobs is coming to everywhere else. We've already gotten rid of gas-pumpers, cashiers are on their way out, but those are just the beginning.

And white-collar stuff isn't immune, either. The legal services industry is amazingly inefficient, but that's starting to change. Large firms are under major stress and have been cutting back and in some cases going under. New law school graduates who didn't go to one of the top 10-20 schools are having a very hard time finding work.

Meanwhile we're just starting to begin to figure out that having a teacher stand there and lecture to 10-40 kids for five or six hours a day isn't necessarily the most effective way to teach them. Computer-based instruction is going to shake up education pretty thoroughly though it may take 20-30 years.

Interesting number: How may yoga instructors do you think there were in the US 10 years ago? Now there are 70,000 and the number shows no signs of slowing down. The economy is an amazing thing to behold.

Mcgyver
06-16-2012, 10:04 PM
I am reading a book about the Great Depression of '29 and one of the main contributors to the crash was manufacturing production was at an all time high, wages were not a fair living wage and the businesses were flush with money. The workers could not afford to buy the products they were making. In the summer of '29 things started coming to a head and then the boil burst.

Does that look familiar today? Are we repeating history?

I don't know the book you are reading; some books are based on sound economics some are anything but; political or just fantasy wackjobs saying what people want to hear. Be critical in your thinking when reading these of books and try to determine which it is. If the premise is the companies holding all the money and people not getting their fair share is the problem, well it doesn't take much critical thinking to categorize it.

what would you propose? everyone's wages increased 10%? 100%? do you understand what the result would be?

J Tiers
06-16-2012, 10:44 PM
I know of degreed working engineers with BSEE and years of experience making significantly less than what the truck drivers are demanding.... Odd, that..... Not suggesting exactly that the truck drivers are overpaid, but it seems odd that a typical "8 and home" job with limited educational needs would pay MORE than an "exempt" highly technical design job with unlimited hours per week, and considerably more demanding educational requirements.

wierdscience
06-16-2012, 11:41 PM
I am reading a book about the Great Depression of '29 and one of the main contributors to the crash was manufacturing production was at an all time high, wages were not a fair living wage and the businesses were flush with money. The workers could not afford to buy the products they were making. In the summer of '29 things started coming to a head and then the boil burst.

Does that look familiar today? Are we repeating history?


Actually no,today it's much worse,but for a different reason.

The Depression was brought on by an over supply of money setup by an increase in wages and commercial fluidity during the 1920's.Wages were actually up and industrial output with it.

However in early 1929 there was a natural downturn in the economy that slowed output.At the same time there were some Bank failures in the South and crop failures in the Midwest.A few more Banks failed and then the rumors started to spread.The stock market crash known as Black Tuesday was not the official start of the Depression,that came 2 months later after Shareholders had lost $40Billion in the slump.The economy had begun to recover,but it was too little too late.

More banks began to fail prompting a run on the Banks and then all those panicked people stopped spending money.Production fell like a rock,plants closed people were laid off in mass and the ripple effect spread through the whole economy and the world.

How is it different than now?IMHO we didn't have nearly half of the nation dependant on a check from the government every month.Scary huh?

It's ironic that the Federal Reserve was setup in the first place to prevent what happened in 1929 by supplying the banks with enough currency to stay open and thereby head off the panic.

Originally that's what the local and regional banks did.When one of the member banks experienced a bank run or shortfall of available funds,the other banks would step in quietly and lend them the funds to stave off a panic.When the Fed was established that system effectively went by the wayside as most banks then relied on the Fed to do it.Essentially the Depression in the end result was a series of events that even taken together could have been avoided had the Fed acted as it was supposed to.

As we speak there is a quiet run going on in Europe.Between Greece and Spain being wobbly and France's Hollande driving the rich from the country a whole lot of money is being shuffled around.The only way it is staved off is if the EU can keep funneling money to the banks to cover the loss.Problem is the Euro is already backed by a devalued Dollar to the tune of $1.6T.Should be interesting to see where the next loan to Brussels comes from.It was rumored a few months ago that Merkel had a $100Billon set aside to back the banks,that's not much money and personally I don't think the EU will be saved.If The Brits aren't careful they will be sucked down with it.

Mike of the North
06-17-2012, 12:13 AM
Here is a interesting article on CEO to worker pay difference, it only goes back to the 70's, I remember an article a few years ago the showed CEO pay in the 60's was only 3 to 4 times a typical worker, but of coarse the CEO is responsible for the increase in production :rolleyes:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/02/ceo-pay-worker-pay_n_1471685.html#s932005&title=Wage_Inequality

Mike Amick
06-17-2012, 12:17 AM
If the premise is the companies holding all the money and people not getting their fair share is the problem, well it doesn't take much critical thinking to categorize it.


Lets try it this way.
The problem is when a company considers its employees a number on a
bottom line spreadsheet. You can word it anyway you want to ... but ..
when a company is making big profits and moves it's operation over seas to
make more money .. at the expense of the people that made the
company successful in the first place .... that's just plain unpatriotic.

How about we pass a law that rewards companies for bringing their business
back to the US of A .. ?

Oh wait ... we tried ......... it was filibustered.

planeman
06-17-2012, 12:39 AM
I live in a small city by the name of Sandy Springs in the north suburbs of Atlanta, GA (USA) that is only about ten years old. The city was careful to privatize all services except police and fire. Before the city was formed we were in the same county that contains the city of Atlanta where all services were City of Atlanta and county-owned and were unionized. After the formation of the city of Sandy Springs, our privatized services have REDUCED the cost of services by 33%!!! And the service has improved.

Its the new way folks. Watching what has happened to the financial health of cities around the country, I expect more will be moving to privatization. The truth is the unreasonableness, excessive demands, and bullying by the unions is actually driving the unions out of business. They are killing themselves.

Planeman

oldtiffie
06-17-2012, 01:16 AM
I have no problem with commercial enterprise doing pretty much what they like with their assets - within legal limits - cash included.

It is no different to many who held shares in the stock market selling down to cash to both reduce their losses and to give themselves a better contingency fund post the USA election when the "way ahead" may be a little clearer.

Spending contingency funds right now might be true waste or irresponsibility bordering on criminal.

Unless people are vital to the enterprise they will be "let go" as work for them reduces.

Commerce is not part of the Social Contract or Social Services - that's for "Government".

But back to the OP topic:


I don't ever get involved in this type of stuff.. but watching the news for the past few days pisses me off.

Local recycling pickup drivers want the same wages and benefits as their garbage hauling equivalents. Ok...


So... "management" offers them $85K a year plus 4% increase per year over 4 years. Oh.. Nice medical and retirement also. And... rejected! Now talk of a strike.

Am I nutz? $85K rising to $98k for driving truck picking up garbage? Sign me up. Oh.. wait, I don't have an uncle in the union ;)

Just seems way way out of line with many other truck drivers barely making a living.

That's a good example of the free market, supply and demand and "leverage" (and using it).

lakeside53
06-17-2012, 02:19 AM
In this case there is plenty of supply (drivers)... way way in excess of demand. So how does leverage work in that case? Easy... In this State, for State, City or County work, you either bid as a unionised company OR you have to pay the prevailing age - in other words, even a truely private non-union company has to bid union labor rates and pay those directly to the employee. State law...

A twist.... The unions have (had - it's dwindled) a big fund. In construction when they bid a non-city/county/state job they can offer (I forget the exact term) a rebate on the labor from that fund to be competitive with non-union bidders and keep the union guys employed. Interesting how we got to to this mess. Of course, today the (few) big jobs are State/city/county.

BTW... to be clear - I'm not bashings the unions - they certainly have their place, and if the system allows them to do this then it's the system that's wrong. The resultant huge distortions in pay are simple creating have / have-nots.

oldtiffie
06-17-2012, 02:38 AM
I rather suspect that there is a bit of ego-deflation to think that in a society where esteem from time to time is based on income that garbage truck drivers - of ALL people!! - are seem to be worth and valued more than machinists 'cos they are paid more than machinists and may be more in demand too!!

Wow - outclassed by the "untouchables"!!

It could be worse - you could be on the bottom of the heap ("class") in India.

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8479585

http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&gl=au&tbm=nws&q=untouchable&oq=untouchable&aq=f&aqi=d2&aql=&gs_l=news-cc.12..43j43i400.5968.12127.0.15614.11.4.0.7.0.0.2 31.746.1j0j3.4.0...0.0.9aDvcD7n0LE#hl=en&gs_nf=1&ds=n&pq=untouchable&cp=17&gs_id=o&xhr=t&q=untouchable+caste&pf=p&gl=au&tbm=nws&sclient=psy-ab&oq=untouchable+caste&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=6dffe2c513f8bbec&biw=1280&bih=545

Perhaps that garbage truck job is not looking so bad after all (if you can swallow your "pride") - and the pay, hours, conditions and benefits don't look too bad either.

aboard_epsilon
06-17-2012, 07:45 AM
Actually no,today it's much worse,but for a different reason.

The Depression was brought on by an over supply of money setup by an increase in wages and commercial fluidity during the 1920's.Wages were actually up and industrial output with it.

However in early 1929 there was a natural downturn in the economy that slowed output.At the same time there were some Bank failures in the South and crop failures in the Midwest.A few more Banks failed and then the rumors started to spread.The stock market crash known as Black Tuesday was not the official start of the Depression,that came 2 months later after Shareholders had lost $40Billion in the slump.The economy had begun to recover,but it was too little too late.

More banks began to fail prompting a run on the Banks and then all those panicked people stopped spending money.Production fell like a rock,plants closed people were laid off in mass and the ripple effect spread through the whole economy and the world.

How is it different than now?IMHO we didn't have nearly half of the nation dependant on a check from the government every month.Scary huh?

It's ironic that the Federal Reserve was setup in the first place to prevent what happened in 1929 by supplying the banks with enough currency to stay open and thereby head off the panic.

Originally that's what the local and regional banks did.When one of the member banks experienced a bank run or shortfall of available funds,the other banks would step in quietly and lend them the funds to stave off a panic.When the Fed was established that system effectively went by the wayside as most banks then relied on the Fed to do it.Essentially the Depression in the end result was a series of events that even taken together could have been avoided had the Fed acted as it was supposed to.

As we speak there is a quiet run going on in Europe.Between Greece and Spain being wobbly and France's Hollande driving the rich from the country a whole lot of money is being shuffled around.The only way it is staved off is if the EU can keep funneling money to the banks to cover the loss.Problem is the Euro is already backed by a devalued Dollar to the tune of $1.6T.Should be interesting to see where the next loan to Brussels comes from.It was rumored a few months ago that Merkel had a $100Billon set aside to back the banks,that's not much money and personally I don't think the EU will be saved.If The Brits aren't careful they will be sucked down with it.

90 percent of the Brits want out of the EU

BUT OUR GLORIOUS LEADERS THINK DIFFERENT .

they look at the EU as a cosy retirement job , when their time as an MP is over .

all the best.markj

Tommo
06-17-2012, 09:45 AM
This has all been very interesting. I'm reading a book now, called "Local Dollars, Local Sense." It's pretty eye opening.
Considering that neighbors invested in my company and helped me build, I in turn hired the local sawyer to provide me with materials, bought at the local hardware store everything else, hired the next door neighbor to wire the building...
But investing in local businesses is going to be our only way out of this, IMO.

wierdscience
06-17-2012, 10:11 AM
90 percent of the Brits want out of the EU

BUT OUR GLORIOUS LEADERS THINK DIFFERENT .

they look at the EU as a cosy retirement job , when their time as an MP is over .

all the best.markj

Yes,exactly,the EU was a bad idea from jump.Thomas Sowell had an article the otherday that applies well both here and across the pond-

"The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy them, and only in the short run. The current outbreaks of riots in Europe show what happens when the truth catches up with both the politicians and the people in the long run.

Among the biggest lies of the welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic is the notion that the government can supply the people with things they want but cannot afford. Since the government gets its resources from the people, if the people as a whole cannot afford something, neither can the government.

There is, of course, the perennial fallacy that the government can simply raise taxes on “the rich” and use that additional revenue to pay for things that most people cannot afford. What is amazing is the implicit assumption that “the rich” are all such complete fools that they will do nothing to prevent their money from being taxed away. History shows otherwise.

After the Constitution of the United States was amended to permit a federal income tax, in 1913, the number of people reporting taxable incomes of $300,000 a year or more fell from well over a thousand to fewer than 300 by 1921.

Were the rich all getting poorer? Not at all. They were investing huge sums of money in tax-exempt securities. The amount of money invested in tax-exempt securities was larger than the federal budget, and nearly half as large as the national debt.

This was not unique to the United States or to that era. After the British government raised their income tax on the top income earners in 2010, they discovered that they collected less tax revenue than before. Other countries have had similar experiences. Apparently the rich are not all fools, after all.

In today’s globalized world economy, the rich can simply invest their money in countries where tax rates are lower.

So, if you cannot rely on “the rich” to pick up the slack, what can you rely on? Lies.

Nothing is easier for a politician than promising government benefits that cannot be delivered. Pensions such as Social Security are perfect for this role. The promises that are made are for money to be paid many years from now – and somebody else will be in power then, left with the job of figuring out what to say and do when the money runs out and the riots start.

There are all sorts of ways of postponing the day of reckoning. The government can refuse to pay what it costs to get things done. Cutting what doctors are paid for treating Medicare patients is one obvious example.

That of course leads some doctors to refuse to take on new Medicare patients. But this process takes time to really make its full impact felt – and elections are held in the short run. This is another growing problem that can be left for someone else to try to cope with in future years.

Increasing amounts of paperwork for doctors in welfare states with government-run medical care, and reduced payments to those doctors, to stave off the day of bankruptcy mean that the medical profession is likely to attract fewer of the brightest young people who have other occupations available to them – paying more money and having fewer hassles. But this, too, is a long-run problem – and elections are still held in the short run.

Eventually, all these long-run problems can catch up with the wonderful-sounding lies that are the lifeblood of welfare state politics. But there can be a lot of elections between now and eventually – and those who are good at political lies can win a lot of those elections.

As the day of reckoning approaches, there are a number of ways of seeming to overcome the crisis. If the government is running out of money, it can print more money. That does not make the country any richer, but it quietly transfers part of the value of existing money from people’s savings and income to the government, whose newly printed money is worth just as much as the money people worked for and saved.

Printing more money means inflation – and inflation is a quiet lie, by which a government can keep its promises on paper, but with money worth much less than when the promises were made.

Is it so surprising voters with unrealistic hopes elect politicians who lie about being able to fulfill those hopes?"

Mcgyver
06-17-2012, 10:29 AM
..
when a company is making big profits and moves it's operation over seas to
make more money .. at the expense of the people that made the
company successful in the first place .... that's just plain unpatriotic.
.

First of all, you need to understand why trade is beneficial. Secondly, understand low cost offshore labour subsidizes a lifestyle here. What do you think would happen if all those $2500/year jobs were moved back here @85000/year? No more 3 packs of underwear for 99 cents. Rewarding businesses for coming back here is just wrong, its another subsidy or grant and does not promote increased productivity. Business has to exist here because its viable not because the government gives it subsidies.

In broad brush strokes, its productivity that sets labour rates. imo what is going on is productivity is slowly moving up overseas which will put additional pressure toward a lower standard of living here.

Borders are gone, picture it as one big economy. If you want to be the country on top, pining for the past won't do it, you've got to continue to have the highest productivity and generate IP

J Tiers
06-17-2012, 11:29 AM
Unions are not evil in principle......

it is when the union starts to look like the company that the problems start.............

Without a union, it is obvious that most companies would pay the least possible, and it would be very very low.... That is proven by history. "Negotiations" would be "let's see, you are starving and unemployed, so 50 cents a day is better than what you have now..... that's our offer".

That then turns into known abuses like Pullman, or the coal company towns, designed in such a way that the employee would never be able to stay out of debt to the company, let alone accumulate any savings. It amounts to serfdom, where teh person can never stop working, and will actually owe the company when they die, despite (or because of) being employed for 40 or 50 years.

That is exactly what the union was formed to prevent..... to give the union member enough "clout" not to have to settle for whatever insufficient pittance was being offered.

The problem is when the union gets to the point where it wants to have it's members paid an amount which is considerably more than their contribution to the work is worth.

The "clout" the union member has to avoid being egregiously exploited can turn into the clout to do what amounts to a mafia shakedown for more and more money. That is an abuse which is every bit as obnoxious as the attempt on the part of the company to pay just barely enough to force the unemployed person to take the offer.

I would have to agree that the "forced to take the offer" situation can be viewed as a "market driven" agreement..... but if you admit the ability of the company to do that, then you MUST accept the ability of the workers to organize and shakedown the company for an excessive amount of pay.... That is equally "market driven"...... from that viewpoint.

Mcgyver
06-17-2012, 02:13 PM
Without a union, it is obvious that most companies would pay the least possible, and it would be very very low.... That is proven by history. "Negotiations" would be "let's see, you are starving and unemployed, so 50 cents a day is better than what you have now..... that's our offer".
.


with or without a union of course a company would pay the least possible. There are usually alternatives if there is a union.

As I pointed out earlier the collective 'clout' created is fine provided there is a balance of power in the system so wages are market based. In response to withholding labour a company should have alternative to dismiss and hire new workers. The alternative, what we largely have at least in this jurisdiction, results in a great number of examples where labour rates have nothing to do with the market. It got to the point that lug nut tighteners were making 75/hour - what do you think that does to the economy? It creates a crowding out affect, makes the auto company uncompetitive and generally pushes manufacturing jobs off shore as firms look for competitive alternatives. It lasts for awhile with a select few workers benefiting but ultimately results in depressed economics.

Its completely mistaken to believe a company sets the labour rate and its unions that are the only reason companies the don't pay $0.01 per hour. First, labour is a market. The amount of labour is finite., more so when there are skills and specialization. Secondly it's productivity that determines labour rates, combined with the fact it's a market with a finite supply. There are many, many many non union workings making lots of money. The next tradesperson I hire will likely have an increase in starting wage because it's difficult to get skilled people. That's how labour markets work and what determines wages.

barts
06-17-2012, 03:55 PM
As we become ever more productive due to automation, computerization, etc., we need to not lose sight of the fact that a society that does not take care of a substantial majority of its members is doomed to failure. If we want our society to survive, we need to find rewarding work for most everyone who wants it.

We cannot consume more and more, either in a single country or across the planet - the resources aren't there to support infinite growth, and we don't have the time or energy or health to do so either, so fewer and fewer people are needed to produce the goods we require.

Some sort of adjustment is inevitable - let's hope it is gradual and conscious.

- Bart

J Tiers
06-17-2012, 04:23 PM
Its completely mistaken to believe a company sets the labour rate and its unions that are the only reason companies the don't pay $0.01 per hour. First, labour is a market. The amount of labour is finite., more so when there are skills and specialization. Secondly it's productivity that determines labour rates, combined with the fact it's a market with a finite supply. There are many, many many non union workings making lots of money. The next tradesperson I hire will likely have an increase in starting wage because it's difficult to get skilled people. That's how labour markets work and what determines wages.

But, we have an OVERSUPPLY of labor..... AND high prices.

The labor rates are getting knocked down to the minimum very quickly by the oversupply of immigrant labor... even after many have gone home.

Labor is NEVER a true market, because at base, the worker HAS TO FIND WORK.... or starve. Most folks are unwilling to starve to make a point, so they will choose the least obnoxious offer....

Then, since company "X" got away with a 35% reduction, company "Y" will try 40%..... again, SOMEONE will be FORCED to accept that, and so it goes.

A "market" can only exists when there is no compulsion to buy. As soon as there is compulsion, the market is distorted in whatever direction is most beneficial to the ones who have the product that *must* be *bought*, OR the customer in the case of people who *MUST* sell.... in tis case, the workers selling their labor.

saltmine
06-17-2012, 04:43 PM
The next tradesperson I hire will likely have an increase in starting wage because it's difficult to get skilled people. That's how labour markets work and what determines wages

My point exactly, Michael. Skilled people are disappearing faster than ice cubes, in July. And the main reason they're disappearing, at least in my former trade, was due to the business owners and managers' desire to get people without paying them. I consider myself lucky (?) since I retired from the business before I was driven away by greedy supervisors/owners. Now, the industry is suffering terribly because skilled help is no longer available.
Managers and owners could care less. It's no skin off their noses if a poorly trained or uneducated employee destroys or damages a customer's machine...many will tell you, "That's what insurance is for." Of course, insurance can't restore customer confidence. That's something that takes years to gain, and it can be lost instantly with one mistake.

Training young "wannabes" to do the jobs has become an industry-wide joke.
These kids, fresh out of school, pay enormous sums of money to be "trained" in their chosen profession. A profession they were lied to continuously about...Easy work, high pay, choose your own hours, etc.
Many enter the workforce with a huge debt of a student loan hanging over their heads, poorly trained, and woefully equipped to deal with the job at hand.. Many fail. And that promise of making $100,000 a year, right out of school, soon becomes a bitter memory. The only people making the $100,000 a year in the business are the numerous "trade schools" who put out slick brochures, DVD's and TV commercials that border on false advertising.

Unions were originally a good idea.....Yeah, back when we had children working 18 hours a day in dirty sweatshop factories. Henry Ford was one of the worst. He fought unions tooth & nail. Unions forced Ford to allow his workers to have lunch breaks and days off. Before unions, it wasn't unusual for a production line worker to pass out and be dragged to the door, while a new worker took his place. But, like anything else, unions got out of control.
They did less and less for their members and more for themselves.
Unions got bigger, and the members got less.

Mike Amick
06-17-2012, 05:45 PM
I disagree

I really don't think you can find many LABOR jobs that pay very well without
a union ... or an agreement that the employer pay union wages for a
bid job.

I'm not talking about administrative type jobs .. like making loans .. or
handling investments or managerial jobs etc .. I'm talking about labor jobs.

But .. I think there is a serious campaign to create disdain for the unions and
it is working very well. It's to the point where the public gives it blessing to
break the evil unions.

And I do know what you are talking about .. my union "The Brotherhood
of Locomotive Engineers" is big and political and a pain in the ass .. and
many times I feel it is not working for the benefit of the members etc etc
but .. at least the vote still works there .. that CAN be changed. And
I would never want it to go away.

Mcgyver
06-17-2012, 09:23 PM
A "market" can only exists when there is no compulsion to buy.

:confused: :confused: this is nonsense criteria of a market and has no basis in economics. As much as the worker has to get a job, the company has to get an employee.

J Tiers
06-17-2012, 11:27 PM
:confused: :confused: this is nonsense criteria of a market and has no basis in economics. As much as the worker has to get a job, the company has to get an employee.

That is the most false statement made in weeks here. It rises to the level of a LIE. One repeated often but no truer for all that. It contains a fundamental logical error which makes it null and void.

1) the company is free to work the people they HAVE harder..... most have been doing that for some time.

2) The company is in any case not compelled to hire THAT PERSON..... They are free to wait for the person who is hard enough up against it that they HAVE to take a job, ANY job, no matter how crummy the pay..

So, who is "more compelled"?

A) The company hiring worker number 381?

B) Prospective worker #381, who has 3 kids and a wife to feed, rent to pay, and is about to be tossed out on the curb with wife, baby, other children, furniture and all?

That old idea of the company being compelled to hire THAT PARTICULAR PERSON to the same degree that THAT PARTICULAR PERSON needs a job is utter and complete bullcrap, unworthy of repeating by a person as smart as you.

On the other hand, A particular company may literally be the only one in town..... or at least the only one hiring, with a line around the block of workers applying.

Nope, any person using their brains realizes that the company holds ALL the power in most hiring situations involving larger companies.

Steve Seebold
06-17-2012, 11:41 PM
The recycling driver here doesn't get much from my can. Everyone knows about my garage machine shop. I have 3 cans to put my chips in. I have 2 20 gallon and one 50 gallon trash can for my chips. I use one of the 20 gallon cans for 7075 and the other 20 and the 50 for 6061, and I fill them all about once every month to 6 weeks.

I crush my soda cans and separate my plastic bottles.

About the only thing that goes in to my recycling bin for trash pick up is is wet paper towels used for cleaning the machines and newspaper.

firbikrhd1
06-18-2012, 12:01 AM
Garbage Man at work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82V69TX6wIE
I wonder how much he gets paid....

justanengineer
06-18-2012, 12:07 AM
I really don't think you can find many LABOR jobs that pay very well without
a union ... or an agreement that the employer pay union wages for a
bid job.


Reality in this area begs to differ with your opinion. I live in a very manufacturing friendly part of a very manufacturing friendly state, and it is a wealthy area and state bc of this. The highest paid wages here are typically paid by the non-union plants, plain and simple. Starting wages are usually $2+/hr more, and these plants also do not need to advertise job openings on the television and radio like the union ones do.

I know one local manufacturer who has two very similar plants within three hours of each other. Similar products, similar size, similar policies, the big difference being union vs non. For a very similar safety (injury) record, the union plant's workman's comp cost is 7x more than the non-union bc of the "free ride" that union workers get when injured. Does the non-union plant not take care of their people? Heck no, they just dont give free paid days off for minor cuts and abrasions. They also dont have strikes bc union leadership doesnt like the company heads, or have half the other worker related issues. Guess which plant is in the process now of being shut down? The one that costs more and pays their workers less.

Mcgyver
06-18-2012, 12:46 AM
Nope, any person using their brains realizes that the company holds ALL the power in most hiring situations involving larger companies.

You know little of economics yet you say I make the false statements? This is silliness; to proffer it's not a market if one party has a compulsion to buy is unintelligible. It's like you have invented your own theory of economics that conflicts with just about everything known on the subject. Reasoned views on the subject take more than angst and imagination. I think when the ranting starts, intelligent and sophisticated economics discussion has left the building, so its probably time to do the same.




I disagree

I really don't think you can find many LABOR jobs that pay very well without
a union ... or an agreement that the employer pay union wages for a
bid job.

This suggests you are right , although there are lots of contrary anecdotes:

http://usgovinfo.about.com/cs/jobsemployment/a/unionwages.htm


My original point however was that its not the union that stops wages from going to $0.01. That unions can elevate wages is, based on the above, true. However while that may benefit a particular employee in the short, term is it good for the economy? For every benefit there is a cost....don't just think of the worker who makes more for the near term....think also about the future worker who ends flipping burgers or driving a tow motor because labour priced themselves out of the market and future expansion was done offshore etc.

dp
06-18-2012, 01:01 AM
I'm labor and I'm working two jobs and drawing SS. No unions involved, but I'm pulling in close to $10,000/month before taxes at the moment doing things anyone can do. My retirement starts in September, officially, and I'll have quit both jobs. Actually in one case that is when the contract ends. After that the income drops to SS only and what ever I choose to pull from my retirement investments. I will likely work contract jobs from time to time to pay for my lust for Kona, Hawaii :)

In my yoot I used to be anti-union but that really didn't fit the circumstance and I don't think I was ever happy with that position as I don't like being "anti". I'm resolved to the position that I don't see the point of them, but accept that some folks like and need them. I feel that way about religion, too, so at least I'm consistent. Unions are not going away any time soon, and more and more they are the majority of government jobs (is the government that bad an employer that people need union protection?) so it makes no sense to rail against the inevitable.

Dumb thread - needs to be locked.

Mike Amick
06-18-2012, 01:53 AM
Reality in this area begs to differ with your opinion.


I think your reality is an exception.

danlb
06-18-2012, 04:09 AM
There is obviously a market when the buyer is forced to buy a product, it's just not a very fair or balanced market. Normal pressures of supply and demand are warped in these situations because the demand is artificially high.

In a normal market the buyer has the option to "vote with their wallet"; buying from a competitor or not at all.

In the case of the original post, I think that something is wrong when an unskilled worker makes the same wages as a worker in a job requiring several years of training. I define unskilled as something where the basics of the job are mastered in less than a month with no special aptitude.

I am always appalled at the way the local Rapid Transit union goes on strike for higher pay. Their "engineers" sit in a chair and open/close doors every 10 minutes by pushing a button, then once an hour walk to the other end of a train. They get paid better than the median pay in the bay area to do this.

Of course, I also know some managers that have no more training than a secretary, have no more skill and do less work that is actually productive, yet still make 6 figure salaries. That's understandable since managers set the pay rates, and they value their own skill set above that of the workers who produce the product that the customer uses.

Like I said, there is something wrong with the system.

Dan

Mcgyver
06-18-2012, 08:04 AM
Like I said, there is something wrong with the system.

Dan

on that we'll agree.


There is obviously a market when the buyer is forced to buy a product, it's just not a very fair or balanced market. Normal pressures of supply and demand are warped in these situations because the demand is artificially high.

In a normal market the buyer has the option to "vote with their wallet"; buying from a competitor or not at all.


How forced a buyer is to buy has no bearing on whether its a market, but I agree there needs to be competition....which in the larbour market there clearl is. Also, don't ignore that the other side also needs to transact; employers need to hire, sellers need to sell and there is competition....Food for example is a must have....but the seller must sell because its a perishable. Unmet labour demand is also a perishable - you can't turn the clock back increase widget production in the past.

in Jerry's simplistic example...a company held most of the power over a hapless applicant. But a market isn't one event, its the aggregate of millions....all those employees who leave or don't because the pays too high/too low, those who choose it as a career path or don't, move to a growth area or not etc. If it was simply a matter of the employer holding all the power and the worker being forced to take the job or else, everyone would make $1/year. What that scenario doesn't pick up on is that power in a market is the balance of supply and demand. When there's endless supply of workers the wage is minimum wage, when there's not, it's something else. That's a market.

J Tiers
06-18-2012, 09:34 AM
How forced a buyer is to buy has no bearing on whether its a market, but I agree there needs to be competition....which in the larbour market there clearl is. Also, don't ignore that the other side also needs to transact; employers need to hire, sellers need to sell and there is competition....Food for example is a must have....but the seller must sell because its a perishable. Unmet labour demand is also a perishable - you can't turn the clock back increase widget production in the past.

in Jerry's simplistic example...a company held most of the power over a hapless applicant.

it's nonsense to claim that any transaction is a fair market just because an economics book has a definition in it. That is jailhouse lawyering on technicalities, which we will leave for the academics.

In the real world, that "simplistic" argument has played out exactly the way I say all over the country.... The fact that you put on blinders and sing "La,la,la,la, I can't HEAR you" makes zero difference to the reality.

One example... Roofers in the St Louis area. A few years ago, the roofers here were typically rural north Americans from the communities outside the metro area. OVERNIGHT, almost, ALL the roofing crews are Mexican immigrants, illegales in many cases, I have no doubt (there have been immigration raids).

I don't suspect that they got the jobs by selling their labor at a higher price. :rolleyes: I KNOW that the pay rate took a serious dive, since we had a secretary at the old work whose husband was a roofing foreman.... From $12 per hour or more, it dived to the minimum wage as soon as the immigrants came in.... because they would take that pay. They were "motivated sellers".

A North American essentially CANNOT GET A JOB in roofing, because he has to actually support a family, and does not live in 6 or 8 to a room dormitory housing. The immigrant labor is supporting families in far less expensive areas of Mexico, and can afford to work for less, so the companies ALL switched over to lower costs.

The immigrants are also highly motivated to take almost any job, and in many cases CANNOT bargain because they are illegales, at the mercy of the company not reporting them in return for taking lower than standard, and in come cases lower than minimum, wages.


As for what is a "market"....... a compelled purchase (or sale) is "a market" in the same way that voting in a dictatorship (Syria, Nazi Germany, the USSR) is "an election".......

It is a fundamental principle that a fair market is one in which there are choices, multiple seller, multiple buyers. Usually, an auction is the most recognized device for setting a fair price.

But is it an auction if there is ONE buyer bidding?

hah..., it's more like the old system of "eminent domain" purchase.... "You gonna sell now or wait? We'll pay XXXX now, but the price will go down XX per day until the last person sells out. Don't be the last one and get nothing for your property".

Who has the upper hand depends on the state of the "market".... At the moment, the companies can essentially hold (for "general labor") an auction to find the workers who will accept the LEAST pay.

In some areas, and for some jobs (rare skills, CEOs, etc) the auction is just as distorted in the opposite direction... the auction is for the one who will bid the most for the pay rate. That is not the trend experienced by most potential workers.... I personally know of many people who have been forced to accept jobs paying anywhere from 30% to 70% LESS than what they were working for previously....

I know of very few who have manage to get MORE, aside from CEO's and the like. The few have rare skills, or equivalent advantages.