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  • Labor Unions

    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.

  • #2
    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).]
    Civil engineers build targets, Mechanical engineers build weapons.

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    • #3
      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............

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      • #4
        jg,
        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).]
        extreme tractor racing

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        • #5
          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.
          ----------
          Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
          Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
          Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
          There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
          Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
          Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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          • #6
            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.

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            • #7
              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.
              Robert.
              See I told you gypsie's be here!He types faster than I do I guess!
              Robert.

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

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              • #8
                I know that the union helped all those
                Verizon employees get there jobs back
                after verizon let them go as a cost cutting
                mesure.

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                • #9
                  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.

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                  • #10
                    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...

                    brent

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                    • #11
                      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.
                      Rob

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                      • #12
                        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.

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                        • #13
                          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
                          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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                          • #14
                            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
                            I just need one more tool,just one!

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                            • #15
                              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.

                              Jerry

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