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24.10.07 1906
The 7 - Current Events & Politics - Unions
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AWArulz
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#1 Posted on 16.9.05 1212.09
Reposted on: 16.9.12 1217.55
Well, we got a little off the track of answering questions in my new favorite forum, the One Question forum, so I am replying to a message from that forum here.

    Originally posted by Corajudo
    Getting a good education, continuing to develop skills, pursuing training opportunities, being proactive in finding new challenges, adding value to your employer commensurate with your pay, and a free flow of information do the same things far more efficiently. And, these same things also provide a much better reward system for employees.


Generally speaking, as most know around here, I am a serious capitalist and fiscal and social conservative.

But I want to challenge this just a bit, First, a "good education" does not always means some school. It may be skills and experience developed along the way, as well as loyalty earned. Now, frankly, not everyone is meant or should pursue a college education, because we need bubba to put screw a into slot b on the assembly line.

Or whatever. Low skill job. Relatively anyway.

So now you're in there doing your thing, making a living wage. But the guys who run the show find that the have-nots will do what you're doing for a lower wage. So you fire the old worker and get a newer one. Perhaps less experienced, but it's a low skill job anyway.

And that used to happen (and to some extent still does) in many job classifications.

So the response to that was that ALL the employees at a site (and later, in a craft) banded together to say that they would ALL make such and such or No one would work the job at the site. And that was good for the employees, and frankly, I think it was good for the employers as well.

admittedly, in some industries and crafts, it has gotten out of hand. There should be some reform and a lessening of the need for union representation in industries that are mostly skilled. But: Mining, agro workers, assemblers - I see the need.
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messenoir
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#2 Posted on 16.9.05 1400.38
Reposted on: 16.9.12 1401.59
Okay, here's a question:

Wal-Mart, people there work part time (all Wal-Mart offers) for minimum wage and no health benefits. Generally, where Wal-Mart is, other jobs are not. Your job security there is pretty much non-existent, as anyone can do your job.

So, the question is, can anyone find a good reason why Wal-Mart shouldn't be unionized?
AWArulz
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#3 Posted on 16.9.05 1444.45
Reposted on: 16.9.12 1450.42
    Originally posted by messenoir
    So, the question is, can anyone find a good reason why Wal-Mart shouldn't be unionized?


To be honest, it is up to the employees, isn't it? If they want to collectively bargain, then so be it. Our company employs many thousands of employees, the majority of whom are union workers. There is a group of us that are not union though. Except for a couple of offices, where we are union workers. Those guys chose to collectively bargain.

Now, in all reality, the guys had nothing to do with it, but the other unions forced our workers to join an appropriate union (They are stationary engineers union card holders) so they they (The Union folks) would allow them on the job. So now our company follows that contract by the letter of the law. Letter all the way.

Wal-Mart employees just have to vote for it. But they never will.

Boston Idol
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#4 Posted on 16.9.05 1453.03
Reposted on: 16.9.12 1456.09
I'll avoid the issue of whether unions are helpful.
I knew someone who was a member of a construction
union years ago and he said jobs were assigned based
on connections and kickbacks, but maybe his experience
was the exception rather than the rule.

I would like to address the issue of unskilled and low
payed workers by pointing out that vocational schooling
has gotten a bad rap in our culture. High school kids
with no realistic shot at college (or no interest) should
be shifted to vocational training to become plumbers,
electricians, computer repair and network technicians,
etc. These skills would give them more earning power
than a simple college degree and the future of our
no-manufacturing economy will revolve around service
industries like those that can't be outsourced.

Heck, it's no coincidence that immigrants are starting
to take over in many of these areas. They care more
about earning good money for their families than they
do about impressing their neighbors, plus they realize
that skilled services are a great industry for starting
your own business.

The notion that everyone in America should attend college
and will benefit from doing so is a hoax. We need to give
people education that matches their abilities and desires
rather than watering down higher education for the masses.

Would you rather have a college degree and take a fifteen
dollar an hour job or would you rather become a plumber
and earn fifty dollars an hour working for yourself? It's
time to renew respect for vocational training in the US.
We need more skilled laborers, not more college graduates.

Frank
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#5 Posted on 16.9.05 2218.54
Reposted on: 16.9.12 2220.11
    Originally posted by Boston Idol
    I'll avoid the issue of whether unions are helpful.
    I knew someone who was a member of a construction
    union years ago and he said jobs were assigned based
    on connections and kickbacks, but maybe his experience
    was the exception rather than the rule.



I've heard that that's the norm in forced-union states. I can also confirm that that's the norm in Right to Work states as well. It's all about who you know, unless it's a government job in which case money needs to exchange hands to get a contract. That's how the state of North Carolina managed to get stuck with such slow and incompetent road construction.
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#6 Posted on 19.9.05 0701.52
Reposted on: 19.9.12 0705.56
    Originally posted by AWArulz
      Originally posted by messenoir
      So, the question is, can anyone find a good reason why Wal-Mart shouldn't be unionized?


    To be honest, it is up to the employees, isn't it? If they want to collectively bargain, then so be it. Our company employs many thousands of employees, the majority of whom are union workers. There is a group of us that are not union though. Except for a couple of offices, where we are union workers. Those guys chose to collectively bargain.

    Now, in all reality, the guys had nothing to do with it, but the other unions forced our workers to join an appropriate union (They are stationary engineers union card holders) so they they (The Union folks) would allow them on the job. So now our company follows that contract by the letter of the law. Letter all the way.

    Wal-Mart employees just have to vote for it. But they never will.




Except that Wal-Mart has a variety of means at its diposal to "discourage" this and most working there are so focused on just not getting fired and surviving that they simply can't see far enough ahead to take the plunge. Plus the ones who start this likely wouldn't be around to reap any benefits.
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#7 Posted on 19.9.05 0747.51
Reposted on: 19.9.12 0750.10
    Originally posted by Boston Idol

    The notion that everyone in America should attend college
    and will benefit from doing so is a hoax. We need to give
    people education that matches their abilities and desires
    rather than watering down higher education for the masses.


That is so true. In my opinion, the number of people who attend university "just because" is what is causing the cost of post-secondary education to increase so much. (More students require more professors, more facilities, etc. And the serious students wind-up having to pay for that, moreso than those students who attend for a semester or so.)

Mike Zeidler
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#8 Posted on 19.9.05 0833.43
Reposted on: 19.9.12 0833.51
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    Except that Wal-Mart has a variety of means at its disposal to "discourage" this...


Like closing an entire store where the workers were close to unionizing.
AWArulz
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#9 Posted on 19.9.05 0909.18
Reposted on: 19.9.12 0910.58
    Originally posted by Zundian
      Originally posted by DrDirt
      Except that Wal-Mart has a variety of means at its disposal to "discourage" this...


    Like closing an entire store where the workers were close to unionizing.


But, once again, is that not the choice of the employer? Even if the workers do collectively bargain (on basically any industry, craft or plant/work environment), the employers has the right to accept the bargaining strategy of the workers or to not accept it.

If they do accept it, then fine: There exists a contract between the employer and, instead of the individual work, a group of workers. But if they DO NOT accept it (and we're in a capitalist society, not totalitarians or communist), then they have a right to hire alternately.

Obviously, the workers also have their right to band together collectively and pursue legal actions that they desire (like picketing and whatnot). But the employer is under no obligations at all. They can hire other folks. Sometimes that is an issue, because others are unwilling to work at a shop that is being picketed. But they are certainly able to pursure business opportunities elsewhere where they consider the workpool to be more ameniable to their stated workrules.

The business concern has to be the ones that make the decision: Is it worthwhile to abandon my capital investment here, in order to move to another location, because I feel like the labor pool there would be more acceptable.

Unfortunately, this hasn't just happened with WalMart, but with many concerns, again, unfortunately, over unions. An unskilled laborer, median in industry makes around $12 an hour. I admit, that's not a lot of money - but on the other hand, the worker has not exactly spent a lot of time preparing for his craft. He or she goes out there, lifts or shovels or rakes or caries and gets paid a living wage to do so.

Not a Lexus wage, but a living one. So you work some overtime, maybe the wife works and you live more or less comfortably.

Union laborers, though, make nearly double that. Close to $20 an hour. I agree that it's very nice for the union laborers to make that, as I do that it is nice that a guy who puts screw A in slot B on the assembly line to make $25 and hour.

It's somewhat frustrating to me, though. I have spent 20+ years in my industry. I have a master's degree. I am salaried, but if I were hourly I wouldn't make twice what a guy who has a ninth grade education does on his first day. And with overtime he could make more than me. Since I am salaried - I get to do overtime for free.

So you can (hopefully) understand when industries take their manufacturing to places where the labor pool is cheaper. And if you think that is the wrong approach, then you can choose to 1: not buy their products and 2: buy the more expensive products that are exclusively produced by unions.

I mentioned in an ealier message that I see a need for unions in some (perhaps many) cases. But when unions work to destroy or handcuff the industry they work for because they can, that's when unions have gone wrong.
StaggerLee
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#10 Posted on 19.9.05 1117.10
Reposted on: 19.9.12 1118.59
I love how the pro union people always harp on Walmart.

"Generally, where Wal-Mart is, other jobs are not. "

Yes, there may not be other places for undereducated single moms, retirees, or people working second jobs to work. Not exactly the "high paying" jobs unions want to ensure for everybody.

How many jobs are there at a wal mart anyways? Not "this wal mart employs two hundred people" but how many types of jobs? Cashiers, stockmen, and department sales. There isnt really a HUGE supply of those jobs anywhere, unless its a bigger store. So, while these people arent making $18/hour for thier 'skills', they most likely would be just as bad off working at a mom and pop hardware store, or grocery store anyways.

(edited by StaggerLee on 19.9.05 1118)
DrDirt
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#11 Posted on 19.9.05 1215.04
Reposted on: 19.9.12 1215.22
    Originally posted by StaggerLee
    I love how the pro union people always harp on Walmart.

    "Generally, where Wal-Mart is, other jobs are not. "

    Yes, there may not be other places for undereducated single moms, retirees, or people working second jobs to work. Not exactly the "high paying" jobs unions want to ensure for everybody.

    How many jobs are there at a wal mart anyways? Not "this wal mart employs two hundred people" but how many types of jobs? Cashiers, stockmen, and department sales. There isnt really a HUGE supply of those jobs anywhere, unless its a bigger store. So, while these people arent making $18/hour for thier 'skills', they most likely would be just as bad off working at a mom and pop hardware store, or grocery store anyways.

    (edited by StaggerLee on 19.9.05 1118)


I live almost in Western KS. What Wal-Mart does is drive the mom and pop operations out of business. Yes, people don't have to shop at Wally World but with the price differential and the standard of living of the average Western Kansan, they really must shop there.

AWA, it is the choice of the employer, however, Wal-Mart is a bully that wont even sit down and have a discussion. They simply take their ball and go home. That is their right but eventually it will bite them in the ass.

Finally, no not everyone or most everyone needs to obtain a 4 year degree but everyone needs post-secondary education of some sort to satnd a chance, unless you are Bill GATES.

(edited by DrDirt on 19.9.05 1216)
AWArulz
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#12 Posted on 19.9.05 1459.54
Reposted on: 19.9.12 1502.33
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    Finally, no not everyone or most everyone needs to obtain a 4 year degree but eaveryone needs post-secondary education of some sort to stnd a chance, unless you are Bill GATES


Bill HAD post secondary education. He dropped out because the Altair came out and he and Allen were smart enough to lie about their version of BASIC that they had written for it.

Look, Doc, we'll just have to disagree on this, unless by "post secondary education" you mean, "We're hiring Bill today and Sam, you take him out and teach him how to drive the forklift. He's going to take that CDL class next week so he can drive the semi around the yard." There's a hell of a lot of truck drivers, assembly workers, bus drivers, sanitation engineers, maintenance workers, mechanics and other folks who make a fine wage (some of them better than mine) without any formal post-secondary edication at all. Those guys get their post secondary education from guys like me, doing training. Sometimes it is formal, but often it is pretty casual.

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#13 Posted on 19.9.05 1505.01
Reposted on: 19.9.12 1505.24
    Originally posted by AWArulz
      Originally posted by DrDirt
      Finally, no not everyone or most everyone needs to obtain a 4 year degree but eaveryone needs post-secondary education of some sort to stnd a chance, unless you are Bill GATES


    Bill HAD post secondary education. He dropped out because the Altair came out and he and Allen were smart enough to lie about their version of BASIC that they had written for it.

    Look, Doc, we'll just have to disagree on this, unless by "post secondary education" you mean, "We're hiring Bill today and Sam, you take him out and teach him how to drive the forklift. He's going to take that CDL class next week so he can drive the semi around the yard." There's a hell of a lot of truck drivers, assembly workers, bus drivers, sanitation engineers, maintenance workers, mechanics and other folks who make a fine wage (some of them better than mine) without any formal post-secondary edication at all. Those guys get their post secondary education from guys like me, doing training. Sometimes it is formal, but often it is pretty casual.




AWA, What I mean by post-secondary education is some measure of training beyond high school. This may entail a trade school, a truckers course, whatever.

All I know is that when I was young, a high school diploma was more than adequate for a good job/wage. Plus, unless you were a screw up, you could drive that forklift til you retired and had good benes. Those days are gone.

I suppose most of all, in K-12, you need to learn how to learn.
StaggerLee
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#14 Posted on 19.9.05 1907.53
Reposted on: 19.9.12 1907.56
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    All I know is that when I was young, a high school diploma was more than adequate for a good job/wage. Plus, unless you were a screw up, you could drive that forklift til you retired and had good benes. Those days are gone.


Ah, but thanks to the teamsters, you can drive a forklift and make in the low 50,000/year area after a few years of service.
The husband of a lady I work with works for the local grocery store chain that is unionized, drives a forklift, works 4 ten hour days a week and makes $54,000/year.
I dont begrudge him for making it, but it wouldnt be possible if not for a union jacking up wages, in turn, costing ME more money to shop.
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#15 Posted on 20.9.05 0649.59
Reposted on: 20.9.12 0650.11
    Originally posted by StaggerLee
      Originally posted by DrDirt
      All I know is that when I was young, a high school diploma was more than adequate for a good job/wage. Plus, unless you were a screw up, you could drive that forklift til you retired and had good benes. Those days are gone.


    Ah, but thanks to the teamsters, you can drive a forklift and make in the low 50,000/year area after a few years of service.
    The husband of a lady I work with works for the local grocery store chain that is unionized, drives a forklift, works 4 ten hour days a week and makes $54,000/year.
    I dont begrudge him for making it, but it wouldnt be possible if not for a union jacking up wages, in turn, costing ME more money to shop.


Stagger, don't confuse anecdotes with data. The hard facts are that those jobs are disappearing. In the small NE Ohio town I grew up in, there were, among other factories, the world headquarters of Rubbermaid. It's all gone now as are almost all the other factories.

Also heard on the radio today that Wal-Mart has 44 lawsuits against it brought by workers for conditions, including not even being given a required, unpaid 30 minutes lunchbreak. There were important reasons unions were formed 100 years ago.
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#16 Posted on 20.9.05 1044.02
Reposted on: 20.9.12 1044.09
Yes, because the person manning the one hour photo booth for four hours needs a lunch break much like the 12 year old who worked 14 hours in a coal mine 100 years ago.

Its not an anecdote that people around St Louis are making a mint if they are in any union. Its beyond rediculous how much people make for what amounts in many cases, unskilled labor.



(edited by StaggerLee on 20.9.05 1044)
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#17 Posted on 20.9.05 1131.24
Reposted on: 20.9.12 1131.58
    Originally posted by StaggerLee
    Yes, because the person manning the one hour photo booth for four hours needs a lunch break much like the 12 year old who worked 14 hours in a coal mine 100 years ago.


It's not what's needed. It's what's required. And, as I understand it, you work eight hours, you get half an hour off for lunch.

DrDirt: Is this (lieffcabraser.com) what you were referring to?

    Originally posted by the lawsuit
    Managers subsequently under-staff projects and Wal-Mart stores in general. These efforts force employees to work off-the-clock and through lunch and rest breaks. Managers pressure employees to complete assignments, while refusing to permit employees to stay on-the-clock for the full amount of time it takes to accomplish their duties.


(Hrm, pressure to complete assignments while not allowing employees to stay on the clock the whole time? Sounds familiar...)
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#18 Posted on 20.9.05 1206.50
Reposted on: 20.9.12 1206.54
    Originally posted by StaggerLee
    Yes, because the person manning the one hour photo booth for four hours needs a lunch break much like the 12 year old who worked 14 hours in a coal mine 100 years ago.

    Its not an anecdote that people around St Louis are making a mint if they are in any union. Its beyond rediculous how much people make for what amounts in many cases, unskilled labor.



    (edited by StaggerLee on 20.9.05 1044)


Stagger, the reality is that union membership has diminished dramatically since 1981. Some of it was backlash from union excess, stupidity and arrogance. However, in large measure it was an orchestrated, concerted effort by big business and a faction of the Republican Party. No, I have never belonged to a union.

It is anectdotal because you cannot take personal experience and expand it to the entire population. I worked as a mail guy for Vovlo White trucks and I saw what you state but across the street at the next factory the made minimum wage and had no real benes to speak of and deplorable working conditions.
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#19 Posted on 20.9.05 1306.42
Reposted on: 20.9.12 1310.50
Stagger, IMHO, I think that the number one thing driving up costs (next to oil prices) is the ridiculous salaries and golden parachutes that American executives get.

Didn't Michael Ovitz get like $140 mil for getting fired from Disney? He was on the job for just over a year.

I think we need a more European system where basically the workers control executive pay. (Actually, it's more complicated than that, but that's the jist of what happens.)

In one of my Econ classes, I remember being told by the prof that the gap between workers and executives in Europe was significantly smaller than in America.
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#20 Posted on 20.9.05 1323.59
Reposted on: 20.9.12 1325.58
    Originally posted by Zeruel
    Stagger, IMHO, I think that the number one thing driving up costs (next to oil prices) is the ridiculous salaries and golden parachutes that American executives get.


From the St. Louis Post Dispatch

Top executives continued to rake it in even though a lot of shareholders didn’t

    Originally posted by Jerri Stroud Of the Post-Dispatch Staff

    Big bosses in St. Louis earned more than ever last year even though nearly three-fourths of their companies lost ground in the stock market.

    .....

    But management paychecks here still dwarfed those of ordinary St. Louis workers. One hundred executives earned $1 million or more, up from 92 million-dollar managers in 1997.

    Total pay averaged $1.28 million — about 38 times the average St. Louis worker’s wages of $33,424 last year. Chief executives here earned an average of $2.27 million, 68 times the average worker’s pay.


If workers in St. Louis are making "a mint if they are in any union", then more power to them, as it seems they are the lucky ones.

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