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  1. #1
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    Jan. 27, 2002
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    Default what role do unions play in current economic situation?

    My father (prototype for Archie Bunker) used to mutter darkly, 'the unions are KILLING this country'! when I was a kid in the seventies.
    He particularly felt that jobs like baggage handlers at airports should not be paid 80,000 per year, something he railed about often enough.
    He had also been attacked and beaten in the fifties (before I was born)by union organisers and it affected him deeply, and of course at least partially explained his strong feelings.
    I was thinking of him today and wonder if he was right or not.

    discuss please.



  2. #2
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    I'm a proud union member, 21 years now. Unions give workers a voice and power in the workplace. Are they always "good" for business? No. They are good for workers. Banks, speculators, stupid greedy home buyers, deregulation, mortgage brokers, etc. are responsible for our economic downturn. America has weathered numerous economic collapses in the last 230-odd years--some frankly worse than 2008s. (and not the "great depression") History is never consulted when we talk about how awful current times are.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    11 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
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    Mar. 9, 2005
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    Default

    Like all things in life there are good and bad unions. Some have become corrupt and driven by greed and others work with the companies to make things better for both the company and employees. Despite the bad apple unions I personally think there is a place and a need for unions today. Companies do not always have the best interests of employees in mind when making decisions and unions give the employees a voice. If you look back at labour history you will find that many of the things we take for granted today, like weekends, were the result of unionized labour. There is also interesting data coming out of the right to work labour movement that is showing that wages in those states is lower than in states with organized labour.

    On a personal note, I was a baggage handler and I certainly didn't make 80K a year when I was unionized. There might have been a few of the most senior guys that made that much if they worked overtime regularly but the vast majority of us were in the 30-40K range. The schedules were set every 6 months and if you were working the relief schedule to cover vacations you were given a minimum of 72 hours notice for a schedule change. If you were injured there was a provision for modified duties until you were able to return to full work.

    When I moved I got a new baggage handling job that wasn't unionized that paid 18K, the schedule changed weekly so I had no continuity and I often missed days off because of the changes made to the schedules that would be effective the next day. I ended up quitting when I hurt my shoulder and the company refused to make any modified duties available and said my only option was unpaid medical leave. If my medical leave was longer than the time I had been employed they would automatically terminate me. My boss was furious as I was also the training instructor and he needed me to train more than he needed me to lift bags but the company didn't care.

    So I worked the same job for two companies, one union and one not. My experiences were VASTLY different. The union company had a large group of professional employees, stability in scheduling, a livable wage and medical accommodation. The non-union company was chaos with unprofessional employees, terrible scheduling practices, poor wages and no medical accommodation.

    Suz, I'm sorry your Dad was assaulted by union thugs, that's not acceptable in ANY circumstances! I do not blame him for having a terrible view of unions after that incident, I would as well! It is behaviour like that that gives unions a bad reputation and deservedly so...
    Freedom is the ability not to care what the other person thinks...

    Got air?! Member of the Asthmatic Riders Clique


    16 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
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    When I read this I thought it said "unicorns". I was going to reply that they are our only hope for salvation in this economic mess we have made.
    Start breeding them.

    Need more coffee.
    SPAY/NEUTER/RESCUE/ADOPT!
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    14 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
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    When I read this I thought it said "unicorns". I was going to reply that they are our only hope for salvation in this economic mess we have made.
    Start breeding them.

    Need more coffee.
    SPAY/NEUTER/RESCUE/ADOPT!
    Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
    The Barkalicious Bakery
    On Facebook!!!


    14 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
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    May. 12, 2008
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    Default

    I don't think unions are horrible, but I do not have any warm and fuzzy feelings towards them, either.

    The unions based in Philadelphia definitely seem overboard to me. A friend was participating in a conference in Philly and could not plug his own computer into an outlet because that was a union job. He also had to wait for someone from the plumbing union to show up because he was near some fire suppression pipes. His set up and take down time was increased by at least two hours - all of it waiting for union members to show up to 'do their job'.

    When I worked for Lowe's, the store they built just south of Philly took twice as long to build due to unions.

    The people I knew that worked at the Chrysler plant in Newark, DE had increased trouble finding work after the plant closed because they made so much through the union for simple jobs that they could not find a job with equal qualifications (not disabled, no special skills) and equal pay.

    I have a choice of three laptops that I can buy for my job. The union one is twice as much as the comparable non-union built one.

    Also, the Port of Wilmington has generations of union workers, making good money. On average, they are not moving out of the neighborhoods they grew up in, neither are they doing anything to improve them. They tend to spend frivolously and end up not having money for things like rent or child support.

    I do think unions have a hand in the current economic situation, but I do not think they are the sole reason the economy is so bad. Overinflated wages and job expectations certainly don't help, but greedy CEOs don't help, either.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by moonriverfarm View Post
    When I read this I thought it said "unicorns". I was going to reply that they are our only hope for salvation in this economic mess we have made.
    Start breeding them.

    Need more coffee.
    I thought the exact same thing.

    Pouring cup#2 as we speak.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvincrowe View Post
    I'm a proud union member, 21 years now. Unions give workers a voice and power in the workplace. Are they always "good" for business? No. They are good for workers. Banks, speculators, stupid greedy home buyers, deregulation, mortgage brokers, etc. are responsible for our economic downturn. America has weathered numerous economic collapses in the last 230-odd years--some frankly worse than 2008s. (and not the "great depression") History is never consulted when we talk about how awful current times are.
    Ditto.

    Also a union member, and glad for it.
    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl


    6 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
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    Mar. 12, 2014
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajierene View Post
    I don't think unions are horrible, but I do not have any warm and fuzzy feelings towards them, either.

    The unions based in Philadelphia definitely seem overboard to me. A friend was participating in a conference in Philly and could not plug his own computer into an outlet because that was a union job. He also had to wait for someone from the plumbing union to show up because he was near some fire suppression pipes. His set up and take down time was increased by at least two hours - all of it waiting for union members to show up to 'do their job'.

    Have you ever had to wait for a plumber before? I can guarantee you even if he had been waiting for a non union plumber it probably would have taken the two hours. I've worked all kind of construction union and not and something always gets stalled because your waiting for someone to show up with something

    When I worked for Lowe's, the store they built just south of Philly took twice as long to build due to unions.

    Because of unions? or because they didn't have enough labour, because of weather, because materials needed were backlogged, because an engineer approved something that caused HUGE problems or any other reason construction sites get usually get delayed, again I've worked many union and non union jobs and its rare that any job finishes exactly on time. Its more likely the original builder set an unrealistic timeline for the building, hired union workers and expected them to work a miracle.

    The people I knew that worked at the Chrysler plant in Newark, DE had increased trouble finding work after the plant closed because they made so much through the union for simple jobs that they could not find a job with equal qualifications (not disabled, no special skills) and equal pay.

    How dare they get used to being paid a living wage, I mean really America. That disabled person should know he's never going to be paid well because of his disability and that person with no special skills? Well I guess it was his choice to work in a car plant where special skills arent necessary. He should have known it would eventually close and his skills wouldn't be transferable and gone 60k into debt right out of high school to go to University to get a better skill.

    I have a choice of three laptops that I can buy for my job. The union one is twice as much as the comparable non-union built one.

    and the one built in China is probably even cheaper, thank goodness for out sourcing, am I right?

    Also, the Port of Wilmington has generations of union workers, making good money. On average, they are not moving out of the neighborhoods they grew up in, neither are they doing anything to improve them. They tend to spend frivolously and end up not having money for things like rent or child support.

    This I see a lot, young guys come to site, making the most money they ever had in their lives and there instant reaction is to spend it all. Usually after the first year it clicks that work is seasonal and if they don't save for winter they're gonna wave buh bye to that shiney new truck and tv. Thankfully they usually after the first couple years they smarten up and start putting some of it away. Though I don't think Ive ever seen someone not be able to pay rent or child support, especaily since child support can be docked from wages if not being paid.

    I do think unions have a hand in the current economic situation, but I do not think they are the sole reason the economy is so bad. Overinflated wages and job expectations certainly don't help, but greedy CEOs don't help, either.


    I work for a trades union. I get full benefits and paid a very competitive wage for my industry. All of my safety concerns are addressed and I work with some of the best people my trade has to offer ( thanks to extensive continuing education programs at no extra cost) and I'll have a decent pension when I decide to retire.

    Allot of people that say Unions aren't necessary are misinformed and don't realise the basic things they have today ( 40 hour work weeks, overtime, minimum wage etc) are all thanks to unions.

    Today unions are demonized as expensive, slow labour performed by lazy workers that can't get fired and will strike if they don't get there way. I can tell you right now, You can get fired, you can get fired from the site your on and if you really mess up you can get banned from the overhead company which means you cant work on their other job sites either which can really effect your pocket book. We also have a clause in our agreement that forbids us from striking, every 3 years we sit down with the other trade unions and we write a new agreement that stays current with the changing times and it stays law until the next time we rewrite.

    Does everybody need to be union? No, some employers are great on their own, I know Toyota has amazing programs, wages and benefits for their employees.

    I've worked a number of jobs where the site is split between union and non union and honestly I cant tell the difference until we talk about wages, expectations, benefits etc I like working union because I have a job stewards who's job is essentially to have my back and make sure no one is trying to screw me and if they are put an end to it quick. I'm given weekly opportunities to stand up and voice my concerns to the top people running the job without fear of repercussion. I mean I can go on and on.


    6 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Oct. 11, 2007
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    Default

    I do wonder, sometimes, how much anti-union sentiment is just plain envy. A lot of people have NO job protection.

    My mom was a teacher and was in the union. At times she grumbled about it, because there *was* some corruption and especially protecting people who were in favor but really screwing up. Overall, though, she was happy to be in a unionized job.

    I have not been in unionized jobs, though when I worked at Harvard, the presence of a union protected the working conditions and benefits of the non-union workers (managerial/"professional") such as myself to some extent.

    I'm happy to see SEIU starting to lobby for hotel workers, fast food workers and others at the very bottom of the wage scale.
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    Proudly owned by 1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia; G-dspeed Trump & Minnie; welcome 2014 Morgan filly MtnTop FlyWithMeJosephine


    5 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
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    Nov. 8, 2007
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    1,539

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    I was hired into a "man's" job under a Consent Decree by a large corporation back in the 1970's. The company didn't want women in those jobs and did all they could to get rid of the few of us that took them, i.e., writing up minor issues, harassment by supervisors, etc., you get the idea. Without the union, who supported us 100%, that strategy would have worked.


    11 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Dec. 4, 2005
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    My experience with unions has been good, out here in WA. Now, we start talking Chicago or Detroit, well, no thanks (and you notice those cities...oh my, bankrupt and horrible crime)! That is the whole reason for the term "union thugs" right thar.

    Unions are not bad for business any more than farmers raising the price of corn are bad for business or the cost of sheet metal rising because of need. They are an advocate for the worker, it is literally just a united group who bargains for pay in exchange for working. Labor is a resource just like the aforementioned corn or sheet metal. The costs of resources can raise and sometimes (but not often) fall. Right now I deal mostly with an electrical workers union(s) and they are right on. Sincerely a pelasure to deal with, although I am not a member.

    The union at the community college I worked at before was the one who showed the most need, meaning, the employees needed a union. Admin/Exec at that college, sheesh, talk about lacking They kept the ineffectual mid level managers, the ones with a real lack of integrity and let them treat employees horribly. Coming from a restaurant and production supervisor background I was appalled at the way folks were treated. I found myself lining up with the union pretty quickly as I found the E-Team to be either non-supportive or disinterested in taking care of their employees. There is definitely a need for unions, it is a better balance of power and resource.
    The Knotted Pony

    Proud and upstanding member of the Snort and Blow Clique.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
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    MY BIL and nephew are card carrying republicans who are union members (required) at the Savannah, GA port where they work. They shrug and take the $$ to the bank. They will tell you they are overpaid for what they do but hey, it's the contract that was negotiated.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by canadianbacon View Post
    Like all things in life there are good and bad unions. Some have become corrupt and driven by greed and others work with the companies to make things better for both the company and employees. Despite the bad apple unions I personally think there is a place and a need for unions today. Companies do not always have the best interests of employees in mind when making decisions and unions give the employees a voice. If you look back at labour history you will find that many of the things we take for granted today, like weekends, were the result of unionized labour. There is also interesting data coming out of the right to work labour movement that is showing that wages in those states is lower than in states with organized labour.

    On a personal note, I was a baggage handler and I certainly didn't make 80K a year when I was unionized. There might have been a few of the most senior guys that made that much if they worked overtime regularly but the vast majority of us were in the 30-40K range. The schedules were set every 6 months and if you were working the relief schedule to cover vacations you were given a minimum of 72 hours notice for a schedule change. If you were injured there was a provision for modified duties until you were able to return to full work.

    When I moved I got a new baggage handling job that wasn't unionized that paid 18K, the schedule changed weekly so I had no continuity and I often missed days off because of the changes made to the schedules that would be effective the next day. I ended up quitting when I hurt my shoulder and the company refused to make any modified duties available and said my only option was unpaid medical leave. If my medical leave was longer than the time I had been employed they would automatically terminate me. My boss was furious as I was also the training instructor and he needed me to train more than he needed me to lift bags but the company didn't care.

    So I worked the same job for two companies, one union and one not. My experiences were VASTLY different. The union company had a large group of professional employees, stability in scheduling, a livable wage and medical accommodation. The non-union company was chaos with unprofessional employees, terrible scheduling practices, poor wages and no medical accommodation.

    Suz, I'm sorry your Dad was assaulted by union thugs, that's not acceptable in ANY circumstances! I do not blame him for having a terrible view of unions after that incident, I would as well! It is behaviour like that that gives unions a bad reputation and deservedly so...
    As you say there, there are good and bad companies, no sense in having unions so the bad companies are taken to task and made to do what is right for the workers.
    Laws and people not working for bad companies does that just as well.

    Unions are just not necessary, they are one more middleman.
    Guess who ends up paying the most for that unnecessary middleman?
    The workers they are supposedly helping.

    Strong labor laws and strong enforcement of those, as we already have, is what really helps workers.

    Many business are doing fine without unions, many workers are doing fine without unions AND saving all that unions cost both, the workers and management.

    The worst problem with unions is that they FORCE those that want to work where they have the upper hand to belong to the unions.
    That is wrong.

    I too know people that they and their families were beaten and terrorized by union members.

    What role do unions have today?
    Unions are holding some trades and services hostage to their services, while really not having that much influence in general outside of those, other than with their lobbying, where they are just one more out there trying to get some or another advantage for what they do when laws and regulations are passed.
    They are one more of so much jetsam and flotsam in Washington.

    People want to associate by trade or other?
    Make yourself an association for that, where it is good to belong to it, but truly voluntary, no need to be a union with all that implies.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    MY BIL and nephew are card carrying republicans who are union members (required) at the Savannah, GA port where they work. They shrug and take the $$ to the bank. They will tell you they are overpaid for what they do but hey, it's the contract that was negotiated.
    Are they overpaid, or are other workers underpaid?
    Join the Clinton 2016 campaign...Hillary For America. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/


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  16. #16
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    Bluey, how long have you lived in the U.S.? I'm going to guess you really don't have a clue about unions in this country.
    Join the Clinton 2016 campaign...Hillary For America. https://www.hillaryclinton.com/


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    Are they overpaid, or are other workers underpaid?
    A negotiated contract with two parties obviously agreed that the labor was worth the pay! I'm pretty conservative and I have no issue with it. I think there is a group of "stereotypical" Rs who just follow propaganda and just denounce anything they *think* might not be party line.
    The Knotted Pony

    Proud and upstanding member of the Snort and Blow Clique.


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  18. #18
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    DH is not in the union, but they still went to bat for him when he was written up for something that wasn't even his job.

    On the other hand, there used to be a steel plant near by, SIL worked there, made good money, although the work was the pits.

    Union went on strike demanding this or that...
    The majority of the plant is now in China, the company shut down, the jobs are gone.
    Similar happened at the nearby Goodyear plant. The place was set to shut down. Only the fiasko with the Firestone tires back then saved those jobs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
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    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
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    Hostess no longer exists because of the unions. Unions are costing our government a fortune. Government contracts are given to those in a union and their wages are double what the averages are for non union workers doing the same jobs in the same areas.

    At one time, unions were invaluable. Now, I think they do more harm than good.


    7 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
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    Jun. 16, 2001
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    Well if there were more* unions it would be a good thing. The standard of living got better when the country had a strong union base.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajierene View Post
    I have a choice of three laptops that I can buy for my job. The union one is twice as much as the comparable non-union built one.
    I'm hoping that you bit the bullet and bought the union one and kept the jobs here.

    Whenever possible buy American. Buying local is even better because it keeps the money in your community.

    http://www.themadeinamericamovement.com/shop.html

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    Are they overpaid, or are other workers underpaid?
    Other workers are underpaid. Wages have been on average either stagnant or dropping since the late 80s, most didn't notice it because the women entered the workplace. Then enter NAFTA and the jobs started being exported overseas, but you had your house an ATM so people didn't notice until 2008.



    *Non governmental unions, the Police, State and Federal workers should not unionize because the taxpayers don't have the option of boycotting paying taxes if they are dissatisfied with the service.
    Last edited by 5; Mar. 28, 2014 at 07:05 PM.
    I ain't voting for Monica Lewinski's ex-boyfriend's wife!


    7 members found this post helpful.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraKY View Post
    Are they overpaid, or are other workers underpaid?
    The union negotiates all the wages, shrug. They both have college degrees but when you start on the docks you are low man on the pole. Seniority is everything.



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