Union or non union
  • Pretty simple question, are you for the teamsters or against them and what led you to be that way?
  • The dismantling of union power over the mid-20th century is one of the causes of wage stagnation over the past several decades (in the US).
  • GoodEnoughForMe said:
    The dismantling of union power over the mid-20th century is one of the causes of wage stagnation over the past several decades (in the US).


    Arguments can be made on both sides as to whether or not this is true. That being said, non-union.
  • Slixshot said:
    Arguments can be made on both sides as to whether or not this is true. That being said, non-union.


    Not really, no. Just look at the economic period from 1948 to 1973 and now look at today's economy. The union representation of the former helped keep demand and wages up, and income inequality down. Organized labour is one of the most efficient checks against wage and corporate abuse. Bill Rodgers (Rutgers University) has some decent info on the subject. Less than 12% of the US work force is unionized now, and the stronger labor union wages in turn do not reach many people.
  • Unions fight for workers rights, which is especially important nowadays where every business is becoming a mega-corporation. It's easy for the rights of the worker to get lost in the chaos of business that corporations cover. Unions also help organize citizens to help challenge the government, which is a constitutional right we have. Without that organization, individual citizens would struggle to fight for their deserved rights on their own.

    I agree with GEFM, income inequality is out of control in the USA nowadays. We're beginning to remble 3rd world nations of the past where the nation struggles to provide for their citizens while an oligarchy elite few rule the nation. The USA has always prided itself by contrasting itself to these struggling nations, but now we are becoming just like them.

    In Wisconsin, the Republican governor recently revoked the rights of unions to fight for wages in our state, effectively making unions pointless. With that, Republicans in this state believe in small limited government, so they've been cutting budgets of towns all across the state, including school districts. Now, thousands of teachers are being laid off while the legislature passes laws making teachers more accountable for their students, forcing them to work even more under stressful conditions while knowing they could be fired for factors out of their control. All with this, nobody is allowed to challenge the government; there is no unified structure in place to fight for the teachers here. Without Unions, Wisconsin is suffering.
  • I am part of the union but I do think that it breeds mediocracy and hidden unemployment
  • Like Jerom, I see the need for unions but... the shits gotta be tweaked seriously...
  • Non-Union.

    I understand the need to protect workers rights. There was a time in which corporations took complete advantage of every worker, causing great harm. With Unions came protection, which I think is necessary. With that said, Unions have grown to be something they never should have been. They've turned into a monster that demands higher wages and more benefits for doing the same, constant level of work. That's bullshit. Real workers earn more money through hard work.

    When my father worked for GM, he was part of a Union. During his time with GM, every pay day he saw a select group of individuals fuck up machinery just so the factory would have to be shut down for maintenance, and they could get their checks and go home. Were any of these people ever fired? No. Why not? Protected by Unions.

    Oh, and in regards to Fuzzy's post. Government needs to stay out of school. All Government does when it messes with education is create more problems, instead of solutions.
  • laphamking said:
    Real workers earn more money through hard work.


    So is every worker lazy or something, even though apparently American worker's productivity has increased over recent years? Because they aren't making any more money than they were decades ago.

    Oh, and in regards to Fuzzy's post. Government needs to stay out of school. All Government does when it messes with education is create more problems, instead of solutions.


    Dude, one of the biggest reasons for America's educational middling achievement is a lack of national federal oversight and funding equality. It's leaving poorer areas in the dust and causing all sorts of educational discrepencies.
  • There are bad unions. Using that to justify the idea that workers should never be able to organize to protect themselves is a blinding generalization. It is a logical fallacy that only a Fox viewer would buy. You could just as easily say there are bad companies, and ban organizing capital. Or one bad teacher makes teaching stupid.

    Without unions, workers are at the mercy of the rich. Read any history. Read Toccqueville, organizing according to interst (self interest, rightly understood) is at the heart of democracy itself.

    Rather than being blanket anti or non union, would not an infinitely more productive discussion be how to make unions better? Topically, Obama talked about cutting a new deal with the teacher's union. Getting rid of tenure for all in exchange for better pay for the best. I would love to see the worst 5% of teachers fired, and the best paid well. Union does not mean communism. A union should protect workers, but not to the death, not to the point that it hurts the profession. A terrible worker should be booted to protect all the good ones. You can protect workers in a nuanced way. Many professions are highly organized, and will kick your ass out if they think you are a bad apple.
  • I wouldn't argue that all workers are lazy, because I don't know all workers. I would argue that most workers I know are in fact quite lazy, and make earn the pay for the half-assed work they do. Also, I'm curious, is the comparison between workers and wages today vs decades ago, taking into account the growth in population, the loss of certain jobs and emergance of new ones? What all is being taken into consideration in regards to the wage debate?

    GEFM, I know you and I are a state a part, so I have to ask, when was the last time you were in High School? The last time I was there, my school being the top school in the district got the least amount of funding, and the worst schools in the district got the most amount of funding.

    Funding isn't even the biggest issue though. It's the oversight that is an issue. Teachers aren't even allowed to really teach. Students are being pushed to cram information in to pass a test, not actually learn the information. Everyone is trying to please daddy Government so jobs can be kept and so students can barely pass. I don't know, maybe it's just my old school district and my nephews school district that are fucked up, but I kinda doubt that.

    @West: You're right, there are bad Unions, and it is unfair to judge all Unions by those who fuck things up. That's why I made it a point to say that I understand the need for Unions. I read the Jungle in highschool, I know how abusive corporations can be, and why workers need to be able to protect themselves, but my main point is that it has gone too far. That's why I have my non-union views. Now if they were to be fixed, as you said, then my views would certainly change. Kick out the bad workers so the good one's can get pay and production can continue? Sounds great.

    Milton Friedman even said the need or workers to organize is a must. He also said that the many privilages Unions get are wrong. I obviously agree with this point.

    Now I ask, you've mentioned the proposal for teachers, what about Unions in general? How can they be fixed?
  • laphamking said:
    I wouldn't argue that all workers are lazy, because I don't know all workers. I would argue that most workers I know are in fact quite lazy, and make earn the pay for the half-assed work they do. Also, I'm curious, is the comparison between workers and wages today vs decades ago, taking into account the growth in population, the loss of certain jobs and emergance of new ones? What all is being taken into consideration in regards to the wage debate?


    Well, most news sources I would imagine are just citing the wage mesaurement adjusted for inflation. It can be used to assess wages vs. the basket of goods necessary to be above poverty, for a simple comparison. It costs more to live now than it did in the 70s for the median American, but they aren't making more money to make up for that.

    laphamking said:
    GEFM, I know you and I are a state a part, so I have to ask, when was the last time you were in High School? The last time I was there, my school being the top school in the district got the least amount of funding, and the worst schools in the district got the most amount of funding.


    I graduated in 2007.

    First off, the problem goes way beyond high school, as the achievement gap doesn't magically appear in 9th grade.

    That said, the majority of high schools are in large part funded by property taxes. Poorer neighborhoods means lower property taxes means much poorer schools, lower salaries, etc. It's an endemic problem because it perpetuates a cycle of bad schooling in tough areas.

    laphamking said:
    Funding isn't even the biggest issue though. It's the oversight that is an issue. Teachers aren't even allowed to really teach. Students are being pushed to cram information in to pass a test, not actually learn the information. Everyone is trying to please daddy Government so jobs can be kept and so students can barely pass. I don't know, maybe it's just my old school district and my nephews school district that are fucked up, but I kinda doubt that.


    I agree that funding in terms of total money is not an issue - we throw a lot of money at schools (ignoring college for now). The problem is where the money goes; too much of it ends up with administrators and already 'rich' schools, as opposed to those who need it most.

    No Child Left Behind was horrible, and a lot of the current movement towards test based merit, ranking systems for teachers, and dismantling unions is wrecking the schools. Between all of that and the fact a K-12 teacher makes barely more than a retail worker, what is the incentive to be a teacher? Bad pay, you're always under the gun, you have to teach to the test as opposed to knowledge, and if you're in a poor school district, you're already facing a huge uphill battle. No wonder young adult teachers are so rare.

    There's just no oversight, ideas, or reform other than "kill unions" going around right now. No one in Washington or even state governments is assessing the achievement gap or funding equality. And a lot of the problems are outside school control - poor homes and broken families leave their marks on children's education, but they are not something that the schools can fix, but a viable government program can. In other countries, the social safety net is expected to pick this up, in America, the schools are tasked with doing so through afterschool activities and the like. It's asking way too much.

    And there's not a lot of good professional development for teachers, at all. Most of them come from the bottom percentiles of college graduates. But that again is because the job is seen as a poor choice.

    Little of this has to do anything with the unions, other than helping to make the job more appealing, which cutting down a union does anything but.
  • YEAH!!! The good ol' Laphamking vs GEFM debates! My favorite :D
  • laphamking said:
    I would argue that most workers I know are in fact quite lazy, and make earn the pay for the half-assed work they do.


    This begs the question of what your life experience is. If this were true, overall, then how did all these buildings and ocean of manufactured goods come to be? Productivity per man hour has gone up in almost all industries over time. So all reality and math would appear to be arrayed against this very strange, non-evidenced based, let-me-look-around-my-vicinity-and-state-my-feelings, statement. I am dying to know what your work experience is, that you feel comfortable judging "most" of those around you.
  • westsw said:
    This begs the question of what your life experience is. If this were true, overall, then how did all these buildings and ocean of manufactured goods come to be? Productivity per man hour has gone up in almost all industries over time. So all reality and math would appear to be arrayed against this very strange, non-evidenced based, let-me-look-around-my-vicinity-and-state-my-feelings, statement. I am dying to know what your work experience is, that you feel comfortable judging "most" of those around you.

    Workers can still be "generally" lazy and get a lot done because technology is so much better. At my current job they cut a third of the jobs and doubled production because of better equipment.
    i cant do a proper response to all the posts because im on my phone at work.....hmmmm who was I just calling lazy?
    but this thread pretty much went exactly how I expected. Gefm never lets me down.
  • On Negotiations
    I've turned down job opportunities because union membership was a requirement of the job. I simply refuse to be part of it. Perhaps it's arrogance on my part, but I don't need someone else negotiating my pay for me, and I also don't want to be told by said person when I have to stop work because they want more pay.

    On Safety and Working Conditions
    That said, I work with union employees. I think they are generally good people, and I absolutely get it when a union forms over safety issues and job conditions. When the NBEW (later the IBEW) formed, it was because 1 out of every 2 hired linemen were getting killed on the job. People don't realize it now, but in the early days of baseball, the players were getting run ragged for virtually no pay. If a union comes to management over safety concerns, they have my backing 100%. The problem I have is when I see more done for the benefit of the union than I do for the benefit of the workers they represent.

    On Wages - Constraint of Supply
    wages are the price of labor, and like all things, their price is determined by supply and demand. Unions have no power over the demand for labor, so the only way they can increase wages is to constrain the supply. The more skilled the craft, the easier it is to unionize or form a guild (like the Screen Actor's Guild). We can say all day that they get better wages, but they do so under the threat of cutting the labor supply off.

    This is perfectly reasonable right up to the point where a worker wants to work and is not permitted to because of coercion from the union. For example, when it comes to commissioned artwork, I control my price; if someone wants to pay for my time, then they are going to pay it at my rate. But if I start going to other artists and bullying them to raise their rates to make it easier for me to demand a higher pay, it's wrong. Likewise, if another artist starts to bully me to stop work because he's not happy about his wages, it's wrong.

    Unions vs Lawyers
    Here's another way to think about it: being pro-union or anti-union is like being pro-lawyer or anti-lawyer. The lawyer and the union both represent a client in negotiations, defend them in arbitration, etc. Most people would characterize this as a good thing right up to the point where the lawyer tells the client that the client can't fire the lawyer and starts to physically coerce the client into keeping him on retainer. At no point in the relationship should the lawyer have power over the client; likewise, at no point should the union have power over the employee.
  • I certainly believe in them and think they have their place. All the things we take for granted on our jobs now came about because people had to fight for it. Sure, there are corrupt unions but if nothing else is standing between me and the cold-hearted nature of big business, I'll take the corrupted union any day.
  • I am in Sudbury now which is a big industrial area in Canada. The Unions here are a major driving force in the community. I just applied to be an apprentice with one of them; it's a good opportunity and I think Unions that handle themselves well are those that do good for its employees. I also know a lot of Union stewards and people who are involved in negotiations; usually I have a lot of respect for these people because they are the ones on the front lines, fighting for the rights of the people, they are passionate about the trades they work with and sympathetic to the needs of the people working those trades. As such, they are in a position to understand exactly what it is that their particular workers need.

    The problem in my eyes, is not with the people who protect the workers, it's with the workers themselves who abuse this system.

    Everyone is out for themselves in the world and unfortunately, there's a lot of people who get greedy. The fact is, there's a change coming. Unions fight to protect workers rights but even some unions have had to back down and say 'fuck, if we don't do something no one's going to have a job, much less have a wage increase.' So you get these unions that don't recognize this and then you get companies who are busting at the seams trying to give all they can. Did you know, for instance, that some Chrysler workers' spouses collected pension benefits from Chrysler even after the worker's death? While yes, that's great for the worker, sometimes old systems like this put a lot of strain on a company not doing well, then everyone suffers in terms of reduced wages and lost hours for those still working. There has to be give, reasonable thinking, and a willingness to work together. It can't always be all-taking on one side and all-giving on another. Unbalanced relationships always fail at an exponential rate.

    Big unions have also lost touch with reality in this sense. I prefer smaller or trade-focussed unions that stay within their trade. The IBEW for instance is a trade union for electrical workers, focusing solely on that, but it's international, and has great programs and incentives for its membership. The CAW has too many irons in the fire; they cover everything from the service sector to the industrial sector and back, and are huge, but often end up making collective agreements that don't make sense for certain parts of a membership within a local. The devil's in teh details and these are always lost or forgotten with huge conglomerates like Teamsters or Steelworkers or CAW.
  • thebgbb said:

    On Safety and Working Conditions
    ... If a union comes to management over safety concerns, they have my backing 100%.


    ^ THIS. 100% agreed bgbb

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