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  • Unions, up here-too powerful

    i used to belong to the Union of Northern Workers.

    at the time, i agreed with the articles.

    when i moved south for a while and worked in the private sector, i quickly found out the pro's and con's of unions from both perspectives.

    the UNW has made our work force lazy for the most part.

    sick days - that has got to be one of the dumbest clauses i ever heard of. it's too easy for workers to call in sick because maybe they're sick from over indulging the night before. or the worker is too tired. i see union workers taking advantage of this and abusing it.

    in the private sector it's pretty simple. if you don't show up for work, you don't get paid.

    tradesmen are not held accountable - they can screw up numerous times and still have a job. if the work ethics of union workers up here are any indication of the power of the union, we're not progressing, we're regressing.

    please don't get me wrong, unions were good in the day, when they were needed. somebody had to keep the employers in check. it just seems to me that the union workers are too protected now-a-days.

    i'm sure there are pros and cons i've missed or haven't thought about.

    Just had to get that off my chest. i feel better now.

    Vince

  • #2
    Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

    Vince, I respect your opinions and where you have come from to where you are now. Speaking for myself, I needed sick days when I worked as a utility lineman and never because I was hung over. Like many folks, my health is not always good and in fact after years of surgery as a kid I was never going to be one of those guys who never got sick. I see Unions as a necessary evil in a way because they not only protect folks like me who are legitimately in need of sick days and light duty at times but unfortunately also cover for the folks who over do alcohol, drugs and in general goof off. I'd like to see some better sense applied to Unions maybe in the form of government regulations, so that the workers have protections and rights along with employers who can maintain a profitable edge. There should be no unfair advantage for either side, give a decent days work for a decent days pay unless you are honestly sick or disabled. I know it's hard to impossible for the folks who have never been injured or rarely sick to understand the need for such protections but I do. I kicked in more times than I can remember for guys who got suspended for drinking on the job. Then after many years of giving to those collections, my infant daughter died and I needed some help to pay for funeral expenses. My Union brothers gave generously and I'll never forget that gift. I do agree there must be change and reasonable behavior on the part of Unions and employers to not only keep jobs here but to encourage an atmosphere where jobs can grow.

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    • #3
      Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

      Vince, don't lump the attitude of all unions and their members into one category based on your experience with this particular union.

      Also, there is a difference between a in-house or company union (one that represents those who work for one employer) and other types of unions such as the many building trades unions where a member may work for many employers in any given year. Not necessarily because they are lazy or unskilled or just in general a bad worker, but because that is the nature of the game. You are hired for as long as needed, then you're laid off and look for another job. Is this an advantage to an employer? It has its pros and cons.

      Yes, there are people who will take advantage of a situation or twist the rules to their advantage however unfair or immoral that may seem to someone else, this happens throughout life as I am sure you are aware, not just within unions. Big Business takes advantage of all the tax loopholes they can find that benefit them, but that's OK right? They use the labor laws to their benefit and they lobby Congress and others in Washington and in the State Capitals across the country to reduce safety requirements, do away with health care benefits, keep the minimum wage as low as possible (which helps to keep everyone else's wages low), and to remove what they perceive as obstacles to the growth of their business, but these are all OK right? So why is it wrong for a group of workers to band together to gain a strong enough voice to have some of their desires and needs met? How is it OK for a companies to act the way they do but workers are not supposed to operate on the same level playing field?

      Their is a company near me (neighboring state) that is non-union. They make concrete components for building construction. They've been in business about a dozen years, not exactly sure how long. In November 2007 they decided out of the blue that they were paying their employees too much and they could increase their profits if they had a younger (with respect to seniority) work force, so they laid everyone off in the shop two weeks before Christmas and saying they were shutting down for the holidays. But they closed the company down for good, dissolving the corporation. In the new year (2008), they started a new company and they hired all new people who had never worked there before and they start at a lower wage rate. The new co. bought all the assets of the now defunct old corporation, and has no obligation to any former employees of the old company, but they picked up right where they left off in the same facility with the same customers.

      I know of a builder who puts up pre-fab homes who has done the same thing about 5 times over the past dozen years. But more to get away from honoring the home warranties, then to screw his handful of employees.

      This is a good deal for the unemployed workers right? Who can be counted on to stand up for these twenty some employees? To the politicians that represent them it is 20 votes, but the owners are certain to be worth more in contributions and support when it it time to get re-elected.

      Last month a laborer working for a masonry contractor fell off a second story of a office building under construction. He was in the hospital for about a week then died from injuries received during the fall. There was no guard rail around the open floor edges, a condition that occurs far too often. There was a GC and three other prime contractors on the site the day of the incident. Non of them that day or on previous days addressed the unsafe condition nor warned their workers to stay out of the areas without guard rails so all will be more than likely be hit with some percent of responsibility for the unsafe condition and share in the fines and court costs, but that won't bring the laborer back from the dead.

      So what was the reason for no guard rails? I guess they just forgot to put them up huh? But the job had been underway for over six months. No one in that time thought about guard rails? Or was it they thought about guard rails and decided they costs too much to put up and maintain? I bet it would have costs less than the fines and insurance premium increases they will be facing now and for the next few years. BTW, this was a non-union job and the workers had no representation or anyone outside the company to go to except OSHA which for some reason didn't happen. Maybe they were worried about being laid off or fired for contacting OSHA, it happens more times than you think, and in today's economy no one is likely to put their job at risk without someone or something on their side to protect them from unfair treatment.

      In a ideal world employees would not need unions to protect them from unfair treatment by employers, and employers would not be hindered by union contracts and laws whose intent it is to attempt to keep the playing field level for both sides.

      But we're not in an ideal world, because in an ideal world people don't fly planes into your landmark buildings; they don't intentionally poison food products; they wouldn't lock employees inside the store and tell them they can't leave until their work is done; they wouldn't keep all their employees on part-time status so they can avoid paying benefits or pensions for instance; they wouldn't lay people off then open a new company and replace all their former employees at lower wages; they would pay people a fair wage; and they would put up guard rails because it is the right thing to do; not because there is the threat of a fine.
      ---------------
      Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
      ---------------
      “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
      ---------
      "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
      ---------
      sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

        i hear you frank. i couldn't agree with you more.

        thankfully the union your brothers and sisters were there to give you the back-up and support when you needed it most.

        there is a teacher's union up here that has gotten out of control. as a parent this is what i see.

        -2 months summer holidays (paid)

        -2 weeks spring break (paid)

        -2 weeks easter break (paid)

        -3 weeks christmas holidays (paid)

        these "leaders" in my community are getting between $75 000 - $100 000/year.

        i'll use $100 000/yr as a benchmark

        260 actual days worked out of 365 days = $384.61/day

        $384.61/day divided by 6.5hrs work/day = $59.17/hr

        i say 6.5hrs/day because the teachers get off work the same time the kids are let out of school for the day.

        this doesn't include the blizzard days and the short days once a month for the teacher's "professional development".

        and to top it all off, our education system sucks big time. they push the kids through the system just to make the numbers look good. even though the kids being pushed through the system couldn't add the numbers if given the task.

        i am a strong advocate for education. up here i tell the young people that going to to school teaches them more than being taught "stuff". it also teaches the kids to learn and show up for school at a given time. more or less preparing them for the work force.

        just seems to me that certain aspects of the union(s) have lost sight of what used to be important, like you said frank, a fair days pay for a fair days work.

        i do realize that there are other factors that play into this and it boils right down to the parents. i think it's high time i start stirring the pot a little.

        Vince

        incidently, i double checked my math, longhand

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

          thanks for the input bob.

          your points are well received.

          i am thankful that i live where i do. were it not for the freedoms we enjoy in this part of the world, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion right now.

          i suppose that any group it open to corruption. i guess just getting a little annoyed by what i see up here.

          the private sector up here for the most part works really hard. i just can't get aound certain aspects. maybe i need to further my education on this.

          Vince

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

            Originally posted by Vince the Plumber View Post
            i hear you frank. i couldn't agree with you more.

            thankfully the union your brothers and sisters were there to give you the back-up and support when you needed it most.

            there is a teacher's union up here that has gotten out of control. as a parent this is what i see.

            -2 months summer holidays (paid)

            -2 weeks spring break (paid)

            -2 weeks easter break (paid)

            -3 weeks christmas holidays (paid)

            these "leaders" in my community are getting between $75 000 - $100 000/year.

            i'll use $100 000/yr as a benchmark

            260 actual days worked out of 365 days = $384.61/day

            $384.61/day divided by 6.5hrs work/day = $59.17/hr

            i say 6.5hrs/day because the teachers get off work the same time the kids are let out of school for the day.

            this doesn't include the blizzard days and the short days once a month for the teacher's "professional development".

            and to top it all off, our education system sucks big time. they push the kids through the system just to make the numbers look good. even though the kids being pushed through the system couldn't add the numbers if given the task.

            i am a strong advocate for education. up here i tell the young people that going to to school teaches them more than being taught "stuff". it also teaches the kids to learn and show up for school at a given time. more or less preparing them for the work force.

            just seems to me that certain aspects of the union(s) have lost sight of what used to be important, like you said frank, a fair days pay for a fair days work.

            i do realize that there are other factors that play into this and it boils right down to the parents. i think it's high time i start stirring the pot a little.

            Vince

            incidently, i double checked my math, longhand

            i say 6.5hrs/day because the teachers get off work the same time the kids are let out of school for the day.
            Around here the school day starts at 7:30 AM and ends at 2:00 PM but the teachers are there until 3:00 PM. This supposedly gives them time to prepare the next days lessons or do whatever else they need to do.



            This is the kind of stuff that people think about and gives them a bad taste for unions, and I don't blame them and feel the same as you with respect to these exorbitant benefits/perks/what ever you want to call them. There is no justification for this that makes sense to me. IT is not just teachers unions but many unions I know. I used to live next door to a guy who worked for Ma Bell (this is pre break up days now). He told me he used to love it when he was on call one weekend a month and he would get called out on both days. He said if he ended up working over 12 hours over the weekend and worked on both days then he would be on OT until he got a day off which would normally be the following Saturday after his normal work week was over. So if he worked the weekend both day the Monday thru Friday following that weekend all hours worked were at 1.5x his regular rate. I don't know who signed that contract for the company but is sure doesn't seem fair. OK so you lost your weekend, big deal you got compensated for it at the agreed to weekend rate whatever they are/were. It's like they were punishing the company for hiring enough people so they guy could have Monday off. Maybe that's the reason I don't know, and a clause like that probably does not exist today, I don't know that either.

            I have heard the UAW has some deal where when they are laid of they get 95% of their normal pay? What's is the advantage to laying someone off then? I guess that is the point of the unions in this case. Guaranteed jobs, pay for zero work, jobs for life, tenure, I have trouble with these. Maybe they are worth their weight, but it's a heavy load when balanced against the benefit to the general public or consumer I think.
            ---------------
            Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
            ---------------
            “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
            ---------
            "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
            ---------
            sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

              I've been in 3 unions in my career. I'm saying this again.

              Every 2-3 years we had to fight for nickels and dimes, people's attitudes got frayed. Turn into scab and union fights.

              If you crossed the line to provide for you and your family, you're a scab.


              I'd like to not say I became a victim of a bad situation, with my back injury in the union, but I'll say this just to keep it short and sweet:


              You'll find out how quick your union is loyal to you when you get injured, injured in a way where you cannot perform work duties. Once you become a Non-Producer, the tides turn if it doesn't follow in line with their guidelines.


              To this day, I'm glad it happened, it makes me a better person and there was 2 other plumbers that are now destroyed beyond ever working again, because they stuck to loyalty, trusted the union to protect them.

              Both have had back surgeries and neither one of them do plumbing anymore. They are permanently disabled and have to live the rest of their lives regretting what was once the profession they loved, admired, respected.


              An unfortunate situation that could of been prevented.


              Please, do not ever get heavily injured in your profession in the union. You will become the odd man out no matter how much knowledge you posess. If you are not healthy, you are not going to make them money. That is how you'll be treated.


              Not everyone gets the lap of luxury like me to continue my profession that I love and enjoy, and expand on my ideas to explore venture capital ideas.



              There are, however, some very solid unions left. They don't get mentioned a lot but there are some good ones that don't abuse the system of checks and balances.
              Northern Kentucky Plumbers Twitter Feed | Plumbing Videos

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

                Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                I have heard the UAW has some deal where when they are laid of they get 95% of their normal pay? What's is the advantage to laying someone off then? I guess that is the point of the unions in this case. Guaranteed jobs, pay for zero work, jobs for life, tenure, I have trouble with these. Maybe they are worth their weight, but it's a heavy load when balanced against the benefit to the general public or consumer I think.
                I think tenure has a place at the University level (not just regular colleges though), where there should be an incentive to insulate someone who is a good researcher (but possibly controversial) from some day-to-day financial pressure that could otherwise be exerted.

                Of course, tenuring a high school teacher makes no sense, there job doesn't need to include lots of independent thought. (Not that it is an easy job, but they are supposed to teach knowledge that has already been discovered).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

                  Vince, based on the way your employer has acted toward you, your work ethic, and the way others work ethic is around you.... I think you should start your own business. Could be a perfect scenario for you to succeed.

                  J.C.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

                    I just wanted to make a few folloup comments. Regarding teacher pay and perks, I would only agree that they are out of line because teachers around here are not allowed to teach as they once did. First of all we have a big influx of people from the business world who never wanted to teach but had the creditials so they made the move to teaching purely for the pay and benefits. Secondly, teachers are forced to teach children based on tests that are monitored by the state instead of teaching the course material. There is no slowing down to explain things, because that lost time could impact the test scores which really don't reflect an understanding of the subject. My experiences with my Union were mostly good and gave me real appreciation for Unions, but I respect what other folks have been through in their lives. Can anyone doubt what Dunbar says as being truthful? I don't because I believe that was his experience. Good, bad, or otherwise I think Unions are not close to being our biggest problem right now. A hundred grand to pay for a teacher or plumber to live in our society pales in comparisson to the hundreds of millions paid to all those thieving CEO's who ruined millions of investors lives. In my opinion we as a nation need to keep our wealth closer to home. We can see the results of paying others to make our goods while they avoid Unions, and government agencies. We also need to resolve the issue of illegals in our country who may work real hard, but who send our American dollars out of our country and economy. Guys, we have much more serious problems than American Unions who for the most part raised our standard of living and job safety.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

                      Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
                      Vince, based on the way your employer has acted toward you, your work ethic, and the way others work ethic is around you.... I think you should start your own business. Could be a perfect scenario for you to succeed.

                      J.C.
                      i think in need to clarify this.

                      my employer is a great guy. the late checks were hand delivered saturdaynight last (it's a learning curve).he's not the problem.

                      it's that bloody gov't guy (BGG)that's not really honouring the contract between the gov't and my employer. he's not giving us any work.

                      the entire gov't building infastructure is slowing falling apart. for some reason BGG seems to think that if they keep on putting bandaids on the systems or just ignoring the failing mechanical sytems, the problems aren't really there. like a hyena with his head in the sand.

                      unfortunatly for my boss, i'm looking for another job. i took the advise of the crew here an submit my resume in to the local housing association.

                      for my boss, this means that he will have to either hire another plumber or back out of the contract. this not only affects my boss' business, it has a local domino effect i'm sure you all familiar with given the current economic downsizing we have on both side of the border.

                      so just to clarify, it's that BGG that is the root of the problem. and if the past happenings up here are any indication as to what will probably happen, that BGG will come out of the meeting smelling like a farg'in rose.

                      Vince

                      i will say for the record that the late paycheque (paycheck) was the snowflake that broke my back.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

                        Never belonged to a union or do I think I want to,

                        but when I was in collage, I went to a small school in Wyoming, now some of the founders were from Michigan, so the mix of students were about 50% from western states and 50% from the Michigan area.

                        Any way the thinking of the two diffrnet groups were amazing diffrnet, the ones from the East were most of the time looking at them selves as victims and that some one else should provide from them, and Woe is me the sky is falling attitude, (many of the parents worked for a large Cereal maker and similar large employers with Union work forces).

                        Now the kids from the western states that said I am low on money need some to pay bills, where can I get a job, I will work in the potato fields, or the potato processing plant, building barbed wire fence in a Pasture, or what ever I can get. there was self sufficient and self responsibility to the there basic attitude,

                        I am not saying one is right or one is wrong,

                        but the impression of the students / youth, from an area where Unions were prevalent was not very impressive to me as to what was being ingrained into the young people and attitudes of work and being provied for.
                        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                        attributed to Samuel Johnson
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

                          Our Union provides no sick or vacation pay. No work no pay. You suck, you dont work. Plain and simple. Every boss I worked for was an A$$. They tried to get away with everything. The non union sector of this country is made to feel like they are the victims of run-amuck unions. Truth is...there can be strength in numbers. The average American/Canadian worker can thank at least 80% of their workplace rights thanks to the Unions. Slowly, over the years these have been eroded...very slowly. Same with the our Constitution, eroded...very slowly. Dont get me going on that!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

                            Originally posted by BHD View Post
                            Never belonged to a union or do I think I want to,
                            You probably would want to if you were a number where you work (cereal co.)
                            Or...the boss says:
                            -work late for straight time because he ordered parts late
                            -you need stitches? If you leave dont come back
                            -you pissed me off...stay home
                            -use your own truck, everyone else does
                            -use your own tools
                            -raises are on hold till further notice
                            -your check is in the mail
                            -I am letting you go...I will mail you your check
                            -Saturday and Sunday are nothing special....work!
                            -safety equipment?
                            -this is my son-in-law, teach him your job then you are out of one (non-union)

                            People probably experience this working non-union as well. It sucks all around. The list can go on and on.
                            You should hear some of the things the union guys say to the boss...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Unions, up here-too powerful

                              Originally posted by NorthernIllinoisPlumber View Post
                              You probably would want to if you were a number where you work (cereal co.)
                              Or...the boss says:
                              -work late for straight time because he ordered parts late
                              -you need stitches? If you leave dont come back
                              -you pissed me off...stay home
                              -use your own truck, everyone else does
                              -use your own tools
                              -raises are on hold till further notice
                              -your check is in the mail
                              -I am letting you go...I will mail you your check
                              -Saturday and Sunday are nothing special....work!
                              -safety equipment?
                              -this is my son-in-law, teach him your job then you are out of one (non-union)

                              People probably experience this working non-union as well. It sucks all around. The list can go on and on.
                              You should hear some of the things the union guys say to the boss...
                              i hear you.

                              i've hate getting picked on. maybe it's got to do with my work ethics. i was recently told that i'm being over observent. oh yeah, while in a meeting with him i was told to "shut the fooke up". that's the BGG.

                              i'm starting to get the idea that no matter where we go there's going to be fardg'in iceholes. seems to me that if we have to deal with these people anyways, why not work on our own and leave that one part of the icehole equation right out. kinda like leaving out the middle man.

                              if it doesn't pan out for me with this housing job i applied for. i'm going out on my own.

                              i feel like a horse chomping at the bit. i have a much needed skill in this town of about 30% iceholes @ -30. 40% @ -40 and so on. there are also satillite communities here in the kivalliq region of the hudson's bay.

                              seem's to me that most of the happiest people that frequent this forum with the exception of a few work on their own. nobody to answer to except the customer, the tax guys,..... your woman,............ child support,.............. your landlord, ............................ yourself.

                              seems to me that i'm dealing with one less icehole, that BGG.

                              HHHhhhmmmmm.

                              Vince

                              i was in business once years ago. i lacked the self-confidence and knowledge about the trade. seems to me that it time to stop thinking, and start doing.

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