As ljsmith has said, "the wonderful thing about facts is that they don't lie..." Well, I have a few for you.
I'll try to list them as I answer you point on point, for the benefit of everyone's reading.
In response to "bullet one". While OSHA is one of the most instrumental organizations for the working man to keep him safe, I was wondering, did you know where OSHA comes up with it's standards and ideas? My union dues help pay for lobbyist in Washington DC to work with regulatory agencies and congress to craft workable training provisions. (1)
It has been my experience that companies will only do what is required of them by law. Joint (both hourly and management) health/safety committees are designed to make sure that the company stays in compliance as well as go the extra mile for site specific details.
Please don't say that companies will stay in compliance on their own, because you and I both know that is simply not true. Tosco and Motiva are perfect examples.
Secondly, I'm not sure where you have worked, but, I very rarely see what you stated as fact..."it was the FIRST priority of every supervisor and worker to ensure that the work environment was safe. PERIOD". This statement is only somewhat true unless it costs production. The company is always willing to roll the dice on safety if it means production.
My safety program the company follows as well as the joint committee was founded and established by my international union.
Lastly, on the fact you worked aboard a war ship; rules were followed or people died...etc. In the military, there is no such thing as fair, you do what you're told or you go to the brig. If you use this example in the civilian world, instead of going to the brig you get fired. Fair or not.
Bullet three. Profit sharing.
Profit sharing absolutely DOES NOT include 401k and benefits.
Benefits are exactly that, benefits. Which a 401k falls under. These benefits are considered part of your salary. These numbers come in as part of the "bottom line" (what the company has made in profit)
Profit sharing comes in after the bottom line. Profit sharing is based on that number which is above and beyond the 401k and benefits. (after benefits have been paid)
With that definition now known, very few companies offer profit sharing. Especially to the hourly.
Bullet five. Union workers have a contract. In that contract, hours of work, how overtime is distributed and paid is part of that contract. So, YES. A contract is needed. It guards against the bosses brother getting all the overtime, favorable job, favorable work schedule etc. (just for an example) Simply put, it guards against favoritism.
Bullet seven. If that were the case, why would the federal govt have a "whistle blower law" How about the girl a ENRON? She was fired.
Bullet eight. At least we agree on whether or not a company should pay for a work related injury.
However, the discussion/debate we are having is what my union does for me.
As one of my benefits, I get sick time. Something the Union negotiated for me. So, whether or not my injury was work related, (it wasn't) doesn't matter. If I'm sick, I get paid. Therefore, union is the answer.
Bullet nine. My first bullet was not intended to, nor does it, cover this point. So, my point is I can refuse to do unsafe work without fear of discipline. Try doing that in the navy.
Bullet twelve. Ah, I'm gonna have fun with this one.
I would be able to give you countless, yes countless instances of being blindsided.
Here's just a few:
My father-in-law is in upper management and runs (now) several divisions of the company that employs him. The reason why is because they wanted to "downsize". So instead of being the head of the department he was hired for, he now has to head 4 departments. He personally called people in the office and was forced to layoff people. People who came into work and an hour later were being escorted out by security. It didn't have ANYTHING to do with something they did.
A good friend of mine, his sister, worked for DuPont for 30yrs walked in one day, and told her she was being replaced. Considered a model employee, no disciplinary issues the entire time. I call that blindsided.
In the company I work for I've seen it many times. People come in for work, get ushered out by security.
All these instances were due to downsizing. Nothing to do with discipline. If they were union, that cant happen because in the CONTRACT there are ways clearly spelled out to guard against that.
So, value added? Value added is to the worker. If the worker feels more secure they work better. Here's some stats:
(2)*workers with unions earn an average 25% more than do workers without a union.
*73% of union members in the private industry get health benefits on the job, compared with about half of the workers without unions.
*70% of union members in medium and large private companies are covered by defined-benefit pensions that guarantee a benefit, compared with only 16% of workers without a union.
*Union contracts raise earnings by 30% for working women and African Americans and 45% for Latinos.
*For decades, union membership paved the way to a strong and growing middle class. As union membership declined, the gap between the wealthy and everyone else grew.
An individual employee has little power and no way to improve their wages, benefits or working conditions. Collective bargaining balances the power that an employer has over its employees.
Without a union there is no due process in the workplace. In most states you are known as an "At-will Employee" An employer can fire you for any reason or no reason, that's the law. Unless of course you have a union and a labor contract that spells out due process through a grievance and arbitration procedure which ensures fairness for all employees.
Vyper340- Business does exist to make money. I agree. But they should not do it at the expense of their own employees. Again I point to ENRON. They do pay salaries. Unfortunately it's to the CEO and thier golden parachutes.
If you don't pay salaries, you don't have people working for you. If you need people to make your product or supply your service, you need to pay them. If you want quality people, that is.
If business was fair it wouldn't have to struggle with its employees or unions.
BTW, ljsmith, Let me point to American Airlines. They cried poor and convinced the union to take a pay cut. The union agreed. The next day they handed huge bonuses to upper management. The union took them to court and judge ruled in favor of the union and (according to what I've heard) the union did not need to take the pay cut.
Furthermore, it was Easterns fault for making poor business decisions all along. Not the machinist union. Your placing the success/failure of a large airline on one union. C'mon lj. So, I disagree with your analysis.
(1)Labors work fund
(2)PACE Organization home page