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Any UAW members here? Or any experiences??

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Old 10-06-2003, 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by Playn
Mike, In regards to going union or not, When I worked for employers I've always wanted to be compensated according to my own merit not what some scale dictates. When I was in the union I saw too many people not give effort and were financially rewarded the same as I was.

My sentiments exactly!!!

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Old 10-07-2003, 10:21 AM
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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.

*POWER
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.
*PROTECTION
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.

bibliography:
(1)Labors work fund
(2)PACE Organization home page

DAVE
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Old 10-07-2003, 01:36 PM
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Larry,

I was just re-reading your post. A couple of points I'd like to make, if I could, please.

"The interesting thing about that, was when it got itself in financial trouble..." (speaking of Eastern Airlines)
Just to defend what I said in the above post, notice you said "got itself". Like I said in a previous post. It's managements right to manage, no matter how poorly. This is the real reason why Eastern has/had financial problems.

"Sometimes, when I hear union folks going on strike for one reason or another, I can't help but think that a good percentage of the rank-and-file members are just fine with the way things are. And if they had the choice, I am sure they would continue to work. But, intimidation, fear, and personal safety are always areas where unions go to control the masses. "

They do have a choice. Each person has a vote. A vote is taken to go on strike. Sometimes twice. There is a "strike vote". This vote, taken by the membership gives the right to its leaders to strike if it feels as though negotiations are not going anywhere.
The second vote is, if the union leadership brings the "rank and file" as you put it a tentative agreement the membership then votes to accept or reject the contract. If rejected you strike. Only seldom can you reject a contract and go back to the table without a strike.
Lastly, there is no way in hell you can make the argument of people who cross the picket line trying to keep the company afloat till the strike is settled. Those people who cross the picket line are SCABS trying to cut the union man out. The company workers are to run the company while the union is on strike. Not outside, "off the street" people. I can point to a trucking company that has been on strike for years now. (sorry I cant remeber the name of the company, but Overnight sounds familiar) This company hired scab truck drivers to run the routes.

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Old 10-07-2003, 03:45 PM
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Mike I can ask Pam to give you the low down as she sees it. If you are interested give me a call. She is not only a Cornell Grad with a labor background, but also is working for Johnson and Johnson in the HR department, and she has a father that is Union for Bud. in Baldwinsville NY. She may be able to offer you a very unique perspective on the whole situation. She is anti union that is for sure however she WILL be able to lay it all out for you and what it means from the top tot he bottom.

I will not comment on being in a union as I have no idea as I have not lived that. I will comment on companies that I have seen unionize and what I feel are the reasons.

Ussually unions are formed in a company for one reason. Some bonehead upper managment guy says something to a "worker" and it pisses them off enough that they organize. People do not like to be belitled and when some one acts as if they are better then some one else there is rarely a good outcome. Pam has had to fight off unionization with J+J a number of times with Neutrogena. I have seen how she does it and it is quite impressive. She just lays it all out for them all to see.

Some one mentioned that union people will not ussually try and further themselves. I do not think that this is so much a union, non union thing as the level of skill that the people you are refering to are working at. What I mean is those people that do not want to help themselves are often times highschool drop outs or maybe a highschool ed. and that is it. They are drop outs!!! They quite on themselves a long time ago.

Pams company had to lay off a bunch of employees recently as they are moving production to Switzerland. She went through a LOT of effort to set up training for the people that are being laid off and brought in a pro to work with them all to help them get their resumes in order. She tried real hard to get this all ok'ed and when they found out that the training was going to go 2 hours past their shift end they all said that they would not stay. They were all pissed at Pam tell she finally had enough and looked at them all and said it was not her that needed this and the could do what ever they wanted. These people that I am refering to are NOT union.

Unions are a funny thing and I feel that they are loosing favor as people have learned to manage MUCH better then they had in the past. They do cost companies a lot of money HOWEVER they are STILL VERY NEEDED in some companies.

Jon
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Old 10-07-2003, 03:52 PM
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Boilermakers local 906......Over 25 years
Things sure have changed since i started ! While i dont agree with all that they do i am still a proud member.
And dont doubt for a minute most of these contractors would put us in harms way for a buck !! I still see that !
But...I also see the members working MUCH harder & caring more about what they do. 4 years of training to become a journyman...We ARE the best at what we do !!
I also own my own Co. i see both sides...
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Old 10-08-2003, 05:59 AM
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Too old,

I agree with the point of the article you have posted. If union funds are being mishandled there should be hell to pay.
Each local should have a treasurer and trustees to keep the books.
Every month there should be a treasures report at the general membership meeting, where the membership listens to where the money is going. They then vote to accept the report as read.
A treasures job is to keep the books. As you know.
The trustees job is to go over the books every quarter and scrutinize where the money is going. In other words keep an eye on the treasurer and president to make sure their not mishandling funds.

Again, if the local is run correctly/properly it works well.

There is no doubt that there is fraud in some places and some shops. But not all. Unfortunately these shops give all of us a bad name.
The other unfortunate thing is human nature tends to dwell on the negative of any given subject.

You know, I've obviously been thinking of this thread quite often as of late. I thought to pose this question to everyone:

Where would we (this country) be with out the unions of the past, and the present?

My answer; CHINA

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Old 10-08-2003, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave F
Too old,


Where would we (this country) be with out the unions of the past, and the present?

My answer; CHINA

DAVE
That just about sums it up!
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Old 10-08-2003, 10:09 AM
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Does anyone really think that the unions prevent companies from going to low cost regions like China??? Come on. Get in touch with reality people. It sounds like the union has been feeding you too much...

DaveF - I could debate every counter point that you made but it is clear to me that you are determined to see only your point. I will make one comment about your "job security" items. The reality of nearly every contract is that anyone can be laid off for economic business reasons. No union can stop that although they may be able to impose some sort of penalty in terms of wages or pay. The end result is still the same... you can still be "blindsided". And do you really believe that it's a "surprise" that downsizing occurs?!? All you have to do is look at the same performance figures and charts that management reviews and you could see it coming from years away! It's never, "we (the company) were fine and making money yesterday but today we are losing money and our jobs, boo hoo."

It's also clear to me in nearly every comment of yours, you drive my point home about the self serving nature of unions and many of their members. Just look at the pay scale numbers you mentioned. Surely you aren't naive enough to believe that you'll keep your job if the company can do it better and cheaper elsewhere. No union on this planet is going to be able to stop what is inevitable if the "membership" does take a drink of reality and work with the organization that is trying keep jobs and it's factories right where they are.

Unions are NVA and have outlived their usefulness in my opinion. And that's the way it is Wednesday, October 8th, 2003.
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Old 10-08-2003, 12:16 PM
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Does anyone really think that the unions prevent companies from going to low cost regions like China??? Come on. Get in touch with reality people. It sounds like the union has been feeding you too much...

No Vyper i dont believe that for a minute !!!! But......
Blaming the unions for Co. going to China/Mexico is just as foolish.......Trying to compete with $2.00 per hour jobs just CANT be done. What I do is a bit Diff. It Must be done in USA. I feel for these people loosing there jobs to overseas. Maybe if Americans gave a crap & bought American made products it would stop this...
Naaaaaa That will NEVER happen !!!!
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Old 10-08-2003, 02:06 PM
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Vyper,

I never said that unions could/can stop companies going to other countries that let them get away with paying a tiny wage.
What I said was it was the unions who brought a fair wage here. The US.

As far as getting laid off and blindsided. Let's review what seemed to be clear definition of blindsided. You walk into work one day, and you're escorted out by security hours later.
The reason why that cant happen with a union contract is because along with all major things, jobs are negotiated. If the company feels they need X jobs to run, then X jobs will stay till the end of the contract or they will get laid off with a 60 day notice.
60 days gives you a chance to start making other plans as well as prepare to collect unemployment if needed. Therefore, that's not blindsided. Furthermore, if I have more seniority than another, I'm still safe.

Of course I'm gonna see it my way. I know I'm correct!

Unions are here to protect the working man. Some are run well, some are not. I've admitted that from the start. However, I challenge you to take a sip from the cup of reality as well. You can not, that's CAN NOT, sit there and tell me, in good conscience, that there are no good unions, all unions are bad and there is no need anywhere for any of them.
If you truly believe that, then sir, you are most certainly uneducated to the all the facts.

Yes, of course you can debate with me on every point/counterpoint I bring up, and I with you.
Unfortunately, what seems to keep happening, however, is you forget what we are debating. You keep coming back to the general idea that the union is bleeding the company dry. We take all the money away from the company. It can't survive if we pay them a decent salary. BOO HOO.
How much of the bottom line does salaries take up? Do you know? The answer (depending on the business) is 3-10%. So, where is the other 90-97% going????

The debate (I thought) was over:
Are unions useful to the working man?
The value a union brings to the working man?

I have offered many examples of what my union does for me. In my opinion you have not been able to bring anything to the table that says what I have isn't good for me and is bad for the company that I work for.
Therefore, how can you say that my points help you?

The truth is, even you are making the wage you're making, because of the unions. I know you'll never admit that, but it's true.

Last edited by Dave F; 10-08-2003 at 02:19 PM.
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