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DamonX
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 2:20:29 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 798
I'd like to start this thread off with a little story.

When I was a struggling college student I had to take a semester off to work in order to get my head above financial water. I took a job at the campus gym which paid a whopping 12 dollars an hour (not counting the pittance I made as a personal trainer, teaching middle aged woman get "toned").

Anyways...Halfway through the semester, the CUPE went on strike. Now the CUPE (or Canadian Union of Public Employees) is a union that broadly covers a variety of jobs including things like janitorial, groundskeeping, etc. This strike did not shut down the university, although they definately tried to do so. If they had, it would have caused innumerable hardship to the 20 thousand plus students.

They did however march into the gym in which I worked and tried to aggressively "persuade" me to shut it down. They also formed a picket line around the university entrance and tried to physically intimidate students and professors into not going to class. The police presence was also absent (also unions) which made it difficult or many students to even get any protection if they chose to attend the classes that they had paid thousands of dollars to attend.

Now I obviously had an issue with this and grew increasingly tired of their hostile attempts. They found it odd that I would not obliterate my means of financial support and be evicted from my apartment so that they could get a longer coffee break.

I said something like... "Hey. You get strike pay for not working. I don't. If you want to give me some of your strike pay, or pay my rent, then go ahead. Otherwise, leave me the fuck alone and let me do my job so I can at least make somewhat of a living."

Now these are people that have no skills, no education, and get paid 30-45 dollars an hour (plus full benefits) for pushing a fucking mop. Its not exactly the 1903 coal mines of West Virginia.

Now I understand the purpose of unions, and realize that they were needed to uphold the safelty concerns of workers that were being abused and forced to work in inhospitable conditions...but aren't things being taken a bit too far? Shouldn't unions work to provide safety and a standard of quality, rather than crusade to give some high school dropout a longer lunch break?

Nurses, paramedics, police officers and teachers do not fit into this category since I see these as skilled professions that SHOULD be governed by a professional association in the same way doctors and lawyers are. It seems that professional associations ensure a level of competency while unions seek to maintain the jobs and rights of those, regardless of whether they are competent or not.

Are unions necessary? For some jobs? For all? Or are they simply a way of protecting the jobs of people that embark on vocations that any other random person could do?

WellMadeMale
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 7:19:22 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,477
Location: Cakeland, United States
Moar Us vs Them. Gotta love it.

So they just push mops eh? They just clean our toilets, sweep floors, keep everything clean. One wonders what would happen when they aren't around to do those jobs because they can't make enough money to pay their rent/mortgage or put food on their family table.

$30 to 45 an hour? Where does the line form up for one of those jobs?

How about a list of reasons why they were striking. You have demeaned them for wanting a longer coffee or lunch break (when we don't really know if those two things were part of what they were trying to keep or extend) and given them, in your words a pretty good wage, which if true, would definitely give me pause to wonder why indeed they were on strike.

I read these days in the newspapers and on the internet, about the looming 2011 NFL player/owner lockout, and it makes me roll my eyes and wonder what I'll be doing next fall when there is not NFL football.

I could give a fuck less about almost 1000 millionaires and another 1000 guys who are making 'league minimum' wage to play a violent sport. Those players are paid big bucks as it is now. All of them will be hard pressed to leave their current chosen occupations and make anywhere near the money (even the lowest paid amongst them now rake in) - doing anything else they may be qualified to do.

Those are the strikes which truly leave me apathetic.

The custodial thing you're talking about? Don't really have enough information, Damon.

Most intelligent people are introspective and doubt themselves while many fucktards are proudly over-confident. - a tip of the hat to Charles Bukowski
LadyX
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 8:41:37 AM

Rank: Artistic Tart
Moderator

Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,813
DamonX wrote:

Now these are people that have no skills, no education, and get paid 30-45 dollars an hour (plus full benefits) for pushing a fucking mop. Its not exactly the 1903 coal mines of West Virginia.

Shouldn't unions work to provide safety and a standard of quality, rather than crusade to give some high school dropout a longer lunch break?

Or are they simply a way of protecting the jobs of people that embark on vocations that any other random person could do?



Its easy to demonize unions by taking an extreme example, so...



I don't doubt that what you're saying is true, and I also don't doubt that unions sometimes throw giant fits, when the fact is they have it much much better than a lot of people with the same skills, or lack of skills.

But are they necessary for jobs other than doctors, lawyers, etc.? Hell yes.

Do you trust corporations, or even small companies, to do the right thing by their employees? Do you trust them to sacrifice a little bit of their profit to provide what's fair to employees? Again, throw out your "ditch diggers making 250k a year" example- I'm talking about a living wage, with health insurance, and maybe even a way to help save for retirement, or in case big-time money is needed down the road. We all know that it's hard to save if you don't make enough money to make ends meet comfortably in the first place. I know there are plenty of companies who are compassionate, but bottom line is bottom line. The success of the business conflicts with kindness in a lot of cases. It costs more to do the right thing.

Look at these companies that post profits in the billions, yet totally fuck their employees out of decent pay or benefits. How can you trust them? They don't hold themselves responsible to their employees- they hold themselves responsible to the rock stars at the top, and to their board of directors, working on that fourth house and buying a big yacht with the bonus. They don't care who is at the bottom of the ladder, barely making it. In some cases, they take advantage of the fact that some people actually enjoy what they do- I heard about airline pilots who are eligible for food stamps and also getting worked more hours than their contract guarantees. That's a safety concern, too- but they don't give a fuck. "You wanna fly? Then shut up and fly."

Corporations can't be trusted, so you have to fight for what you get. You have to fight selfishness at the top. It's easier to fight as a group, with leverage. Unions have a use today- but I think they just don't exist in numbers like they used to. I think companies intimidate against them just as much or more as unions intimidate people like Damon into joining. Plus there are extreme examples that make them look like something that just isn't necessary anymore. But they are. Look at other countries, like in China where they make the plastic shit that we buy in Wal Mart, they aren't even able to have them. It works out better for the companies and the government if they can't, thats for sure.
Rembacher
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 10:11:28 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 10/16/2008
Posts: 1,107
I've seen too many public union negotiations where the union is not at all flexible despite the company or government it negotiates with being in financial difficulties to be a fan of unions in Canada and the US. I do believe that there are situations, like in developing nations such as China, where unions are necessary. But with the employment laws in Canada and the US, (and I would assume western Europe and Australia as well) I don't see unions doing anything other than squeezing more money out of a company.

Damon, you can look down your nose at the less educated people who push a mop, or clean toilets for a living, but it remains something that needs to be done, and since not everyone is willing to do it, those who are willing, and specifically those who do it well, will be compensated for it. I have a few friends who work independantly as residiential cleaners (maids) and they generally charge around $17 an hour. For cleaners who work in public buildings I can definitely see it being worth twice that. Especially if they have to clean up after university students who don't always respect the people around them. In business, if you have an important prospective client coming, you want your location looking spotless becuase it is a reflection of your business. At that moment, you are willing to spend pretty much any amount of money to ensure you land the client.
Dancing_Doll
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 10:31:54 AM

Rank: Alpha Blonde
Moderator

Joined: 2/17/2010
Posts: 6,618
Location: Your dirty fantasy
I have mixed feelings about unions.

I think the reasons for what they were originally intended for are very valid. I also think that over time, they have pushed their power beyond this scope. I think in terms of legitimate discrimination and protection of basic wages and health benefits, a union is useful in protecting "unskilled workers". But with human rights and employment rights fairly well protected as it is in developed nations, this is starting to become less of a necessity, in my opinion.

Using a union as a "bullying force" to push for higher wages (sometimes above what might be considered 'fair' for certain professions) and other work-benefits not only disrupts the workforce, but also then forces the hand of employers to give in to union demands, and find other ways to bolster the bottom dollar. That might involve raising the costs of products, or at some point laying off employees or downsizing because they can't afford to pay for the same number of employees and still make the same kind of profits. It starts to become easier to outsource everything to cheap-labour overseas. I know people get pissed off at those who suggest that it protects "lazy workers", but come on... there are definitely some that will greatly benefit from hiding behind the protective power of the union.

A few years ago, I had friends who were attending a university that had their union of 3,500 profs and teaching assistants go on strike for THREE months. The University actually offered a 9.25% raise in wages over 3 years in an attempt to avoid the strike, but the Union decided this was just not enough. In fact the demands of this union were considered unaffordable and out of line with other universities around Ontario. So three months later, students had to scramble by losing spring break, and pushing the school year into the summer months which meant summer employment was out of the question, not to mention that added costs of rent/transportation and whatever other inconveniences were involved. Was it all necessary? Guess who ends up paying for all this... the students... as tuition hikes end up covering all the bullshit of pay-outs.

I think the original reasons for having unions are often outweighed by greed. It's not just the 'corporation' that is the evil greedy villain in this mess. The unions have become just as greedy.



Guest
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 10:50:56 AM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 675,782
Jebru wrote:
But with the employment laws in Canada and the US, (and I would assume western Europe and Australia as well) I don't see unions doing anything other than squeezing more money out of a company.



Basically I'm staying out of this, except to say that in the western European country I live in, no, unions do not squeeze money at all. The trade union movement here is totally different, as it is not closed shop, and there are not binding negotiated contracts. Strike action occurs in a completely different manner, which is not to say it is any better or worse, it's just different.

That's it. I'm not getting involved. Why?


Well, what do you think?

Against union rules!

evil4
Guest
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 11:40:04 AM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 675,782
Everytime I read Unions - I hear the word Onions haha sorry guys bank to your think tank discussion evil4
Guest
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 12:55:30 PM

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MrNudiePants
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 1:00:02 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,216
Location: United States
DamonX wrote:
I'd like to start this thread off with a little story.

When I was a struggling college student I had to take a semester off to work in order to get my head above financial water. I took a job at the campus gym which paid a whopping 12 dollars an hour (not counting the pittance I made as a personal trainer, teaching middle aged woman get "toned").

Anyways...Halfway through the semester, the CUPE went on strike. Now the CUPE (or Canadian Union of Public Employees) is a union that broadly covers a variety of jobs including things like janitorial, groundskeeping, etc. This strike did not shut down the university, although they definately tried to do so. If they had, it would have caused innumerable hardship to the 20 thousand plus students.

They did however march into the gym in which I worked and tried to aggressively "persuade" me to shut it down. They also formed a picket line around the university entrance and tried to physically intimidate students and professors into not going to class. The police presence was also absent (also unions) which made it difficult or many students to even get any protection if they chose to attend the classes that they had paid thousands of dollars to attend.

Now I obviously had an issue with this and grew increasingly tired of their hostile attempts. They found it odd that I would not obliterate my means of financial support and be evicted from my apartment so that they could get a longer coffee break.

I said something like... "Hey. You get strike pay for not working. I don't. If you want to give me some of your strike pay, or pay my rent, then go ahead. Otherwise, leave me the fuck alone and let me do my job so I can at least make somewhat of a living."

Now these are people that have no skills, no education, and get paid 30-45 dollars an hour (plus full benefits) for pushing a fucking mop. Its not exactly the 1903 coal mines of West Virginia.

Now I understand the purpose of unions, and realize that they were needed to uphold the safelty concerns of workers that were being abused and forced to work in inhospitable conditions...but aren't things being taken a bit too far? Shouldn't unions work to provide safety and a standard of quality, rather than crusade to give some high school dropout a longer lunch break?

Nurses, paramedics, police officers and teachers do not fit into this category since I see these as skilled professions that SHOULD be governed by a professional association in the same way doctors and lawyers are. It seems that professional associations ensure a level of competency while unions seek to maintain the jobs and rights of those, regardless of whether they are competent or not.

Are unions necessary? For some jobs? For all? Or are they simply a way of protecting the jobs of people that embark on vocations that any other random person could do?



Link

Quote:
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada’s largest union.

With around 600 000 members across Canada, CUPE represents workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines.

A strong and democratic union, CUPE is committed to improving the quality of life for workers in Canada. Women and men working together to form local unions built CUPE. They did so to have a stronger voice – a collective voice – in their workplace and in society as a whole.

Together they have won the right to negotiate their wages and working conditions; to stop arbitrary action by employers; and to speak out without fear of reprisal.

CUPE members are service-providers, white-collar workers, technicians, labourers, skilled trades people and professionals. More than half of CUPE members are women. About one-third are part-time workers.



Basically, you're saying that since CUPE represents a small group of people you feel don't deserve to be represented, then nobody else they represent deserves it? And why (in your opinion) do people like janitors and groundskeepers not deserve equal protection from arbitrary action, and reprisals? Why do they not deserve some way of protecting their working conditions and wages? And what other groups of people are there that you feel don't deserve equal protection?

I'm not really fond of unions personally, since the time my father came home with bullet holes in his truck for having the audacity to be an independent carrier during a Teamsters strike. But that's just personal. I admit that unions have their purpose. Yes, sometimes they get greedy, and are abused, but is there any facet of human existence that's totally free of greed and corruption? Nah.

BTW, I'm surprised you have problems with CUPE considering their position on gun control:

Quote:
CUPE’s National Executive Board passed a resolution reaffirming its support of the Canadian Firearms Registry and its opposition to Bill C-391. CUPE encourages our members and activists to speak out on this issue, and lobby Members of Parliament to defeat Bill C-391. The safety of many Canadian women and their families depends on it.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 7:02:08 PM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,477
Location: Cakeland, United States
My mother's father was a high school teacher in an era when the American Teacher's union was not that strong nor well represented, in the part of the country he lived and taught. He was paid dirt wages for mind numbing hours of work - work he loved to do. But he couldn't raise a family on those almost zilch wages.

He did join the Teamster's Union when he switched careers and became a regional over the road truck driver. It helped him immeasurably to belong to that Union. Driver safety increased tremendously for instance. Wages were pretty good and he wasn't slave driven or told to go fuck himself...as I've seen other non-union drivers get treated on occasion.

My father was a part of a federal aviation union for 31 years. He watched and experienced The Great President Ronald Reagan bust the air traffic controller's union during their 1981 strike and he caught hell from some of the controllers as he crossed the lines to go and do his job...but my Dad's union was a different union. The ATC guys wanted all the 'unions' up at the airport to support them in their effort, but those guys went about things kind of ass backwards in their strike. Most of them made pretty good bread as it was, they were striking for less work hours, more frequent breaks...as their jobs were and still remain pretty fucking stressful.

Dad's union and retirement set up was pretty damned good. But he worked for a lot of years and never cracked 100k as a government employee and a GS14. I don't begrudge him one bit for pulling in a damned decent paycheck every month these last 19 years since he retired. He got shafted when he was working, on the actual per hour pay, imo.

When I first started in computer networking...I and four of my coworkers in our little Data/Telecom group were approached and asked to join with a group of clerks, security guards and janitors - as they tried to start a union within the mutual fund holding company I worked for, a division of a much larger Fortune 500 reinsurance and insurance giant. (No unions at that corporation representing anyone in the white collar working community).

I passed on that. I knew I was underpaid at the time, but I also knew that was my training job and my next one I'd be much better remunerated. I didn't want to belong to a union that represented people who weren't going to be paid network engineering wages ( 4 or 5 years down the road ). Nothing against clerks, janitors nor security guards...it was just economics to me then.

Corporations don't give a fuck about their employees. At least none of the Fortune 500 to 1000 companies in America, which I've ever toiled for, have. They just barely give a shit about their shareholders ...like Xuani said...it's the top 5% of the company Directors and Execs who are banking on the backs and minds of those toiling down the food chain.

People bitch about the Auto workers union and I've done my share of complaining about the cost of new cars as they've skyrocketed over the last thirty years...but the sad fact is...most of those people who belonged to those unions for the last 30 years are going to get fucked out of their pensions and promised benefits at retirement now...the manufacturers and the management of such just fucking fucked their people over.



Most intelligent people are introspective and doubt themselves while many fucktards are proudly over-confident. - a tip of the hat to Charles Bukowski
DamonX
Posted: Sunday, August 29, 2010 9:34:28 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 798
Nice. I thought this one might push some buttons.

Quote:
So they just push mops eh? They just clean our toilets, sweep floors, keep everything clean. One wonders what would happen when they aren't around to do those jobs because they can't make enough money to pay their rent/mortgage or put food on their family table.


well, they would probably find someone else to push those mops for half the price and half the headache. If someone else can just walk in off the street and do your job, then you probably shouldn't be too picky about how many coffee breaks you get a day.

Quote:
The custodial thing you're talking about? Don't really have enough information, Damon.


I actually had to do some research into the strike to find out what the actual issues were. Apparently it was because the university was trying to limit the amount of overtime hours that could be logged because the CUPE employees were logging too many ot hours at time and a half pay.

Quote:
I'm not really fond of unions personally, since the time my father came home with bullet holes in his truck for having the audacity to be an independent carrier during a Teamsters strike. But that's just personal. I admit that unions have their purpose. Yes, sometimes they get greedy, and are abused, but is there any facet of human existence that's totally free of greed and corruption? Nah.


Awww, Nudie...You Googled it. I'm glad I could rouse your interest enough for you to do such intensive investigation. But...

This is what I'm talking about. If you need physical intimidation to prevent others from doing your job then something's wrong. If you can walk out on your job and your employer had to pay you more for you to return then fine. You probably deserve it. But if you walk off and you have to physically prevent others from filling your spot, then you probably aren't that indispensible.

Quote:
BTW, I'm surprised you have problems with CUPE considering their position on gun control:


I actually didn't know about that one. Wait!....are you trying to threadjack this topic back into gun control? Your efforts might be better served in persuading the powers that be to unlock the previous thread. Hopefully by now you've had enough time to form a decent and legitimate argument. icon_smile
MrNudiePants
Posted: Monday, August 30, 2010 2:07:32 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,216
Location: United States
DamonX wrote:


Quote:
BTW, I'm surprised you have problems with CUPE considering their position on gun control:


I actually didn't know about that one. Wait!....are you trying to threadjack this topic back into gun control? Your efforts might be better served in persuading the powers that be to unlock the previous thread. Hopefully by now you've had enough time to form a decent and legitimate argument. icon_smile


Of course not. But when discussing pros and cons of organizations, you have to decide whether the negatives turn you off so much that you're willing to lose the positives as well. CUPE is a national organization, but all of their activities are conducted on a local level. Local chapters do all the negotiations on local issues, using local values and local members. Seems to me that using them as an example of why unions are evil is insulting to them, and neglectful of all the bad unions that actually exist in the world.
DamonX
Posted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:57:00 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 798
MrNudiePants wrote:
DamonX wrote:


Quote:
BTW, I'm surprised you have problems with CUPE considering their position on gun control:


I actually didn't know about that one. Wait!....are you trying to threadjack this topic back into gun control? Your efforts might be better served in persuading the powers that be to unlock the previous thread. Hopefully by now you've had enough time to form a decent and legitimate argument. icon_smile


Of course not. But when discussing pros and cons of organizations, you have to decide whether the negatives turn you off so much that you're willing to lose the positives as well. CUPE is a national organization, but all of their activities are conducted on a local level. Local chapters do all the negotiations on local issues, using local values and local members. Seems to me that using them as an example of why unions are evil is insulting to them, and neglectful of all the bad unions that actually exist in the world.


Did I say unions were evil? I don't recall that. I just think that they overreach themselves when they try to press for pay increases and benefits for occupations that require no skills or education. I also think it despicable when they try and intimidate others from doing their jobs, or when they resort to violence against "scabs" who are just trying to make a living by doing the jobs that they feel entitled to. Unions serve their purpose, but it should be to provide safe and viable working conditions and to prevent the exploitation of workers. Not to fight for the right to work as little as possible for the most pay possible...which (for those of you have been members of unions know) is generally what occurs these days. I realize that it is a matter of self preservation though, and that most people will do whatever they can to benefit themselves.

And BTW...I actually think the gun registry in Canada is a waste of money. Making people register hunting rifles serves no purpose in my opinion.
MrNudiePants
Posted: Wednesday, September 01, 2010 6:52:32 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,216
Location: United States
No, you never said they were evil. From the tone of the original post, that's what it sounded like. BUt you still haven't answered my questions about who you think deserves representation, and why the "janitors and groundskeepers", and their ilk don't.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Wednesday, September 01, 2010 8:23:24 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,477
Location: Cakeland, United States
DamonX wrote:
Unions serve their purpose, but it should be to provide safe and viable working conditions and to prevent the exploitation of workers. Not to fight for the right to work as little as possible for the most pay possible...which (for those of you have been members of unions know) is generally what occurs these days. I realize that it is a matter of self preservation though, and that most people will do whatever they can to benefit themselves.


Heheh...I've toiled for a couple of Fortune 500 and 1000 corporations around just this type of coworker. In fact, once this plague gets situated inside a company ... you will more often than not, find yourself as one of the four or five people on your floor still working in the office after 3pm when you notice that all the other 5pm'ers have left early for the day.

You'll see it frequently as people take a generous 90 or 120 minute lunch break (when we are all only allowed 60 minutes). Or you are part the email blast list and you see the wonderful subject notice... re: Working From Home today

Doing less for more seems to be the mantra from many coworkers of mine, in the white collar professions (non-union), Damon.

Most intelligent people are introspective and doubt themselves while many fucktards are proudly over-confident. - a tip of the hat to Charles Bukowski
DamonX
Posted: Wednesday, September 01, 2010 9:27:42 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 798
Quote:
BUt you still haven't answered my questions about who you think deserves representation, and why the "janitors and groundskeepers", and their ilk don't.


Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by representation. For jobs that require no skills, I think the free market should decide. If someone else can do the exact same job for less pay or fewer coffee breaks, then they should be allowed to do it without violent repercussions.

I think unions are necessary when people's lives and health are put in danger, which is rarely the case these days.

Quote:
Doing less for more seems to be the mantra from many coworkers of mine, in the white collar professions (non-union), Damon.


Yep. And they can be fired and replaced with more productive employees....Or employees that are equally able but work for less money. Right?

I'm not saying that that collar workers are morally superior to blue collar ones. Everyone will always work in their own interest. My comments were not anti-blue collar, although I guess that's how they were taken. I just think that people should be paid in accordance to the services that they provide. Unions these days are kind of a way of "cheating the system" it seems.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 12:08:31 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,477
Location: Cakeland, United States
If it were not for the actuality and existence and yes, even the threat to corporations which healthy unions pose...

'The system' would be fucking us all, as often as possible - meaning, all the friggen time. And that's a fact, Jack.

Most intelligent people are introspective and doubt themselves while many fucktards are proudly over-confident. - a tip of the hat to Charles Bukowski
LadyX
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 1:05:20 AM

Rank: Artistic Tart
Moderator

Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,813
WellMadeMale wrote:
If it were not for the actuality and existence and yes, even the threat to corporations which healthy unions pose...

'The system' would be fucking us all, as often as possible - meaning, all the friggen time. And that's a fact, Jack.


I agree with this. You might say- "well, doesn't the government have laws that protect workers these days?" Sure they do, but laws don't cover everything. Laws don't cover certain polluting industries that have been loopholed out of jurisdiction. Even if this weren't the case, the government can't be everywhere, nor do they care enough to try. Laws guarantee max workweeks and overtime pay, which is abused and ignored by employers, day in/day out. Laws guarantee minimum wage: big fucking deal, you can't live off of that, so they might as well not guarantee anything.

Take Wal-Mart for example. They pay as little as possible, they keep employee hours just below the number per week where they have to pay benefits, and they pressure workers (with implied threat of losing their job) to work without clocking in so the companies don't have to pay overtime money. They cut every cost there is to cut, all the while forcing lots of others out of business- capitalism at work. They pay so low, in fact, that I've read that many employees qualify for state and federal aid, and health care where available publicly. In other words, this great titan of capitalism climbs its way to the top with the help of taxpayer dollars. They're now the biggest company around, they clobber competition everywhere, and they got there by exploited their own employees and vendors.

This would seem like the natural situation to unionize, right? Maybe not according to Damon, who says that if the exploited Wal-Mart toilet cleaner's got a beef, he can just be replaced with another eager toilet cleaner. Is this really your, or anyone's, ideal? Should every damn thing be determined by the bottom-line? It's another example of it costing more to do the right thing, so they don't do it.

I laugh when I hear people talk about capitalism like it's this perfect system, if only we'd all get out of its way. But from what I see, when its allowed to act mostly on its own, it kicks people to the ground on its quest to funnel money to the wealthiest few out of every hundred. Is this really what people want? Clearly to those at the top with the power, the answer is yes.

In Wal-Mart's case, they are hard-core union-busters- conspiring against and firing union organizers, and even shutting down stores that successfully unionize. These workers don't want 45 minute smoke breaks, they want to get a fair wage, in addition to what they should be getting anyway but the company finds ways around.

Their suppliers in China pay awful wages, work their employees for long hours, 6 and 7 days a week, and keep them in dormitories onsite, which they have to pay for even if they live elsewhere. If you try to unionize in China, I think you die. But what's the problem? If somebody gets tired of 80 hour weeks bent over a desk with no breaks, they can just be wimps and quit, and another will gladly take the job....right? Why even talk about the realities of employees who are now out of a job that under better conditions he'd still be in and his family's means of surviving wouldn't be in peril. Let's just dismiss it, and imply that he was probably lazy anyway.

Somebody here told me in another conversation that Wal Mart is on the way down due to these kinds of problems. As WMM would say, "heh", I'll believe that when I see it. The way things seem to go from where I sit, the only way Wal Mart goes down is if another competitor finds ways to cut throats even more efficiently than they do.

Government is in bed with business, they won't provide the counterbalance on behalf of employees. That leaves only the employees themselves to try to take their own employers to task. At the risk of losing their means of providing food for their family table and a roof over their heads? Sure, that's a fair fight. So, he'll either keep his mouth shut and take whatever the company shovels at him, or complain and be turned out into the street and replaced by somebody else, and for what? Standing up for what's fair.

In most of these situations, unions never get off the ground, and employees have been trained in this country to think that union means "lazy, greedy, wants something for nothing", which is Damon's take on it as well, and in the meantime they are either overworked, not making even basic ends meet, or both. They demonize exactly the kind of organization that could provide more stability and better work conditions for them.

Who needs unions? We have all these awesome companies to work for, they'll take care of us. Gotta love capitalism, it helps all of us, right?

MrNudiePants
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 6:54:18 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,216
Location: United States
DamonX wrote:
Quote:
BUt you still haven't answered my questions about who you think deserves representation, and why the "janitors and groundskeepers", and their ilk don't.


Well, I guess it depends on what you mean by representation. For jobs that require no skills, I think the free market should decide. If someone else can do the exact same job for less pay or fewer coffee breaks, then they should be allowed to do it without violent repercussions.

I think unions are necessary when people's lives and health are put in danger, which is rarely the case these days.

Quote:
Doing less for more seems to be the mantra from many coworkers of mine, in the white collar professions (non-union), Damon.


Yep. And they can be fired and replaced with more productive employees....Or employees that are equally able but work for less money. Right?

I'm not saying that that collar workers are morally superior to blue collar ones. Everyone will always work in their own interest. My comments were not anti-blue collar, although I guess that's how they were taken. I just think that people should be paid in accordance to the services that they provide. Unions these days are kind of a way of "cheating the system" it seems.


Many people share the attitude that unions are good for little but padding their members' wallets, and making manufactured goods more expensive. Let's not forget that when the first national unions were organized, the natural life expectancy for American whites was 48 years, and for non-whites it was 34 years. link The work force included 1.75 million children under 15 and more than five million women, who sometimes worked for as low as 10 cents for a 10-hour day. An Illinois court struck down a statute limiting the number of hours worked by women in sweatshops as unconstitutional, stating that women were “sufficiently intelligent to make their own labor contracts in their own interest.” In those days, collective bargaining was the only way to address unfair and downright dangerous working conditions. The factory owners made their own rules, they owned the government and didn't care how many workers were injured or killed on the job. All they cared about was the bottom line. Unions were formed to protect the workers' rights, campaign for safer working conditions, and better wages. If the factory owners had been compassionate about the safety and well-being of their workers, unions never would have been formed in the first place.

Using your two examples, janitors and groundskeepers, you say that they require no skills. You say that the workers' lives and health are not put into danger. According to this report by the US Department of Labor, "...Three detailed occupations, police and sheriff’s patrol officers, janitors and cleaners, and fire fighters each had more than 15,000 injuries and illnesses with days away from work and together accounted for 30 percent of all cases in local government.." Does this mean that being a janitor is as dangerous as being a police officer? Maybe not. But is it a profession into which just anybody can step without undergoing some kind of training first? Definitely not.

"...On the whole, janitors suffer more injuries than many other workers in private industry. In 2007, 262 out of 10,000 full time janitors were injured on the job more than twice the average injury rate for all workers in private industry, which was 122 out of 10,000 workers." Link.

Again, according to the US Dept of Labor, "Over the period from 1992 to 2002, 1,117 groundskeepers and gardeners, except farm (henceforth to be referred to as "groundskeepers"),1 were killed while at work, and 211,672 serious injuries2 were reported in the occupation. Groundskeepers accounted for approximately 1 in every 60 workplace fatalities during that period and about 1 in every 100 nonfatal injuries." According to this link, "Between 2003 and 2006 an average of 197 workers died each year; and while landscape service workers make up only 0.8 percent of the U.S. workforce, the category experienced 3.5 percent of total occupational fatalities."

So here we have documented evidence that shows the groups you consider as not at risk, really are. Is it really proper that they don't deserve union representation against unfair labor practices? Allow corporations to operate with no regulation at all and you allow them to use people up and throw them aside when they become unable to work any more. But in your view, it wouldn't matter, right? Because there would always be someone else ready to step in to do "the exact same job for less pay or fewer coffee breaks", right? How many "unskilled" workers would you sacrifice for your principles? One? Ten? A hundred? Somewhere, you have to draw the line. If you honestly think laborers don't deserve protection from unfair practices, then I feel sorry for your lack of humanity.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 11:49:37 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,477
Location: Cakeland, United States
True story...

In order for me to get into the career field I've enjoyed since 1990, I first had to hire on with a mutual fund holding company as a 'lowly' entry-level...data entry clerk. After a semi-successful stint of self-employed proprietor in a fairly hi tech field for a number of years, I wanted a career switch and had to start at the bottom again. When I was in business for myself, nobody tried to unionize on me, as I paid my guys pretty damned good coin. Very comparable to what I was raking in, myself.

I type fairly fast and accurate and my 10-key skills then were nothing short of impressive. Since I was a man, I got some help from the equal opportunity bias in play then. I was hired and one of twenty-five other men on a floor of 150 other people, all women, and most were extremely yummy to glance at. I do miss that aspect of that position! lol

A year later I posted for an opening and was hired into and 'promoted' at a ridiculously low wage, that same company's extremely small data/voice department. Mostly because I was a world class schmoozing kiss-ass artist, but I also knew not just the basics of data and voice protocols and at least two other people above my boss thought..."Hell, this guy wants to work 120 hours a week for a 40 hour dirt cheap wage salary, and he's a kiss-ass!"

If there had been a union in place there (or even in that industry) I would not have been taken advantage of like that.

2 months into that position, I attended a larger division quarterly meeting in Chicago. I met the other 50 people in my department who were stationed in downtown Chicago at the company's primary data center. The operation in KC was just a very poorly equipped secondary site.

During a briefing on how 'they' planned to expand their network with TCP/IP and fiber (at the time a new thing) instead of token ring and mainframe...I happened to mention what I thought was a flaw in the senior design engineering team's 3 year plan, which seemed to me as a stop-gap/pigeon holing move. I was prepared to explain further why with a brief analysis when I was cut off by a guy who had been with that company in Chicago since the late 1970s.

"This guy was a fucking data entry clerk for a year til 'they' hired him for 16k a year, a few months ago...why are we listening to anything he has to fucking say?"

Less than two years later, I was that guy's boss, and my suggestion 15 months earlier was acted upon back then, saving them a considerable expense down the road.

I probably could not have advanced that quickly - IF THERE HAD BEEN a Union in place.

Unions are a double edged sword.

I got my foot in the door because of those who came before me, who established Unions and helped to make them a legitimate tool for the betterment of all future employees in the United States. Corporations are deathly afraid of them and what they represent.

JIMO -Anyone who bashes a Union is either ignorantly uninformed, or - they are a part of upper management which is rewarded for the labors of those below 'them'...or they are an owner operator of a small to large sized private company who wishes to exploit people for THEIR own benefit, at the detriment of the people who need to earn the money to survive on.

Most intelligent people are introspective and doubt themselves while many fucktards are proudly over-confident. - a tip of the hat to Charles Bukowski
MrNudiePants
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 12:38:42 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,216
Location: United States
I know a guy who worked for a company for ten years. He had a particularly decent attendance history, and had been steadily promoted from basic laborer through the ranks to project manager. He was fired from this company a few days after he accidentally stumbled on his direct supervisor getting high at lunch.

Sure would have been nice if he could have had union representation, but Florida is a so-called "Right to Work" state...
WellMadeMale
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 5:29:47 PM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,477
Location: Cakeland, United States
MrNudiePants wrote:
He was fired from this company a few days after he accidentally stumbled on his direct supervisor getting high at lunch.


That would frigg'n suck big green donky dicks. How do you fight something like that?

Most intelligent people are introspective and doubt themselves while many fucktards are proudly over-confident. - a tip of the hat to Charles Bukowski
DamonX
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 8:45:41 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 798
Quote:
Many people share the attitude that unions are good for little but padding their members' wallets, and making manufactured goods more expensive. Let's not forget that when the first national unions were organized, the natural life expectancy for American whites was 48 years, and for non-whites it was 34 years. link The work force included 1.75 million children under 15 and more than five million women, who sometimes worked for as low as 10 cents for a 10-hour day. An Illinois court struck down a statute limiting the number of hours worked by women in sweatshops as unconstitutional, stating that women were “sufficiently intelligent to make their own labor contracts in their own interest.” In those days, collective bargaining was the only way to address unfair and downright dangerous working conditions. The factory owners made their own rules, they owned the government and didn't care how many workers were injured or killed on the job. All they cared about was the bottom line. Unions were formed to protect the workers' rights, campaign for safer working conditions, and better wages. If the factory owners had been compassionate about the safety and well-being of their workers, unions never would have been formed in the first place.


I agree. These are instances in which unions were needed. I see modern unions as a very corrupt form of this ideal.

Quote:
Using your two examples, janitors and groundskeepers, you say that they require no skills. You say that the workers' lives and health are not put into danger. According to this report by the US Department of Labor, "...Three detailed occupations, police and sheriff’s patrol officers, janitors and cleaners, and fire fighters each had more than 15,000 injuries and illnesses with days away from work and together accounted for 30 percent of all cases in local government.." Does this mean that being a janitor is as dangerous as being a police officer? Maybe not. But is it a profession into which just anybody can step without undergoing some kind of training first? Definitely not.


Yes I think that any person with a pulse and half a brain can be a janitor. Maybe your idea of "training" is different than mine. I guess, being shown where they keep the draino could be considered "training". :) And let me tell you, as someone who works with work injuries daily, there is a huge difference between "injuries" and "injury claims." I would be glad to continue this little string, but I'm going to offer you some friendly advice and suggest you pick a different argument to hang your hat on. I wasn't referring to minor aches and strains when I mentioned "risk". Every job has those types of risks. If you want to open that can of worms, go ahead...but you better do your homework first.

Quote:
So here we have documented evidence that shows the groups you consider as not at risk, really are. Is it really proper that they don't deserve union representation against unfair labor practices?


Everyone deserves protection against unfair labour practices. I just don't think that that preventing a janitor from logging 6 hours a day of unsupervised overtime is "unfair". What I see as unfair, is a Union strong-arming others from doing their jobs and resorting to physical intimidation to prevent people from crossing their precious picket line.

Quote:
I feel sorry for your lack of humanity.


So...let me get ths straight. You are against universal health care, but have no problem with janitors getting 35 dollars an hour, full benefits, and being able to log as many OT hours as they want while imposing on the rights of others in order to further their own self interests? Did I get that right?

I think my humanity is quite alright.

Quote:
JIMO -Anyone who bashes a Union is either ignorantly uninformed, or - they are a part of upper management which is rewarded for the labors of those below 'them'...or they are an owner operator of a small to large sized private company who wishes to exploit people for THEIR own benefit, at the detriment of the people who need to earn the money to survive on.


I am neither upper management, nor do I profit from anyone under me. In fact, I do not have anyone under me. I do not own my own business, large or small. In fact...in your little scenario, I would be the oppressed, non-unionized underling. I guess I must be ignorantly uninformed then....:(
WellMadeMale
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 9:34:02 PM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,477
Location: Cakeland, United States
DamonX wrote:

I think my humanity is quite alright.

Quote:
JIMO -Anyone who bashes a Union is either ignorantly uninformed, or - they are a part of upper management which is rewarded for the labors of those below 'them'...or they are an owner operator of a small to large sized private company who wishes to exploit people for THEIR own benefit, at the detriment of the people who need to earn the money to survive on.


I am neither upper management, nor do I profit from anyone under me. In fact, I do not have anyone under me. I do not own my own business, large or small. In fact...in your little scenario, I would be the oppressed, non-unionized underling. I guess I must be ignorantly uninformed then....:(


Were you bashing a union or unions? I did not think you were and that particular message was not directed at you specifically by me.

Sometimes, I think you just like to be controversial for the sake of it. geek Carry on. I like to do the same thing from time to time, as you may have noticed.

Most intelligent people are introspective and doubt themselves while many fucktards are proudly over-confident. - a tip of the hat to Charles Bukowski
Guest
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 11:31:49 PM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 675,782
I'm from Michigan! Need I say more?
inepa
Posted: Thursday, September 02, 2010 11:58:33 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 4/18/2010
Posts: 139
Location: Alotau
I wonder where unemployment comes from and why prices keep rising and why there are so few who are filthy rich and ssssoooo many are poor.... greed takes its meaning from its doer and the doer exists from it...Where I come we own the land not the government... so when you have no job and need money go home so to speak.....strikes have lasting results when people from poor nations employ it and the devastation it causes takes years to rectify... But then I suppose one has to have a basis on which to be satisfied that he has achieved something...
MrNudiePants
Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010 6:30:09 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,216
Location: United States
DamonX wrote:

I agree. These are instances in which unions were needed. I see modern unions as a very corrupt form of this ideal.


DamonX wrote:
Yes I think that any person with a pulse and half a brain can be a janitor. Maybe your idea of "training" is different than mine. I guess, being shown where they keep the draino could be considered "training". :) And let me tell you, as someone who works with work injuries daily, there is a huge difference between "injuries" and "injury claims." I would be glad to continue this little string, but I'm going to offer you some friendly advice and suggest you pick a different argument to hang your hat on. I wasn't referring to minor aches and strains when I mentioned "risk". Every job has those types of risks. If you want to open that can of worms, go ahead...but you better do your homework first.


Hmm. You disregarded my post that showed groundskeepers, making up a tiny percentage of the work force, are killed on the job four times as often as their numbers should account for. I wonder why?


DamonX wrote:
Everyone deserves protection against unfair labour practices. I just don't think that that preventing a janitor from logging 6 hours a day of unsupervised overtime is "unfair". What I see as unfair, is a Union strong-arming others from doing their jobs and resorting to physical intimidation to prevent people from crossing their precious picket line.


You've admitted that there is a need for unions when it comes to protecting workers' rights. How would you suggest the unions protest unfair work practices? Maybe they should limit their activities to sending strongly worded letters. With the good, you have to take the bad. You can pick apart individual benefits and who, in your opinion, deserves what, but the reality is your opinion means exactly jack shit in this arena.

DamonX wrote:
So...let me get ths straight. You are against universal health care, but have no problem with janitors getting 35 dollars an hour, full benefits, and being able to log as many OT hours as they want while imposing on the rights of others in order to further their own self interests? Did I get that right?


Did I ever say that? Show me the post.

DamonX wrote:
I think my humanity is quite alright.


Apparently, that's part of the problem. You really do think it is.

DamonX
Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010 10:48:42 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/25/2009
Posts: 798
Quote:
You've admitted that there is a need for unions when it comes to protecting workers' rights. How would you suggest the unions protest unfair work practices? Maybe they should limit their activities to sending strongly worded letters. With the good, you have to take the bad. You can pick apart individual benefits and who, in your opinion, deserves what, but the reality is your opinion means exactly jack shit in this arena.


If you can give me an example of how unions in the modern day have worked to increase the safety of their workers then I would support that. I think things have gone off course here, but I'll play along. I'm not sure how things work in Florida, but where I live we have a workers compensation board that prevent any unsafe work practices. They also compensate injured workers whether they are are union or not, covering lost wages and rehabiliation costs. Everyone deserves protection from unsafe work conditions. My point was that unions today don't work to protect the safety of workers, but rather try to squeeze as much money and benefits as possible from their employers. I think any strike or issue should be dealt with on a case by case basis. I despise how all unions blindly support all other unions regardless of what the issues may be.

And how are all these groundskeepers being killed? If there is an epidemic of groundskeeper mortality, then obviously some issues need to be addressed. I sincerely doubt that the lawn mowers of North America are being subjected to inhumaniterian working conditions.


Quote:
Did I ever say that? Show me the post.


So you support universal health care? If you do, then state it and I will apologize.

Quote:
Apparently, that's part of the problem. You really do think it is.


Well, I am a Godless sinner....

geek
MrNudiePants
Posted: Saturday, September 04, 2010 8:34:34 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,216
Location: United States
DamonX wrote:
I think any strike or issue should be dealt with on a case by case basis. I despise how all unions blindly support all other unions regardless of what the issues may be.

And how are all these groundskeepers being killed? If there is an epidemic of groundskeeper mortality, then obviously some issues need to be addressed. I sincerely doubt that the lawn mowers of North America are being subjected to inhumaniterian working conditions.


But how then should the unions negotiate with the employers? Their only strength lies in solidarity. Take away the solidarity of the unions, and you take away their strength. They may as well not exist. It doesn't matter whether you think the issues they concern themselves with are valid or not. Unions are necessary. A necessary evil, perhaps, but needed nonetheless. And the only reason I posted the statistic about groundskeeper mortality was to demonstrate that there may be more to these manual labor occupations than you can see from your ivory tower. I can tell from your posts that you've never been a janitor, you've never been a groundskeeper - hell, you've probably never had to actually work a manual labor job in your life. Don't criticize them all as ignorant greedy bastards until you've walked a mile in their shoes.


Quote:
Did I ever say that? Show me the post.


DamonX wrote:
So you support universal health care? If you do, then state it and I will apologize.


To borrow my philosophy from the political thread, I believe that a country is only as strong as its weakest citizens. I believe it's imperative that the strongest among us do whatever we can to take care of our weaker brethren. In keeping with that idea, universal health care makes sense. I haven't seen a plan proposed yet that will strip power from the corporate interests in the medical field (hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies), properly manage care for the patients, and still allow everyone enough profit to make it palatable.

Quote:
Apparently, that's part of the problem. You really do think it is.


DamonX wrote:
Well, I am a Godless sinner....

geek


And... that's between you and God.
WellMadeMale
Posted: Saturday, September 04, 2010 8:55:18 AM

Rank: Constant Gardener

Joined: 9/30/2009
Posts: 10,477
Location: Cakeland, United States


Most intelligent people are introspective and doubt themselves while many fucktards are proudly over-confident. - a tip of the hat to Charles Bukowski
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