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Rain Man
05-29-2012, 03:04 PM
I'm not sure if this should be in DC or not, but found it fascinating.

Did you know that a majority of union workers in this country work in the public sector? I kept seeing the stats while I was looking stuff up and kept thinking I was miseading it. So I finally googled around and found a NY Times article about it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/23/business/23labor.html

Here are some state by state stats: http://www.unionstats.com/

I am staggered. Flabbergasted. Astounded. If you had asked me to guess the percent of union members that are government workers, I would have guessed 10 percent. The popular image of unions is manufacturing, steel workers, construction, and those guys. But in reality, the image of unions should be teachers and policemen and firefighters.

Which brings to mind a fundamental question. If unions were originally created to give workers power to fight capitalistic overlords who would otherwise oppress them, what does it mean when the majority of union members work for the government?

BigMeatballDave
05-29-2012, 03:16 PM
I know most of Ohio's state employees are union.

scho63
05-29-2012, 03:26 PM
I'm not sure if this should be in DC or not, but found it fascinating.

Did you know that a majority of union workers in this country work in the public sector? I kept seeing the stats while I was looking stuff up and kept thinking I was miseading it. So I finally googled around and found a NY Times article about it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/23/business/23labor.html

Here are some state by state stats: http://www.unionstats.com/

I am staggered. Flabbergasted. Astounded. If you had asked me to guess the percent of union members that are government workers, I would have guessed 10 percent. The popular image of unions is manufacturing, steel workers, construction, and those guys. But in reality, the image of unions should be teachers and policemen and firefighters.

Which brings to mind a fundamental question. If unions were originally created to give workers power to fight capitalistic overlords who would otherwise oppress them, what does it mean when the majority of union members work for the government?

With most manufacturing jobs either moving overseas or becoming extinct from technology, the only way the Democrats can keep their union contributions and votes high is to unionize all the government workers and teachers.

I used to belong to a union as a young man but the business died and took the good paying jobs down the tubes with it-(newspaper pressman)

Fish
05-29-2012, 03:39 PM
Unions have completely outlived their respective uses. They've become greedier and more corrupt than the entities they were supposed to protect workers from.

tooge
05-29-2012, 03:42 PM
unions were put in place to protect workers from being overworked, underpaid, and done so in an unsafe environment. They are a useless relic of the industrial revolution. Now, they fight so hard for workers pay packages (hours, benefits, rate of pay, etc) that they end up ruining the companies the workers are trying to work for.

Phobia
05-29-2012, 03:46 PM
I had a union job temporarily several years ago. I quit because the project lead would encourage us to hide somewhere on the jobsite for hours at a time. Can't be too efficient and can't finish early and go home or it might impact pay. I've had about 10 union carpenters work for my company and would only consider keeping one.

Direckshun
05-29-2012, 03:46 PM
My support for unions in the private sector varies from industry to industry, and from year to year. Stuff is so complicated, especially with the now-global economy.

The public sector unions, however, I can't help but feel sympathy for. Teaching, policework, firefighting, etc. These are all such critical positions for our society and they are all similarly underpaid. Without a union, very few people would be on hand to speak for them.

Garcia Bronco
05-29-2012, 03:48 PM
Public Sector Unions are bankrupting most states. They need to be abolished.

Garcia Bronco
05-29-2012, 03:48 PM
My support for unions in the private sector varies from industry to industry, and from year to year. Stuff is so complicated, especially with the now-global economy.

The public sector unions, however, I can't help but feel sympathy for. Teaching, policework, firefighting, etc. These are all such critical positions for our society and they are all similarly underpaid. Without a union, very few people would be on hand to speak for them.

They have access to the courts like everybody else.

WV
05-29-2012, 03:49 PM
Don't read too much into Government Unions, they do not have the same rights or powers as private sector unions. No striking and no direct impact on pay.

HonestChieffan
05-29-2012, 03:52 PM
My support for unions in the private sector varies from industry to industry, and from year to year. Stuff is so complicated, especially with the now-global economy.

The public sector unions, however, I can't help but feel sympathy for. Teaching, policework, firefighting, etc. These are all such critical positions for our society and they are all similarly underpaid. Without a union, very few people would be on hand to speak for them.



Such bullshit. Data over a year ago showed wages in public sector now outstrip private plus the golden pot at retirement is even more out of wack

boogblaster
05-29-2012, 03:55 PM
they have broke most unions for the working class .. just the pud-jobs still have most of the union backing ..... it's criminal ..........

DaFace
05-29-2012, 03:59 PM
I've been thinking about forming a union at work. Damn the man!

Amnorix
05-29-2012, 04:00 PM
Which brings to mind a fundamental question. If unions were originally created to give workers power to fight capitalistic overlords who would otherwise oppress them, what does it mean when the majority of union members work for the government?


Yeah, think the tipping point was a few years back. Think there was a thread in DC about that.

And your point is very well taken. IMHO public sector unions are a problem in the sense that the usual "employer seeking to maximize profits at the expense of the worker" versus "worker trying to ensure he gets a fair wage and benefits" situation is inapplicable.

Amnorix
05-29-2012, 04:04 PM
My support for unions in the private sector varies from industry to industry, and from year to year. Stuff is so complicated, especially with the now-global economy.

The public sector unions, however, I can't help but feel sympathy for. Teaching, policework, firefighting, etc. These are all such critical positions for our society and they are all similarly underpaid. Without a union, very few people would be on hand to speak for them.


Not to pick on firefighters, specifically, but let me tell you how ti works in Massachusetts for EVERY firefighter with any kind of work ethic.

Swap shifts with co-workers so you can work 48 hours in a row. Full-time pay, great benefits and great pension upon retirement.

Spend 3-4 days/week working at your other regular job, which is usually something involving contracting work with other firefighters.

Frankly, it's ridiculous.

And that's not even the worst of it. THIS is how bad it fucking gets... [see next post]

Cave Johnson
05-29-2012, 04:04 PM
The real issue is that the growth in public sector compensation has far outpaced that of the private sector. There used to be a tradeoff between lower immediate compensation and greater retirement on the backend. Now, not so much.

Amnorix
05-29-2012, 04:07 PM
Trading the call of duty for a call of convenience
A system that lets Boston firefighters swap shifts has turned into a costly free-for-all. Some barely work for years and never make up the time. The city does almost nothing about it.

By Callum Borchers, Gal Tziperman Lotan, and Walter V. Robinson
Globe Correspondents / January 30, 2011

It is a familial courtesy as intrinsic to the culture of Boston firehouses as shared chicken dinners. When a firefighter can’t make his shift, a colleague steps in, on condition the favor will be returned.

But there are scores of Boston firefighters whose shifts have been covered by others for weeks or months at a time, with no record they have ever reciprocated and worked off the debt.

One firefighter, Gregory L. Burton, owes his firehouse comrades 554 shifts — nearly three years of work — for shifts he borrowed over five years while he was tending to a successful real estate business, according to department records. In 2004, for instance, Burton had other firefighters work 124 shifts for him, while Burton himself worked just 34 scheduled tours.

Timothy P. O’Callaghan, another firefighter with outside business interests, has filed for his pension based on years of service. That means he would receive credit for 391 shifts — about two years work — that others worked in his stead, and which he did not repay, according to Fire Department personnel records.

Nearly 70 other firefighters owe comrades between three months and a year of workdays.

The actual cost of this practice is difficult to assess — the colleagues who worked unreciprocated shifts are not paid extra for that time — but it means that many firefighters have received pay, benefits, and retirement credits for work performed by others.

A second form of shift-swapping abuse has a more tangible — and extremely costly — bottom line. Between January 2006 and last September, firefighters who had agreed to work shifts for others called in sick 29,000 times, forcing the department to pay millions in overtime to others to fill the shifts.

One firefighter who was given credit for working 269 shifts for others actually called in sick for 107 of those shifts.

The extent of both practices is undoubtedly far higher than these numbers reflect, because the department does not have a systemwide computerized record for borrowed workdays before 2006. For prior years, the only way to gauge the numbers is to comb through day-to-day paper records for each firefighter — which the Globe did for three firefighters, including Burton and O’Callaghan.

In an interview, Burton acknowledged he accumulated an “excessive amount of time owed,’’ but noted there was no prohibition on doing so and said he was never disciplined. O’Callaghan, who has been on unpaid sick leave, declined to comment for the story.

The excesses, though they are neither illegal nor proscribed by departmental policy, represent yet another challenge for Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser, the department’s leader since 2006. Fraser has repeatedly battled the powerful union and the department’s entrenched culture to curb practices that have diminished the department’s effectiveness and saddled it with needless costs.

In 2008, for example, the Globe reported that scores of firefighters were staying out on injured leave for extended periods, and that more than 100 firefighters were awarded higher disability pensions after claiming career-ending injuries occurred while they were filling in for superiors at higher pay rates. That practice led to federal indictments and changes to state pension laws.

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Working on borrowed time
Absenteeism high among swapping firefightersAs has been the case with the other abusive practices, the runaway shift deficits accumulated by dozens of firefighters underscore a workplace ethos in which the personal needs of many firefighters appear to trump those of the fire service.

During a December interview, Fraser and Fire Chief Ronald Keating said they are working to change the culture of the department. “It’s not going to be done overnight,’’ Keating said. “It’s going to be done in small baby steps and we’re taking those steps as we talk.’’

The department, however, has done little to curb the shift-swap abuses — and less than Fraser and Keating, in a December interview, claimed they had accomplished. In 2007, they said, 30 of the worst offenders were summoned to headquarters and warned they would face possible suspensions if they continued to borrow more shifts than they repaid. All but one complied, they said.

In fact, just seven firefighters were summoned to headquarters, according to records that Captain Stephen Creamer, the personnel supervisor, reviewed at the Globe’s request last week. One of those seven, Burton, resigned rather than report for the dressing down. In the cases of 13 others, their commanders were told to warn them, Creamer said.

Yet compliance was rare: Fourteen of the 20 have borrowed even more shifts since being warned, according to a Globe review of the records. None have been disciplined. Department officials said they were unaware of the lack of compliance until the Globe called it to their attention.

What’s more, Fraser may have undercut his standing to demand tighter controls on swaps: Last March, he bowed to entreaties from Burton and others and rehired the firefighter. And Fraser said recently that the 2007 resignation erased Burton’s obligation to repay the 554 days he owed.


Settling debts privately
The lack of accounting — and the absence of limits that other fire departments routinely impose on shift swaps — has nurtured a subterranean culture in which some firefighters pay cash to others to work their shifts, or repay the obligation by doing outside work like home renovation projects for their firehouse creditors, according to interviews with several firefighters, who asked that they not be identified by name.

The Globe could find no evidence that any of the firefighters who have amassed substantial IOUs have paid others to work for them. Fraser and Keating said they also possess no such evidence, although both acknowledged the practice occurs.Continued...

One telltale sign that much of the debt has been settled privately: Fraser and Keating said not a single firefighter who is owed shifts has ever filed a complaint. Under-the-table cash payments would violate tax laws if the income is unreported.

Keating said the department is developing a system that will more effectively monitor swaps, but limiting the number of shifts any one firefighter can rack up could be difficult. In 1996, when shift-swapping became part of a contract dispute, an arbitrator ruled that the department could not impose a limit without negotiating it through collective bargaining.

This has proved to be a high bar: Last year, for example, the city increased the size of a pay raise for firefighters in return for the right to conduct random drug testing.

Fraser said he will, however, explore whether the city can recoup money from retired or retiring firefighters, like O’Callaghan, who received full pay and retirement credits for work that others actually performed.

Rich Paris, president of the Boston firefighters union, the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 718, said in an interview that “there are some guys taking advantage’’ of the system. But on the issue of whether the city should be able to impose limits, Paris said: “Why should the majority of our guys get hurt over something [when] a certain percentage of guys are doing something wrong?’’ The issue, he said, can only be settled through collective bargaining.

Most big-city departments have such limits; in Denver, for instance, firefighters are generally not allowed to accrue a deficit of more than three shifts.


‘Administrative nightmare’
Shift-swapping began four decades ago as a benign way for firefighters to consolidate their schedules, in a way that is done in numerous other departments across the country.

Contractually, firefighters are supposed to work 16 shifts a month — half of them 10-hour daytime shifts and the other half 14-hour nighttime shifts. In many firehouses, however, they swap shifts so they work 10-hour and 14-hour shifts back-to-back, from 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. That system, a boon to those with second jobs, allows firefighters to work eight 24-hour shifts a month.

Those swaps, which represent the bulk of the shift-trading, most often even out, with firefighters making clean exchanges. There is no payroll adjustment for swapped shifts, just an understanding each firefighter will ultimately work the shifts he or she has been paid for. A small percentage of the deficit on the books represents acts of compassion. One example: shifts worked for colleagues tending to ill family members, with no expectation they be repaid.

There is another feature to the system, a perk the department is reluctant to halt: Some firefighters work a substantial number of added shifts in the winter so they can take much of the summer off. And vice versa: Other firefighters are happy to work extra summer tours so they, in turn, can escape to Florida for part of the winter.

“The taxpayers cannot support that kind of practice,’’ said Samuel R. Tyler, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a business-supported watchdog group.

Tyler said the swap system is an “administrative nightmare’’ for the department. District chiefs, he said, cannot be assured that firefighters who appear for duty are accustomed to working together, in an environment “where teamwork is very important.

“This is a huge problem for the department,’’ he said.

Under department regulations, district chiefs are required to approve every swap in advance. But the department abandoned that practice several years ago, according to Keating.

Fraser said it was not until 2007 that senior department officials became aware of the extent of the problem. “It was reported by one of our field deputies that they had a problem with some of their people basically accumulating so many swaps that they never saw them,’’ Fraser said during a lengthy interview in December.


Taking time for second job
Burton, for many department officials, was Exhibit A.

In a database the department provided to the Globe last fall that covers 2006 to September 2010, Burton is listed as owing 148 workdays. But that obligation does not count 410 shifts he borrowed and left unpaid from 2002 through 2005. In 2006, Burton earned about $375 a shift.

Burton, who is still president of his own Boston real estate company, said in an interview that business was so good that over time, he had six other firefighters working for him as brokers.

In 2004, for example, Burton worked just 13 day shifts because of his business commitment; and 21 overnight shifts. Other firefighters filled in for him on 124 shifts. Not once that year did Burton reciprocate. The following year, he borrowed 145 shifts, and worked just four in return.

“Yes, I owed an excessive amount of time,’’ Burton said. And when he was summoned to headquarters in 2007, he said, “I elected to resign. I left because of my other obligations, and I could not make the commitment the department wanted.’’ Burton said he never paid anyone else to work for him.

O’Callaghan, who was developing properties in Dorchester, relied on others to work his day shifts for him. In 2005, for example, O’Callaghan worked just two day shifts, while his peers worked his shifts 96 times. In return, he worked just nine overnight shifts.

O’Callaghan has been on unpaid leave since 2008 for medical reasons.

The firefighter who owes the most shifts since 2006 is Kenneth T. Gibson, at 202, according to the records. But unlike Burton and O’Callaghan, Gibson’s shift deficit in the prior four years was minimal, just 27. Overall, Gibson owes the equivalent of a year’s worth of shifts that he said he borrowed from four or five colleagues. He declined to identify any of them and the department does not keep track of who owes whom.

Gibson is in the hole to others for time spent pursuing two outside interests. According to Federal Aviation Administration records, Gibson is rated as a commercial pilot and multi-engine flight instructor. Corporate records list him as president of a Rhode Island-based aviation company.

And last May, Gibson received a master’s degree in business administration from Northeastern University.

“This was the only way I was able to go to graduate school,’’ Gibson said in explaining how it is that others have worked so many shifts for him. “I used this practice to go to school.’’ The system, he asserted, “was wide open. . . . There has never been any limit to the amount of time you could owe.’’

Gibson asserted that he has already begun to pay down his shifts. He said he expected it would be easy to do over the course of several years.


Cost of calling in sick
The department’s inability to monitor personnel practices has been costly: For example, the department was unaware how many firefighters were calling in sick for the shifts they promised to cover until the Globe pointed out the numbers.

In the 56 months starting in January 2006, firefighters on tap to work for colleagues took sick days 29,401 times.

According to the records, 79 firefighters called in sick 50 times or more after they agreed to take someone else’s shift. Atop that list was Bradley Andrews, who took sick days for 107 of the 269 shifts he was scheduled to fill in.

Andrews, who was assigned to Ladder 11 in Brighton, retired last January. “If I called in sick, I wasn’t feeling well,’’ Andrews said in a telephone interview. “I worked 34 years for the Boston Fire Department. I think it was honorable service.’’

About half the time when someone is sick, the department has to bring someone in on overtime, at one-and-a-half times regular pay. That would put the cost to taxpayers for the shift-swapping sick calls at between $6 million and $8 million since 2006, according to a Globe calculation based on the department’s average overtime rates.


Policies around the US
Shift-swapping is common in fire departments, but so are stringent controls on the practice, according to a Globe survey of big-city fire departments across the country. And the Boston Police Department, which permits its officers to swap shifts, turned over to the Globe records showing deficits to be virtually nonexistent.

In San Francisco, the Fire Department instituted strict limits to stem excesses. “We had instances of people working way too much and others taking too much time off,’’ said Mindy Talmadge, department spokeswoman. “It’s better for the health of our firefighters to limit how much time they can work. We’re protecting the public, so we want our people to be as sharp as possible.’’

Boston’s system perplexed fire officials in other cities. “That sounds like a tremendous amount of time, 100 shifts,’’ Denver public information officer Lieutenant Phil Champagne said. “The problem with that is, how do you pay people back?’’

Also perplexing, to some, was Fraser’s decision to bring Burton back onto the department payroll.

When Burton resigned in 2007, Fraser said, “he was the number one offender. We called him in to talk, to tell him to stop. It was alleged he was running a real estate empire. It was alleged he was paying people to work his shifts.’’ But, Fraser added, there was no proof of such payments.

Last March, with the housing market in dire straits, Burton asked to be rehired and Fraser agreed. The firefighter, Fraser said, “came to understand the error of his ways. . . . He missed working for the department, and it’s a great place to work. He asked to come back. We had many a long discussion with him about what we expect, what our expected behavior was, and I gave him a chance.’’

And what about the days of work Burton owed his colleagues when he left in 2007? According to Fraser, that obligation was officially erased when Burton resigned. By that standard, Burton owes only two shifts he borrowed last year.

Asked whether the firefighters who are owed those 554 shifts have any recourse, Fraser said, “That’s [for] any firefighters he may have owed . . . to discuss with him.’’

In addition to Borchers and Tziperman Lotan, this article was reported by Stefanie Geisler and Cecilia Akuffo for a seminar in investigative reporting at Northeastern University. John M. Guilfoil of the Globe staff contributed reporting. Their work was overseen by Walter V. Robinson, Northeastern journalism professor and former editor of the Globe Spotlight Team. Robinson can be reached at wrobinson@globe.com. Confidential messages can be left at 617-929-3334.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/01/30/system_that_lets_boston_firefighters_swap_shifts_a_costly_free_for_all/?page=5

Rain Man
05-29-2012, 05:24 PM
Good lord.

Conceptually I can see where the shift-swapping is reasonable, but only in extreme moderation. Use it to get the day off for your kid's graduation, not to run a side business. And the sick leave stuff is, well, sick.

It's terrible in the firefighters' part, but I place just as much culpability on the leaders who are allowing the problem to run out of control. At some point, someone has to be a leader. If it was their personal money being misspent instead of taxpayer money, the problem would've been stopped long ago.

saphojunkie
05-29-2012, 05:52 PM
The must have left that part out of Backdraft.

"What do you want to be when you grow up, Timmy?"
"A fireman."
"You want to be a hero, huh?"
"No, I want to abuse a state union to the tune of 107 sick days in three years."

Deberg_1990
05-29-2012, 05:55 PM
I had a union job temporarily several years ago. I quit because the project lead would encourage us to hide somewhere on the jobsite for hours at a time. Can't be too efficient and can't finish early and go home or it might impact pay. I've had about 10 union carpenters work for my company and would only consider keeping one.

Heh...I've got several friends and family members who work for the railroad. IMO unions encourage workers to be lazy.

saphojunkie
05-29-2012, 05:56 PM
Good lord.

Conceptually I can see where the shift-swapping is reasonable, but only in extreme moderation. Use it to get the day off for your kid's graduation, not to run a side business. And the sick leave stuff is, well, sick.

It's terrible in the firefighters' part, but I place just as much culpability on the leaders who are allowing the problem to run out of control. At some point, someone has to be a leader. If it was their personal money being misspent instead of taxpayer money, the problem would've been stopped long ago.

Jeez, what kind of "business genius" let the state budget get abused so mightily with zero regard for the taxpayers?

Munson
05-29-2012, 06:28 PM
Heh...I've got several friends and family members who work for the railroad. IMO unions encourage workers to be lazy.

Having worked at UPS for almost 10 years (8 years as a supervisor), that's the same vibe I got from the Teamsters union. They basically encourage you to put forth a half-assed effort because there's almost no way they can fire you.

In order to fire even the most worthless piece of sh*t worker, you have to do so many documentations, warning letters, suspensions, local union hearings, and state union hearings that its f***ing ridiculous.:banghead:

And it seems like the more seniority you have, the more attitude and sense of entitlement you have. Some of those Teamsters are the most disrespectful and flat out sh*tty people that I have ever met in my entire life. I'm almost embarrassed for them. There were numerous adults in their 40's and 50's, but act like spoiled, lazy teenagers. And I believe the root of all their sh*tty attitudes and rotten behavior starts with the union.

IMO, this county would be a lot better off without unions. They have outlived their usefulness.

Dylan
05-29-2012, 07:18 PM
I'm a private-sector union member - And so are the editors and journalists of The New York Times. These folks have been working without a collective bargaining agreement since March 2011.

However, private-sector employees are entirely, contingent upon the performance of the private company.

Lbedrock1
05-29-2012, 07:33 PM
unions were put in place to protect workers from being overworked, underpaid, and done so in an unsafe environment. They are a useless relic of the industrial revolution. Now, they fight so hard for workers pay packages (hours, benefits, rate of pay, etc) that they end up ruining the companies the workers are trying to work for.

I have to repsectfully disagree with you. Union jobs pay more, have better benefits and are treated better then most non-union. Most Businesses like the way you think because they want you to think they will do all the things the union ask for on there own, but it is just not true. In your mind, why is it ok for a CEO to negotiate a salary that he will get paid no matter what, but you have a problem with people getting together and having a organization like a union negotiate for them? We can get rid of unions when we pass laws that says a company has to pay out a certain percentage of its earnings in wages to its lower management and occupational workers. Since that will never happen we need to keep unions around if we as a country do not want 70% of us living below the poverty line.

Brock
05-29-2012, 07:55 PM
When you work for a company with 5,000-200,000 employees, unions are definitely necessarily. Otherwise you just have thousand little kings building their little fiefdoms doing whatever they want to whoever they want.

Cannibal
05-29-2012, 08:02 PM
In my experience in commercial construction, union trade workers generally provide the best quality work and they can even speak english.

Okie_Apparition
05-29-2012, 08:04 PM
There are good ones & bad ones
One so bad moving products to a non-union plant may have saved jobs

King_Chief_Fan
05-29-2012, 08:13 PM
unions were put in place to protect workers from being overworked, underpaid, and done so in an unsafe environment. They are a useless relic of the industrial revolution. Now, they fight so hard for workers pay packages (hours, benefits, rate of pay, etc) that they end up ruining the companies the workers are trying to work for.

unions out lived thier usefulness a long time ago. They lie and steal members money to do what they want with it. They lie to thier membership about job protection...ask the auto workers how that worked out for them. I used to be a union president and my job was to protect slugs and dead beats by defending and taking to arbitration worthless grievances. After the first year, I turned and put the good of the whole (not union), employees and managers working together.
Interesting thing is for the past 30 years, I have been an employee relations director defending workers rights and protecting them from the bullying tactics and money stealing that unions have become known for.

kcpasco
05-29-2012, 09:16 PM
For those complaining about fat pensions

Do you really want a 70 year old firefighter to come rescue your ass because he couldn't afford to retire early?

Two-Twenty
05-29-2012, 09:32 PM
SAG-Aftra member.

Without that union, actors would be paid as little as possible, work even longer hours and would generally have no rights on movie sets. Unions are good in that a group of like minded people get together and set their expectations on how they want to be treated

Saulbadguy
05-29-2012, 09:33 PM
Public Sector Unions are bankrupting most states. They need to be abolished.

They are worthless in my line of work. I think we may get an extra vacation day for paying dues.

Brock
05-29-2012, 09:41 PM
SAG-Aftra member.

Without that union, actors would be paid as little as possible, work even longer hours and would generally have no rights on movie sets. Unions are good in that a group of like minded people get together and set their expectations on how they want to be treated

Well, honestly, actors should be kept in cages and beaten with clubs, just like a typical trained chimp.

Brainiac
05-29-2012, 09:47 PM
For those complaining about fat pensions

Do you really want a 70 year old firefighter to come rescue your ass because he couldn't afford to retire early?
False dichotomy.

rockymtnchief
05-29-2012, 09:53 PM
I'm currently in the IBEW Union. I could take it or leave it. Across the state, union and non-union jobs are paying the same with the same benefits at the same position.

Although, it does give you a little peace of mind knowing you have a little back-up if you're fired for not picking up a candy wrapper.

HolyHandgernade
05-29-2012, 09:58 PM
As a public sector union member I can actually speak with some actual knowledge on the subject. With the prevailing idea that "government ought to be run like a business", people are surprised now that our political system is bought like small businesses. Governments don't compete with products, they deliver services, and it is often unions that hold management accountability to that fact. Whether it education, infrastructure, defense or safety, oftentimes people who have no idea about how that actually works try to reduce it to a numbers game to deliver to the public an inferior product.

For those of you who say it is an outdated relic, public sector unions today often work in collaborative groups to expedite projects, often at a lower cost than the "top down" management style the Bush era attempted to impose. Corruption can also come from the opposite direction, and often at the expense of the public welfare, and unions fight on your behalf to make sure those impacts are minimized.

Most of you are just repeating the Republican mantra to demonize unions. What they call "right to work" acts, we correctly call "right to work for less" acts. Unions are one of the last influential groups that keep American salaries at a level they can try and eke out a living. You really think corporations are going to say, "Now that the unions are gone, we can pay you guys what you are worth"? Well, maybe with a condescending wink and nod.

Unions are not impediments to successful business as long as the business model isn't to drain all the profits for the benefit of the executives. Many companies have actively engaged their unions to their benefit. Look at Southwest Airlines and their relationship with their pilot's union. These things don't have to be acrimonious. Most of the public unions are not, but they are cast that way, mostly by Republicans, so they can have a boogeyman to blame and hope you won't notice when they funnel that money to their own ends.

Quit blaming workers, they are not hoarding the wealth in this country.

WilliamTheIrish
05-29-2012, 11:13 PM
For those complaining about fat pensions

Do you really want a 70 year old firefighter to come rescue your ass because he couldn't afford to retire early?

99% of those overpaid, overhyped, overweight civil servants couldn't save you at the age of 45 much less the age of 70. They don't die in fires, they die of heart disease.

Since 9-11 this particular group of public servants have been idolized like golden calves. Not every fireman in the country ran into the towers. Although we certainly like to believe it.

tooge
05-30-2012, 08:42 AM
I have to repsectfully disagree with you. Union jobs pay more, have better benefits and are treated better then most non-union. Most Businesses like the way you think because they want you to think they will do all the things the union ask for on there own, but it is just not true. In your mind, why is it ok for a CEO to negotiate a salary that he will get paid no matter what, but you have a problem with people getting together and having a organization like a union negotiate for them? We can get rid of unions when we pass laws that says a company has to pay out a certain percentage of its earnings in wages to its lower management and occupational workers. Since that will never happen we need to keep unions around if we as a country do not want 70% of us living below the poverty line.

Because the company board of directors can tell the CEO to go eat a bag of dicks if they choose, and he/she can decide if they want to stay for what the company will pay them. It's called supply and demand. Some other qualified CEO candidate would gladly work for what the company would have offered the first person. It gets old hearing about an autoworker that plugs a few bolts into a seat making $30/hr, getting 6 weeks paid vacation, 90% pay during layoffs, and full benefits, all the while making an inferior product and seeing their companies have to get "bailed out" by the general public.

luv
05-30-2012, 09:03 AM
Most places I know of that have a union have optional membership. There are a lot of ways the company can fuck you over without breaking the law. And once you get to a point where leaving the company is not an option (you're finally making enough to survive on your own and don't have the skill set to demand a certain amount of money from a new company), then you're screwed. You can keep on watching people less qualified than you get a promotion simply because of office politics, etc. The key is that you can choose to be a member or not to. It's not like it's mandatory.

It's got its advantages and disadvantages. I grew up in a home where my dad is an active union officer, and I've worked for companies that have screwed me over. I tend to be pro-union.

rageeumr
05-30-2012, 09:19 AM
I'm a capitalist by nature, so I'm generally anti-union. I think people should be able to negotiate their own compensation package based on their skills and merits. If you're better at your job than the guy sitting next to you, then you deserve higher pay. If the boss doesn't agree, then you're free to find someone who will give it to you. Simple supply and demand.

That being said, I'm in commercial construction. We do a lot of work in sensitive environments (healthcare, pharmaceutical plants, etc). Speaking in generalities, it's been my experience that the average union tradesman is going to be better trained, more professional and cause me far less headaches than an average non-union worker in the same trade.

So I find that utilizing union labor is quite often worth the additional investment.

scho63
05-30-2012, 09:19 AM
Jeez, what kind of "business genius" let the state budget get abused so mightily with zero regard for the taxpayers?

Political hacks who giveaway the farm today for a vote in exchange for a debt no one can repay in the future..........typical politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle-that's why this country is a mess

Iowanian
05-30-2012, 09:37 AM
SAG-Aftra member.

Without that union, actors would be paid as little as possible, work even longer hours and would generally have no rights on movie sets. Unions are good in that a group of like minded people get together and set their expectations on how they want to be treated

Thanks for the $22 popcorn.

Get a real job to support your acting hobby.

Amnorix
05-30-2012, 09:52 AM
It's terrible in the firefighters' part, but I place just as much culpability on the leaders who are allowing the problem to run out of control. At some point, someone has to be a leader. If it was their personal money being misspent instead of taxpayer money, the problem would've been stopped long ago.


And that right there is the problem with public unions. Compound the "someone else's money" thing with "these union guys can make me or break me in the next election cycle" and you have the complete recipe for disaster.

Amnorix
05-30-2012, 09:54 AM
I'm a private-sector union member - And so are the editors and journalists of The New York Times. These folks have been working without a collective bargaining agreement since March 2011.

However, private-sector employees are entirely, contingent upon the performance of the private company.


Too often they lose sight of that fact. Witness the American auto and steel industries.

seclark
05-30-2012, 09:55 AM
union member for 30 years. imo, as long as there are asshole managers, unions are needed.

also imo, the members should make the union. if you don't like what's going on, get involved for cryin out loud. i've been a steward for 25 years, and a local e-board member for 18. i have a good relationship w/the president of our company and for the last 3 contracts he and i have just sat down one on one and came up w/a fair agreement for both sides. we get paid a good wage, good benefits, etc. in turn, we should give a good 8 hours a day worth of work.

i will say that our company has a subsidiary that the employees are not union. when they're hired they're told they will be compensated comparable to the union employees. they actually only make about half the wage the union emplyees make.

i've raised my family and been lucky enough to pay for my kids lunches, college without any government handouts. i've paid taxes so others can get the handouts.

it's funny that so many people have so little faith in our government, but at the same time trust them with keeping a safe, healthy work environment.

fuckit...i'm on vacation and don't need to get involved in this.
sec

Amnorix
05-30-2012, 09:56 AM
For those complaining about fat pensions

Do you really want a 70 year old firefighter to come rescue your ass because he couldn't afford to retire early?


No, I want him to become a 70 year old doing something else.

Rain Man
05-30-2012, 09:57 AM
And that right there is the problem with public unions. Compound the "someone else's money" thing with "these union guys can make me or break me in the next election cycle" and you have the complete recipe for disaster.

Whether pro-union or anti-union, this is the thing that staggered me. Do employees really need unions to negotiate with government employers? Is there any historical issue of government employers running sweatshops or driving salaries down to increase their fiscal reserves? What is the justification for public sector employees needing protection? I'm willing to be enlightened, but the fact that unions are now predominantly public sector employees is amazing.

Amnorix
05-30-2012, 09:58 AM
Because the company board of directors can tell the CEO to go eat a bag of dicks if they choose, and he/she can decide if they want to stay for what the company will pay them. It's called supply and demand. Some other qualified CEO candidate would gladly work for what the company would have offered the first person. It gets old hearing about an autoworker that plugs a few bolts into a seat making $30/hr, getting 6 weeks paid vacation, 90% pay during layoffs, and full benefits, all the while making an inferior product and seeing their companies have to get "bailed out" by the general public.


You dont' seem to have any idea how the mutual glad-handling of CEO and board of directors works at public companies.

Amnorix
05-30-2012, 10:02 AM
Note that I do support unions for the private sector. In many industries they make alot of sense.

Public sector employees, not so much.

Rain Man
05-30-2012, 10:09 AM
You dont' seem to have any idea how the mutual glad-handling of CEO and board of directors works at public companies.

My impression is that it goes more like this:

CEO candidate walks in.

Board: NORM!

CEO candidate: Need a CEO?

Board: Sure. And we thought, "Our friend Norm can use a gig between golf rounds."

CEO candidate: Cool. How much?

Board: How much you want? Just take it. (Pushing big pile of money.) How's the wife? We haven't seen her since the barbecue.

CEO candidate: Doing good. Can I have more money?

Board: Sure. Just tell the receptionist on the way, and she'll give you the key to the vault. Oh, hey. We're about to take the corporate jet to Aruba. It'll have some bugs on the windshield when we get back so we'll buy a new one. You want the old one?

CEO: Sure. You guys will pay for all the maintenance and pilots and stuff, right?

Board: Well, of course. What kind of people do you think we are?

CEO: Awesome. Well, say hello to the families for me, and we'll see you at the next poker night. It's at my place this week.

Amnorix
05-30-2012, 10:15 AM
My impression is that it goes more like this:

CEO candidate walks in.

Board: NORM!

CEO candidate: Need a CEO?

Board: Sure. And we thought, "Our friend Norm can use a gig between golf rounds."

CEO candidate: Cool. How much?

Board: How much you want? Just take it. (Pushing big pile of money.) How's the wife? We haven't seen her since the barbecue.

CEO candidate: Doing good. Can I have more money?

Board: Sure. Just tell the receptionist on the way, and she'll give you the key to the vault. Oh, hey. We're about to take the corporate jet to Aruba. It'll have some bugs on the windshield when we get back so we'll buy a new one. You want the old one?

CEO: Sure. You guys will pay for all the maintenance and pilots and stuff, right?

Board: Well, of course. What kind of people do you think we are?

CEO: Awesome. Well, say hello to the families for me, and we'll see you at the next poker night. It's at my place this week.


This is completely unrealistic. You didn't mention the options that the CEO also got...

qabbaan
05-30-2012, 10:24 AM
You want to make me pay dues so you can ensure I don't get pay raises for good performance, and that I don't get positional advances over people who are older than me, regardless of my or their performance, because they have been slogging their career around in the same position forever..? Why is this supposed to be good for me...?

luv
05-30-2012, 10:27 AM
You want to make me pay dues so you can ensure I don't get pay raises for good performance, and that I don't get positional advances over people who are older than me, regardless of my or their performance, because they have been slogging their career around in the same position forever..? Why is this supposed to be good for me...?

Say that when you've been in a position for forever and someone gets promoted over you because of office politics. Promotions are rarely just for job performance.

alnorth
05-30-2012, 10:40 AM
I'm fine with unions in the private sector. Government employee unions should be illegal, and should not exist in any fashion, at all.

The reason why is because there is no adversarial relationship with a government employee union, and any pushback they get is very mild. In most of the midwest outside the rust belt, this isn't as much of a problem because government employee unions were either never allowed, or never allowed to get out of hand. They are bankrupting the coasts, especially California.

Its really not hard to see why. In a private union, the management can always call a meeting, open their books, and have a frank, blunt, honest conversation with the union that they are killing the company, and the union may give in to save their jobs.

No such thing with a government employee union. The union's answer is, always, forever, "just go raise taxes". In many states on the coasts where its permitted, they collect millions in dues, and use that money to fund political campaigns of allies, so that "management" is bought and paid for by the unions. When everyone at the negotiating table is whored out to the government employee union, no one is left looking out for the taxpayer until the debts become obscene and impossible.

Saul Good
05-30-2012, 10:51 AM
Here are some numbers I dug up from a previous thread. Data is about a year old now.

Highest unemployment by state.

Nevada 14.5
California 12.5
Florida 12.0
Michigan 11.7
Rhode Island 11.5


Highest Union membership by state.

New York
Hawaii
Alaska
Washington
Michigan
California
New Jersey
Connecticut
Nevada
Illinois
Oregon
Rhode Island


4 of the worst 5 states in terms of unemployment rank in the top 25% of states in terms of union membership per capita.

Lowest unemployment by state/Unemployment Rate/Union Ranking by State:

10. Oklahoma 6.8 38th
9. Virginia 6.7 48th
8. Hawaii 6.4 2nd
7. Wyoming 6.4 34th
6. Iowa 6.3 26th
5. Vermont 5.8 28th
4. New Hamp. 5.5 27th
3. S.Dakota 4.6 45th
2. Nebraska 4.4 32nd
1. N. Dakota 3.8 40th


Of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rate, only 1 is in the top half of the country in union membership per capita.

Marcellus
05-30-2012, 10:53 AM
Say that when you've been in a position for forever and someone gets promoted over you because of office politics. Promotions are rarely just for job performance.

If you work for the right company promotions are based off a mix of job performance and then length of service if the performance is comparable.

Systems based on length of service only or or ones based purely on politics are equally bad.

mikeyis4dcats.
05-30-2012, 10:57 AM
Here are some numbers I dug up from a previous thread. Data is about a year old now.

What else do most of these states have in common?

10. Oklahoma 6.8 38th
9. Virginia 6.7 48th
8. Hawaii 6.4 2nd
7. Wyoming 6.4 34th
6. Iowa 6.3 26th
5. Vermont 5.8 28th
4. New Hamp. 5.5 27th
3. S.Dakota 4.6 45th
2. Nebraska 4.4 32nd
1. N. Dakota 3.8 40th

Saul Good
05-30-2012, 11:04 AM
What else do most of these states have in common?

Not really sure...some blue and some red, some big and some small, east coast, west coast, and flyover country. What am I missing?

mikeyis4dcats.
05-30-2012, 11:06 AM
Not really sure...some blue and some red, some big and some small, east coast, west coast, and flyover country. What am I missing?

outside of Oklahoma and Virginia all are in the bottom 12 in population in the country.

Saul Good
05-30-2012, 11:12 AM
outside of Oklahoma and Virginia all are in the bottom 12 in population in the country.

Vermont and New Hampshire are small in terms of population, but they aren't sparsely populated. Generally speaking, bad economies hurt small towns as hard or harder than urban areas, anyway.

qabbaan
05-30-2012, 11:45 AM
Say that when you've been in a position for forever and someone gets promoted over you because of office politics. Promotions are rarely just for job performance.

So leave. No one is forcing you to work there.



Exactly what sort of "office" work are you proposing be unionized, anyway?

mikeyis4dcats.
05-30-2012, 11:48 AM
Vermont and New Hampshire are small in terms of population, but they aren't sparsely populated. Generally speaking, bad economies hurt small towns as hard or harder than urban areas, anyway.

no, and I never argued it did.

I do think that agricultural use skews the numbers though....many in the agricultural industry may not have gainful employment, but are not tallied as unemployed. And many that consider themselves employed in reality do nothing.

Saul Good
05-30-2012, 11:54 AM
no, and I never argued it did.

I do think that agricultural use skews the numbers though....many in the agricultural industry may not have gainful employment, but are not tallied as unemployed. And many that consider themselves employed in reality do nothing.

Certainly possible that this plays a part in it. That said, unemployment numbers come from tracking those drawing government checks.

mikeyis4dcats.
05-30-2012, 12:10 PM
Certainly possible that this plays a part in it. That said, unemployment numbers come from tracking those drawing government checks.

a lot of farmers draw government checks...just a different return address.