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Old 09-28-2007, 11:13 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I've never worked in a union shop but I have heard anecdotal stories that make me think labor unions need to go the way of the dinosaur. They do seem to be used to protect the lazy, introduce inefficiencies and criple an organization so it can not adapt to changing markets.

My favorite story was one an IT guy told me about his time working at EDS. For those that don't know EDS is a tech firm that did a lot of work for GM. Anyway, these IT guys were working on GM premises I believe and were forced to work at filthy desks, covered in thick dust and grime. Aparantly, the job to clean the desks was a union job so nobody else was allowed to clean. So, the dust would just build and build becuase the cleaners did a crappy job of cleaning. The IT guys would literaly be "written up" and reprimanded if they wiped dust off their desks or equipment. Some resorted to "spilling their coffee" so they could clear away some dirt.
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:48 AM   #22 (permalink)
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The union thing is really a double edged sword. Here in the south there are more right to work states, Virginia is one. That means a lot of the unions cannot have closed shops, be it industrial, or trades. At the plant I work at, I see people get fired for just cause, only to have the unions bring them back multiple times. This is a minority of the working population though. This minority are also the the biggest proponents of the union, go figure.

The trade unions can be better or worse depending on where you are. I have been places, where if you are not pulling your weight they will get rid of you. I have also witnessed first hand the slowing down of production, milking out simple jobs and people just being incompetent. Since Virginia is a right to work state, the trade unions have to compete with the non union companies which is a good thing. The last thing a trade union wants is to lose out on all the contracts, which cuts into their pockets. The trade union can be a good thing when it comes to apprenticeships, as their apprentices can learn a trade and go pretty much anywhere.

The unions really had a place where they were more realevent than they are today. Today too many of them have become big business themselves. They are more about generating income than, about protecting the workers.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:43 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:25 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Unions can certainly be abused - but so can a lack of a union. Take a look at the Wal-Mart-never-get-a-raise-abuse-our-staff mentality. They FEAR a union because they would have to start being fair.

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Old 09-30-2007, 02:53 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I wished I had a union shop at the last place I worked. I was paid salary for hourly work. never paid more has my job duties increased. I was never paid OT. Getting my comp time was like pulling teeth. In a union shop, I would have never worked on the equipment directly. I would have never been placed in a situation where my life would have been in danger for no reason.

I use to take compact construction equipment off trailers using smiley ramps. When I started with company, the ramps were frowns. Get the pictures. Ramps should be like frowns. There were several cracks forming in the ramps. I had told my superiors and even the owner of the company many times, the ramps where unsafe to use. They should be scraped and replaced. Each time they ignored the suggestion and said to keep using them. Our mechanics who should have been unloading the trucks refused to use them. Our tow service was not used cause it "cost too much" to have them do it. Plus it was was who was going to pay for it mentality.

The mechanic's shop was also pretty ugly. During the summer the temperatures would rise to around 100F. They had to keep the doors closed due to the truck dust outside. The shop guys asked several times to get some kind of large fans in the shop to blow air around. Management declined. One of the sales guy who realized the shop was important took money out of his pocket and bought a few 16 inch stand fans for the guys. It took the company 4 years to get a water cooler for the shop they had asked for repeatedly.

Also our benefits went down and down. When I left there, I had nothing cause my wife had the benefits at that point. When I went pulled out of the program, there was a reduction in health benefits but cost increase several months later. You cannot start or raise a family on that. It was a good thing my wife has the job she haves.

However, the final straw was when they had several mechanics basically come into my department and rearrange the stock in which I was in control of. They were not busy that day and the branch manager said to do it. Hey who was I to argue with. So after lunch I just quit the company after 5 3/4 years. In a union, I would have never set foot on the shop floor to work on a machine and the mechanics would have never set floor in my dept except for requests.

The job before that I worked there for 2 years and was basically fired for being hurt on the job. I attempted to sue but my lawyer was an idiot and didn't work out. If there had been some worker protection there, my life would have probably been different.

Right now I have to wait to take my pre employment test with a telcom union. My uncle who use to work for the same telcom union was rehired as a safety supervisor this year after retiring from there several years ago. The union took care of him and his family for the most part. Now my cousin is working for the union. Also my brother in law, his friend and another friend of mine also work for the same union.

I stated some anti union sediments to my uncle about the job, he said they fire you for not working. They are one of the few unions that have no problems firing you for not doing your job. He has had to perform the function several times since he had started with them in February. He went to me and said it sucks to have to do it but they did not do their jobs and the union agreed. Many of them think once they are in, nothing will happen to me so I will slack off big time. Many of the people he has fired so far didn't show up to the job site. They drank on the job. They had another job they were going to! He busted one guy right in front of a local home depot selling some of his truck stock to people! How stupid is that?

I look at unions as a good thing and a bad thing. They should protect workers to some degree. I see it that if it was not for the telcom union that my uncle started with many moons ago in the mid 70s he would not be the person he is now. He would probably not be here with his family or mine. He grew up in the projects. His father was nonexsistant according to my mother. His mother forced him to steal for her drug and drinking problem from what I understand. He managed to get him self straight and got a chance to get into something better. He did. If it was not for the union, he would not have the health care needed for one of my cousins. He would not have been able to provide a better life for his wife who also had a similar growing up environment. My uncle worked for many years in all climates and conditions so his wife didn't have to work. His kids didn't have to wear rags. His kids could go to college. My one cousin is a graphic designer. Another just graduated from Penn State's engineering program. The other cousin I spoke about is following dad's footsteps. I believe engineer is going to the same telcom when it is time as well since he has electrical background and a huge tech freak.

My brother in law was stuck in a go nowhere low paying job. His friend got him a chance to get into the same telcom union. My BIL got in. He managed to break free from alot of the crap he was going through. He managed to finally leave his house and get an apartment with a wonderful woman he had met at the same time as joining the union. They wound up buying a house and then got married recently. She is a fairly successful business owner in the salon business. My wife and I accredit her for changing his life around as well. I knew my now BIL for over 7 years. I have seen since some lows and highs. However, after seeing him the last few times up to the wedding, you could see he had changed for the better. You could see he was happy finding someone to settle down with and being a home owner.

I see both sides of the issue. I was pretty anti union cause the stuff I saw of the union was ugly. When I did HVAC work about 11 years ago, my boss was anti union. Two of the guys who he trained went union on him. They in turn would work for the one company and then start doing work on the side when they should be working. My boss hated that. I use to say he hated it cause they were not working for him. However, I left his company after deciding that many of the working conditions were just too unsafe. Standing on a beam 20 feet in the air attaching insulation on refrigeration lines while getting high on contact cement. Working in a chemical plant which got shut down by the EPA for multiple air quality violations. Everything in the plant was covered with a fine red dust. No air flow to boot. I guess that is the price you pay when work in the industrial commercial refrigeration field.

Now that I am older, I see a need to be protected. I have a wife now. We are trying to start a family. I know my wife does not like what she does even though it is good money (got to love pharmaceutical companies!). I would like my wife to be able to throttle back a bit and work part time while being able to raise the kids. Unfortunately, I know I will never have the education levels my wife has. I would never be able to sit in class and go even for my BA in something. Hell my literally parents forced me to finish my AA in Liberal Arts.

I know the union trains you on your selected trade. It is not the promises I have received in the past. That is what I am looking for. Getting paid for the work I do, overtime or not. Being when I get training in a selected trade. Never being asked to do someone else's technical work. Getting properly compensated when the time comes. I should not have to sacrificed my time in a company and have nothing to really show for it. Besides, what makes a con artist CEO any different that a protected worker? How much they are paid. There is good and bad at ALL levels at any work environment.

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Last edited by SHAG; 09-30-2007 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 09-30-2007, 04:53 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I agree that the trade unions are great for the apprenticeship programs to teach people how to properly perform their Craft. However, I also agree that unions have, for the most part, gone far past their time of need and should be disbanded. The only thing I see happening (I work in decon/decommissioning of radiological facilities) is the union leaders getting perks and the workers paying for them.

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Old 10-01-2007, 05:42 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I have been union for 16yrs.(construction trade)
Yes there are loads on the system, but those loads can be found on both sides of the fence.
I bust my *** every day when I am at work. The loads are the first ones that get the ax when the time comes.
For those that think unions are outdated and no longer effective, just imagine what you would have to put up with if the unions never existed.
Health benefits...gone, vacation..gone...weekends...gone, being able to take time off sick...gone, reasonable wages...gone...and the list can go on.
Think of what the unions have accomplished for the good of the working man (union or non union)
I was on a job where a non union carpenter shop was neglecting to pay prevailing rate (state funded job) and also wasn't paying proper benefits. One Phone call to my business agent and all those guys had representation to get what was owed to them.
This is where the good of the union comes in. Unfortunately you do have the loads that take advantage of the system

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Old 10-01-2007, 05:51 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Old 10-01-2007, 05:57 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I've never had much trouble with Union workers... there were a few times when they stuck their noses into places they shouldn't have and got bent out of shape about things they shouldn't have... but for the most part they were good workers.

My ex-wife on the other hand had all sorts of trouble with them at the pharm. facility she worked at. That particular union was the biggest bunch of lazy bastards ever.. they should have been locked off site and new employees hired. Not only were they lazy but some of them were down right criminals (thieves, bullies ... instances of sexual harrassment and sexual assualt) I would have cleaned those sob's out with a firehose and started from scratch.

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Old 10-01-2007, 06:20 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Unions suck - they are left over from a bygone era - they encourage laziness and poor work quality while not rewarding those who bust their *** and do excellent work. I have yet to see a union health plan, pension plan or other union benefit offered to a union person that was worth what was being taken out of their checks.

yes they offer benefits to their members but they are not great. Unions exist so unions can exist - they went from protecting works rights to being business' unto themselves.

I've been on both sides of the union fence and these are my own opinions based on my own experiences about UNIONS - not about the workers. There are good and bad union and non union workers.

Mr. Wiskers - a call to the state labor board would have bought down help from the state than the union getting a couple more paying members

There would never have been a need for unions if management would have taken care of the employees. My dad kept the union out of his company by payinng the employees better, giving them better benefits, helping them when they needed help and what was really important - firing the slackers and rewarding the workers.

The slackers tried to bring the union in and there was a big fight - physical confrontations but in the end what the union was offering was less than what the employees were getting so it did not happen.

Treat your people right and the unions will go away.

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