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Unions


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22 replies to this topic

#1 subtropical

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 11:24 PM

First off I make a difference between:

-a union -a group of people who protect the job 1st make sure no one can work harder to get ahead (you shall only lay x number of bricks an hour, no more!).

-and a GUILD -a group of people who wear their badge practice their profession to the highest of standards.

All that being said do you live in a right to work state or not? How does either/or mess with your job or business?
:-)

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#2 cod head

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 02:03 PM

When I was working in the U.K.in the seventies it was common practice with a lot of firms to have closed shop's.In other words the job was closed to you unless you were a member of a trade union.

I got a job as a contractor with the ICI once.I turned up for work and the shop steward asked to see my union card.When I said I did not have one I was not allowed to work.

So being resourceful I drove into town.Walked into the local T.G.W.U. or Transport and General Workers Union.I joined up and went back to the ICI.Shop steward came over again and asked to see my card so I showed it him.He seemed a bit miffed but I was allowed to continue to work.

#3 Nawtheasta

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 09:15 PM

I have mixed feelings about unions. If they get too powerful they can tie an organization in knots. If they are non existent workers have very little say if treated unfairly.
Two examples from my circle.
My wife worked for a school system as an administrative assistant. Her position and those of the secretaries are non union. In December due to a tight budget the district eliminated several positions. Hers was one of those cut. She has more seniority then others with her position but as she was non-union she had no bumping rights. She is well thought of at the school and due to the efforts of her boss, the principal she was able to get a job as a teachers aide. The aides have a union so her years will count and if the budget gets tighter she should be able to avoid a layoff.
My Brother in law worked for a large package delivery company. Begins with F ends in X . One day, as it was getting near the holidays, he went in on his day off to give extra help and earn some OT. The delivery truck he had been driving for a year had just been returned from the repair shop. His truck was inside the loading facility and he was asked to bring it from the docks on one side to the opposite side of the building. Like any vehicle a person drives for a while you learn its idiosyncrasy’s. He knew this truck well and did not expect what happened. As soon as he started it the truck accelerated across the building and struck the truck opposite. This resulted in serious injury to a driver standing behind the other truck. Now this guy is a former Marine, doesn’t drink and is just about as straight an arrow as you can get. He swears he stood on the brake but it would not stop.
This company is non union. He was suspended and then terminated. He attempted to appeal this and had done research showing past problems with this particular model truck. Supposedly there is a seven level appeals process. In reality if, say level 5 reinstated him they would in effect be saying that all previous levels of management that reviewed his status were wrong. This was not going to happen. Much easier just to cut him loose and not open a huge can of worms. If the company had a union he would have had a better chance at fighting the termination.
So like most things in life the answer is not always clear.
Best regards
Nawtheasta

#4 cod head

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 10:50 AM

I agree Nawtheasta,Unions have been responsible for many advances in health and safety.Have helped workers get decent pay and conditions.Its just like you say,when they get to powerful stupidity can kick in.I have been a member of my own free will of a few unions in my time,but I was against the closed shop because it took away my freedom of choice.But as you say if you have a accident at work they can help you get a fair settlement if it was the firms fault without having to pay for lawyers.And also protect you from unfair dismissal.

#5 Guest_Abacus 7_*

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Posted 05 February 2010 - 08:09 AM

:thumbsup:

Actually Unions can get too Powerful and when several Unions are involved in the Same Site, such as Mining, all sorts of Problems can happen. BTW, I Post this in Red, as it is Feb 5 here in Australia and I want to show Support to Queen-Evie from this Thread, I hope that All BC Members support this worthy Cause. http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/293150/wear-red-day-feb-5th/

My own experience involved the Electricians Union going on Strike, when a major piece of Equipment was deliberately left unattended by their Members, because in the Area, a farming one, there was big Money to be made driving Grain trucks into the Silos. They were paid whilst on Strike. Others, such as me on a different Union were just stood down without Pay, as the Machinery was not operating, as is the Right of Management under the circumstances. I was not really worried about it until I walked into the Local Pub, (Hotel) where there is always a Job for a Licenced Driver for Harvest. No Jobs! The Electricians had them all! I just happened to know many Farmers in the Area? As I had also dealt with the particular Mine, as a Consultant on Specialised Welding. What a Mess that one made, I was only there just taking a break from the Stress from my previous Job that had saved the particular Mine millions of dollars in Downtime. I was on the Team working on the Equipment, as an Advisor, not my choice, just Management, when something was bought up about why I should be there? even though I was a Union Member? Admittedly not Electricians Union, but what we were doing was not Electrical? All the Equipment needed was just to be hooked back into Power, and eventually led to the Mine closing down and ALL being out of a Job.
Basically what was used as an excuse was that I knew too much for an Assistant? I only got Assistant's Pay? I never did any thing except Advise what Welding Materials to use as I used to do before as a Consultant and General labouring work, including getting a Shook from a 415Volt Lead laid by the Electricians, that they had fitted the Joiner incorrectly. Some of them did get Problems over that.


Ray

Edited by Abacus 7, 05 February 2010 - 08:23 AM.


#6 DSTM

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 12:02 AM

Unions protect the worker.If there were no unions, everybody would be working for peanuts.

Over the years they have got us shorter working hours,overtime rates,and in general,

much better working conditions.

We have a lot to thank them for. :thumbsup:















#7 groovicus

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 12:36 AM

The argument could also be made that if it were not for unions, it wouldn't cost so much to get anything done either. I don't need a union to protect me. As long as I do my job, I have no fear of losing it. Union electricians (with seniority) can make $80 an hour. If I need an outlet replaced, it is going to cost me over $100. Non-union, maybe $40. Non-union plumber clean out my drains, $83. Union plumber $120. Unions are no better than organized criminals, IMHO.

Trade unions treat top-notch employees the same as crap employees. Thanks, but I don't want crap employees working on my airplane, building my house, or assembling my car.

#8 DSTM

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 10:41 AM

WOW.Pretty wild description of Unions,Groovicus.

Please define what you call a crap employee.Thanks.















#9 groovicus

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 02:37 PM

I define a crap employee as one that is not able to fulfill their job requirements, but because of union 'protection', can not be fired. I don't know how unions work where you are, but union labor is way more expensive than non-union labor. Union labor is certainly no guarantee of better quality.

#10 cod head

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 02:53 PM

Unions do not work like that in the U.K.If you employ a person for a job on your home they will more than likely be self employed and not a part of a union.Unions do not have the power you cite in the U.K.I define a crap employee as someone that cannot do their job or is lazy.

#11 groovicus

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 05:11 PM

That's sort of interesting. Labor unions in the US wield tremendous political influence, and in many instances, have long standing relationships with organized crime.

#12 cod head

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 05:40 AM

It was getting that way in the seventies.We had a lot of stupid strikes.But now Unions have little power in the U.K.If they want to go on strike now they must have a private ballot by law of the Union Members.We have very few strikes now.The Airports are the most recent that I remember.And Unions in the U.K.are certainly not linked to organized crime.

They have little political influence now.They do donate to the labour party but not near as much as they used to.So their influence has declined.

You will probably recall the Miners Strike in the Seventies as it was headline news.They were not striking for money though but against pit closures.I worked with miners on tunneling projects and found them to be hard working.The P.M.at that time Margarette Thatcher closed many pits.Which in turn ruined many local economies.Some towns became ghost towns.It cost a fortune to police the strike.The cost in redundancies was enormous.Crime shot up in the areas of closure as there was no work.Unemployment benefits had to be paid for years because we were in a recession.And I have often wondered if it would have been both morally and financialy cheaper to leave the mines open in the long run.We are now running into a energy crisis.Depend on Russia for Gas as we sold of most of the North Sea reserves.Import coal from other countries.No one wants to spend big bucks on Nuclear Power Stations or the cost of decommisioning them.

So perhaps the Miners were right to strike.

#13 woodyblade

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 11:13 AM

They might not hold so much political influence now but they still have the power to strike and bring a company to its knees, you must have been following the BA - Unite saga over the last few months, The Unite union has nearly 2 million members according to their website and they make good sized donations to the Labour party as far as I know.

You refer to the 70's when they had much more influence, as far as I have read and heard that is true and from what my Dad has told me they pretty much destroyed British Industry because of strikes for higher pay etc which companies couldn't afford, British Leyland was very badly affected by the strikes I think (probably didn't help that it was too big a company, too many divisions, and had some financial difficulties, think it split into quite a few companies after that?).

The BA strike in my opinion is ludicrous, yeah BA might be cutting some jobs around 4900 in total I think and quite a lot were voluntary redundancies or reduced overtime, BA needs to cut costs like every other airline around the world and the cabin crew want to strike (They were going to over Christmas disrupting travel for millions, but the High Court found it illegal based on how the balloting was done) do they want BA to turn into what Japan Airlines has 16,000 workers sacked (1/3 of the workforce) declared bankrupt and all it's shares worth less than a Boeing 747, yeah it might be horrible that jobs are going but millions of others are affected around the world, but if BA wants to continue running and be a significant player in the Air Industry they need to cut costs to maximise profits and clear debts which number £600m, $200m and €300m (BA site on there debt - http://www.badebtholders.com/phoenix.zhtml...rol-debtsummary) no other way about it with low passenger numbers.

If I was the BA chief executive I would call the bluff of the cabin crew if they want to strike and try running the company into the ground by demanding better pay and less job cuts, when BA as a company can't afford it if passenger revenues don't rise then sack them I can guarantee there are plenty more people out there who would kill for a job and pay, you all might think it is harsh but if they are going to play hard then you have to do the same if negotiations aren't working which in this case they don't seem to be.

I don't know if I'm reading into things wrong here but that's my view of it, not fully sure about the 70's stuff since I was born in 91 so someone else might see that different and be able to correct something or add more detail.

But overall I probably agree with Groovicus on this it raises costs too much and makes it so that those who can't do their job properly get a job where as someone who could do the job better doesn't because they can't sack/fire the worker there, although the company would most likely hire the better worker when they first look for someone to fill that position.

#14 cod head

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 11:44 AM

It was the Unions that helped bring about the Minimum wage in the U.K.Most bosses said it would lead to mass lay off's but it did not happen.If you read my earlier post you would have seen that I said when Unions get to powerful they can get a bit stupid.Unions have pros and cons like everything else in life.When we were in the recession in the eighties firms were going bust left right and centre.The Thatcher government gave no rescue plan like Obama and Brown did.The Germans,rightly in my opinion kept Engineering firms ticking over so that they could go back into production at the end of the recession.We sold all are machinery to china at a rock bottom price and British Engineering never recovered.I trained as a Capstan Setter Operator for what good it did me.I ended up in building and construction.

#15 DSTM

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 12:06 PM

I still maintain,over the years,we would have been worse off without them.

There are so many unions in this Country.

Not fair to label them all bad because of the actions of some Unions.


















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