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BS: Do we still need unions?

mousethief 14 Jun 01 - 06:35 PM
kendall 14 Jun 01 - 06:51 PM
Susanne (skw) 14 Jun 01 - 06:55 PM
Barry Finn 14 Jun 01 - 06:58 PM
Noreen 14 Jun 01 - 06:58 PM
Bert 14 Jun 01 - 07:00 PM
Stevangelist 14 Jun 01 - 07:02 PM
RichM 14 Jun 01 - 07:02 PM
Joe Offer 14 Jun 01 - 07:03 PM
ddw 14 Jun 01 - 07:13 PM
katlaughing 14 Jun 01 - 07:18 PM
Justa Picker 14 Jun 01 - 07:19 PM
Bill D 14 Jun 01 - 07:20 PM
mousethief 14 Jun 01 - 07:20 PM
Justa Picker 14 Jun 01 - 07:32 PM
catspaw49 14 Jun 01 - 07:34 PM
Jon Freeman 14 Jun 01 - 07:36 PM
Jon Freeman 14 Jun 01 - 07:37 PM
Lin in Kansas 14 Jun 01 - 07:43 PM
GUEST,aesop 14 Jun 01 - 08:00 PM
Amergin 14 Jun 01 - 08:01 PM
bobby's girl 14 Jun 01 - 08:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Jun 01 - 08:15 PM
dwditty 14 Jun 01 - 08:25 PM
InOBU 14 Jun 01 - 08:28 PM
bbc 14 Jun 01 - 08:30 PM
thosp 14 Jun 01 - 08:40 PM
Bugsy 14 Jun 01 - 09:24 PM
kendall 14 Jun 01 - 09:29 PM
northfolk/al cholger 14 Jun 01 - 09:43 PM
toadfrog 14 Jun 01 - 10:19 PM
Barry Finn 14 Jun 01 - 10:47 PM
IvanB 14 Jun 01 - 10:50 PM
kendall 14 Jun 01 - 11:01 PM
GUEST,JamesJim 14 Jun 01 - 11:04 PM
wysiwyg 15 Jun 01 - 12:02 AM
mousethief 15 Jun 01 - 12:11 AM
mousethief 15 Jun 01 - 12:13 AM
wdyat12 15 Jun 01 - 12:55 AM
Liz the Squeak 15 Jun 01 - 01:11 AM
bbc 15 Jun 01 - 05:36 AM
kendall 15 Jun 01 - 05:59 AM
Linda Kelly 15 Jun 01 - 06:44 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 15 Jun 01 - 06:54 AM
Bagpuss 15 Jun 01 - 06:54 AM
InOBU 15 Jun 01 - 07:31 AM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Jun 01 - 07:48 AM
Gervase 15 Jun 01 - 08:42 AM
Mooh 15 Jun 01 - 09:54 AM
LR Mole 15 Jun 01 - 10:49 AM
RichM 15 Jun 01 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,bbc at work 15 Jun 01 - 11:45 AM
Walking Eagle 15 Jun 01 - 12:21 PM
Rick Fielding 15 Jun 01 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,JohnB 15 Jun 01 - 01:06 PM
kendall 15 Jun 01 - 01:13 PM
DougR 15 Jun 01 - 01:36 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Jun 01 - 02:11 PM
GUEST,Russ 15 Jun 01 - 04:48 PM
mousethief 15 Jun 01 - 04:49 PM
Mrs.Duck 15 Jun 01 - 04:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Jun 01 - 07:52 PM
Gareth 15 Jun 01 - 08:37 PM
Art Thieme 15 Jun 01 - 09:21 PM
kendall 15 Jun 01 - 09:29 PM
GUEST,petr 15 Jun 01 - 09:43 PM
R! 15 Jun 01 - 10:32 PM
Allan C. 15 Jun 01 - 11:28 PM
GUEST,Mac Tattie 16 Jun 01 - 04:06 AM
kendall 16 Jun 01 - 07:48 AM
wdyat12 16 Jun 01 - 12:24 PM
Art Thieme 16 Jun 01 - 12:40 PM
Hillheader 16 Jun 01 - 01:12 PM
Dave Swan 16 Jun 01 - 03:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Jun 01 - 03:59 PM
Lonesome EJ 16 Jun 01 - 04:26 PM
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R! 16 Jun 01 - 04:46 PM
Lonesome EJ 16 Jun 01 - 04:49 PM
Greg F. 16 Jun 01 - 06:44 PM
Lonesome EJ 16 Jun 01 - 08:07 PM
Hillheader 16 Jun 01 - 08:43 PM
Little Hawk 16 Jun 01 - 08:53 PM
Lonesome EJ 16 Jun 01 - 09:01 PM
Barry Finn 16 Jun 01 - 11:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jun 01 - 02:17 PM
bbc 17 Jun 01 - 09:12 PM
Little Hawk 17 Jun 01 - 10:50 PM
Spud Murphy 18 Jun 01 - 06:11 PM
kendall 18 Jun 01 - 06:27 PM
mousethief 18 Jun 01 - 06:28 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jun 01 - 06:43 PM
mousethief 18 Jun 01 - 06:44 PM
IvanB 18 Jun 01 - 07:13 PM
Spud Murphy 18 Jun 01 - 07:21 PM
Matt_R 18 Jun 01 - 07:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Jun 01 - 08:16 PM
kendall 18 Jun 01 - 08:26 PM
Edain42 19 Jun 01 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,psycodelek 19 Jun 01 - 10:42 AM
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mousethief 19 Jun 01 - 11:24 AM
kendall 19 Jun 01 - 01:25 PM
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Little Hawk 19 Jun 01 - 08:53 PM
kendall 19 Jun 01 - 09:16 PM
mousethief 20 Jun 01 - 01:11 AM
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kendall 20 Jun 01 - 04:37 PM

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Subject: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 06:35 PM

Okay, this relates to a zillion folk songs!

I work at Boeing, as a computer programmer. Currently there are about 17,000 of us who are being potentially "organized" by the IAM (a very large union which already represents our machinists (the people that actually make the planes)).

The company is sending out electronic rivers of e-mails about why we should vote no. The union is going around to people's homes telling us why we should vote yes. My cow-orkers seem to think that if we are unionized we will automatically become hourly employees instead of salaried, and lose all our salaried perks (flex time, ability to take time off during the day for "personal business" and the like).

I come from a strong union family and am tending toward voting YES.

Any other union members out there? Former union members? IAM members? Is it worth it? Should I vote no? Why?

Thanks in advance. Let's keep this friendly, please.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 06:51 PM

Too often employees have a choice between greedy employers and crooked union bosses. Take your pick. I believe in unions because the history of the robber barons is just plain evil, far worse than the crooked union bosses.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 06:55 PM

When we've lost them we'll realise that we did!


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 06:58 PM

Hi Kendall, tell that to Barry & his cousin when their local planned to put out a contract on us because we spoke out against crooked/greedy officals. The real insult was when they said we weren't worth it. Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Noreen
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 06:58 PM

Since I got here before the likely candidates, I'll say yes- because the tripe wouldn't be so tasty without 'em...

Sorry,Alex... but it is friendly...


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Bert
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:00 PM

Yes, they are still necessary.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Stevangelist
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:02 PM

As long as there are people driven by love for their jobs and families' welfare being supervised by people driven by the bottom line and 'upward mobility'... there will always be (and always be a need for) unions.

"...oh, you can't scare me, I'm sticking with the union..."

Stevangelist


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: RichM
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:02 PM

I listened to a radio program in Canada last night about a union drive to organize some workers right now.

The comment that struck me as profound was that employer talked about their "employees" and union talked about the "members".

The very sane comment was that employees and members are the same people! It all distilled down to the fact that it's important to have dialogue and consultation with the people involved. Both company and union should work together to make it a win-win situation. The adversarial approach is only one method of communicating. Why not try others?


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:03 PM

I'm generally in favor of unions, but they don't seem to work well in certain work situations - particularly in civil service and in small business. They can add a layer of bureaucracy or build a wall between labor and management wich can make it difficult to come up with common-sense solutions to problems. If a work situation is good and communication between management and labor is good, maybe there's no need for a union.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: ddw
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:13 PM

Well said, Joe. I don't have time to go into details now, but when the paper I work for unionized about 20 years ago we lost all kinds of perks, made management too scared to actually DO anything about deadwood workers and cost each and every employee about $500 to $700 a year in dues. So far the union has not protected one job when the big cuts came in the '80s and again in the '90s. They have not solved a single case of supervisor persecution or — as far as I can figure out — done anything useful for us.

They have settled for some of the smallest salary increases we have ever had, locked us into impossible schedules and generally screwed up the business of news gathering and processing.

For regimented (i.e. manufacturing) jobs they might make sense, but for lots of other kinds of work they are nothing but a pain.

david


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:18 PM

Here are just a few examples of how a small in numbers union has been working for freelance writers, through mostly volunteer efforts of members. It is the National Writer's Union, UAW 1981, AFL-CIO, of which I am a member:

QUOTE of the MONTH: "We've all heard the lines: unions are outdated. Working people needed unions at one point, but not any more. Employers are decent today; they treat their people ok. And for those who don't, the government provides protections...BULL! Today's decent employers are decent because unions FORCE them to be decent." Richard J. Perry 1991

Boston Globe Case Moves Forward: Starting his hearing with the observation "somebody doesn't want to answer some questions..." Mass. Superior Court Judge Ernest B. Murphy DENIED the Boston Globe's motion to stay yesterday afternoon (June 13th). The Globe made this petition last March, arguing that it shouldn't be required to answer discovery questions in Marx v. Boston Globe until the Tasini case has been decided by the US Supreme Court. But the Boston Globe case does not concern copyright---it is an unfair business practice case. Now the Globe must answer written interrogatories and produce documentation withheld by July 13th. Based on another court ruling in Massachusetts, it also looks likely that the freelancers involved in the Globe struggle will be certifiable as a class for further action. All this bodes well for ultimate victory against the Globe and for affirming the rights of all freelancers.

Stand Up to the Washington Post TAKE ACTION!: The NWU is working to get the Washington Post to improve its all rights grab contract AND to pay freelancers better. But the Post thinks that freelancers find their contract just fine. If you write for the Post, make sure you let your editor know that you want better rates and terms. Even if you don't get what you want, you're sending a message to their management: that freelancers aren't going to take it anymore! If you want support in negotiating a better contract with the Post or any other publisher, request a contract advisor.

Freelance Photographers Build the Fight

Freelance writers aren't the only ones protesting low pay and unfair contracts. Photographers recently called an informal boycott of Forbes magazine until the publisher pays for on line use. Other targets have included stock photo houses Getty Images, Inc. and Corbis Corp (owned by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates), Conde Nast, the New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Newsweek. And the boycotts are working. Last year, the target BusinessWeek upped its pay scale. Similar to campaigns the NWU is involved with in San Diego, Boston, and DC, these boycotts are being run not via picket lines but peer pressure: freelancers deciding on a voluntary basis not to work for a publisher until that publisher ups their pay and stops grabbing rights. To read how a freelancer photographer battled the New York Times, go to http://www/cjr.org/year/01/3/photo.asp .

8. BUY UNION! TAKE ACTION!

The next time you need a book or magazine, avoid union busting Amazon.com and try Powell's in Portland, Oregon. You can order books from them on the web and if you order through their union web site, 10% goes to the workers through a profit sharing deal negotiated by their union. Go to www.powellsunion.com/Bookstore.html

Union - yes

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:19 PM

Musicians don't.
Just a good, straight entertainment lawyer will do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:20 PM

once you are a union member, the UNION (read:union bosses)tends to decide what you do and when you do it. The union's main concern seems to be consolidating power and exerting leverage with the company...still, NO unions would mean the company could not be trusted...The machinists may need it, but I'm not sure the office workers do...I guess YOU are the best judge of whether issues abound the will need union intervention...


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:20 PM

Wouldn't a gay entertainment lawyer be just as good?

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Justa Picker
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:32 PM

I get the humor MT, but just in case, you might have misinterpretted straight = honest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:34 PM

I think either would work Alex as long as you weren't playing multiple instruments.......In that case you need a "Bi" lawyer so you can swing both ways.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:36 PM

Yes.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:37 PM

(yes to us needing unions)

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 07:43 PM

John In Remote Kansas (JIRK) on LIK's cookie.

mousethief –

This is not an easy one to answer; but the answer comes out YES. You do need a union. Whether the monster IAM is YOUR best answer leaves me a little uncertain.
I too, was once at Boeing. As an engineer, I can assure you that being a union member at Boeing does not take away any professionalism you may possess, and does not make you any more of "an hourly worker" than the company already considers you to be. I'm sure you already fill out a time card. You are probably classified as a "salaried exempt" employee – that will not change. (Ask me later what you're exempt from.)
I joined Boeing in Wichita many years ago, when we had our own local union. Officers were elected from the membership, and were unpaid. The only compensation they got was that Boeing (per the contract) paid them their regular salary while they were conducting union business, and excused them from regular duties (sometimes grudgingly) for union business.
I was a member of my union's (5 person) executive committee for a time. In this capacity I had a thorough education in the kinds of things that the union can do, and needs to do, to benefit the members. I also learned a lot about the kinds of things the company is willing to do to people "to benefit the bottom line."
Unfortunately, the great majority of the membership seemed to think that "the union," which they considered some sort of paid hired help, should do it all for them. It was very difficult to get people to participate – although they were all quite willing to complain.
The local engineers' union affiliated with the Seattle monster union (SPEEA), and personal representation died. The residual benefits – a contract, with some enforcement – were still worth a lot, BUT ---. (The good old days are gone, forever??)
Without a union, you have no contract with the company. You are "an employee at will of the company." They can do anything they want to (and probably will eventually) – and they are under no obligation to treat you the same as they treat everyone else. Get a contract.
Boeing management is not responsible to you. Their only concern is with making the stockholders happy. The union is responsible to you – although whether it will make you happy depends on whether you and all of your fellow members will give it the support necessary.
Having a union rep is a little like having a congressman working for you. Ya gotta watch 'em all the time – but if everybody else has one, don't you need one too?


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST,aesop
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 08:00 PM

Yes, we need unions! Without a union each employee has to negotiate as an individual, instead of collectively. People can be paid different salaries for doing the same work. And alone, you have nothing to bargain with. You can be fired at the whim of management. Many people in this country still endure horrible working conditions and poverty pay, and they have no recourse but to be unemployed or work for another employer who is just a bad. In most other countries it is even worse. Employer and employee have different interests. The employer wants the most work for the least cost. Cheap labor. Without unions, the employer has all the power. If some union leaders are corrupt, throw them out. But don't throw the unions out with them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Amergin
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 08:01 PM

BillD, it depends on the union...some unions are very democratic....the IBU and the SIU are two examples....

Alex, what I suggest you do, is to seriously investigate this union...investigate their track record and how they represent the worker....and then weigh them against the track record of Boeing....hope it turns out good for you!


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: bobby's girl
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 08:14 PM

Watch Tolpuddle man, and then ask the question again - i think you will find the answer will be Yes


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 08:15 PM

Like any human organisation a union can be subverted by people who are into exploiting their members and doing well for themselves. It happens in churches, political parties, clubs, musical groups...

And that only happens because people let it happen and don't take responsibility for keeping things the way they are supposed to be, and changing them back to the way they used to be when they've gone wrong.

And of course you need unions - and in these times of fragmentation and short-term contracts and all that stuff which makes individual employees so vulnerable, you need them more than ever.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: dwditty
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 08:25 PM

Yo, Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: InOBU
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 08:28 PM

Damn straight (or gay if you perfer) we need Unions! When I had a cist in my throat, next to my vocal cords, the insurence companys didn't give a damn if I lived or died, but my union (I was a projectionist and a Teamster) My Union came through for me, and for my Dad (Teamster, Actors Union, Union Bar man, Union Waiter, Union caol miner... etc...) the Teamsters came through for my Dad and Mom when he was in his last illness and the insurence companies and hospitals were robbing him blind.
My daddy was a miner, and I'm a miner's son, and I'll be with you fellow workers, untill this battle's one... Which side are you on? The UNION!
In ONE BIG UNION!
InOBU
Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: bbc
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 08:30 PM

I have mixed feelings about unions & jobs w/ built-in security. When I worked for the government (civil service), the highest paid person in my dept. did almost nothing, but his job was secure until he chose to leave it. I have been working now for 10 years as a teacher, an automatically unionized position here in the U.S. (Is it in other countries, as well?). I can be a member of the union or not, but the same dues are deducted from my paycheck, either way, & much of that money goes to support the political party I don't agree w/. Although I understand the historical need for unions to protect the legitimate rights of the workers, what I have seen in my work experience is the weakest workers being protected--ones who, by merit of their work, probably should lose their jobs. For me, tenure is mixed w/ this in my mind, so I may be a bit muddled. Last spring, my union almost went to strike trying to get a new contract. I felt most of the demands were unreasonable. Generally, I'd prefer to be evaluated on my own merits, given the choice.

respectfully,

bbc


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: thosp
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 08:40 PM

yes more than no -- but i certainly understand the sentiment regarding corrupt union officials

peace (Y) thosp


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Bugsy
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 09:24 PM

Too right we do!

The only problem I see with the unions (after having been involved for many years) is to get the unions to act more in line with the interests of the workers, not the workers in the interests of the union.

Most union officials, in my experience seem to think that the rank and file are there to help implememnt their policies. Rather, the officials should be there to negotiate in the interests of their members.

Once we cant acheive that goal, JEEZ! There's no stopping us!!!!!!!!

CHeers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 09:29 PM

Unfortunatly, powerful unions are one of the reasons so many manufacturing jobs have gone south. The greedy ones on both sides are to blame. For most of my adult life, I worked as a state then as a federal law enforcement officer, and we had no union. But, if I were a coal miner, you bet your bippy I would be in a union.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: northfolk/al cholger
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 09:43 PM

I'm surprised that I beat brother Mick to this post. I am a Union staff worker... and a big union boss, only in the sense that I'm 6'5" and weigh in at_____. I am employed by a very progressive, and aggressive international union. I have witnessed every misuse of honest hard working people that you could ever imagine.

I have seen people unfit to return to work because of injury and illness, on the job or off, threatened, to return or else...often against doctors orders.

I have seen a litany of contract violations from employers that know that their pockets are deep enough to endure the cost of ongoing arbitration costs.

We all have witnessed the continuing shift of wealth, from the working "middle" class to the inordinately rich and powerfull upper 1% of the US population.

It is a fact that the wage value of the average CEO of a US company, has climbed from 30 times in 1973, to 475 times the wage rate of the average worker...

there is NO other organization responsible for the american dream as we have known it, only the U S Union Movement, and the dream may be dying... or being murdered.

I work very hard to organize new members, educate and mobilize current members and protect the health and retirement packages of our retirees.

All workers deserve a wage that allows a regularly improving standard of living, health care benefits, pensions that afford comfort and dignity, in retirement...

Much of this is eroding, because Unions represent a small enough segment of the work force, (11%), that there is not enough collective strength to guarantee the continuation of these benefits.

So, yes we do need Unions, and we also need to change the culture of unions and members, who must think of our unions as a movement, not as an insurance company, to whom you pay your premium and collect your benefit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: toadfrog
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 10:19 PM

Hey Mousthief! Generalized philosophical opinions about unions are just about useless to you. What you need is specific advice about a particular union at Boeing. Lin in Kansas knows a little bit about your situation; the rest of us don't know nothing. But I would say, the worst thing a union could do to you would be to do nothing, and that real bad things can happen when the employer has a free hand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 10:47 PM

Albert "the Mad Hatter" Anastasia along with Louis "Lepke the Butcher" Buchalter first became heads of the Garment Industry unions & the Garment Industry itself in New York in the 1930's which paved their ways to head the unions that dealt with all the waterfront activies amassing for themselves & their organizations great wealth & power & from there they found out how to branch out. By the way they were also the founding & controling heads of Murder INC. As far as I'm concerned for blue collar unions the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. I've never worked for a non union company that would've concidered my death a benifit instead of concidering giving me death benifits. I've also never work with more thugs & criminals than my 10 yrs as a member of a construction union (the president who planned my hit had already served time for murder while the BA was serving time for extortion). My wages were higher as a non union employee & I worked as many hrs as I wanted rather than starve every other 6 months. Do we need union, yea, like a hole in the head. Barry, who's still alive & kicking


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: IvanB
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 10:50 PM

bbc, you made a statement that much of the money you give to the union, whether it be in dues or representation fees, goes to support the political party with which youy don't agree. As a person who held several statewide offices in a union for state employees (including stints as treasurer and as president), I was well aware of federal election laws which forbade any direct contribution of union funds to candidates for federal office. To have done so could have jeopardized our tax exempt status. On the other hand, we were allowed to form political action committees (PAC's) and solicit voluntary contributions from our members to be used in support of candidates who, in our opinion, helped in furthering our legislative goals.

If you have proof that your union is making direct contributions to a political party or candidates you should contact the Federal Elections Commission.

As a union leader, I was made aware of the many abuses to which management is prone when there is nobody performing a watchdog function. I also saw the extreme reluctance of most members to get involved, so it was certainly the ideas of a small group of involved individuals that usually got 'pushed.' But, believe me, the 'perks' of a few hours off to perform union business and the pittance paid by the union for legitimate travel expenses were well offset by the headaches those people endured from both management and the great majority of uninvolved members.

Yes, unions will always be necessary and this is one guy who'll never begrudge the mostly honest and hardworking union members and reps the perks they manage to get from the system.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 11:01 PM

It's simply a matter of which greedy crooked creep you want for a boss. You will have one or the other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST,JamesJim
Date: 14 Jun 01 - 11:04 PM

The up or down vote to unionize is not a problem, provided those who do not wish to join are not forced to do so (unfortunately, that's not the way it works). As many have said, this is a complicated issue (not as cut and dry as it was many years ago). Today it would seem that each situation must stand on it's own. In GENERAL, if I worked on the line at General Electric, I'd want to belong to a union. If I worked in a white collar job where the company must compete with many other employers for top notch employees, I wouldn't. The technical difficulty of the job (education & training) would seem to make the difference. The more educated/trained I am in a particular field, the more leverage I would have with my employer (or their competitors). It all hinges on how in demand my services are.

Jim


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 12:02 AM

I wish people in Third World countries could or would organize around their own wages and working conditions. Until this occurs, jobs will continue to slide out from under countries with strong unions. It's hard to be patient until the day these countries' people rise up and stop their own oppression... respecting their self-determination means leaving this up to them... but it is hard to think of friends in unions bargaining in a setting where a company can just shift the jobs to a unionless hell when the bottom line starts to look too mushy.

Sometimes I think about being that kind of missionary... to go to the Third World and tell the people there it could actually be different. Then I get overwhelemed again by what is before me to do right here at home.

But I dream of a world where all workers get up in the morning knowing their work will be valued and that the conditions under which it is done will not kill them. Actually I dream even higher than that-- a world where people do what they do because they are good at it and like doing it, and where no one preys on the workers because everyone understands the value of cooperation and does their own part.

But then I was raised to think fairness is possible. I dunno. But I dream anyhow.

Alex, maybe if your union stinks you should get involved in it and make it a good one.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 12:11 AM

Boeing has a history of treating its white collar workers like an infinitely replaceable commodity.

For people opposed to tenure, here's my thinking: which would I rather have rewarded, tenure (time on the job), or ability to kiss the boss's ass? Since I'm no good at the latter, I'll take the former.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 12:13 AM

Oh, also, in praise of the Teamsters: my grandfather tells of a time when IAM was on strike at Boeing at Thanksgiving or Christmas time, and the Teamsters came by and GAVE them frozen turkeys -- one for every person on strike at the time.

Alex, an apple that obviously didn't fall far from the tree!


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: wdyat12
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 12:55 AM

We don't need unions anymore if we want third world wages, unhealthy working conditions, and environmental catastrophe, to name a few.

wdyat12


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 01:11 AM

As long as an employer can sack someone for taking time out sick, but not allow the same employee to retire on health grounds because they aren't sick enough, then yes, we will need Unions.

As long as there is a minimum wage that is below the standard cost of living we will need big people to fight for the little ones.

As long as there are employers scurroulous enough to screw every last ounce out of an employee, in conditions you wouldn't keep a rat in, for pay that wouldn't keep a bug alive.

As long as there are people who are afraid NOT to go to work because their money is docked or their home lives threatened.

And Flexi time isn't a perk, it's a sensible way of ensuring that the full open hours are utilised because there will always be people who need to come in early and leave early or others who are later. I voluntarily work longer hours (6 day week already this week) so that I can spend better time with my family/take time for appointments in working hours, without lessening the service I give to my employer, and thus, my employer gives to their customer.

Go and ask the Liverpool Dock workers if we need a Union. Go and ask my friend Pam who was sacked as per the first para. and reinstated because the Union intervened.

LTS - the fact that I was born and brought up in the same community as the Tolpuddle men (5 miles down the road) is nothing to do with this, no, not at all, it doesn't colour my judgement one little bit!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: bbc
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 05:36 AM

IvanB,

I don't have direct proof of how my union spends my dues, but I know the union always *strongly* encourages us to vote for Democratic candidates & I have heard, repeatedly, that monies from the teachers' union are given to the Democratic Party. I happen to be a Republican. I do resent that my money is taken, whether I support the union, philosophically, or not. This year, I am a member solely because it is the only way I can get help w/ dental benefits (I'd be out the money, anyway.). I am not against all unions, but I think some have gotten carried away. And, the only times I had disputes (both of which ended w/ me losing my job), the union wasn't able to help at all.

bbc


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 05:59 AM

bbc my friend, if we ever find ourselves back in the days before unions when the bosses worked people like borrowed mules, then dumped them like so much useless junk, you will become a democrat! Thats the problem with being young. no recollection of how it was back then. Of course I dont remember when Henry Ford turned his goon squad against workers who only wanted decent working conditions, but, it's this "history thing". Men were killed and maimed for striking for a living wage.In those days, if you were hurt on the job, tough tuggin', you were out on your ass with NO recourse.No workmans comp, nothing but charity. If we were really not able to learn from the past mistakes of others, we would still be in a cave somewhere trying to invent fire.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 06:44 AM

Employers in the UK would return to Victorian conditions at the drop of a hat without unions. In fact, we already see this with short term contracts which only benefit the employer and stop people having long term commitments and flexible working hours, which frankly in my experience means flexible for the employer and very little else. How many major companies in the UK on a regular basis, break Health & Safety regulations, end up in court being fined for accounting irregularities and are seen to lose cases where employers have been forced to take them to arbitration?. Why have we no end of self regulatory and regulatory bodies -because we can trust companies to do the right thing -no exactly the opposite -because most companies would try to get away with as much as possible- and that includes paying as little ad providing as little as possible for their employees. You only have to look at the drop in the number of companies providing a pension scheem to employees to know that profits come first and foremost. Do we need unions -now like never before.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 06:54 AM

You betcha. I can't remember when my profession got a pay award that wasn't below inflation/going rate or paid on time but without our union, we'd be even worse off.
RtS (though I felt foolish marching behind the banner "Rectify the Anomaly" - blame the academics!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Bagpuss
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 06:54 AM

Has anyone seen Bread and Roses, Ken Loach's first 'Hollywood' film? I haven't seen it yet, but it is about organising unions for illegal immigrant workers. Looks good, but then I love all Ken Loach films.

Bagpuss


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: InOBU
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 07:31 AM

Dear Geordie Trade Union Sisters and Brothers...
Not only do we still need Unions, I still need my Yorkshire District National Union of Miner's badge. Any of you who have friends in the NUM... I did a concert for them during the big strike in the 80's here in NYC. We raised more $ than the AFLCIO, (which in essence scabbed on the NUM). Well, I was given a NUM badge as a thank you, Blue and gold witha shield and two figures of miners, and the letters "NUM Yorks Dist". I was so proud of it I wore it during many progressive battles. I lost it in the Canadian wilderness working to stop Hydro Quebec from taking Native Land (an issue hot again folks...)
I have been trying to replace it for YEARS!
SO please pass on the story if you know any members of that Union, the band I played with then was "The Miner's Son and the Quarryman's Daughter" I being the Miner's Son and Trudy of Callaghan's Quarry - Meath being the Quarryman's Daughter.
All the best,
Larry


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 07:48 AM

In this country (England) unions have separate political funds, and if you don't want to put any money into them you don't have to. Any money to further a political end (such as backing the party in favour of a minimum wage) has to come from the political fund.

However companies don't have the same restriction - I very much resent knowing that money I spend as a customer goes to support political parties I detest. And they don't even have to ask the shareholders.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 08:42 AM

It's mostly been said - yes, we do need unions. And, if you don't like what your union's doing, remember that it is your union and get involved.
(That said, there are some crap unions, at least in the UK. The NUJ takes the biscuit for being the most inept, politically flaky and absurd union around - but at least it tries to look after the interests of low-paid hacks on provincial papers, who make up the bulk of its membership)


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Mooh
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 09:54 AM

In its simplest terms, the relationship you should have with the employer is one of equality. They have the need for labour and you have the labour. They have the money and you have the need for money. It should be a fair exchange with no continued advantage to either side.

The Unions and the Union movement are an effort to offset the discrimination which is inherent in the labour laws of virtually every jurisdiction on the planet. These laws provide for the continued advantage which employers enjoy over the workers and their efforts. Without the Union movement employers would be able to use workers as a disposable commodity, even more so than they do already.

A Union in the workplace does not necessarily mean an end to any of the things which you might consider an advantage pre-Union, unless they are bargained away, or illegal.

Imho, there are very few dishonest "Union bosses" compared to dishonest employers, in either the private or the public sector. Though I wouldn't characterize myself as having been a "Union boss", as I was answerable to several others in the Union hierarchy, I was nonetheless a full-time salaried Union Representative employed to settle contracts, grievances, troubleshoot, conduct meetings etc for a major international Union. Even I had a Union, separate from the one I represented. It was sort of a white collar blue collar job.

Some of the most oppressed workers are just those who Mousethief describes, and they need a Union as much as anyone. The systemic ghettoisation of "pink collar" and white collar workers has ensured the employer's superiority for as long as there's been employers.

My advice is to research the Union in question and the labour laws of your jurisdiction. Ask tough questions, get firm answers, and keep your eye on Union democracy.

Solidarity Forever.

Mooh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: LR Mole
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 10:49 AM

Once, having this discussion with a friend, he said, "Look: better a corrupt union than no union, because management will NEVER give you a break." Certainly some situations are more complicated than that. But many are just that simple.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: RichM
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 10:52 AM

Why not ask union members which political party to donate union funds to?

Then donate amounts to each party, in the proportion of the vote?


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST,bbc at work
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 11:45 AM

With all due respect intended for my Democrat friends, I am not anti-union. I do sometimes think that union leadership loses perspective & just looks to maximize pay/benefits to their membership without considering whether their demands can reasonably be met by management. My dad worked for many years for Allis-Chalmers as a salesman, working between the factory & the customers. I remember his story about a union dispute at one of the factories. Higher pay was wanted for the workers. They got it, on paper, but according to management, to pay those wages raised the price of the product so much that it was no longer competitive. The bottom line was that the factory closed down & all those folks, instead of getting higher wages, were out of a job. Sigh. My school district is a similar situation. Although I love the idea of getting more pay, I realize that the taxpayers in my small rural district are not particularly well-off. If they can't afford it, we can't have it, no matter how hard we push--simple as that.

respectfully,

bbc


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 12:21 PM

You bet we do! Three words why GUARANTEED HEALTH INSURANCE! Dental and eye care as well, all union won. If I have to work overtime, I get paid in kind. Union won item. If I get fired, placed on leave or given an unfair job evaluation, I get union representation and funds to help me out. Union won. Contract time comes around and I have a say in what I think we should negotiate for. If I get assigned to another job, I'm assured of getting my same salary, even if the new job pays lower than my previous one. Are unionized places better to work in? I think so because employees feel more valued because they have a stake in their work places. We union members feel proud of where we work, therefore we are more productive. Result - greater employee productivity and morale. We feel we have a fair shake.

Our union has successfully fought for members fired or otherwise discriminated against because of race, sexual orientation and gender. Our union also helped get a fair sexual harrasment policy at the univeristy where I work. We have union folks on EVERY hiring committee here. Finally, my union steward worked with university officials to help me get ADA job modifications so I can continue to work while dealing with a chronic disease. Our union also worked on drafting and implementing ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act ) goals for faculty staff and students here.

Proud member of AFSCME 2244


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 12:55 PM

Back in the Good/Bad ol' days (the thirties and forties) My mother remembered that our Musicians' Union (local 149 A,F of M) had some helpful ties to some "powerful interests". If a Night club didn't pay the band, the next day the Board of health would visit and discover "violations". When the Band got payed, the Club got a clean bill of health.

Oh, and Justa, remember...we were ALWAYS told, "we're NOT a union, we're an ASSOCIATION!"

By the way...On the day that I was "ordained" a member of Local 149, the head honcho Gurney S. Titmarsh, (I'm NOT making that up) noticed on my application form, that one of the instruments I played was "Bass". He suggested I learn "Tuba"(!!) as well. "A good tuba player will never be out of work" he cautioned. Damn, it's too late now!

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 01:06 PM

Hey MT, I work for the same company, only in Canada. My take, I am not in the Union, we do not have one here for salaried staff. As long as CEO's take the notion that the only important people are themselves and the shareholders you will need unions. JohnB


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 01:13 PM

AFL & CIO, the folks who gave us the weekend! (and minimum wage, overtime, health benefits, vacations etc.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: DougR
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 01:36 PM

Jeeze, Kendall, you told me the democrats gave us that!


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 02:11 PM

I imagine if you want your union to spend money differently you could search out other people who felt the same way, and you'd make a collective demand. That'd be the union way.

And you'd have a much better chance of getting what you wanted than trying to do the same thing with a company.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 04:48 PM

Unions are the lesser of evils.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 04:49 PM

Certainly in a perfect world, unions wouldn't be necessary. But then again, in a perfect world, JOBS wouldn't be necessary.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 04:58 PM

YES At the school where I work we are currently going through a very bad situation and without the help and support of the union it would have ended in a number of teachers becoming ill but because we were able to act as a group with backing the management are having to take notice and action is finally (hopefully not too late)being taken.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 07:52 PM

"Fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death" - William Morris (A Dream of John Ball)


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Gareth
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 08:37 PM

"So join the Union while ye may, Don't wait untill your dying day, Cos that may not be far away, Yer durty Blackleg miner O,"

Speaking as Treasurer MSF Cardiff 668 Branch I look at it this way. Your Union subscription is a cheap form of insurance against employer risk. I should know, earlier this year I had a work problem, a non union shop (office) a supervisor who did not like me possibly because I was better qualified and experienced. I had a need for legal intervention. MSF dealt with the matter, and the problem was solved without any nastyness. Otherwise I would have been out, and at the age of 50, with a history of heart trouble, the odds on me finding paid employment here in South Wales would have been small. And I have a Dog, and Computer to support.

Yes we still need Unions - the trouble is many people do not realise that they need a Union untill it is to late.

Join Now ! When you realise you need one it may past the time to join.

Gareth.

PS Bush/the right/Tory Party are against Unions - the question is why ??.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 09:21 PM

Before there was a Folk Alliance, there was an organization we called HEY RUBE. We got together at a camp in the woods near Stevens Point, Wisconsin and formed H.R. so we, as folksingers, might get a living wage scale as well as health insurance. Utah and me and Tracy Schwarz and about 50 other guys and gals. We were fed up with going on the road for a month and comin' home breaking even or maybe $50.00 ahead. We met many good people and musicians out on our roads less travelled and had the songs and the memories to prove it. But after 30 years of doin' it we woke up to the fact that we were bot twenty years old any more and we'd be retiring some day. Hopefully!!!

The organization did get a health policy but few of us could afford it when it became available. The gig list helped a few; mostly those folks who could've gotten the jobs without the list anyway. (It just gave us some phone numbers.) Later, the Folk Alliance took the Hey Rube idea and did it in a more professional manner---to say the least. I think we in Hey Rube were more in the mold of Woody G. than Stan Rogers and/or John McCutcheon.

Now I've been forced by my health (or lack thereof) to "retire". I find myself wishing there had been a union---a strong body that could, through solidarity, get some of the gravy. But, alas, we did it the only way we could---our ethic and individualism, as is the case with many Americans, insisted we were like the trappers of old--on our own hook. It was a grand run, but maybe we should've taken at least some of the elders advice way back when.

Cesar Chavez had the idea. For folks who have little or nothing, a union is at least some self esteem. At most, it can make for a decent standard of living when various forces conspire to keep poor people "in their place".

Unfortunately, many unions used their success to turn good Democrats into Republicans who turn their backs on the unions as soon as the checking account gets over a few thousand bucks; the same folks then take personal credit for their success and, looking back forgetfully, wonder why they might need a union.

We do have short memories sometimes.

I'm no better. I was never in a union except when I drove a cab for a couple o' years.

Maybe I'm payin' the price.

I've told Big Mick Lane here in this forum how much I admire him and his work. I talk the talk-------where he walks the walk !!!!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 09:29 PM

...and 50 years just disappeared like minutes in his mind.. ( Old Blue Ox, by Dave Mallett)


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 09:43 PM

well Im in favour of Unions although they may not always serve the best interests of the workers. Both my parents worked for a large printing/packaging company. My mother full time and my father worked on an oncall basis for a couple of years. when a full time position in his expertise became available he applied for it. The position was offered to a younger pressman from abroad who didnt have the experience but also happened to be English as the manager (My father who was in his early 50s at the time complained to the union which did nothing because from their point of view, a younger worker will pay more dues) it is also against the human rights code to discriminate against an employee on the basis of age. He was asked his age during the interview (although they would have known that anyway) the other employee was 40. Anyway he never got far with human right as they fought it in court and it was hard to prove discrimination. Later the union got greedy, the employees were quite well paid some had $35/hr which in the late 80s was pretty good and still is (even Canadian) but they wanted more as they figured the company was making money. The company opened up a plant in Sparks NEvada and paid people there 1/2 as much and gradually moved all their equipment south and shut down. Ive seen technology change also shut down all the union shops in the graphics prepress industry in Vancouver, 10 years ago they were all unionized now there isnt a single one left. As smaller and more competitive shops opened up and you didnt require people with as much expertise as it was all computerized now the shops with the high salary employees couldnt compete. Recently a large printing company that had been unionized also went out of business putting 50people out of work. All the paper company reps feel it was the high labour costs. But it was mainly dumb management decisions, like selling their old building which was small but instead of buying a bigger place they rented (for a fortune) a huge bldg and only used a 1/3 of it. (and similar decisions). On the other hand I run a small business with 4 employees and it can be a pain when the pressman spoils a job and I have to pay him overtime & the extra paper to do it right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: R!
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 10:32 PM

Are the corporate execs greedy? You bet. Are the union bosses self serving? Of course. Unions are necessary, though. How much you gain - or lose - as a union member depends on the skills of your bargaining committee and the willingness of the members to forsake their pay and walk the line. I've been a union member for over 30 years. The union has negotiated some very good benefits for me. It has also protected the lunkheads that can't muster the energy to get out of their own way. That's life. When my employer reduces 10,000 plus jobs, I'll still be at my desk working. My union negotiated a no lay-off clause for the duration of my contract. The eighteen days I spent on strike seem much more palatable than the possibility of unemployment. Union members have a responsibility to be informed and active in order to keep their union honest. Good luck to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Allan C.
Date: 15 Jun 01 - 11:28 PM

What an odd question! Of course we need onions! How the hell can you make a decent stew or even begin to create some good chile without them? They add an amazing amount of flavor to almost any dish. When yellow onions are sauted in melted butter their surprising sweetness becomes wonderfully evident. A nice, thick slice of a big red one can add delicious bite to a sausage and egg biscuit. The white ones can provide the perfect compliment to fried beef liver. Chopped scallions are part of what makes a "wilted" lettuce salad the treat that it is. One of the very best things you can do with onions is...
What?!
Oh.

Nevermind


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST,Mac Tattie
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 04:06 AM

Yes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 07:48 AM

If the day ever comes that the workers in ,say, Mexico, China, Taiwan, etc. and the workers in the USA, Canada, the UK etc. are all making the same wage, fine. Prices would drop accordingly and we would have a world economy. That would be great. Taint gonna happen, why? GREED. Right now, some of our bigger companies have gone south, not because of high labor coasts (those are passed on to the consumer) but because of their friggin' bottom line! They now get a product made for a fraction of the cost when it was made here, but, do the prices come down to reflect that? Buy American whenever possible. Otherwise you are selling your country down the river.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: wdyat12
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 12:24 PM

America still builds Aegis destroyers, but I can't afford one. I'm not so sure General Dynamics wants to move to China to build US Navy warships after the drydock fiasco. Bath Iron Works would have built the drydock right the first time with union labor.

wdyat12


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 12:40 PM

Kendall,

Not 50 years. I'm gonna be 60 next month. Cannot believe it !

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Hillheader
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 01:12 PM

Our company wanted tie strings to a pay rise. New employees were to be have holiday entitlement capped and must accept Sunday as a rostered work day if the company decided it should be. The Union recommended acceptance of this offer because "It did not affect current employees" and "It was the best we would get". Neither valid reasons in my view and the first is certainly not what unions are supposed to be about. These changes were seen as the thin end of a wedge (change new employees now, come back for the current ones later - playing both groups against each other no doubt).

A ballot was held and the members rejected the offer by 2 to 1. The union has issued a notice saying that the members are to be applauded by their high principled stand in matters which did not directly affect them!!

When I asked were the union leaderships principles were that they could recommend acceptance in the first place, it was blank stares in response.

I support Unions (with a capital U) but struggle to justify continuing in this one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Dave Swan
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 03:20 PM

We most surely do.

Dave Swan International Association of Firefighters Local 2683


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 03:59 PM

The members rejected the bent deal the union bureaucrats told them to accept, so that means you've got the numbers son your side, davebhoy, so go get 'em. Like any organisation, unions are only as good as the members ínsist on them being.

And that was a good example of something that's been overlooked by a lot of the posts in this thread. Unions aren't just about looking after Number One, they're about using the strength of numbers to protect the weaker and the more vulnerable. Even if you think you'll never be one of those (and you could be wrong), you still need to be part of the organisation that will stand up for them, if you want to be able to respect yourself. That's solidarity, and if you don't believe in solidarity, I'd say you've resigned from the human race.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 04:26 PM

In the old days, Unions had the power to achieve their objectives by shutting down the operation of the mill or factory, or threatening to do so. Nowadays, the unfortunate fact is that there is a global economy in place, and many companies are multi-national concerns who view labor as simply an intrinsic cost that, when it exceeds a given percentage of the bottom line, must be altered, eliminated, or moved. These corporations have no hesitation in moving their operations lock, stock, and barrel, to third world countries where labor is plentiful and cheap. The old confrontational style (raise our wage or we'll shut you down) no longer holds water. Unions should realize that they have a mutual vested interest with management in keeping their companies as profitable as possible. There also needs to be a perception that the talents required for unskilled assembly line work (bolting the left front wheel on Dodge Caravans) are not so rare that an hourly wage of 20 dollars can be justified.

Unions are confronting a different world than the one of 70 years ago, when American workers faced long hours of dirty and dangerous work to put slave wages in their pockets. The wage base is also much more white collar oriented, with workers performing unique and individual tasks, and negotiating their own salaries with management. The industrial-based economy has gradually been replaced by the entrepeneurial, information-based economy. These are presenting challenges which, I believe, Unions have thus far failed to address.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 04:39 PM

The workers in third world sweatshops still face "long hours of dirty and dangerous work to put slave wages in their pockets". It's in the interests of workers in the wealthy countries to help them organise, and back them when they do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: R!
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 04:46 PM

AND another thing - although the Mister has been retired for a good dozen years, quite a long time ago his union had negotiated company-paid medical coverage for retirees. Last year his $37,000 hip replacement surgery and follow-up rehabilitive therapy was fully paid for. My old pal is healthy, happy, and free of pain and I'll have him around for many more years. We would never have been able to afford it on our own.

A number of years ago I traveled to Tolpuddle to stand by the Martyrs' Tree and silently thank those brave men for taking a stand.

Peace


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 04:49 PM

Good point, McGrath. But what workers in this country consider a Living Wage would constitute Impossible Wealth in places like Sri Lanka. One one-hundredth of an American Wage is very reasonable to them. As long as these facts remain, we will see erosion of industrial production among the Developed Nations. And I wonder if we, as consumers, would be willing to pay the much higher prices on goods that would be inevitable should we help the Sri Lankans achieve our wage-level?


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Greg F.
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 06:44 PM

So its OK to exploit the Sri Lankins et. al., as long as they're happy in their ignorance with the pittance that they're getting? I think not.

The reason that companies are moving to the third world is NOT Unions, but GREED; not happy with a fair rate of return on investment, they want obscene levels of return: that's why we're seeing erosion of production.

Need Unions? Absolutely!! Without the backing of my Union & Union Attorney, I'd have been terminated on trumped-up charges. The playing field is NOT level; management always has the upper hand.

Best, Greg


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 08:07 PM

Greg, I think that unions indeed have a lot to do with it, in addition to competition in keeping down the cost of goods. A company simply cannot manufacture a television in Rochester, New York for the cost of manufacturing one in Malaysia. And if the Rochester Company tries to compete with the Malaysian Manufacturer, they will find out how just how little the "Made in America" stamp means to the modern consumer. There's no doubt that obscene profits are being made, and that few corporate CEOs are worth anything like the hundreds of millions they are banking yearly. I am really not defending corporate employment and manufacturing practices....I'm just trying to say how I think it is. Now the question is, if a Sri Lankan family is eeking out an existence on a small farm, their lives hanging on the success or failure of a harvest, who are we to say that an opportunity for them to go to work in the Fruit-of-the-Loom Factory for $6 a day isn't a good option for them, taking into consideration their present situation?


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Hillheader
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 08:43 PM

McGrath

Thanks for the comments and to an extent I agree.

However if a person continually feels he is at odds with the committee of the club and cannot change that committee, (the local representatives as just appointed - I have been in four years and yet to see notice of an AGM or election) does he stay as a member of the club? No point in raising the matter, the membership at large do not want to take the time and trouble to be involved.

We do need Unions, but the Unions representatives need to remember just who they represent. I recall the old analogy of Cummunism i.e. "All are equal - but some are more equal than others". Did they all have dachia's by the Black Sea?. My lot were not leading the Union - they were running like hell to try and get to the front!!

The problem we have is that Unions are necessary but once established the rank and file do not devote the time and effort to make sure they are representative so you get a small group of people who are self perpetuating and self effacing. They will do all they can to ensure that they retain the percieved power and position they hold.

There is a limit to the number of times you hit your head on the wall before concluding it's sore - and thus time to stop.

I have three choices. I can accept that I am led by a shower of idiots (why should I - I pay these cretins) or try and change it (not possible - the committee is a closed shop) or resign. It's not my style to back away from a fight - especially where principles are involved -but I see no other way. It's either fight a battle I know I will not win or walk away - making my protest by withdrawing my support.

The bottom line is we do need Unions - but Unions also need us to take an active part.

Davebhoy


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 08:53 PM

Yes, we still need unions...well run, responsible unions that have in mind the health and welfare of their membership, and the employer, and the community, and the world at large.

The very same argument follows with: governments, police forces, medical personnel, military forces (defensive ones, that is), churches, and any other such officially organized groups in society.

You've got to keep a close eye on all of these things. They are needed, but sometimes they get way out of hand.

What we don't need is corrupt unions run by greedy union bosses, and we don't need unions that are so adversarial in attitude that they screw up the whole situation to the detriment of all involved parties. I saw one like that in action at a company I know, and things have only gotten worse there...for everyone.

Be that as it may, I shudder at the thought of a society with no unions. Hello, slavery....hello, dark ages.

We actually need a world union that secures basically equal rights for all workers in all areas...in other words, share the world as one people, instead of making the many work like virtual slaves for the few. It couldn't be done overnight...it would have to be phased in a bit at a time...but it would be an ideal worth aiming for.

Gee, that was what the IWW had in mind way back then. Of course, they just called 'em Communists, and arrested them, beat them up, or shot them. "Communist" sure is a handy label when you want to keep the lid on the boiling social pot, isn't it?

Actual Communists, as you may recall, do not like unions one bit when it interferes with their governmental one-party power monopoly. They have some other nasty word to call them, like "counter-revolutionaries" or "subversives". Ha! Tyrants of the right, tyrants of the left...they will always hate unions, and brand them as agents of the other side.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 09:01 PM

Well said, Little Hawk.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 16 Jun 01 - 11:49 PM

I'd buy american but my american truck was only assemblied here with parts from other countries, I'd have bought my computer american but had no idea if we even made one, didn't get an american TV because my choice was veerrryyyy limited. Are the things I buy more expensive because they're union made or american made & I can't get some of them to last as long though I paid a good deal more for them. I'm watching the Big Dig & it's something like 14 million over budget & it's a locked in union project, ride by toss a granade durning work hours & you're bound to get 15 non working workers who'd fall over each other if they had to do something. I'm still in construction after 30 yrs both non union & union the non union guys come in every day, they'll work hard & they're skilled not only in their own trade (roofing) but well & are skilled in carpentry, sheet metal, masonary & a few other areas & they get paid well & accordingly to their level of skill/s. I've also been part of union crews (10 yrs) when coming in depends on the time of day & how heavy the head is but some will still show up drunk, refuse to get there hands dirty (it's a job for an apprentice & the deadweight can't be fired) wouldn't think of driving a nail & would hold up the job for a few hrs waiting for the GC to send over a carpenter. I think it's time the unions got themselves a reality check & took their hands out of the pockets on the business that provide their members with their daily bread & at the very least formed a partnership where all benifit not just the officials & the shareholders. If only my eyes & ears hadn't been walls the stories that would shock most I wouldn't be able to tell. & by the way, I see some posts above that talk about it's your union if it's bad fix it, try that in a construction union along the northeastern part of the U.S. The union member murder rate in Philly when I was a member in Boston was sky high, in Boston my cousin & I were put on a hit list & this was what my uncles fought for? There are no lesser of 2 evils you either side with yourself & what's right or you don't & swallow what ever comes along. What pisses me off is that the down side of unions never gets any air play as if it was an anti-human thing to do, don't hide the bad from public sight that side needs the most attention & needs to be exposed before any real changes on a national & an international level take place but then again there are to many hands in to many pockets. Barry


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 02:17 PM

That's a very long paragraph Barry. Makes my eyes spin trying to read it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: bbc
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 09:12 PM

Yup, but it was worth reading. Thanks, Barry.

bbc


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jun 01 - 10:50 PM

Yeah, Barrie, you've made a lot of good points about corrupt unions, and I would not disagree...

But the reason you can't buy much "made in America" stuff is that big American corporations decided to move a lot of jobs to countries where the people are little more than slaves.

It didn't happen because North American workers unionized.

Until there is social justice (meaning some measure of wage and material parity) in the whole world, not just in the richer parts of the world, this will keep happening. We have got to start thinking and acting as one world community rather than trying to preserve dying social systems behind borders...borders which money can cross in a mere second, at the tap of a computer key.

It's either justice everywhere...or justice nowhere. It's the whole world's freedom that you've gotta fight for now, not just America's.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Spud Murphy
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 06:11 PM

I really believe it would be extremely difficult to do a whole lot of plumbing without them. Esspecialy plumbing repairs. Can you imagine having to unscrew your whole bathroom just to get at a clogged drain?

Speakin of unscrewin things, I had a friend who (in partnership with his lady friend) was trying to make a baby. With no success.

Turns out, she was left handed, and every time he screwed, she unscrewed.

Spud


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 06:27 PM

There are rheems of anecdotal evidence to support your statement Barry, and, I would agree that unions have gone too far. But, look back in history where company goons killed and maimed workers who simply wanted safe working conditions. Do we want to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when children worked in sweatshops for 10 cents an hour? To the time when, if you were hurt on the job, you were fired with no recourse? When you were worked like a borrowed mule for 10 to 12 hours a day fgor $8.00 a week? with no health benefits at all? You have a better chance of getting rid of a crooked union boss than a crooked company boss.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 06:28 PM

Rheems is the brand name of a water heater tank.

alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 06:43 PM

LOL!

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 06:44 PM

It's a Cathedral too, right?

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: IvanB
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 07:13 PM

No, that's Rheims.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Spud Murphy
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 07:21 PM

Every Rheems tank has two unions: one for the hot side and the other for cold.

Spud


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Matt_R
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 07:26 PM

D-O-W-E-N-E-E-D-U-N-I-O-N-S oh no.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 08:16 PM

look back in history where company goons killed and maimed workers who simply wanted safe working conditions

You don't have to look back in history, just look further afield to the places where the same type of employers are still doing exacly that. And in many cases they are the very same companies, who've just shifted their scenes of operations to places where the unions and the laws are weaker.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 18 Jun 01 - 08:26 PM

MT, I'm surprised to see that you didn't have more to say than just commenting on my spelling mistake. Not like you at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Edain42
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 10:25 AM

IMHO as Vice President of my college's student Union, I believe that a properly organised Union is vital. It is unfortunate that some unions have now become corrupted and no longer look out for their member's interests as a top priority. I think you have to be careful and check just exactly what join a particular union entails before commiting yourself to anything.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST,psycodelek
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 10:42 AM

having had some experience as a steward comittee member etc in the iam i can tell you that A:yes you do need a union& B: you are the union! the members are the deciding factor in any union situation if you need to strike,negotiate or just talk about a problem unionized workers have a step that non union folks dont-i gaurantee that the many times i`ve stepped into an office to confront a supervisor about blatant harrassment-that in a non union shop that man or woman would be gone if the union wasnt there to document,observe&mediate the problem-on the other hand unfortunately there are problems with some union officials toobut being a democratic not autocratic process that is easier to take care of-VOTE EM OUT!! i hope this helps&i hope i havnet wandered on to much-thanks


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: wdyat12
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 10:48 AM

Well said psycodelek.

wdyat12


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 11:24 AM

Kendall, you know I agree with you on 75 to 90% of everything you say of a political nature; all that's really necessary any more is to tease you for your misspellings.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 01:25 PM

Go for it MT! but, watch your ass, this means WAR LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 02:16 PM

I was talking to a young friend at the weekend who is working at a mind-numbing job for our (recently-established) minimum wage. In order to get this job he'd had to sign a form waiving his (recently established)right to a maximum working week of, I think, 40 hours. True, nobody twisted his arm to make him sign it, but there was not much option. we still need unions, and I think the unions are missing out by not bringing in the unemployed in some way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 08:53 PM

kendall - It's not considered proper to "watch your ass" anymore. It's a form of sexual self-harassment! I am shocked that you would recommend such behaviour to Mousethief! A woman in a local business here has brought a lawsuit against herself for this very abuse, and is seeking damages to the extent of $3 million.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 19 Jun 01 - 09:16 PM

I'm not worried, MT's ass is not worth that much! Besides, that was a suggestion, not an order.


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 01:11 AM

Are you saying that I'm suggestible?

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 09:42 AM


John In Remote Kansas (JIRK) on LIK's cookie
[We gotta get me my own email address. I want my own cookie.]

To Mousethief
According to a small item buried on page 14A of our local newspaper this morning, you get your chance to vote on Thursday. Although I don't have any inside knowledge, based on precedent with Boeing unions, some of the things you might expect:
PC2 clericals could get a local charter much like the shop workers, with strict seniority rules and published payrolls. I believe, however, that you are one of the PC6 people, and you could expect an organization – and eventual contract – more like the existing Engineering and P&A groups.
Washington State permits union shops, where you can be required to be a union member in order to work there. Because Boeing does business in so many places where this is not permitted, it ain't gonna happen. Washington state also permits dues checkoff. What this means is that, if you work in a bargaining unit represented by a union, you can be required to pay dues even if you choose not to be a member of the union.
The shop unions at Boeing in Washington State have been working to get dues checkoff for many years, and may have succeeded for some shop locals, but the company has to agree to make it part of the contract, and it is unlikely to happen for a "professional" bargaining unit. (If dues checkoff is contracted, nonmembers usually pay less than full dues.) There is possibly some justification for this, since the union must "represent" all members of the bargaining unit, whether or not they are members of the union. That's the LAW.
I'm not sure about Philadelphia, Huntsville, California, etc where Boeing has facilities, but Kansas is one of those "Right to Work" states where the dues checkoff is NOT legal.
If representation is approved, you will eventually get a contract. In all likelihood, it will not immediately change things by very much. The important thing for the union to do now is to establish a baseline and terms for negotiation. If they do that well, then they have done well.
Having a contract is a good thing. The next time someone tells you that they prefer to make their own contract – ask to see a copy of it. It don't exist. Some may point to their hiring offer as though it is a contract, but the first time you accept a change in that agreement (your first raise?) that contract is superseded and you are an employee at will (if you made through probation).
One of the MOST important results of having a contract is that the union is entitled to have proof, from the company, that the company is in compliance with the contract. This means that the union will soon know, and will tell you if you ask, what the pay ranges are for your skill code, and the distribution of pay by experience, years of service, and other criteria. While they are generally (in the white collar contract case I would expect for PC6) not permitted to tell you what any specific other person is earning, at least you have a chance to know where you stand within the group.
Even if you could write your own individual contract, you wouldn't know if it was a good one unless you know what everyone else is earning for doing similar jobs. Ask Boeing for yourself if you don't mind being ridiculed – you know how much you'd find out that way.
Especially with Boeing's penchant for "merit" raises – given only to those with warm lips or other meritorious performance qualifications, it sometimes seems – it is also helpful that the union can tell you, in general terms, how those raises are distributed. It's important to know if you are k(colloquial term deleted) impressing the right bosses when you plan for your future.
Boeing at Everett alone has approximately 60 open "human rights/discrimination" complaints at any given time. A very few years ago one of their "facilitators" indicated that they settle about 30 per month. They have only been taken to court once, so far as I know, and that was in a class action involving several hundred claimants. When I tried to consult an attorney about a personal difficulty with Boeing, I was told by one attorney (who answered the receptionists phone by mistake) "Boeing has such a record of harassing attorneys that they would drive me out of my practice if I took a case against them." Two receptionists said that the attorneys in their office would not even consider taking a case against Boeing for the same reason – almost as if they were all reading from the same script. Thirty eight other qualified attorneys simply refused to return my calls. My union was helpful, to a degree, but even with their help it seemed more rational for me to take the early retirement that Boeing offered at about that time.
Hopefully, you will never have a problem. But if you do, do you think you can do it alone?
Representation – yessss maybe. INFORMATION is the most important thing you can get from being in a bargaining unit at Boeing.
Keep your ears up – and good luck.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: mousethief
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 11:35 AM

Wow John, thanks for the very informative post! Yeah, to me it kinda boils down to a few things, not least of which is: which would I rather be rewarded for, ass-kissing ability, or tenure? Since I'm lousy at sycophancy, I'll take tenure.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Do we still need unions?
From: kendall
Date: 20 Jun 01 - 04:37 PM


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