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Author Topic: All you ever wanted to know about Unions...and more.
Daruma28
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UnionFacts.com
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Cytania
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The site is a bit coy about their status and allegiances;

"So who are you guys, really?
The Center for Union Facts is a non-profit organization supported by foundations, businesses, union members, and the general public. We are dedicated to showing Americans the truth about today's union leadership."

However it appears that they can afford very expensive adverts in major newspapers. Do I detect some generous political funding somewhere. Funny how business's purse strings spring open for union-busters when they remain closed for employees [Razz]

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RickyB
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Daruma, you're really comfortable regarding this site, at first glance, as being a definitive or authoritative source on anything?

I haven't even delved in, and I'm sure this site contains useful information. But do you really see it as a source of balanced knowledge?

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Adam Masterman
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While we are at it, here is a site for comprehensive, unbiased information about the Republican party . [Razz]

Adam

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The Drake
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It's an advocacy site. And I like what they're selling.
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Adam Masterman
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quote:
It's an advocacy site. And I like what they're selling.
You mean Daruma's site, or mine? [Big Grin]

Adam

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The Drake
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Our posts raced each other, Adam. [Smile]

But just like DU sometimes raises issues that are legitimate, so does Daruma's site. I'd use it as a jumping off point though, not an authority.

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Koner
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I HATE unions. Unions are solely responsible for the destruction of the American work ethic and for corporations moving their factories and business overseas.

In my experience working with union workers, they give horrible workers an excuse to be as lazy as they chose to be and to do as little work as possible.

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Wayward Son
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quote:
Unions are solely responsible for the destruction of the American work ethic and for corporations moving their factories and business overseas.
Gee, and I always thought that corporations moved their factories overseas because you can pay starvation wages over there.

But I guess unions are responsible for that, aren't they? [Wink]

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Adam Masterman
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The word "solely" is a bit absurd here. The implied alternative to Koner's scenario is a union free America where our labor can compete with that of foreign countries. Can you imagine what this country would be like if we had the same work hours, pay and benefits as a Chinese factory worker? Maybe unions aren't so bad.

Adam

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RickyB
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I notice Daruma hasn't answered yet.

Drake - "But just like DU sometimes raises issues that are legitimate, so does Daruma's site. I'd use it as a jumping off point though, not an authority."

Like I also said, sometimes. That ain't what Daruma's title says. It says "ALL you need to know". I was asking Daruma whether he seriously thinks so.

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Daruma28
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Ricky, I was really just trying to be a bit provacative with he title.

What I did really intend to do was show this site that highlights the dark side of Unions in this country, because as a former union member myself, there is most certainly a whole boat of issues that are usually whitewashed or overlooked when discussing unions. The standard liberal/Democrat answer is to simply ignore all negatives and use the argument of how labor has been so great for workers and this country.

Like for instance, Adam's first response was to post a site that slams the Republican party. That's pretty funny because he is implicitly admitting that slamming unions is the equivalent to slamming the Democrat party.

Unions have done some good and necessary things in the past, but in my opinion, they've far outlived their usefulness, and are simply a parasitic entity that exists for the union leadership and organizers to maintain the gravy train of forced union dues as well as become the defacto primary funding machine for the DNC.

Liberals love to talk about the corrupting force of "Big" corporations and all of their money. That's like Nazi's complaining about Stalin's Ukrainian Peasant Genocide while conveniently ignoring their own Holocaust. Big Unions are just as corrupting and influential as Big Corporations in our countries political system.

Finally, Adam, I'm right with you on contempt for the Republican party. At least the Democrat party honestly advances their liberal, big govenrment agenda. The Republicans have been the party of lip service in the name of "compassionate" conservatism, while spending worse than any liberal Democrat congress never ever did before them.

F the Republicans AND the Democrats. It's all a two card monte game designed to keep us all occupied with the entertaining he said she said debate between the two "parties" when the reality is they are both screwing us all over and selling us all out to try and hang on to their precious power and positions in D.C.

And Koner's almost got it right. What you fail to mention Koner is that the unions usually do have percentage of very hard working people. Talk to any one of them, and they'll usually regale you with stories of how the Union pisses them off because of the lazy, inefficient slackers they protect, so that the guys with the good work ethics have to work even harder to make up for the slacker's protected laziness.

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RickyB
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So, you think the achievements of unions are safe for posterity whether or not they'll be around to enforce them?

You really believe that? You believe that without the threat of organized opposition (i.e., a concrete threat to production and profit), employers will refrain from pushing to erode those rights which unions won?

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RickyB
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Or - let me guess - worker protections are no longer needed in this open, fast moving, information-based market?

Which is it?

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Koner
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For the record I didn't say that I don't believe that Unions had/have their place. I just hate them because I have had horrible experiences with Union workers. I have personally met very few who I would call "good" workers and a great many unqualified lazy slobs who only got the job because they know someone who got them into the Union.

Granted all of my experiences with Union workers has been as an active duty Navy sailor trying to get my submarines ready for deployments alongside shipyard union workers who couldn't care less about the submarine they were working on so long as they get their 10 minute break every hour, their 45 minute lunch, and their paycheck every two weeks. And forget about staying until the job is finished. If they don't collect time-and-a-half they go home.

The stupidity of the whole thing is that ships crew gets yelled at by the Chiefs and Officers if the shipyard workers leave a mess at one of their worksites, and told to clean up after them. So being the good squid, I go and clean up, only to be yelled at again because the Union then files complaints about the Navy guys taking their jobs. It seems that the shipyards has some Union employees who job it is to go back later and clean up after the ones who are doing maintenance. Its completely rediculous.

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Daruma28
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Ricky, as Koner so readily supplies the perfect anecdote, Unions have gone past basic workers protections to the point of detriment to business, efficiency and morale.

Back when mine workers worked 16 hour days, 7 days a week, child labor and such, unions were definitely a good thing to fight the exploitation of the poor working class.

But now things are FAR different from the days where unions actually did good things.

Koner's anecdote is just that, an anecdote. But than I have a few hundred of my own I could relate...and just about every other person I know affiliated with a Union could tell the same kind of things over and over and over.

And that's not even touching on the basic fact that at the very heart of union corruption is the use of union dues to fund political candidates and PACs without the dues paying memebers permission or even knowledge.

How is it possibly fair that a strong GOP supporter has his dues forcibly taken from his paycheck and thrown into a pool of other dues that gets donated to the DNC? Essentialy, all of the Democrat-beholden unions are FORCING their workers to actually use their blood, sweat and labor for the Democrats, even if they don't support them. That's just simply wrong, and about as anti-freedom and anti-democracy as it gets.

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sfallmann
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Unions are often filled with lazy, incompetents because they are loathe to rid themselves of members. The more members in a union the more money coming into the organization. There is no reward for hard work. It's all about time-in.

Unions protect their members whether they deserve protection or not. They have a vested interest in keeping their membership high.

I'm sure some of you will attack me for my opinion. But tell me this - have you ever heard of anyone taking a union job because of the ability to move up and be rewarded for hard work? or do you hear that you take a union job because you will have good benefits and be guaranteed a job (once you pass the probation period) for life?

It's a broken way of doing business. Unions are in not about protecting workers. They are about keeping their member count high to keep the money flowing in.

This is a general statement. I am sure there are some exceptions to the rule, but I have a lot of first hand knowledge on this subject since I have family members who are in the upper echelon of state, national, and international unions.

[ June 01, 2006, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: sfallmann ]

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DonaldD
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It seems pretty straightforward to me - unions were, have been and will continue to be both good and bad.

Big unions, just like all large human organizations, tend to accrete until they become parasitic and bloated. The same could be said of my garden.

But new union locals and associations keep popping up like fungi, even as the big boys seem to be getting themselves pruned.

Could it be there is a reason people continue to feel the need to band together for protection?

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velcro
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Unions fund Democrats because Democrats help unions, despite having members who are Republicans.

Some corporations fund Republicans because Republicans help corporations, despite having stockholders who are Democrats.

Why is it OK for my company to make donations that decrease my dividends, but it is not OK for my union to make donations that decrease my take-home pay?

If I really disapprove, I can try to elect a new board of directors, or a new union leadership.

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Brainard
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Velco, you could also choose to own another company. This is harder to do for a union worker, unless they are in a "right-to-work" state.
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Adam Masterman
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Thank you velcro for pointing out the obvious. Too many conservatives act like corporate donations are private donations from a CEO exercising his rights, whereas union donations somehow violate the very fabric of democracy if even one member votes republican.

Unions vote for the candiates and parties who serve the interests of their members as workers. A person may privately vote for Bush because he is afraid of terrorists or gay marriage or whatever, but the union is only looking at how a candidate stands on the issue of labor alone. And, as velcro said, you can always vote for new union leadership, its called representational democracy. Or is it "simply wrong, and about as anti-freedom and anti-democracy as it gets" when my state representative votes for something that I don't like?

Adam

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The Drake
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You can vote for new union leadership, but you can't leave the union without quitting your job. And in some cases, your entire profession or trade.

The corporate side is much more fluid, you can quickly divest your holdings in a company in most circumstances.

Also, I don't know that I've ever heard of corporations sending people to your house to hassle you about how you're going to fill out your proxy statement.

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sfallmann
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Masterman:
Thank you velcro for pointing out the obvious. Too many conservatives act like corporate donations are private donations from a CEO exercising his rights, whereas union donations somehow violate the very fabric of democracy if even one member votes republican.

Unions vote for the candiates and parties who serve the interests of their members as workers. A person may privately vote for Bush because he is afraid of terrorists or gay marriage or whatever, but the union is only looking at how a candidate stands on the issue of labor alone. And, as velcro said, you can always vote for new union leadership, its called representational democracy. Or is it "simply wrong, and about as anti-freedom and anti-democracy as it gets" when my state representative votes for something that I don't like?

Adam

Yeah right. Keep those blinders on.

http://www.aflcio.org/mediacenter/prsptm/pr01082004.cfm

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Wayward Son
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That essay makes some good points, especially about "unconscionably long waiting periods." Thanks for linking to it. [Smile]
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canadian
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So what would take the place of Unions?

I'm astounded that people who live their lives comfortably (as a direct result of unions!) sling ****.

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Adam Masterman
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Which point was that speech suppossed to rebut?

adam

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canadian
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Sorry Adam, I'm still working my way down the thread...
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Daruma28
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quote:
Originally posted by canadian:
So what would take the place of Unions?

I'm astounded that people who live their lives comfortably (as a direct result of unions!) sling ****.

Hah.

I've experienced quite a bit of discomfort thanks to direct and indirect actions of unions...both as a member and as a worker on a jobsite with a unioninized company.

Just one example:

While going to school, I also worked full time as a construction worker for a private contractor. We were hired to pour concrete flooring and some internal steel framing and hanging drywall for the Lenscrafters on the third floor of the largest shopping mall in Hawaii. On the same third floor, a unionized construction company was working on the Bubba Gump restaruant.

We had one service elevator that all contractors had to share to take our tools and materials from the parking lot up to the jobsite.

Needless to say, based on our contract with Lenscrafters, we had a certain day to complete the concrete pouring so that the electricians and plumbers could get in their to do their job...so we HAD to pour our concrete on a specific day.

And on this day, the union construction company "took over" the only service elevator. They had their fatass crane operator serve as the elevator operator. This moron was making $150 an hour, 8 hour day, simply "operating" the elevator.

When we asked him if we could use the elevator to take our 1000 lbs. of concrete up to the third floor, this a_hole smiled at us and said "Sorry, this elevator is a union elevator that only union members can use."

My boss, a licensed contractor, called the Mall management and got into a big bitchfest with them and the construction companies Foreman. Basically, the union threatened to walk off of the job if the management allowed private contractors to use a "union" elevator.

So I got to spend 3 hours carrying 10 one-hundred lbs up three flights of stairs, one bag at a time on my shoulder.

We could have literally made two elevator trips in 5 minutes with our concrete stacked on our carts.

And this is only one of many instances I can relate to how the Unions are all selfish, inefficient, morale destroying a-holes.

From the top of my head:

My grandfather was the shop steward for the Printers union. My other grandfather was a union member when he worked for the phone company. My wife is a union member for the Airlines, and my father-in-law is an ironworkers union member. And I was a member of the Hawaii Governemnt Workers union.

Everyone I know affected by unions have nothing but negative experiences to relate...including attempts at forcing my wife to participate in a sickout - and harrassing her at work when she refused, to trying to intimidate my in-laws for DARING to shop at Wal Mart (anonymous threats over the phone).

The only people I know of that are happy to be union members are the slackers who are grateful that the union protects them from actually having to work - as a Superintendent for a Las Vegas ironwork company, this is my father-in-laws biggest complaint about the union, as well as both of my grandfather's complaints about unions.

When I worked for the state, we had one worker who called in sick at least one day a week, he only worked about 4 hours a day, the rest of it was spent loafing around. He would often file grievances against the state for being insesitive to his disabilities. Everyone in our department HATED working with the guy, yet whenever our Department head tried to get rid of him, the Union backed his sorry, slacking ass to the hilt...all at the total expense to the State of Hawaii tax payers.

Finally, my old boss, the contractor, was actually chased off of a jobsite in Minnesota by union thugs with 2x4s, and they actually threw things at his truck. He had to run, leaving all of his tools and materials (several thousand dollars worth) at the jobsite for fear for his safety.

F the Unions. [Mad]

[ June 02, 2006, 03:35 PM: Message edited by: Daruma28 ]

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Everard
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I'll agree to your F the unions proposal, daruma, if we can also F the corporations [Smile]
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Daruma28
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Well Ev, it depends on which corporations. Enron and Global Crossing? Hell yeah, F them to hell. I'm not FOR Corporate corruption, that's why we have labor laws and GAAP and Financial Market regulations.

But Big Pharmaceuticals and Big Oil? I love 'em. They've contributed far more to our high standard of living and quality of life than any union has in the last 50 years.

Too often the bad actions of one or two corporations are used to paint all corporations as bad.

This is much different than Unions, where in my own experiences and with everyone I know with any kind of interactions with unions all have almost universal negative experiences.

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potemkyn
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I'm sure the coal miners of North America wish they had a stronger union.
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Everard
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My point, daruma, is a power issue. Not a production issue. If we allow people to gather together in such a way that they have power over other people, then the people they have power over must be allowed to gather in such a way to counter-balance that power. Otherwise we have licensentiousness, not liberty. (using those terms in their 18th century fashion).
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The Drake
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Let them gather. Collective bargaining is all fine and good. What we don't have to do is require that people gather into a Union.

Those who want to be represented - great.

Those who don't do not have to be represented.

Change that one thing, and I'd be a lot less unhappy about unions.

Adding:

If corporations do what Unions do, they call it collusion and activate the anti-trust laws. If you want balance, Everard, you'll have to allow price-fixing.

[ June 02, 2006, 05:58 PM: Message edited by: The Drake ]

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Ivan
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I view Corporations and Unions as equivalent but opposing entities. In sweeping generality, Coporations are good at making the country richer while Unions are good at making sure some of that wealth reaches the hands all individuals. Both are essential for a prosperous society, but both will make prosperity impossible if their powers are left unchecked. It is very likely that unions have too muhc power in some industries, but I think it is just as likely that they have insufficient power in others. The real reason Unions don't work is that, due to globilizations and free trade, the labor supply has become too large for them to support. This is why you get two-teired hiring and other crappy solutions like that.
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Daruma28
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quote:
Unions are good at making sure some of that wealth reaches the hands all individuals.
Unions are good at making sure that the reps and leadership continue to recive their mandatory confiscation of worker's salaries to maintain their wealth.

When union reps and leaders forego there own salaries to show solidarity with a striking workforce, is the day I buy this garbage that the Union reps only have the "workers" best interests at heart.

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
Sorry Adam, I'm still working my way down the thread...
Actually I was referring to sfallman's linked speech. I had made several distinct points in my post, to which he responded with a blanket accusation of having my head in the sand, then he linked a speech about imigration. I just wasn't sure which of my points (if any) his link rebutted.

Adam

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Jesse
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7% of all hourly jobs are Union. No one HAS to work for a Union. Period.

Choosing to pay Union dues while denouncing the effects of Unions is closely akin to promoting Prohibition during a discussion over a pint.

They aren't income taxes. You don't have to flee the country or give away your money to get enough deductions to avoid them. You just have to get another job, or go into business for yourself.

Unions are, by the way, starting to remember why they came about in the first place. Just look at the flight from the AFL-CIO.

Government enforcement is becoming more and more lax in regard to Labor Laws, and the protections those laws offer are also decreasing. As long as there is a profit to be made in the mistreatment of workers, there will be a place for Unions.

"Lazy" Union workers? Sure, there are some, and more in some Unions than others. Still, let me take you out on a fire crew...you can make that comment again after you work 16 hours a day for 14 days straight cutting line...with no daily overtime and no double-time. Depending on how hot the season is, one day off and you better be good for 14 more.

Corrupt Union officials? Absolutely, corruption is part of all human systems of organization. Just like Government corruption, it tends to run in cycles.

So does Union membership. When workers are well compensated and well treated, in general, Union membership nation-wide drops to very low levels. If they were treated well enough, Unions would cease to exist.

Capital is organized. They're quite up front about it, they have share holders meetings and everything. Wealth is produced, generally, through the partnership between labor and capital. Any given enterprise produces a finite ammount of profit in a finite ammount of time.

Now, why shouldn't labor organize as well, in order to compete for a share of the wealth produced by that partnership? To say that each individual investor of labor (after all, that's what a worker is) should have to negotiate seperately with an organized body of capital is simply un-American. You're saying one sort of investor has different legal rights than another.

I re-issue my challenge, by the way, from a couple years back. Daruma, if you want to see what it's like to live in a country where virtually no one pays income taxes, there are no Unions, business is as close to unregulated as possible, and workers have no legal rights to speak of, it's easy to get a Visa to Mexico.

I don't believe in associatons of Unions combining the employees of more than one Corporation, unless those "seperate" Corporations are really holding companies. I do believe that Unions should be bound by anti-trust laws, and that collusion to fix prices should be treated exactly as collusion to fix prices by Capital would be.

Koner? Do you believe that private employers should be able to treat workers the same way that the military can treat service personel? You understand that would be a return to indenture, and eventually slavery, don't you?

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Koner
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quote:
Koner? Do you believe that private employers should be able to treat workers the same way that the military can treat service personel?
Thats an interesting question. It sounds as though you beleive that military personnel are mistreated. Far from the truth. The Navy has taken great pains over the years to treat me as well as it possibly can, while still expecting me to perform, not only to the Navy's expectations but to the best of my ability. I am decently compensated for my time.

You see, I beleive that an employer has EVERY right to expect its workers to do the job for which they are paid, and to do that job to the employers specifications and timeline so long as they are reasonable and agreed upon. If a worker fails to live up to his end of the agreement, because thats what a job is, then the employer should have the right to terminate his employment. Unions currently don't allow for that. In an effort to "protect" their members Unions want jobs to take as long as possible so that its members continue to draw a paycheck. They will also stand behind unproductive, non-workers to prevent them from losing their jobs when the employee is clearly not living up to his end of the employment agreement.

If I accept a job working for Big Bobs Bobsled Factory, and its agreed that Big Bob is going to pay me $75,000 per year provided I produce at least 250 bobsleds annually, then Big Bob has the right to fire me if I only make 100. Barring of course supply or equipment problems that are the companies responsibility and not mine. Even if I do produce the agreed upon number of 250 Big Bob should still be able to terminate my employment if the bobsleds I made fall apart before they make it to the first turn on the local bobsled run. But in the current system, I could just join the Bobsled Producers Union, build 200 bobsleds and the union would fight Big Bob for me claiming that I worked as hard as possible and I wouldn't lose my job.

[ June 05, 2006, 11:20 AM: Message edited by: Koner ]

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Jesse
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Yet, Big Bob would then be out of business. So long as Unions were bound by anti-trust laws as I believe they should be, Big Bobs workers would be out of a job while workers at Flexi Flyer who performed better and negotiated a superior contract would still be employed.

A bad Union would have no more power, and admitedly no less power, to ruin a business than bad shareholders, who also sometiems run companies into the ground through a search for short term profit rather than long term viability.

I didn't say Military personnel are generally mistreated (although I'm sure that you would admit that they, on occasion, are). However, they do sacrafice a few of the Constitutional freedoms that civilians enjoy. Should a civilian be able to trade those Rights away for financial compensation?

In fact, unless an enlistee SERIOUSLY violates expected standards of behavior/work ethic, they are likely to be confined to base or to quarters rather than fired. Should an employer have the right to do that?

Should a Civilian employer have the right jail an employee for adultery commited outside of working hours?

Military service is indenture. I'm VERY thankfull that millions of Americans have accepted that indenture, sometimes working at far below minimum wage if you calculate the hours they actually work. I'm thankfull that they are willing to often work under conditions that are extremely demanding, and threatening to life and limb.

It is not, however, a business model, and the model you present has nothing at all to do with an Enlistment contract. You are well aware that military service isn't peice-work.

In the interest of honesty, Big Bob never had to sign a contract. If his employees unionized, he could simply refuse to negotiate untill the strike broke, or negotiate a contract that allowed him to fire workers for under-performance.

I can understand that you were upset that Union workers were paid far more of your taxes to do a job service personel could have done more cheaply or effectively. I'm from San Diego. I know about the shoddy work NASSCO did on catapults, just as one example.

Why blame Unions instead of a Government that shouldn't have out-sourced the work, or should have out-sourced it to a superior contractor?

I've worked with teamsters, and I've worked with non-union Truckers. I can tell you without a doubt who works harder. The reason that over-the-road companies (known as common carriers) aren't unionized is that their workers are SO easy to replace. Nintey percent of the job requires nothing more than holding a steering wheel.

Most teamsters, however, work local, constantly fighting traffic in adverse weather conditions and often unloading their trucks by hand. They have to negotiate narrow alleys in congested city streets. It requires a high degree of skill and, depending on the particular job, physical strength. Why shouldn't they, just like investors making a high risk investment, join together to form a corporation which strives for the highest possible return?

Unions often DO cost jobs. For Union transportation companies, it's cheaper to work someone an extra 20 hours a week than to pay benefits for another employee. That is a downside.

Yet, every partnership between labor and capital has downsides. Union Labor is far from the worst such system devised. As an economic engine it's undoubtedly superior to Indentured Servitude.

Yet, and here is the crucial issue to me, Bobs Big Sled in modern America is probably OWNED by a Union. What else is a Publicly Held Corporation but a Union of those who have invested Capital rather than Labor?

If we not only allow, but facilitate and recognize the right of individuals to form associations to invest their "hard" wealth, and even go so far as to indulge in the legal fiction that these associations are persons, how can we deny those who invest their sweat, their thought, their time, the right to form similar associations to protect their investment and maximize their returns?

If the check says "dividend" instead of "wage", does the person recieving it some how have a greater inherent right to freedom of association?

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RickyB
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Koner, the point wasn't that the military mistreats its personnel. If you do not understand why, in a democratic society, employers cannot be allowed to have the amount of authority over their employees that the military has over its personnel, then perhaps there is little for us to discuss.
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