04-21-09 10:49 PM
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  1. wallyjayrosenberger's Avatar
    There has been talk recently at my place of employment of the possibility of a union trying to get its foot in the door. I am fairly young and completely inexperienced when it comes to working in a facility with a union. I have done some research on workers unions and got some of my questions answered but not all. What I want to know are personal accounts of how a union helped or hurt you or somone you know. Any personal opinions are more than welcome as long as you explain why you feel the way you do.

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    04-17-09 06:04 PM
  2. V1V1D's Avatar
    I've been in the millwrights union for 15 yrs. As far as unions go, it depends on the type. I have found that a lot of the carplant uaw union members are different from mine. I have to bust my **** to keep working, they are on the lazier side. I don't mean to offend anyone but its true not all but most. What type of union will yoir work become?
    The bonus is more money, secure work. They can't fire you just because they don't like you there has to be a real good reason. The other side to this is the union reps who will look out for you some are in it for money and that's it. To make a long story short, I wouldn't change being in the union for anything. Unions are slowly starting to dwindle the more we get the stronger we become.
    Good luck in whatever comes about your situation.

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    04-17-09 07:28 PM
  3. robstone's Avatar
    Not looking to offend or enter a debate, just giving my opinion....

    I think most unions have outlived the original purpose for their creation. Now they mostly serve to reduce profitability of business and ensure the employee desires outweigh the decisions made for the good of the company. The people that profit the most from a union are the laziest of the employees (while those doing a great job take up the slack) and those that run the union. A main contributor (but certainly not the only) to the trouble the auto companies are in can be attributed to the union. I believe unions could be productive if they are kept from becoming too powerful, that is what has happened in the U.S. Anyway, like I said at the beginning, this was not intended to offend or anger anyone.
    04-17-09 07:41 PM
  4. exelant's Avatar
    The question to ask yourself is how you're being treated. Are people discharged for little cause? Is your salary keeping up with those in your field? Do you need one? I have been in several unions and felt they looked out for me well - remember most of the people in leadership positions and those who will stick up for you are your co-workers. Many talk about unions as if they are outsiders, they aren't, you will elect your own officers. The international will give you help and advice. Good luck, it takes a lot of courage. If it was last year I'd say be more careful because the Republican controlled NLRB was consistently denying union claims of unfair treatment. Not criticizing for those anti union people, just stating the truth. Repubs are not interested in protecting workers, its the way it is.

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    04-17-09 07:43 PM
  5. vinnie_dugan's Avatar
    Unions single handedly ruined american car makers, shipped jobs out of this country, messed up airlines. Unions are the devil. They started with the best of intentions, but with anything, you give someone an inch and they take a mile.

    Hope this helps

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    04-17-09 09:55 PM
  6. wallyjayrosenberger's Avatar
    As always vinnie, you helped.

    To answer a previous question, it would be a meatpackers union. And please, I've heard all the jokes. Due to my position, I would stand little to gain with a union coming in. I work by myself, am well respected, well paid and don't have to deal with supervision at all. There are only two of us there that know my job and the other guy is on 1st shift so no one ever questions what I tell them about it. I can't speak for the line workers however I can say their pay is just a little below average.

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    04-17-09 11:30 PM
  7. iobxchick's Avatar
    The company I last worked for had a Union voted in right after I left for the maintenace employees. I would compare the year prior to the vote to a war. The Union reps were sneaky and would promise things they couldn't deliver on. Its very sad for the maintenance team. The liberties they had before aren't there anymore. Specifically my old maintenance super who is still there and is a great guy can no longer make allowances for tardiness, sick children, etc. The biggest blow I would say came last quarter when the maintenance team didn't get their bonuses because the contract was still in negotiation. And as someone said before the key voters for the union are some of the laziest people working for the company. Because of the union one guy who got fired for sleeping on the job was rehired. They may have served their purpose years ago but I would say those times are far behind us.

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    04-18-09 02:38 AM
  8. mohavewolfpup's Avatar
    Ex SEIU at disneyland, night custodial. Biggest pack of assholes I ever met and worthless also. After seeing a rally photo of the Los Angeles SEIU (1877 I think it was) I became convinced I was about one of maybe 5 white people in it

    Dumb mexicans thought they had power, but pfft. Told the union steward to put the book into roll (toilet paper) form, would be easier and useful.

    I consider them worthless and just another "Tax" no benefits and a highly diminished paycheck.

    Company will fire you anyway, union doesn't care. The only time you get contact is if their wage garnishment, I mean paycheck deduction process goes awry

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    04-18-09 03:39 AM
  9. amazinglygraceless's Avatar
    Hope this helps
    As is normally the case, it didn't. Just more hyperbole, sweeping generalizations
    with absolutely nothing to back it up.

    Prior to moving to my current position I was a member of AFSCME -
    (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) and these
    people go to the mat for their membership day after day. Being on the outside
    looking in I appreciate that union more now than when I was a member.
    04-18-09 04:09 AM
  10. cdaiscool's Avatar
    I work for UPS under the Teamster's union. And while some of the things which directly benefit me (free insurance, all of them) has to do directly with thanks to the Union, the company does need to still make a profit. And once a contract is in place, there are no allowances.

    I've been late by 2 minutes before, and that counted as a full occurrance, which is supposed to be when you're a no show. That's thanks to the contract. In addition, if the company wants to do something, they have ways of going about it. There's always a hole somewhere.

    From what I've heard regarding Teamster's from my brother, they suck at where he's at. People get fired and nobody cares. So I think the key to a good union is a union rep that cares about you and knows the contract in and out. And is willing to fight for it.

    I agree, the lazy people do benefit greatly by it. I could sit my *** next to my line and only get 40 scans per night instead of 150+, and the union would protect me. But that's a cost of having a union.

    You need to really look ant conditions. Are you happy without a union? Does the company treat you fair? Are the lower-than-average wages keeping others in a job that may otherwise be laid off? If you think the company is treating you unfairly, then perhaps make a union. But be careful. The company may say okay then, adios!!

    Personally, I think they've outlived their usefulness. Unions were created out of necessity, but now they simply make too much ado about nothing.

    My 2 cents.

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    04-18-09 11:11 AM
  11. aragon7's Avatar
    I work for UPS under the Teamster's union. And while some of the things which directly benefit me (free insurance, all of them) has to do directly with thanks to the Union, the company does need to still make a profit. And once a contract is in place, there are no allowances.

    I've been late by 2 minutes before, and that counted as a full occurrance, which is supposed to be when you're a no show. That's thanks to the contract. In addition, if the company wants to do something, they have ways of going about it. There's always a hole somewhere.

    From what I've heard regarding Teamster's from my brother, they suck at where he's at. People get fired and nobody cares. So I think the key to a good union is a union rep that cares about you and knows the contract in and out. And is willing to fight for it.

    I agree, the lazy people do benefit greatly by it. I could sit my *** next to my line and only get 40 scans per night instead of 150+, and the union would protect me. But that's a cost of having a union.

    You need to really look ant conditions. Are you happy without a union? Does the company treat you fair? Are the lower-than-average wages keeping others in a job that may otherwise be laid off? If you think the company is treating you unfairly, then perhaps make a union. But be careful. The company may say okay then, adios!!

    Personally, I think they've outlived their usefulness. Unions were created out of necessity, but now they simply make too much ado about nothing.

    My 2 cents.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    I completely agree.
    04-18-09 11:43 AM
  12. vinnie_dugan's Avatar
    If you want examples, I can give you them all day. Does a man or woman working on an auto line putting a bolt on the tranny deserve 100+k/year? Absolutely not. High school drop outs that are unskilled are making more than guys with computer science degrees. Welders making 150+k/year, the list just goes on. The market should determine what people make, not the unions.

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    04-18-09 02:27 PM
  13. exelant's Avatar
    I would disagree with you about welders Vinnie, and many many other skilled jobs that take years to learn how to do well. Auto workers may have contributed to some of the problems facing the auto industry, but they did not design the cars no one wanted to buy; they were not responsible for the American automaker's not keeping up with technology to make cars more efficiently. They have made wage and benefit concessions with every contract for the past fifteen years. Now the current economic conditions directly caused by rolling back banking controls by a Republican congress and signed by Clinton have hammered automakers at a time when, according to Consumer's Report, American automakers have bridged the quality gap. It is simplistic to blame all problems on unions.

    I do find it sad that working people swallow hook line and sinker the propaganda put out by business leaders that unions are no longer relevant. Wages and benefits are dropping and worker protection is being rolled back across the board. And I can also cite many many stories to back that up. As I said before, look at your circumstances and make a decision based on that. The OP did mention line workers were less well paid than others in his region. This is the rule at non-union firms, and that's a fact.

    FYI: I am a manager and as such and exempt employee not eligible for union membership. I personally like that many work rules are spelled out in black and white. It makes my job easier, and I also would have no problem for making a case to discharge an employee for cause. It is not true that union employees can't be fired. Non-performing employees are fired all the time. And where I work, no one has ever won a wrongful termination suit because we document and do not fire people without just cause - and lots of warning due to the union contract.

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    Last edited by exelant; 04-18-09 at 03:34 PM.
    04-18-09 03:21 PM
  14. vinnie_dugan's Avatar
    The problem with the statement regarding american car makers making inferior cars is very perplexing. It is true that for the most part the american cars don't last as long as their foreign counterparts, but you have to ask yourself why.

    If american auto makers pay their employees triple what they make overseas, one of two things is going to happen.

    1. They can build a similar quality car, but it will cost nearly double what the foreign cars cost.

    2. They can build an inferior car that sells at the same price.

    At the end of the day if the american auto makers spend double or triple on labor, then they have a lot less to spend on R and D and engineering. I will try to post a paper written by my buddy in the grad program at tech regarding all this.

    Hope this helps

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    04-18-09 04:47 PM
  15. flop's Avatar
    I am not looking for a fight.

    However, the consensus here in UK is that American cars are different for other reasons. Your post is the first time I heard of parts wearing out quicker on US cars.

    The complaints familiar to me are that US cars have sloppy suspension, heavy response, and use too much fuel.

    US cars tend to be designed for going in straight lines with cruise control. In contrast, EU cars tend to be designed for taking lots of sharp corners and accelerating up hills. This is because our roads are genuinely different.

    The UK car industry collapsed before the US car industry. I do not know how much the unions influenced that.

    However, before the UK companies collapsed, I do know that workers would take home a car (one piece at a time) and assemble it there!! Also, they used to abuse cars that were built at work.

    Nobody ever got into into trouble for their misbehaviour. Again, I don't know how much influence the unions had but I think it may have been bad for business.

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    04-18-09 08:22 PM
  16. flop's Avatar
    As for worker wages. Many cars are built in places like Malaysia, China, India and the former Soviet block.

    I don't know the names of all these foreign brands but they are sellings loads in the east and expanding quickly. Proton is probably the most developed of the cheap asian brands.

    Proton own Lotus (former British racing brand) and Proton have said they want to race in Formula One some day. You can buy their cars brand new for less than 5000.

    I don't think you want to compete with them on wages. The cars are quite reliable too. What they don't have are green technologies and cars that float - designing one of those might be the way to beat them

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    Last edited by flop; 04-18-09 at 08:36 PM.
    04-18-09 08:33 PM
  17. ItnStln's Avatar
    I've been in the millwrights union for 15 yrs. As far as unions go, it depends on the type. I have found that a lot of the carplant uaw union members are different from mine. I have to bust my **** to keep working, they are on the lazier side. I don't mean to offend anyone but its true not all but most. What type of union will yoir work become?
    The bonus is more money, secure work. They can't fire you just because they don't like you there has to be a real good reason. The other side to this is the union reps who will look out for you some are in it for money and that's it. To make a long story short, I wouldn't change being in the union for anything. Unions are slowly starting to dwindle the more we get the stronger we become.
    Good luck in whatever comes about your situation.

    Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com
    I agree, it does depend on the union. When I worked in a major grocery store chain which was union, our union was useless. We never saw the union, except on our pay checks taking out their dues. The union rep was never in any of the stores he's responsible for. What really pissed me off was when I heard that he has a company issued car, gas card, and cell phone WHICH THE MEMBERS PAID FOR (I should add that the cell phone was useless, as he never returned any calls). In Maryland, it's a state law that if you work for a union company, you're required to become a union member.

    Check out this site and see what you think. I've found some of their information to be fairly accurate:
    UnionFacts.com

    I know that isn't the same for all unions, so I agree with V1V1D that it depends upon the particular union. Good luck, and hopefully the decision is advantageous to you.

    (I should add that I am NOT anti-union, I just hate paying for a service which isn't there to serve you.)
    Last edited by ItnStln511; 04-18-09 at 10:37 PM. Reason: errors
    04-18-09 10:30 PM
  18. destro23's Avatar
    I know nothing about unions but what i do know is they have a tug of "greed" war with the car companies.. and they have asked for so much and gotten it... they have placed them selves in danger..

    but like some other said earlier.. all are different.. the car makers one is just horrible... and they refuse to take a pay CUT!!! they are going to loose their jobs!!! WTF
    04-18-09 11:37 PM
  19. exelant's Avatar
    See people keep repeating the same things, only problem is this stuff isn't accurate. The UAW has been giving wage and benefit concessions for the last couple of contracts. They are within 10 to 15 percent of what the Japanese pay Americans at their plants - and will soon be equal to them. The problem isn't the current employees, it is the retiree health benefits companies in other countries don't have to pay. This gives them a competitive advantage. The gap is shrinking and we were on the verge of catching up before the crash. Ford has bridged the quality gap according to consumer reports, and GM will come out of bankruptcy without the brands people weren't buying. They will recover along with the economy. But most of the people who posted in this thread are working people who deserve to be paid good wages and benefits when the economy recovers. Who is going to help you get these wages and benefits?

    I would ask those who say unions are no longer needed to think about the last sixteen years, beginning in the Clinton Administration. The economy was great, the stock market grew to record levels, Wall Street and executive pay rose astronomically, and yet wages and benefits for regular folks did not keep pace with all these other folks who were getting. My benefits kept going down and I paid more and more each year for less and less. How was this possible? During the same period, union membership dropped, and for the past eight years, the Republican controlled NLRB ruled against workers time after time making it harder for unions to organize workers. It isn't a coincidence we didn't keep up. We were conned by those who control the media and government. I think that when the economy recovers, and it will recover, we look critically at what is going on. It may be time for unions to make a comeback. We do need an advocate to help workers get their fair share of the recovery. Some of that wealth has to come back to the people who make it.

    It is obvious to us all, or should be anyway, that we were lied to while the greedy have kept more and more of the wealth. The gap between the rich and poor is at it greatest level in a hundred years - and those being squeezed out are those of us in the middle class - the shrinking middle class.

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    04-19-09 03:59 AM
  20. vinnie_dugan's Avatar
    To say that the gap between the rich and poor is at its apex in the past century is just plain ignorant. Rockfeller, Rothchild, Carnegie, do those names ring any bells. A hundred years ago if you were a worker you were abused. You guys have it easy these days. If you want to complain about benefits, find a new job, go back to school, get a degree, do something. Our country is no longer a manufacturing nation because its simply too expensive to pay the wages and benefits.

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    04-19-09 11:18 AM
  21. exelant's Avatar
    Sheesh vinnie, of course the gap can't compare to robber baron days. There was no middle class in those days and they shot union workers. Just read about what the Rockefellers did to the Ludlow miners. But it is a fact the gap has grown and waiting for business owners to ante up isn't working. I went back to college as an adult and I did improve my position and wages, but I'm not blind about what is going on. I only propose fairness and accuracy. It is also a fact, what ever the solution, foreign car companies to not have to struggle with legacy employee costs because they do not have the burden of health care. It does distress me that people with regular working class background carry the water for the new robber baron wannabes. We guarantee the riches for those wealthy wall streeters with bailouts, but people want to go after modest retirement benefits earned by workers. It's wrong and the only ones who will speak for them are unions. I am an exempt employee and a member of my organization's management team and I know we pay attention when the union brings grievances to us. They are still needed in my opinion. Want an idea about what working conditions were like before unions, try reading the Jungle by Upton Sinclair. He may have been a socialist muckraker, but his description of working conditions has been accepted as a true portrayal. Read what I say man, I am only saying it is time for fairness, nothing more, nothing less.

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    04-19-09 03:05 PM
  22. vinnie_dugan's Avatar
    My question for you is why do you feel entitled to healthcare and retirement? Those are privileges, not rights. If you don't feel your company is giving you what you "deserve" go work somewhere that does.

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    04-19-09 05:04 PM
  23. exelant's Avatar
    Again, I am speaking rhetorically for those not as fortunate as I. I'm a member of the management team, Vinnie, I have 100% coverage, better retirement, better everything than my blue collar people. I'm not saying anyone is entitled. I'm stating what I think my tax money should pay for; I think we can do better for all Americans. You don't, fine. We have different opinions.

    People rip American automakers, sure they are responsible for many of their problems, but now as they catch up with quality products and lower wages for their employees, they are at a disadvantage because of benefits they have to pay their competitors do not pay. It doesn't seem fair to me.

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    Last edited by exelant; 04-19-09 at 05:45 PM.
    04-19-09 05:33 PM
  24. vinnie_dugan's Avatar
    What doesn't seem fair? Companies care about the bottom line. Until companies don't have to pay the workers over here as much as they do overseas, american cars will suck. 35% corporate tax doesn't help either, 2nd highest of the industrialized nations, woot woot.

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    04-19-09 11:32 PM
  25. exelant's Avatar
    Lol, we'll never agree about anything, much. But I like my American vehicles! Our 1500 Ram has never been in the shop and has 130000 miles - we use it to haul horses all over Colorado, including 10,000 foot mountain passes. My Jeep is a blast and has taken me over many mountain trails and passes and also has over 120000. And lastly, my Ford Focus is a great little car, sporty, gets 35 miles to a gallon with a near zero emmission engine, it only has 30,000 miles, but has been very reliable so far. So we have to agree to disagree again, I think American cars are great! I'll let you know how the Camero is after I figure out how to afford one,

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    04-21-09 10:40 AM
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