Unions - Help me understand

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Dec 14, 2008 3:50 pm

As one who is personally, and professionally, DEEPLY interested in the survival of GM/Ford, I'm in total support of all parties playing together nicely to make this better.  Posturing and political opportunism by all the players involved is playing like a bad episode of West Wing meets Gung Ho.

 
With that, every time I see the UAW squad on the tube, I immediately look underneath my TV to see if Jimmy Hoffa is to be found there.  With 11 year-olds no longer working in our thread factories, and with the swift, efficient global distribution of goods, technology, services and yes, labor, what benefit does collective bargaining offer our country?  I would imagine, given the wide swath of work experiences which we all bring to this field, that we have some former union members among us.  Guys/gals, speak up and help me understand what good the unions bring to our collective equation (pun intended).
 
My wife's family has owned and operated several manufacturing concerns here in the American South for the past 40+ years, and has had experience with union organizing efforts.  You get the experience and financial backing to swallow your fear and take the risk; you build the factory; you buy the equipment and you live out of your car while you travel the country building your customer base, while your children qualify for free lunch at school because every penny you have is poured into the business.  It struggles, it germinates, it sprouts and grows and 40 years later you're an overnight success.  You've always, ALWAYS provided a wage at least 25% above the prevailing local wages, and had health ins., vacation, etc.  You've created hundreds of jobs and received NOT ONE CENT OF INCENTIVE FROM YOUR LOCAL, STATE OR FEDERAL GOV'T while doing this the old-fashioned way.  Congrats, you've made it!!
 
So, when Mr. Union Organizer contacts my father-in-law and informs him that he WILL allow a meeting on the property for the employees to understand their collective bargaining rights, and he WILL comply with all federal laws allowing this, and he WILL NOT inflict any negative karma on anyone involved in this, and he WILL NOT in any way discourage or deny any of his employees their certain, unalieanable rights to this process...when all of this happens, make the case to me and those here, what value is added by this collective bargaining effort?
 
I'm sure my opinion on this matter is inscrutably concealed in the subtext you may not be able to detect hidden in the above.
Dec 14, 2008 5:34 pm

I agree.  Unions don't serve the same purpose as they did years ago.  The best thing about the unions is how they enabled the real mobsters from the early 20th century which I enjoy watching on true crime TV shows.

Dec 14, 2008 8:14 pm

Beemer, in your Father in law's case, the employees would benefit little if any from union representation. That's because your Father in law is one of the good guys. He treats his employees well. Unforunately, not the case in every case. In your fIL's situation the employees would probably be smart enough to vote unionizing down.

My daughter worked for two years for Borgata, the casino in AC. Borgata Management had absolutely no problem walking all over their employees. Ugly! The union helped more than one unfairly treated employee get justice.
 
I'm neutral when it comes to unions. Some are good and some are not good. However, what you describe, a business boot strapped from nothing being extorted by unions goes beyond unions. Big government is the biggest detriment to small business. 'I'm from the government, I'm here to help." Yeah, help my butt! Help tell you how to run your business with their hand in your pocket. Run your business into the gorund!
Dec 15, 2008 5:21 pm
BondGuy:

Beemer, in your Father in law's case, the employees would benefit little if any from union representation. That's because your Father in law is one of the good guys. He treats his employees well. Unforunately, not the case in every case. In your fIL's situation the employees would probably be smart enough to vote unionizing down.

My daughter worked for two years for Borgata, the casino in AC. Borgata Management had absolutely no problem walking all over their employees. Ugly! The union helped more than one unfairly treated employee get justice.
 
I'm neutral when it comes to unions. Some are good and some are not good. However, what you describe, a business boot strapped from nothing being extorted by unions goes beyond unions. Big government is the biggest detriment to small business. 'I'm from the government, I'm here to help." Yeah, help my butt! Help tell you how to run your business with their hand in your pocket. Run your business into the gorund!
 
Hey, BG, your daughter may not remember this, but I'm curious how much of her check went to union fees/dues/etc.  I've always wondered how much they clip their people for.  Also, did she ever have a problem which they helped her with, or was it just general assistance to the rank and file?
Dec 15, 2008 5:43 pm

First- yes my daughter was a Borgata Babe. She quit school for two years to give it a try with no intention of making a career out of it. She did her two years, now she's back to full time student status and has a weekend job as a waitress/server? at a very high end restaurant. And she's contantly complaining about not making any money even though she normally makes about $150 a night minimum.

 
At Borgata she pulled a small salary of about $80 a week. Her dues came out of that, as did her other benefits. Probably the worst bene package I've ever seen. I can't tell you how much they were clipping her for. Whatever it was, was too much. The union, IMO, was mostly a joke when it came to benefits and issues with benefits. Where they were effective was in protecting the workers from a meaner than mean management who would fire people with little provocation. For my daughter none of this was an issue as she was just passing through. However, for most of the employee this was a serious as it gets. This is their career. Regardless, Babe, bartender, dealer, janitor, a career spent walking on egg shells getting treated like crap. My daughter could see that even the top management people of the place were not high quality people.  She's sad that some of the people she befriended are trapped by the money into working there.
 
Personally, it is my belief that the two years my daughter spent at Borgata U, were years well spent. She now values the education she is getting and realizes that it the only way off the bottom rung. And, she earned over $100,000 learning the lesson. Best yet, she still has about six bucks left after shopping for Jeans.