PDA

View Full Version : Unions


RedSkinBrit
04-13-2010, 06:23 AM
Wondered what your guys views are on Unions.Had a discussion with a workmate and we had differing views about the Unions role here in Australia.

dj_stouty
04-13-2010, 07:28 AM
I am not a big fan of unions....and I think they have personally been at fault for the automobile industry collapse here in America.

This thread may have to be moved to the political forum...

Ibleedburgundy
04-13-2010, 07:48 AM
This is definitely going to get political.

I like the concept of unions because I think workers need protections and they need negotiating power. Unions can be credited with expanding the middle class in the mid 20th century.

Agree with DJ though, unions can get corrupt and abusive (just like any other entity with power). The automobile unions went overboard with benefits packages and that has caused a lot of trouble for the big three, although I think our healthcare system is also to blame for that.

Keino
04-13-2010, 08:51 AM
Unions are a necessary evil because left to themselves, executives cannot be trusted to treat workers fairly. Just about every single union was formed to combat abuses by employers. The problem is that Organized Crime Syndicates have used Unions as a mechanism for engaging in and hiding their criminal acitivities which has had the effect of corrupting the Union leadership making the Union more about working for the interests of the union as opposed to the workers they are supposed to represent......Generally speaking, of course.

BurgundyNGold
04-13-2010, 09:55 AM
Unions are a necessary evil because left to themselves, executives cannot be trusted to treat workers fairly. Just about every single union was formed to combat abuses by employers. The problem is that Organized Crime Syndicates have used Unions as a mechanism for engaging in and hiding their criminal acitivities which has had the effect of corrupting the Union leadership making the Union more about working for the interests of the union as opposed to the workers they are supposed to represent......Generally speaking, of course.
I think you're right about the initial need for unions. Usually, they help correct injustices. However, in most cases, the more time goes by, the more the union is a detriment to the ability for the company or organization to operate efficiently. Not to mention that most unions outlive their usefulness and become corrupt -- with or without the assistance of organized crime.

BurgundyNGold
04-13-2010, 09:59 AM
This is definitely going to get political.

I like the concept of unions because I think workers need protections and they need negotiating power. Unions can be credited with expanding the middle class in the mid 20th century.

Agree with DJ though, unions can get corrupt and abusive (just like any other entity with power). The automobile unions went overboard with benefits packages and that has caused a lot of trouble for the big three, although I think our healthcare system is also to blame for that.
Raises pegged to inflation really changed how the Big 3 negotiated with the union. Management wanted to have projectable labor rate increases and were willing to negotiate away huge retirement benefits and health care for their employees at a time when those were throw away concessions. Today, not so much. The entitlements are what are killing the Big 3. Well, that and average product without any clear innovation in 30 years.

Keino
04-13-2010, 10:24 AM
I think you're right about the initial need for unions. Usually, they help correct injustices. However, in most cases, the more time goes by, the more the union is a detriment to the ability for the company or organization to operate efficiently. Not to mention that most unions outlive their usefulness and become corrupt -- with or without the assistance of organized crime.

If management/employers could be trusted to balance their interests between profit and doing right by the employee, then there would be no need for Unions. As it is, Management cannot be trusted to negotiate or act in good faith and thus the Union is necessary to force collective bargaining.

It's as much about Supply and Demand as anything else.

akhhorus
04-13-2010, 10:53 AM
If management/employers could be trusted to balance their interests between profit and doing right by the employee, then there would be no need for Unions. As it is, Management cannot be trusted to negotiate or act in good faith and thus the Union is necessary to force collective bargaining.

It's as much about Supply and Demand as anything else.

The problem is that Unions today are less interested in their members and more interested in political power. The big mega unions should be broken up along specific job lines. Then they have to focus on their membership.

Keino
04-13-2010, 10:59 AM
The problem is that Unions today are less interested in their members and more interested in political power. The big mega unions should be broken up along specific job lines. Then they have to focus on their membership.

I would agree with this. But the concept of unions needs to be looked at with a certain historical context and not just in their current manifestation.

Of course, I know nothing about Unionized labor outside of the US, so I don't think any of my comments will help the initial poster.

Fathead
04-13-2010, 11:00 AM
I respect the historical significance of unions, but most now are overbloated organizations designed to bring profits to the leadership, not serve their members. They've become what they professed to hate in many ways.

BurgundyNGold
04-13-2010, 02:47 PM
If management/employers could be trusted to balance their interests between profit and doing right by the employee, then there would be no need for Unions. As it is, Management cannot be trusted to negotiate or act in good faith and thus the Union is necessary to force collective bargaining.

It's as much about Supply and Demand as anything else.
That's why unions are beneficial inituially but tend to tail off in their usefulness -- and even cross over into hindrance -- after their initial tasks are completed. History has shown that in pretty much every case, to varying degrees, at some point in the life cycle, the union exists to serve their own relevance more than to serve their members. Often, this even means serving as a figurehead organization while being in the pocket of management.

The problem is that Unions today are less interested in their members and more interested in political power. The big mega unions should be broken up along specific job lines. Then they have to focus on their membership.
I think that unions should hae special legal and corporate protections. I think they should be allowed to strike in any circumstances. I believe that they should be afforded special government protections and accelerated access to the legal system, among other things.

However, as a trade off, I believe that they should exist as temporary bodies, such as the Chicago Olympic Committee. They have set goals and a mandate. Once those have played out one way or another and the charter expires -- say 3 or 5 year charters, renewable by court, arbitrator or government application that is based on the completion of charter goals -- the union dissolves until the next set of grievances arise and the need for another, point focued union should arise.

The_Sonny_Of_Sammy
04-13-2010, 03:38 PM
I always hear unions getting a bum rap these days, maybe some for valid reasons. I've been a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for the last 23 years. I know for a fact that without the IBEW, accidents and deaths for linemen as well as the public would be through the roof. Our union works for and with power companies to ensure safety for all. They also negotiate our pay and benefits, benefits I will need after I can retire fully after 30 years or more of service busting my hump outside in all types of elements. When people say we make too much because of unions, I always say, when it's freezing raining, lightning, heat waving, hurrincanning, etc. working with energized conductors, how much do you think that's worth. Not all unions are about sticking it to the man and certaintly not my union.

akhhorus
04-13-2010, 03:39 PM
I think that unions should hae special legal and corporate protections. I think they should be allowed to strike in any circumstances. I believe that they should be afforded special government protections and accelerated access to the legal system, among other things.

I think that can be accomplished by having the NLRB be a real decision maker between unions/management.

However, as a trade off, I believe that they should exist as temporary bodies, such as the Chicago Olympic Committee. They have set goals and a mandate. Once those have played out one way or another and the charter expires -- say 3 or 5 year charters, renewable by court, arbitrator or government application that is based on the completion of charter goals -- the union dissolves until the next set of grievances arise and the need for another, point focued union should arise.

Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution

RedskinsDave
04-13-2010, 03:40 PM
I always hear unions getting a bum rap these days, maybe some for valid reasons. I've been a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for the last 23 years. I know for a fact that without the IBEW, accidents and deaths for linemen as well as the public would be through the roof. Our union works for and with power companies to ensure safety for all. They also negotiate our pay and benefits, benefits I will need after I can retire fully after 30 years or more of service busting my hump outside in all types of elements. When people say we make too much because of unions, I always say, when it's freezing raining, lightning, heat waving, hurrincanning, etc. working with energized conductors, how much do you think that's worth. Not all unions are about sticking it to the man and certaintly not my union.

You're also in a union in Virginia, where they are held in check by it being a right to work state. They know they can't push too hard because you can still get fired.

BostonSkins
04-13-2010, 04:47 PM
I use a simple tool:
Private Unions = Good
Public Unions = Bad

When "Management" is some mayor who wants to get votes and doesn't care about future obligations there becomes a problem.

RedSkinBrit
04-14-2010, 04:26 AM
I always hear unions getting a bum rap these days, maybe some for valid reasons. I've been a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for the last 23 years. I know for a fact that without the IBEW, accidents and deaths for linemen as well as the public would be through the roof. Our union works for and with power companies to ensure safety for all. They also negotiate our pay and benefits, benefits I will need after I can retire fully after 30 years or more of service busting my hump outside in all types of elements. When people say we make too much because of unions, I always say, when it's freezing raining, lightning, heat waving, hurrincanning, etc. working with energized conductors, how much do you think that's worth. Not all unions are about sticking it to the man and certaintly not my union.

Same for my Bros in law working in steel industry,The safety levlels have improved dramatically since his union got stronger and campaigned for certain safety measures to be applied.
It seems that some unions get so powerful they forget they are there to serve their members and it becomes a power trip for their own ends.
Our workplace is a better place for Unions and i believe in them but wish there was a way to stop them from becoming overly aggressive and blinded by personal factors.
On the other side of the coin ,what is happening in Australia seems that the Unions are losing a lot of their power and management are exploiting the fact that the average worker has less power to withstand unfair and poor working practices.