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agent8
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2017/05/09 04:55:55 (permalink)
I don't know that much about unions so I'm hoping this is an OK topic to discuss that doesn't violate some weird TOS.
The company that I work for is a subcontractor for a very large utility company and recently a bunch of guys signed cards to petition for Union representation. Now there's this big secret ballot election coming up. What do you guys think about unions? I know there are good ones and bad ones but right now there are so many lies being thrown on each side I don't know what to think. We have all these people from our company coming out to sway us buying us lunch and it's so bad I want to just call in sick. Most of the workers only see the promise and possibility of more money going with Union and I know there's a bigger picture than that. I have a lot of seniority so either way I'm good and I can't complain at all about my pay and really I'm just thankful to have my job. Does anyone have any experience either for or against working in the Union?
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    GhostImage
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 07:43:29 (permalink)
    Well. Im not in one, but a lpt of people I know are in one. There are cons and pros. The pay is good. Great benifits and retirement plan. But the way the work is differentiated is weird. You are only allowed to do your job and your job only. If you are master electrician you are not allowed to carry tools thats apprentice's job. You would get in trouble. Stuff like that. However one of my buddies is in the carpenter union. He gets some gigs 20-30k a month. And 27-28 $/h on a regular job. Pretty good me thinks.

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    post edited by GhostImage - 2017/05/09 07:45:36


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    bdary
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 07:57:41 (permalink)
    I grew up in the Milwaukee, WI. area.  Back in the 60' & 70's, there were a lot of union companies.  In the 80's most of them started going out of business, some moved out of the country.  There aren't many left in the area.  This due to the unions trying to drive up wages and benefits beyond what the companies could afford.
     
    I think unions were great and much needed back in the 50's and 60's, when the leaders of those unions were actually doing right by the members, but also allowing the companies to profit.  Over the years, so many workers rights laws have been passed and implemented that the need for unions isn't as important.  Many (not all) union leaders use the union as a political tool and to line there own pockets these days.  Especially the very large unions.
     
    In my opinion, the original intent of unions for the most part, has fallen by the wayside.  Where the union leaders worked with company management for good working conditions, a decent living wage and benefits, and for the company to continue to grow and be profitable.  If you were to look at the overall union membership across the US now, you'd see the numbers have declined greatly over the past couple decades.
     
    That's my .02 cents on the subject.

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    Athena
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 08:43:59 (permalink)
     
    For me it comes down to this.  Local workers voted to take a pay cut to save their jobs at the plant my father worked at and the UAW rejected their vote and closed the plant and thousands of union people lost their jobs.
     
    Unions that rep the people they serve are good, but are very rare vs the current unions that are more of a political movement.
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    bill1024
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 09:49:46 (permalink)
    I have been in the trades and have been on both sides. HVAC, plumbing, electrical, corporate maintenance ......
    If there is no work and you're in the union, you get laid off.
    In slow times, a HVAC co had us clean and paint the shop, do odd jobs at the bosses property.
    He even had guys go help each other at their homes for a couple days.
    And in the unions often the pay scale is set, so the slacker gets paid as much as someone who is a good producer.
    Your union dues may be donated to someone or something you do not want to support.
    Union pay is often higher, but not always, bennies may be better than what you have now.
    I do not believe in government workers being in a union. They get pandered to for their vote.
     

     
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    agent8
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 11:15:06 (permalink)
    Well my job is a monopoly. We really don't have anyone else that does what we do and there's no sign of us being out of work anytime soon so I suppose that's good. Our medical can't get any worse and if my pay goes up, well , I'm not going to complain. I'm a little tired of all the overtime and double time period I did 14 hours yesterday and have been doing 12 all week long. I guess we'll see what happens...
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    fearpoint
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 12:22:14 (permalink)
    If it's voluntary and "dues" aren't imposed on all worker from their paychecks then ok. If it's mandatory, it's extortion, complete garbage and should be outlawed.
     
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    DrunkMexican
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 12:46:46 (permalink)
    I think they were needed back in the day when they first started but no longer.
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    kaninja
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 12:50:27 (permalink)
    I like unions.  However there has been a systematic attack on unions since the 60's.  Union membership is somewhere around 10% of the entire workforce now.  In 10 years it will be less than 5%.  The whole unions are bankrupting this or that is a huge load of horse manure.  Yes Union workers are typically paid higher than regular non-union workers, but we aren't talking dentist or doctor money here.  The divide between profit and the employees share of that prosperity is at an all time low.  I like it when people get mad at the prospect of a burger flipper getting paid $15/hr.

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    NordicJedi
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 14:21:05 (permalink)
    Just a fair warning - this sort of topic can easily devolve into political discussion, so please try to avoid dragging it into that mess.
     
    So far, you guys are doing well, but you know how quickly things can go downhill.
     
    For my opinion, I'd point out that you'll get a lot of generalities and anecdotal discussion from many people, and that's not necessarily irrelevant.  However, do some research on unions and labor laws within your state, because union-company relationships can vary wildly based on the labor laws of your state and more especially within your local chapters.  There's a shade of truth in some of what everyone says here, but none of that matters if your local chapters and business relationship is of a different nature.  

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    candle_86
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 14:51:14 (permalink)
    Avoid unions at all costs, they serve no useful function except the make the people at the top rich, think of them as a legal ponzi scheme.


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    jeffro66
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 16:35:31 (permalink)
    I am in a union and a officer it is important as far as bargaining for a contract that corporates try to really take advantage of workers and if a member gets in trouble the union get really help him keep his or her job I hate the political stuff,unions can be very helpful and worth the dues

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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 17:02:45 (permalink)
    I am no union expert but I was a dues paying member of one for 10 years. The original intent of a union was a good one and a necessary thing in the beginning. Workers unions would help the working conditions and salary/wage just to name a few. Fast forward to today and there are a few good unions. I was in the teachers union and after some time realized they really were not looking after me and law firms offered a retainer so in the event you needed legal assistance they would come in and to top that off, whatever the union negotiated for salaries applied to both members and non members. So why in the hell pay union dues. It has become an obstacle and aids and assists the losers that had no business teaching to begin with.
    After I got out of teaching I went to several trade shows in Las vegas and other venues. You could not touch your own equipment as it was the union workers that could move your display. To get even a chair 75 bucks a day - union.
    I do not know about the IBEW or similar unions but I would say not a good thing any more. When the union is in bed with the same employers they were created to protect the workers from.
    Jimmy Hoffa???
    Just my 2 cents - I know there are examples of good unions out there.
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    gipothegip
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/09 22:59:45 (permalink)
    I've heard both good and bad things about unions. They can help secure workers rights & better wages, but in some cases they kind of dictate your work (as posted above), and want protection money.
     
    I have to agree with Fearpoint. If you, or anyone working for your company, is forced into it, that's extortion and open to corruption; they can do whatever, and nobody's leaving unless they want to lose their job.
     
    I come from a right to work state, so I have a choice as a legal right. Granted unions aren't huge where I live, and I personally haven't had anything to do with one. If you're not under right to work jurisdiction, and / or they aren't offering a choice, I'd go against it.
    post edited by gipothegip - 2017/05/09 23:01:23



    #14
    Hoggle
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/10 00:14:27 (permalink)
    In your case I don't think it would really be that bad since you work for a utility.
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    rcoev6
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/10 12:40:56 (permalink)
    Sounds like you are happy with your job and make a good wage.  Why would you want to allow a 3rd party to come into your work life that is going to take money from both you and your employer all the while making it harder for you to do your job?  Does this union have the same goals as you do, are they looking out for your best interest?  Probably not.

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    Brad_Hawthorne
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/10 15:45:52 (permalink)
    I control my own destiny, not some nebulous group with secret handshakes and a demand of dues. If I get crap pay or crap benefits, it's on me to get a job I am happy with.
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    quadlatte
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/11 05:24:28 (permalink)
    i have been in a few different unions and all of them pretty much stink now, at one time they served a purpose and did some good, but now they are legalized pimps, and do hardly anything for those they take money from. i watched as guys that worked in the steel mills lose their pensions because the union wasted so much of the money that they had nothing left when the mills closed, seen hard working guys in the IBEW sit for 6 months without work, still required to pay dues i might add, as lazy hacks got to keep working because they have been there longer. want to know why a cheap chevy or ford cost 30k? because janitors make $50hr at the plants in ohio. this is first hand knowledge not some story i read on FB or something. they have out lived their usefulness.

                                   
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    kaninja
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/11 09:49:12 (permalink)
    quadlatte
    i have been in a few different unions and all of them pretty much stink now, at one time they served a purpose and did some good, but now they are legalized pimps, and do hardly anything for those they take money from. i watched as guys that worked in the steel mills lose their pensions because the union wasted so much of the money that they had nothing left when the mills closed, seen hard working guys in the IBEW sit for 6 months without work, still required to pay dues i might add, as lazy hacks got to keep working because they have been there longer. want to know why a cheap chevy or ford cost 30k? because janitors make $50hr at the plants in ohio. this is first hand knowledge not some story i read on FB or something. they have out lived their usefulness.


    UAW workers make approximately $29 / hr plus benefits. I've broken the numbers down about a dozen times since 2009 but basically the Janitors or any other UAW worker isn't making $50, $60, $75, as reported 1000's of times or even $85 /hr as I saw reported a couple times. The janitors will make around $29 + benefits. The poor poor car companies use a mathmatical trick to come up with these inflated $XX/hr numbers to make it look like the Unions are killing them, and not them inefficiently overproducing vehicles nobody wants.

    To come up with the $50 or $75/hr figure they use this calculation:

    Wages + benefits of current AND retired employees and divide by the total number of hours worked by CURRENT employees.

    Obviously you see the problem with the math. Current employees are obviously not earning what is being paid to retired employees.

    Now it would obviously be much better for the automakers to do what other corporations do......outsource janitorial work to companies that use undocumented workers. Then they could pay $20 /hr for that work without paying benefits and the janitorial service could pay the actual janitor $8 / hr......keep them an hour or two short of full time and pay them no benefits. Everyone would win.

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    agent8
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/11 11:41:22 (permalink)
    Man there are so many different views on it and most of them that I've heard are nowhere near the middle, they either love them or hate them. I'm kind of indifferent since I have so much seniority and I make a pretty decent amount of money but the company is blasting me every single day and sending people out every single day for me to vote no and frankly I'm getting tired of hearing about it. I mean they're buying me lunch quite often and they're getting us all this new equipment and they're flying people out from across the country to visit us but that just makes me think they have all this money to throw around why haven't they been giving us that money earlier... I think it's going to be a lose-lose situation no matter how it falls. The Voting is next Friday and it almost wish I would get sick.
    #20
    bill1024
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/11 16:04:42 (permalink)
    I worked for a school district for a short time, I could not take the political BS.
    Here how their union worked. All workers, teachers and buss drivers were in the same union.
    I went to the school maintenance HVAC/maintenance thinking it would be a good job with retirement and all that.
     
    There is a bad air compressor in the boiler room, the building custodian had to find it bad and call in a work repair request.
    Then a general maintenance worker comes and confirms it is not working.
    Now an electrician has to come and disconnect the electric wires, then a plumber has to come and disconnect the piping.
    The general maintenance guy has to come back with the custodian to remove the old air compressor and place the new on in its place.
    Yup, got to get the electrician back and the plumber back to hook up the electric and the piping.
    The general maintenance and the custodian will turn on the new compressor and make sure it is working.
    Now a supervisor has to come and sign off on the work because of the time involved and the cost of the air compressor.
    If there was a problem with an air leak or it did not start you have to get the right person to come back and troubleshoot or fix the problem.
    Keep in mind every one is a maintenance mechanic ( not the custodian) but for the job class they're classified as.
    People can't stand there all day waiting for the other tradesmen to show up, they have other work to do
    (Well once in a while everyone would stand there sitting on their hands doing nothing but waiting for tradesmen to show up)
    So a two hour job turns into an all day affair with too many cooks spoiling the pot.
    I could/would of done the whole job by my self in a couple hours.
    That's how that union worked.
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    #21
    XrayMan
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/11 18:58:25 (permalink)
     
    Not really fond of them. They could take some of the union dues, and donate your money to individuals or organizations that you may not agree with. You have no say in where it may go.

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    bufurd_T
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/13 06:10:12 (permalink)
    Unions in the past were great for helping create safe working environments. Nowadays they are around to fill the head of the unions fat pockets by sucking the employers dry.
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    RainStryke
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/13 18:29:57 (permalink)
    You have the choices... Seems management is most likely the way up if you want to make more money. If you choose that path, then you definitely don't want to be union or want one made underneath you.
     
    My wife is a union rep, she does not get much in return when it comes down to making money. But she does get to see most of the insider stuff to come and she seems to be happy helping people around her.

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    agent8
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/13 18:44:23 (permalink)
    Actually, I make more than my Supervisor and quite possibly more than my manager with the overtime that I do. I was almost supervisor and I am really, really glad it fell through. Salary SUCKS at least in my company. They want me to be a steward but I just can't put in any more time than I do already in this company. This Friday is when everyone votes and I kinda think it's going to happen... We'll see.
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    RainStryke
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/14 09:17:37 (permalink)
    agent8
    Actually, I make more than my Supervisor and quite possibly more than my manager with the overtime that I do. I was almost supervisor and I am really, really glad it fell through. Salary SUCKS at least in my company. They want me to be a steward but I just can't put in any more time than I do already in this company. This Friday is when everyone votes and I kinda think it's going to happen... We'll see.




    That's the difference though. You negotiate your wages for management level jobs, if you get a bad salary... You didn't negotiate enough. Unions do that part for you.

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    quadlatte
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/15 05:51:42 (permalink)
    kaninja
    quadlatte
    i have been in a few different unions and all of them pretty much stink now, at one time they served a purpose and did some good, but now they are legalized pimps, and do hardly anything for those they take money from. i watched as guys that worked in the steel mills lose their pensions because the union wasted so much of the money that they had nothing left when the mills closed, seen hard working guys in the IBEW sit for 6 months without work, still required to pay dues i might add, as lazy hacks got to keep working because they have been there longer. want to know why a cheap chevy or ford cost 30k? because janitors make $50hr at the plants in ohio. this is first hand knowledge not some story i read on FB or something. they have out lived their usefulness.


    UAW workers make approximately $29 / hr plus benefits. I've broken the numbers down about a dozen times since 2009 but basically the Janitors or any other UAW worker isn't making $50, $60, $75, as reported 1000's of times or even $85 /hr as I saw reported a couple times. The janitors will make around $29 + benefits. The poor poor car companies use a mathmatical trick to come up with these inflated $XX/hr numbers to make it look like the Unions are killing them, and not them inefficiently overproducing vehicles nobody wants.

    To come up with the $50 or $75/hr figure they use this calculation:

    Wages + benefits of current AND retired employees and divide by the total number of hours worked by CURRENT employees.

    Obviously you see the problem with the math. Current employees are obviously not earning what is being paid to retired employees.

    Now it would obviously be much better for the automakers to do what other corporations do......outsource janitorial work to companies that use undocumented workers. Then they could pay $20 /hr for that work without paying benefits and the janitorial service could pay the actual janitor $8 / hr......keep them an hour or two short of full time and pay them no benefits. Everyone would win.

    i actually know a guy that works at the GM stamping plant in cleveland and he makes $52hr, been there 32 years. 

                                   
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    #27
    kaninja
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/15 06:58:25 (permalink)
    Yes, the average rate the the car companies pay is $29 / hr to UAW worker. The range is actually huge. $15.xx to $50.xx. Depending on how long you have worked there. There is a two tier system now. There are very few making over $35 / hr now.

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    #28
    RainStryke
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/15 08:55:42 (permalink)
    Those numbers are skewed. There is a UAW chevy plant right next to where I live. The majority of workers are on "contract" and can opt into the union, but they still only get 16.75 an hour. You also have to work your butt off for that pay too. After 6 months you can apply for full time status, so you get paid when they lay off all the workers 2 to 3 times a year while they are adjusting the line for changes. Had a co-worker go to Chevy a little over a year ago and he is still on the list. Last time I heard there were about 100 or so people in front of him and the UAW negotiations didn't go well... They extended the contract renewal out as long as 7 years before mandating they put that employee status as full time.

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    #29
    kaninja
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    Re: What is everyones thoughts on labor unions? 2017/05/15 09:34:36 (permalink)
    They are openining more auto plants in Mexico so they can pay less and not worry about the Unions. It's about profit, not about creating meaningful employment where workers share in the prosperity.

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    #30
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