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Union Busting in Wisconsin


Jonsa

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My 37 years of service at the same company proves that respect earns respect without unions.

I'm not sure you have a proper understanding of the term "proof".

For example, according to what you wrote, a couple of union guys were rude and thoughtless to you one day, and that set off a life-long hatred of all union members and a determination they were all vile people and that unions should be destroyed.

Most of us would have just realized those couple of guys were jerks.

Now you worked for the same employer for decades and apparently found that employment satisfactory. To you this seems to indicate all employers everywhere are fair and just and respectful towards their employees. Even though, by your own admission, you've never worked anywhere else, and thus have ZERO firs hand knowledge.

You appear to be taking very deep seated positions based on virtually no evidence or information.

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Public sector unions are greedy for wanting a living wage? Nobody likes to pay taxes, but those public servants are doing necessary work. Well, most of them :) In any large organization, whether it is public or private sector, you're going to find inefficiencies. It's inevitable. They used to call GM's headquarters The Detroit Kremlin, for how dense the bureaucracy was.

Yes...and following your example, it was very controversial to invest Canadian and American taxpayer dollars into a failing GM, failing in no small part because of obligations created by unions and collective bargaining. This is the aspect of the public - private value add argument lost in such discussions. It takes dozens of taxpayers to support the total compensation packages of public employees and their pensions.

Either way, it is fascinating how this topic has so attracted the passionate attention of MLW's resident union suporters, even though unions have lost a lot of membership over the past 25 years, save for the public sector. No wonder they get so excited. This is hotter than a garden variety Canada WalMart thread! ;)

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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Yes...and following your example, it was very controversial to invest Canadian and American taxpayer dollars into a failing GM, failing in no small part because of obligations created by unions and collective bargaining. This is the aspect of the public - private value add argument lost in such discussions. It takes dozens of taxpayers to support the total compensation packages of public employees and their pensions.

Either way, it is fascinating how this topic has so attracted the passionate attention of MLW's resident union suporters, even though unions have lost a lot of membership over the past 25 years, save for the public sector. No wonder they get so excited. This is hotter than a garden variety Canada WalMart thread! ;)

And obligations taken on by GM and then reneged on by GM. A perfect example is the pension plan agreed to by the employer (GM) and then reneged on(with the approval of government) thus creating unfunded liabilities. Of course those working at GM pay taxes, consume products and provide spin off employment thus contributing at the macroeconomic level.

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I wish that were true. It would make taxpayers feel a lot better,

Well, just for you, I went and got my wife's pay stub. She had $109.45 deducted last month for CPP, and $136 deducted for superannuation. Because of the way the public service pension is worked, she doesn't really get CPP (they deduct CPP from her government pension) so in effect, she paid $245 for her pension in the last two weeks.

That's not true. People contribute a part of their salary to their health benefits, etc. Unless of course you work for a public sector union. Then you pay virtually nothing. Or in some cases actually nothing. And let tax payers pay for you.

Certain benefits are paid by the employer, be it public or private, such as dental care and eyeglasses. Others are paid by the member, if, for example, they want to upgrade their hospital insurance care.

That's not true. But even if it was.

These two sentences should never appear together.

Who cares? What somebody decides to pay for their benefits with THEIR OWN MONEY doesn't concern me. It's people that leech off of others that does.

So you think it's okay that private sector employers pay decent benefits and wages but public sector employers should screw over their workers whenever possible and give them the lowest possible wages? Is this the kind of example you feel the government should be setting to the country at large? Do you think society is improved by screwing over almost all workers so that the rich corporations and companies can get fatter and richer?

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And obligations taken on by GM and then reneged on by GM. A perfect example is the pension plan agreed to by the employer (GM) and then reneged on(with the approval of government) thus creating unfunded liabilities. Of course those working at GM pay taxes, consume products and provide spin off employment thus contributing at the macroeconomic level.

Yes, as provided for in American bankruptcy law...all legal like. The UAW members were shocked to learn that all those years of givebacks and compromising would not save them from themselves, not even two tier wages designed to keep the seniority fat cats...fat.

It remains to be seen if a municipality, county, or state can so declare, but it will be very interesting when one tries in an effort to break their union obligations.

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As I have pointed out, this ostensibly economy-driven situation is fraught with emotional arguments.

Thankfully, nobody has seriously said: "Won't somebody think of the children ?".

But it's a little short of facts.

I found some good pages here:

Wisconsin Teacher Salary

Average Teacher Salary Rank: 20th

Starting Teacher Salary Rank: 49th

Salary raise last year: 4.7%

Salary raise over 10 years: 21.5%

21.5 % over 10 years doesn't even keep up with inflation.

Inflation Rates

Average inflation rate = %2.28.

I'm not sure what has changed here that we can't afford things that we've always had, except for an unreasonable demand that taxes eventually be cut to absolutely zero.

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Yes, as provided for in American bankruptcy law...all legal like. The UAW members were shocked to learn that all those years of givebacks and compromising would not save them from themselves, not even two tier wages designed to keep the seniority fat cats...fat.

It remains to be seen if a municipality, county, or state can so declare, but it will be very interesting when one tries in an effort to break their union obligations.

Yes. Those laws allow employers such as GM to escape financial obligations as contracted in keeping with the rules of the corporate state. Of course as creditors employees are well down the list.

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I'm not sure what has changed here that we can't afford things that we've always had, except for an unreasonable demand that taxes eventually be cut to absolutely zero.

AS is my custom....we doesn't apply to Wisconsin. To your larger point, the answer is simple: changing economic performance / revenue and growing debt load. Maybe such things were never affordable at all! :)

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Sickening that you would hate someone so much merely for going to work.

What a scab does affects all the other workers. If there are enough scabs, it damages the strike, and lets management hold out longer, lets them keep the rest of the workers out in the cold, walking the picket line. It gives them a lot more power over the workers. It's completely natural then, for the workers to dislike scabs. In addition, of course, when the union actually gets a raise or an increase in benefits, or some kind of protection, the scab benefits too, even though he hasn't contributed and has actually done his best to defeat the union's efforts.

I was once replaced by a scab. Management showed up and brought these brand new hirelings in to replace all the unionized workers in a lock-out because of sputtering contract talks. Now had it not been for these scabs we would have arrived at a compromise. Because of the scabs the strike lasted almost a year. The company wound up going out of business because the poorly trained scab workers did such a lousy job that they lost a whole bunch of contracts and were never able to make up the damage to their reputation.

Scabs do no one any good. I realize that there are cases where unreasonable union leaders provoke the use of scabs but in general they cost both the company and the union.

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Yes. Those laws allow employers such as GM to escape financial obligations as contracted in keeping with the rules of the corporate state. Of course as creditors employees are well down the list.

Just as it should be...employees and stockholders takes their chances as unsecured creditors when they own GM stock. Being in a union should not protect you from the real world.

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Nobody wants to destroy anything. These public sector freeloaders are simply being asked to pay half of what everyone else already pays for their pension and benefits.

You've done a study of comparative contributions between public and private sector unionized employees, right? Care to cite it?

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Just as it should be...employees and stockholders takes their chances as unsecured creditors when they own GM stock. Being in a union should not protect you from the real world.

Whether in a union or not employees are entirely disadvantaged in this selective process. You seem to overlook the fact that it is the labour provided by the employees that produce the product that is the focus of the enterprise.

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Absolutely not. I support a worker's right to unionize. But private sector unions are much different than public sector unions. Private sector unions produce their own wealth.

What does that even mean?

They actually have to deal with economic realities. And those realities are directly related to their compensation and benefits.

That's nonsense.

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For the process to be entirely fair there ought to be anti-scab legislation in place. That way the economic consequences are equally shared.

No way....let the righteous union faithful suffer for what they believe in while business goes on as usual. Unions started getting their butts kicked way back in the 80's, as in the Great Austin Hormel Meat Packing Strike:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormel#1985_strike

The Local P-9 bargaining unit fought long and hard, only to lose in the end. This marked the continuing decline for organized labor after President Reagan turfed PATCO and the air traffic controllers (thanks for the fine memories Yukon Jack!).

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Whether in a union or not employees are entirely disadvantaged in this selective process. You seem to overlook the fact that it is the labour provided by the employees that produce the product that is the focus of the enterprise.

Nonsense...labor is simply one of many recurring and nonrecurring costs for the "enterprise". No wonder robotic automation was embraced so quickly....they are more productive and don't need pensions!

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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No way....let the righteous union faithful suffer for what they believe in while business goes on as usual. Unions started getting their butts kicked way back in the 80's, as in the Great Austin Hormel Meat Packing Strike:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormel#1985_strike

The Local P-9 bargaining unit fought long and hard, only to lose in the end. This marked the continuing decline for organized labor after President Reagan turfed PATCO and the air traffic controllers (thanks for the fine memories Yukon Jack!).

It doesn't surprise me that you don't mind having the state intervene to crush the demands of working class people. A lesson in labour history would serve you well as your reference to the 80s shows a shallow undertstanding of the subject matter on your part.

Edited by pinko
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My own experience with unions is short but rather conclusive.

I was hired at a major manufacturer as a labourer. I was on a four-month probationary period during which I was not supposed to be sick, complain about the itch the compounds I worked with caused, the noise, the dirt and the smell of the working place.

I was one three-men crew. There was one operator and two alternating between "heavy end" and "light end", the heavy end being the person who brought the skids of raw rubber to the mixing machine and the light end being the person who weighed all the ingredients added to the raw rubber in the mixing macine. We were all on piece work as a crew, and the more we mixed, the more pay we made.

Now, the raw rubber skids were piled there with power trucks, while the heavy end person was supposed to use a manually operated truck to bring the skid to the mixer. One day, when I was on the heavy end I had trouble to extricate the required skid of rubber and yelled over to my crew-mates to come and give me a hand to get the skid free. They answered: "F--k you it's not my job". So the mixer ran idle and the crew made no money while I sweat bullets to free the skid of rubber from the mess, so I could bring it to the mixer.

That day I made up my mind that unions are not for me. As soon as my four month probationary period ended I applied for a managerial training program, to which - gratefully - I was accepted and I was - even more gratefully - able to say goodbye to the Union.

In the following years I gladly and happily worked through strikes, work slow-downs and took pride walking/driving through picket lines and wore the shouts of "SCAB" as a badge of honour.

I retired after 37 years of service, and after earning my company's World Wide Spirit Award.

All without the help of union. Those of us with courage and guts and even more importantly those of us who realize our own strengths and weaknesses and happy with what we achieve ourselves don't need thugs to speak for us.

Awww, you sound like you need a hug... :lol:

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pinko, you either have not read my post #45 or you choose to ignore it. Then I struggled as an immigrant when I got that job I describe there, I was still in a process of what you probably have no idea about: learning a new language in order to survive.

Yes, big business loves immigrants. Treat them like crap, overwork them, then drop a penny in their hands and the poor immigrant weeps with gratitude and works all the harder.

Most of the workers the company brought in to replace us during that long ago lockout were immigrants too.

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It doesn't surprise me that you don't mind having the state intervene to crush the demands of working class people. A lesson in labour history would serve you well as your reference to the 80s shows a shallow undertstanding of the subject matter.

I am well aware of American labour union history, including the many government interventions to break up strikes. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Wisconsin National Guard in this affair as well.

Sorry comrade, but these are not Petrograd bread riots! ;)

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Private sector unions also don't have a monolithic employer who also makes the laws. If the union has been certified and represents the workers, then the employer has a moral obligation to deal with them. Legislating them out of existence is just not fair.

It would be like if you had a contract with the government, and they passed a special law saying they didn't have to fulfill their end.

The federal government did exactly that last year. They passed a law which retroactively canceled or clawed back the raises in collective agreements they had already signed with some unions. They were about to spend umpteen billions on a wild variety of 'incentive' schemes, but had to claw back 1 and 2% raises from their employees.

Edited by Scotty
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Nonsense...labor is simply one of many recurring and nonrecurring costs for the "enterprise". No wonder robotic automation was embraced so quickly....they are more productive and don't need pensions!

BC, that's what I like about you, you're an honest man, and of course that didn't contribute a thing towards the high (and very expensive to any economy) unemployment, which BOTH parties (and more importantly the general public) see as the #1 issue in both our countries...

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