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bwest
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Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:24 am

There's some union action going on the last few days overhere in the food sector. The unions want higher wages, higher then the companies suggest, so they are picketing certain restaurant chains.

So today at noon, I went up to Mcdonalds to find out about 10 union members blocking the entrance. I went to the side entrance, where another 5 of them were standing in front of the door. I asked them to go in. They refused, saying there was a union action. I told them I respected their action and their rights to hold such an action, that I was aware of what was going on, but since the Mcdonalds wasn't on strike, they couldn't refuse me entry, so I wanted to open the door. That didn't go well, as they took my arm and pushed me back. I told them not to touch me and to step aside, again they refused, telling me that if I didn't like it, I just had to call the police. Well... seeing in Belgium a police officer is supposed to have his full functions 24h a day, even when not in service, I popped out my legitimation card, and told them again to step aside, as they had no legal right whatsoever to refuse me the entry. That didn't go down well. They started shouting "you're abusing your powers" (blatantly disregarding they were the ones abusing the right to strike) and became more and more agressive towards me. At that point, my temperature started rising...I grabbed for the door again, and had two union members immediatly grabbing me and pushing me back... the situation looked like it was going to become messy... right at that time, the city police showed up. The sight of uniforms immediatly calmed them down. I explained the cops what had happened, and they ordered the union members to step down... and I could go in, where the employees of McDo apologized  Smile and told me they had no idea where those people came from.

The whole situation got me pretty annoyed... first of all there's the typical union mentality "we can do whatever we want", secondly the obvious disrespect for a police officer pointing them out that what they do is illegal, and third: the fact they're even willing to pick a fight with people that don't agree with their (narrow minded) views

And what is the big issue? The unions want to raise the different levels of salaries, for the low levels they want a 4% raise, for the highest level a raise of 20%, while the companies just want to give a general raise of 6%... meaning the lower salaries would get a bigger raise, but the higher salaries a much lower raise (which in my opinion is more correct)

Got me thinking as well... the unions overhere are just too powerfull, they did very good work over the last century in helping the workers to build a better life, but now , their battles are largely symbolic. It just seems that they want to cling on to their power by holding action against... well... everything. I think it is time we rethink the role the unions have in Western Europe, as the old "us against them" mentality isn't exactly very up to date anymore...
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prosa
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:43 am

Unionization in the United States has gone through some drastic changes in the past few decades. Union membership in most private industries has been in a long decline, to something like 10% of the workforce. Most remaining private-sector union members are concentrated in a few industries such as motor vehicle manufacturing and supermarkets. In sharp contrast, unionization among public-sector workers continues apace, with steady growth in both numbers and militancy. Note that "public sector," for these purposes, also includes hospitals and social service organizations, as they are funded primarily with public funds even if in nominal private ownership.
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airfoilsguy
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 1:23 am

Quoting Bwest (Thread starter):
So today at noon, I went up to Mcdonalds to find out about 10 union members blocking the entrance.

Your Mc Donald's are unionized? How much is a Bic Mc, $20?

Here in the states we can thank the unions for companies closing plants here and opening them in China and Mexico. Right down the road from me the Hover corporation just closed down their plant and moved operations to Mexico due to the union. About 5 years ago the employees were given a choice. Let the company pay new hires less or Hover would start moving operations to Mexico. The union said no and now 1000 workers are now going to be looking for new jobs.
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PAHS200
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 1:46 am

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 2):
Here in the states we can thank the unions for companies closing plants here and opening them in China and Mexico

 checkmark 

a great example is Bethlehem Steel they made most of the steel in the USA like the Golden Gate Bridge and then the unions took them out.
 
ORFflyer
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:05 am

Quoting Airfoilsguy (Reply 2):
Here in the states we can thank the unions for companies closing plants here and opening them in China and Mexico.

 checkmark 

Quoting PAHS200 (Reply 3):
a great example is Bethlehem Steel they made most of the steel in the USA like the Golden Gate Bridge and then the unions took them out.

Another is the Norfolk Ford Assembly Plant. Been making Fords for about a hundred years. (don't know really, and I'm not looking it up) Anyway, the last F150 rolls off the line later this week.

The local management did pool their resources and bought what will be the last truck to be made, and gave it to an employee. He drives it home this Friday.
 
lijnden
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:57 am

Unions should be abolished. They keeping themselves alive and kicking in exorbitant buildings with huge pay in a time where protection of the worker is in most civilized countries arranged by law. (working hours, minimum wage, sick leave, payed holidays etc.). Except from numerous ways Unions committed fraude in the past, their criminal behavior against people who oppose them is outright brutal.
Unions are actually so conservative and predictable that I often wonder why they still exist in a EU that claims to be progressive. Also I wonder why unions are not common in third world countries, where their role in labor should be a major priority? I guess not enough money...
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Braybuddy
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 3:09 am

Quoting Bwest (Thread starter):
they did very good work over the last century in helping the workers to build a better life, but now , their battles are largely symbolic. It just seems that they want to cling on to their power by holding action against... well... everything. I think it is time we rethink the role the unions have in Western Europe, as the old "us against them" mentality isn't exactly very up to date anymore...

Unions were very necessary for the dignity of workers, but there's no doubt they abuse their powers. Here they have very little power any more in the private sector, but the public service is entirely different. They have no qualms about holding the country to ransom, while at the same time being the most cosseted workers in the country. Their wages have now outstripped that of the private sector, so they have been careful not to rock the boat over the last few years, apart from nurses. Having said that, they are nothing like as bad as they are in France.

I go to Brussels regularly, but would never have thought they were that powerful in Belgium. Nice work Bwest!
 
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bwest
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:07 am

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 6):
I go to Brussels regularly, but would never have thought they were that powerful in Belgium.

They're still very very powerfull here...

I saw a report on the regional television just now, showing the Mcdonalds main entrance. People still had to push their way in, and the police was constantly ordering the protestors that they couldn't prevent the entry. One of the protestors came on the news to say "the Ghent police is not respecting our legal right to strike"... which shows just how ignorant these people are. First of all, he was not on strike at all and secondly, he had a right to protest, but not to prevent people from entering a building. Well, you can't really blame them too. Without wanting to sound too negative about them, they mainly are uneducated factory workers, who stand their because their union tells them, and usually only have the faintest of ideas of why they're there. They have a very narrow minded and egocentric view.

Besides, unemployment in Flanders is very low, everywhere employers are desperate for new employees. So if the situation in the chains here is that bad, if the staff gets paid that poorly, why do I see the same people working there for years already? And why did they look so annoyed with the protestors? I suspect it's actually a move by the union to put the chains in a negative focus, as the restaurant/cafe unions are dominated by non-chain restaurants and pubs
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bhill
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:17 am

Throw their asses in jail for trespassing...
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Braybuddy
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:24 am

Quoting Bwest (Reply 7):
So if the situation in the chains here is that bad, if the staff gets paid that poorly, why do I see the same people working there for years already? And why did they look so annoyed with the protestors?

I suspect it's because they are at the bottom of the employment chain and don't give a damn about their jobs, their employers or the customers. If they close the company down they'll just move on to other low paid jobs. They have absolutely no aspirations in life.
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:17 am

My biggest problem with the unions is that although no one elected them they just love to play politics and try to have say in things like pension/tax reform which is imho waaay beyond their role in the society.
Interestingly enough the most radical and willing to take the public as hostage anytime to enforce their particular interests seem to be the "elite" - pilots and ATCs.
 
ACDC8
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:21 am

If our Union ever has a strike, I'll cross the picket line without taking a breath. Never liked them and never will. The only reason why I'm in one is because I'm forced to join (and pay $40 a month in dues) in order to be eligible for employment with the company. One could argue that they are there fighting for my rights, yeah sure, but they're also there fighting for the rights of my co-worker who does a half ass job and gets paid and treated the same as those employees who actually do their jobs.
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L410Turbolet
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:25 am

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 11):
The only reason why I'm in one is because I'm forced to join (and pay $40 a month in dues) in order to be eligible for employment with the company.

Can you explain this to me? I'm not really familiar with this system. I thought that employment is a relationship between you and your employer, not the unions, so why they shoul have ANY say in whether the employer gives you the job or not?
 
ACDC8
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:54 am

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 12):
Can you explain this to me? I'm not really familiar with this system. I thought that employment is a relationship between you and your employer, not the unions, so why they shoul have ANY say in whether the employer gives you the job or not?

Welcome to Canada! If you want a job with an employer that has a collective agreement with a Union, all employees must accept membership into that Union. Nice huh? I believe that the arguement that the Unions use to jusitfy this is so there is no tension between the employees/members (yeah, right  Yeah sure )

The thing that annoys me the most about Unions is when they send you their news letters and pamphlets with the greeting "Dear Brothers and Sisters" .... I'm not your brother, your not mine, you don't represent me, I represent myself thank-you very much!

There may be exceptions, but I'm not aware of any.
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T prop
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 11:10 am

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 11):
but they're also there fighting for the rights of my co-worker who does a half ass job and gets paid and treated the same as those employees who actually do their jobs.

So it's the unions job to motivate an ineffective co worker? If you have a problem co worker it's the job of your management people to take care of it. If they don't they're the ones who are screwing up.
 
bhmbaglock
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:05 pm

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 13):
Welcome to Canada!

It's the same here in states that don't have "Right to Work" laws. Not surprisingly, the major growth in the US is in the less Union friendly states.

Quoting T prop (Reply 14):
So it's the unions job to motivate an ineffective co worker?

No, but they shouldn't protect them at all costs either which is normally the case.

Quoting T prop (Reply 14):
If you have a problem co worker it's the job of your management people to take care of it. If they don't they're the ones who are screwing up.

Here's a snippet from an earlier thread that I think is equally relevant here:

Quote:
If it's not a right to work state and the union management are not interested in the best interests of the company it is indeed this way. I saw it happen when I worked at Boeing in PA. We had a machinist who absolutely would not change the cutting tools at his workstation - near 100% rejects because of the ragged holes he was putting in parts for CH-47Ds.

My roommate who was a manufacturing engineer finally got sick of it and went in at night and changed all the tools. Knucklehead files a grievance against him and damn near gets him fired for doing work reserved for union employees. So he jumps through all the proper hoops and get's the idiot fired. Mgt goes to the union, asks for a new employee to fill this position. union says, no. We're not filling this position (or any other for that matter) until our brother is re-hired. The company ended up re-hiring him.

This is why I am strictly for right to work states. Without the right to hire outside the union in cases like this there are too many opportunities for abuse. Also, I think it violates the rights of any individual who wants a job but has no use for the union and doesn't want to join.

RE: Are All NW Replacement Mechanics Fired? (by BHMBAGLOCK Dec 6 2005 in Civil Aviation)

In a non Right to Work state, management may not have the ability to "take care of it".
Where are all of my respected members going?
 
cfalk
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 12:27 pm

Quoting Lijnden (Reply 5):
Unions should be abolished.

I wouldn't go that far.

The idea of unions - i.e. collective bargaining and a united workforce to oppose management when management's demands are unreasonable - is a noble one, and lifted us out of the predatory capitalistic days of the 19th century, when unskilled or semi-skilled labor worked 70 hours per week for a pittance, with no regard for worker safety or health.

The problem arose when Unions became more than just a group of workers who elect a spokesman and agree to act together. Unions became a business themselves. Their business is selling memberships, their revenue are union dues, and they have staff and overhead costs (not to mention political machinery). The big unions, like the AFL/CIO or France's CFDT, have become what they clame to fight against.

I would recommend abolishing these sort of 'business unions'. They do no good whatsoever, and end up costing people jobs. But I would fully support local unions, those whose officers are also employees, whose only dues collected consists of maybe $10 per year to contribute to the annual union picnic.
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AA767400
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 1:16 pm

What unions do is protect employees that are not doing their job.

Take Flight Attendants. When a Flight Attendant abuses his or her attendance, the unions goes in and protects them from getting fired. There is a Flight Attendant that has been fired several times for stealing and invading a passengers's privacy. (He would pull the panel on the aircraft toilet and look at passengers in there.) But the good old union got his job back THREE times.
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FlyDeltaJets87
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 1:23 pm

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 13):
Welcome to Canada! If you want a job with an employer that has a collective agreement with a Union, all employees must accept membership into that Union. Nice huh?

A few states here in the US have taken this into their own hands and are "Right to Work" states, thus employees cannot be forced to join Unions. North Carolina is one of them.

I've never been involved with a Union, but my cousin up in Ohio works at a Krogers up there, which is unionized, and he is constantly bitching about the Union and how much it sucks that a hefty sum of his paycheck gets taken out for Union dues. He was really pissed when he came back from an academic leave of absence and his entire first paycheck was basically taken back by the company to cover Union dues for the time he was away at school. I honestly can't recall him having said one positive thing about the Union that he "pays" to "represent him".
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Alias1024
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:03 pm

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 13):
Welcome to Canada! If you want a job with an employer that has a collective agreement with a Union, all employees must accept membership into that Union.

Are you actually required to become a member, or just pay the fees? The union I am a member of requires that monthly dues be paid by all members, and that non-members pay a "service fee" which is equal in amount to monthly dues. The reasoning is that since non-members have the same work rules and compensation set forth in the collective bargaining agreement, they should have to equally share in the costs of negotiating and enforcing the provisions of the CBA.

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 10):
My biggest problem with the unions is that although no one elected them they just love to play politics and try to have say in things like pension/tax reform which is imho waaay beyond their role in the society.

Their membership elected them to act on their behalf. They act to promote the interests of those members. What's wrong with that?

Quoting ACDC8 (Reply 11):
If our Union ever has a strike, I'll cross the picket line without taking a breath.

That's sure to make you popular at work. duck 

For all the people that bitch about unions but are members of one, I have some advice: Get involved. The union is only as good as the members make it. If you don't like the direction your union is taking, try to change it. Why the hell would you allow them to take dues and assessments from your pay, but not try to influence how those monies are spent?

Bwest, sorry to hear about your experience. Clearly what those idiots were doing was illegal by preventing access to the business. I hope the police put an end to that, and the men confine themselves to legal picketing. It is a shame that the actions of a few stupid men has been allowed to portray their union so poorly.

P.S.: Knowing how much unions are generally despised on this site, I have already put on my flameproof suit.
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ACDC8
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:27 pm

Quoting T prop (Reply 14):
So it's the unions job to motivate an ineffective co worker? If you have a problem co worker it's the job of your management people to take care of it. If they don't they're the ones who are screwing up.

The problem is, that management will try to motivate the employee, if that doesn't work they try to discipline the employee, then the employee files a grievance for harassment and goes back to being a lazy ass. Sometimes it'll get to the point where the management won't even try anymore because they can't win.

Quoting BHMBAGLOCK (Reply 15):
No, but they shouldn't protect them at all costs either which is normally the case.

Bingo!

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 19):
Are you actually required to become a member, or just pay the fees? The union I am a member of requires that monthly dues be paid by all members, and that non-members pay a "service fee" which is equal in amount to monthly dues. The reasoning is that since non-members have the same work rules and compensation set forth in the collective bargaining agreement, they should have to equally share in the costs of negotiating and enforcing the provisions of the CBA.

It depends on the Union I believe. I had one job many years ago where we were not required to be a member but we still had to pay the Union dues. The funny thing about it was that if they ever went on strike, we still would not have been allowed to cross the picket line, but because we weren't a member, we didn't get compensation pay. My current job requires us to actually be a member.

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 19):
That's sure to make you popular at work.

I would think so ....  Wink The way I see it though, is that the other employees are fighting for what they believe in, I respect that BUT I also have the right to fight for what I believe in and that should be respected as well and not threatened.
A Grumpy German Is A Sauerkraut
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 3:28 pm

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 19):
Their membership elected them to act on their behalf. They act to promote the interests of those members.

Nonsense. They usurpate for themselves role in the society for which they have no mandate. Their members elected them to represent their interests in respect to their employer. Nothing more. To represent one's interests in respect to legislation and by extension executive directions - that's what GENERAL parliamentary elections are for.
Why should e.g. railway unions have more say than let's say a club of aircraft spotters at PRG? Because the former can take public hostage and nearly stall the life in the country and the latter can't?


Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 19):
Get involved.The union is only as good as the members make it. If you don't like the direction your union is taking, try to change it.

a) It's not my union.
b) Why should I spend a single CZK/USD/EUR funding entity I absolutely don't agree with?
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:01 pm

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 16):
Quoting Lijnden (Reply 5):
Unions should be abolished.

I wouldn't go that far.

The idea of unions - i.e. collective bargaining and a united workforce to oppose management when management's demands are unreasonable - is a noble one, and lifted us out of the predatory capitalistic days of the 19th century, when unskilled or semi-skilled labor worked 70 hours per week for a pittance, with no regard for worker safety or health.

The problem arose when Unions became more than just a group of workers who elect a spokesman and agree to act together. Unions became a business themselves. Their business is selling memberships, their revenue are union dues, and they have staff and overhead costs (not to mention political machinery). The big unions, like the AFL/CIO or France's CFDT, have become what they clame to fight against.

I would recommend abolishing these sort of 'business unions'. They do no good whatsoever, and end up costing people jobs. But I would fully support local unions, those whose officers are also employees, whose only dues collected consists of maybe $10 per year to contribute to the annual union picnic.

I fully agree. I think the problem started when the unions started to have full time administrative personnel. I'm not talking about hiring outside specialist help, like e.g. a lawyer when special knowledge is needed, but IMO the union leadership should be normal employees working on the shop floor and not fulltime management paid out of union dues. This is why I will never again join a big union, like VerDi in Germany or Siptu in Ireland (been a member of both and got disappointed by both), but instead a small union restricting it's membership to a special class of workers (in my case the British ALAE, which only accepts licenced aircraft maintenance engineers).

Jan
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airfoilsguy
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:16 pm

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 19):
For all the people that bitch about unions but are members of one, I have some advice: Get involved.

Definitely, although I am in management so that is impossible for me.

Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 19):

P.S.: Knowing how much unions are generally despised on this site, I have already put on my flameproof suit.

Not from me, Best pro union response I have seen in a long time.
It's not a near miss it's a near hit!!
 
Banco
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:36 pm

Hmm. Unions remain absolutely critical to protect the workers, so the idea that they just get in the way and should be abolished is ludicrous. Getting the balance of worker protection one the one hand, and a free market on the other is a tricky one, as we in Britain found to our cost in the 1970s, yet workers are often exploited by business, and when a business does well, the workers should be rewarded. Time and again we see a company doing poorly tell the staff that they must tighten their belts and forego a pay rise, yet when that same company announces record profits, the staff never seem to see the benefits of their labour.

Belgium is renowned for having excessive protection for workers, which is one reason why the country struggles to be competitive - the cost of labour is so high - yet that is no worse than a situation where employees have no rights and can be fired on a whim.

We in Britain seem to have a fairly good balance at the moment. But the irony is that our unions are undoubtedly correct when they point out that a company would rather close a factory in Britain than in Belgium; it simply costs them too much to do so there. Secondary picketing such as the example at the start of the thread is illegal here, and such action would likely lead to the sequestration of the union's assets. Yet I cannot agree that they have no place in industry, the employees should have a voice, and the major role they perform is to support a member of staff who has been badly treated, by providing legal assistance, advice and so forth. We see enough examples of rapacious business practices to show that union representation is both desirable and necessary. Just because the legal framework for their operation might be flawed doesn't alter that.
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N231YE
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:19 pm

I agree with the above...I do believe in Right To Work (join the union if you want), but for certain unions, I do not hate.

Coming from a family that has been part of union trades for 4 generations, I can say that some Unions aren't militant, political, business machines as above.

However, some are. Some are completely B.S. (i.e., Major League Baseball players union).

Otherwise, I agree with Cfalk, in that a union as a collective organization keeping wages and benefits fair is okay, but as the "Business" model goes, it has got to be resolved.
 
airfoilsguy
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:04 pm

Oh, by the way, the cop in Canton who killed his girlfriend and unborn child was once fired from the police force. The union brought him back.
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bwest
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:21 pm

I don't think unions are all bad... I know of some colleagues that got legal help that otherwise would've been unpayable for them. And indeed, they did make a very effective stance some hundred years ago, to give the workforce more rights.

But I do think that their current power is too big, and they survive on only one idea: the boss is the enemy. And, imo, if they really want to do something about low wages, they should go after the state, who takes in roughly half of your pay here in Belgium... but seeing that they're historically linked to political parties, I don't see this happening anytime soon.
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Boeing744
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:49 pm

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 16):
I wouldn't go that far.

The idea of unions - i.e. collective bargaining and a united workforce to oppose management when management's demands are unreasonable - is a noble one, and lifted us out of the predatory capitalistic days of the 19th century, when unskilled or semi-skilled labor worked 70 hours per week for a pittance, with no regard for worker safety or health.

The problem arose when Unions became more than just a group of workers who elect a spokesman and agree to act together. Unions became a business themselves. Their business is selling memberships, their revenue are union dues, and they have staff and overhead costs (not to mention political machinery). The big unions, like the AFL/CIO or France's CFDT, have become what they clame to fight against.

I would recommend abolishing these sort of 'business unions'. They do no good whatsoever, and end up costing people jobs. But I would fully support local unions, those whose officers are also employees, whose only dues collected consists of maybe $10 per year to contribute to the annual union picnic.

 checkmark 

Great post, I agree with you 100%.
 
luv2fly
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:27 am

Quoting Bwest (Reply 27):
I don't think unions are all bad... I know of some colleagues that got legal help that otherwise would've been unpayable for them. And indeed, they did make a very effective stance some hundred years ago, to give the workforce more rights.

But I do think that their current power is too big, and they survive on only one idea: the boss is the enemy. And, imo, if they really want to do something about low wages, they should go after the state, who takes in roughly half of your pay here in Belgium... but seeing that they're historically linked to political parties, I don't see this happening anytime soon.

You hit the nail on the head, right on and I have to agree 110% To much power and also see the company as the enemy.
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RE: Got Into A Fight With The Unions Today!

Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:19 am

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 21):
To represent one's interests in respect to legislation and by extension executive directions - that's what GENERAL parliamentary elections are for.
Why should e.g. railway unions have more say than let's say a club of aircraft spotters at PRG? Because the former can take public hostage and nearly stall the life in the country and the latter can't?

Unions, at least over here, do not go on strike to protest legislation. I fail to see what is wrong with union members pooling their resources in order to lobby for or against legislation which will have a direct impact on their membership. Obviously the union doesn't make the law, but they can send a pretty powerful message to lawmakers when their elected leaders walk into a room and have the backing of thousands of members.

I think I understand your point about unions having too much influence over political parties in Europe, however without the first hand knowledge of union involvement in politics in the Czech Republic, I think we will just have to agree to disagree on this issue  Smile
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