rwy04lga
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CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:39 pm

CNN reports that union membership is down to 11.3%, the lowest level since the 1930's. Do you see this as the end times of organizations such as the IAM or will they be fighting even more strongly in order to survive? As a Delta employee, I've already started getting the usual propaganda from the IAM saying that I need the IAM to protect me from Delta. Disclaimer, having been a union member for 30 years in a prior career, I LOATHE unions.
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Flighty
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:12 pm

A classic wage-premium based union can only exist if there is some way to prevent non-union competitors from underbidding them. Either legal barriers, or special skills, or certificates, or something.

If you are paying people higher than the wage it takes to hire good solid replacements, eventually the other guy is going to hire those other workers and cut prices to a level below your cost. That's when your shop closes and his gets bigger.

With today's communications, and a pretty free business environment, easy hire/fire laws, a union hardly stands a chance, except in government.
 
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DeltaMD90
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:03 am

I don't think there is a 100% absolute answer, just like most things in life. I don't think anyone can deny the good they've done and no one can deny that sometimes they make the situation worse. Existing unions and the threat of unionization will keep companies in check, I think
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MaverickM11
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:41 am

Quoting rwy04lga (Thread starter):
CNN reports that union membership is down to 11.3%, the lowest level since the 1930's

What is it excluding public sector unions?

Quoting Flighty (Reply 1):
A classic wage-premium based union can only exist if there is some way to prevent non-union competitors from underbidding them. Either legal barriers, or special skills, or certificates, or something.

Just like anything in life, it's pretty hard to convince anyone to pay a premium for something if they're not getting a premium 'return' on it.
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Geezer
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:47 pm

If unions do go out of business, they will only have themselves to blame for it. The basic idea of having a union in the first place is still as valid now as it was before unions existed. People always have and always will "want" to make more money, work fewer hours, be treated fairly, etc. In the very beginning, unions made much of that possible; the thing that caused unions to go "wrong" is basic human nature. (Read: greedy, dishonest people)

A few people in this world are industrious, are honest, and are quite willing to do an honest day's work for an honest day's wages. This all starts to break down when they start seeing the "less than honest, and the "lazy" people around them making the same (or better wages, and having better working conditions, while at the same time doing less work, and in some cases, not even coming to work.)

I see the world this way; when "babies" are born, they ALL come into this world the same way; naked, with zero knowledge, and NO "guarantees" of anything.......whether we're talking about a "baby" human, a "baby" bird, or a "baby" elephant; in all cases, the "babies" mother is present at birth, and remains present for a time, to teach the new born the things "it" will need to know in order to survive; if the new born is lucky, the "father" will also be present to share those duties. Take a good look around you.......how many new born infant human babies do you see being born with BOTH parents available to teach them anything ?

In today's world, many infants (and toddlers) are completely dependent on a "mother" who herself is out "on the street", leaving the "dependent" child to "sink or swim", and in all too many cases, the building burns down, or the temperature in the car becomes much like an oven, and we all know what happens to the "dependent" child in such cases.

In today's world, a very big % of babies being born not only never SEE the "father" that caused them to be born, in many cases, they never even have any idea who HE was. And, in most such cases, "HE" is already out, sewing the seeds to create even more fatherless babies to be born, with no one to teach them anything, or to aid in their support while they are learning to support themselves. In 99.9% of such cases, "someone else" is singled out to take the responsibility that the biological father "shirked". (Read: Da Taxpayers)

At this point, many are already wondering, asking, "what in the hell does all of THIS have to do with ANYTHING, much less "unions" ? It has everything to do with it; it's called "starting at the beginning", rather than half way through life, (at which point most people have already forgotten where the "beginning" was.)

In todays world, most people want simple, "easy" solutions to difficult, complex problems which took years to become difficult and complex. The problem is, there ARE no simple, easy solutions for those kinds of problems; however, it is still possible to prevent such problems from becoming problems in the first place.

As far as unions are concerned, I can only speak about the ones where I grew up, (in the U.S.) Before any union existed, many workers were treated "poorly"; (to put it lightly) Like most young kids, I didn't pay any attention in history class while the teacher was attempting to teach the class about "the early years" of the so-called "labor movement". In other words, for much of my early life as a "teen", I ddn't know the difference between a "labor movement" and a "bowel movement".

Like many ignorant youth, my first "knowledge" relative to "organized labor" came when I decided an easy way to make money was to drive a truck; the first load I ever hauled was a load of steel tunnel liner; when I finally arrived at the destination where the load went, a guy come running out, saying "let's see your "card"! Me: "ugh...what "card" would that be?
He: "your damned UNION card, stupid"! Me; ugh..."I don't have a card, I don't even need a card, I'm already here. and I'm going to deliver this steel to this customer, because THEY ordered it"! So there! That's when I first started learning about unions ! It seems that people without cards must "hire" a "city man"; Me; "what the hell is a "city man" ? He: "it's a guy WITH a card" ! Me; "what does he do" ? He; "nothing"......he just shows his card. At this point, I was still somewhat less than convinced that paying some dumb schmuck a whole day's wages to come out and wave a damned card around made any sense, and I was therefore reluctant to do it; my "reluctance" quickly turned to "enthusiasm" when two 800 pound gorillas with ball bats came along, and said.....either pay the city man or "take it back" ! ("back" being Armco Steel in Middletown, Ohio, and I'm now in New Brunswick, New Jersey, about 600 miles away.) To make a long story short, I paid the "city man" ( I forget the amount now), and it was the first, last and ONLY time I ever did that!) Shortly after getting back home, I joined the Teamsters Union, and NOW I had my own damned "card" ! (which, BTW, cost me monthly dues for the next 40 years)

Do you think all that sounds "unfair"....."dumb"......."ridiculous" ? It may have been all of those things back then, but over the next 40 years, it ended up being a pretty good thing; (for me) Unfortunately, I don't have the time or the inclination to explain the whole thing right now, and you don't have the time or the inclination to read it if I did. So for the time being, take my word for it; I ended up MUCH better off for having been in the union during those 40 years.

Are unions going to cease to exist ? I'll answer that question this way; at the present time, based on present conditions, I think it's highly likely that PEOPLE are going to "cease to exist"; (as well as just about everything else !) (except rocks; there always have been rocks, and there always will be rocks, and that's a guarantee!)

Charley
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Ken777
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:12 pm

These days there is a strong conservative effort to push unions out. I believe that at the heart of this effort is the realization that employee benefits (which are strongly influenced by unions) are getting out of hand - especially medical benefits.

Get rid of the unions and companies will be able to eliminate the costs of a lot of "perks". Looking at the costs of those perks and it's pretty clear that health insurance is right at the top.

Another interesting factor is that unions have been a force in growing the middle class over the decades. The middle class, like unions, is shrinking. How far things go back before we eventually have a turn around is anyone's guess.
 
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:48 pm

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 5):
I believe that at the heart of this effort is the realization that employee benefits (which are strongly influenced by unions) are getting out of hand

The ONLY things that were out of hand were company-funded pension programs. As far as insurance premiums, well, you can thank the medical insurance cartel for that one.

As for everything else, it's nothing more than pure class warfare. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer, while those in the "middle" are sinking into the "poor" category.
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PSA53
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:13 pm

It' s a lot of things.

The unions need to take a stand.They must come to the fore front and oppose illegal immigration The great Cesar Chavez oppose illegals knowing illegals could undermine and undercut wages that would be harmful to his promotions of improving work conditions.

If I were a union boss,I would have screamed at Obama for issuing the job visas to illegals and undermining the America's working labor force

The unions were founded in the early 20th century with a mission to improve labor conditions.They became very powerful and successful.Now a days, they're fat cats in the comfort zone afraid of taking chances,like forming unions in Mexico and China,and challenging the democrats,their party,that's a joke,who keep endorsing NAFTA and illegals threatening to take us right back to the 20th century.So.why are the unions not speaking out against Democrats?

[Edited 2013-01-24 15:42:23]
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StarAC17
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:22 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 4):
the thing that caused unions to go "wrong" is basic human nature. (Read: greedy, dishonest people)

That is true but the reason for them forming in the first place was those exact traits on the side of the owners and management of a company.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 4):
A few people in this world are industrious, are honest, and are quite willing to do an honest day's work for an honest day's wages. This all starts to break down when they start seeing the "less than honest, and the "lazy" people around them making the same (or better wages, and having better working conditions, while at the same time doing less work, and in some cases, not even coming to work.)

I agree that this a bad part of a union environment but we should work to deal with this problem within organized labour and simply not say "There are bad things about unions so lets get rid of them outright."

The seniority rule is a bad thing in unions which I reckon creates most of the problems you mention.

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 2):
I don't think there is a 100% absolute answer, just like most things in life. I don't think anyone can deny the good they've done and no one can deny that sometimes they make the situation worse. Existing unions and the threat of unionization will keep companies in check, I think

Unions brought in labour laws such as: paid vacation, sick time, safety standards, the 40 hour work week etc. Most of these things have become labour laws but with the amount of money in politics today what is law could be repealed.

If it becomes law of the land that people will have to work 60+ hours a week, have no sick days, no vacation, and safety regulations get removed you will see another labour revolution.

Just regarding sick days why would any smart company not provide them. This is a bad flu season throughout North America this year and people are coming into work sick and getting their colleagues sick, that has to cost the economy billions in lost productivity. If people who are sick stay home and are encouraged to by their employers to do so then that company is a bit more productive in the short term.
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BMI727
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:39 pm

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 8):
The seniority rule is a bad thing in unions which I reckon creates most of the problems you mention.

For most jobs, seniority is ridiculous. I prefer to set the bar somewhere above being able to show up and not be fired.

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 8):
Most of these things have become labour laws but with the amount of money in politics today what is law could be repealed.

Why would a company waste money on that? Just sent the jobs to China, India, etc.
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Geezer
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:34 am

[quote=StarAC17,reply=8]That is true but the reason for them forming in the first place was those exact traits on the side of the owners and management of a company.

That's very true.....

[quote=StarAC17,reply=8]I agree that this a bad part of a union environment but we should work to deal with this problem within organized labour and simply not say "There are bad things about unions so lets get rid of them outright."

A lot of people have been trying to do exactly that; but what you don't realize is, when you go to a union meeting, you're "just" a member; the meetings, and everything else the union does, is controlled by the President (of the Union), and the B.A.s (business agents) I a "mere" member speaks up, saying anything about the employers point of view, he (or she) may very well go home from the meeting with a very sore head, and possibly missing a few teeth.

Union "officials" are exactly the same thing as "politicians"; they may even be well-meaning and just full of "rah-rah-rah" for the members while they are trying to get elected, but after they ARE elected.......90% of them are only concerned by how much power they can get, and anything they can do to "feather their own nest". Another thing about union "officials"; the longer they've been in office, the harder it is to get rid of them.


[quote=StarAC17,reply=8]The seniority rule is a bad thing in unions which I reckon creates most of the problems you mention.

This statement indicates to me that you have never been in a union! Everything in the union is based ON seniority!
It must be; there's no other way !

For example; I was a Teamster; The Teamster's Union had a contract with Ryder, ACD to represent their drivers and shop personnel. (our mechanics) Ryder ACD had a contract with GM to transport all of their vehicles from maybe 30 or 35 assembly plants, all over the U.S. At each separate plant is a "Terminal"; (I worked at the Terminal in Moraine, Ohio) Also, each Termainal has how ever many drivers is necessary to transport the number of vehicles produced at that particular plant. My Terminal usually had around 300 drivers, give or take. Now.....every driver gets paid the same mileage rate, plus the same hourly rate, but the FIRST driver hired at that Terminal is No.1 in seniority, and so on, right down to No.300.

Here's why you MUST have seniority; say production slows, now they only need 250 drivers to keep up; who are YOU going to lay off ? The first 10 people who were hired ? If you tried that, everyone would immediately try to beat up on everyone else, and you would end up with many "bodies", a Termainal burned to the ground, all the trucks would be destroyed, and, at the same time.......no cars would get hauled ! Within about one day, GM would bring a lawsuit against local 957, and at the same time would be arranging to have XYZ carriers come to Moraine and start hauling the cars away, and ALL 300 Teamsters from that Terminal would be either out of work, beat to death, or seriously "wounded"!
In other words, EVERYTHING you do MUST start at the BOTTOM and "work up" !

Next; after one year, everyone gets a vacation, depending on your years of service; 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, up,to 5 weeks, depending on how long you've worked at THAT terminal.

Next; Every now and then, even car haul companies buy a few new trucks; say Moraine gets 50 brand new Volvo's with Cummins engines, and 13 car trailers; who are YOU gonna let drive those new trucks; some guy that hired in last year ? If you do, please note what happened up above; (it's gonna happen all over again if you do !)
Of course...you have a truck "bid" You start at the top, work down; maybe No 9 likes his od truck; no problem; now it's No.10's turn to bid. Right down the list, till all 50 new trucks are "assigned".

In this respect, trucking and airlines work exactly the same way; Oh.....ask Wilco who gets to fly the 747s ? The guy they hired last year ? Nope; he's still flying a CRJ (if he's lucky)

Seniority is the ONLY way to be fair and equitable to everyone; now, is it "perfect" ? NO, it's definitely NOT perfect. Few things are. Example; there will always be something that comes up that is not covered by the contract.
True story; Before I worked at Moraine, I worked at Norwood. Car business got slow; GM closed Norwood down, then tore the whole plant down and sold the ground ! just like that, 250 drivers have no job ! What I'm about to say now was a deep dark secret then; My big boss called me into his office; (Guy named J.R. Okapaw) Okapaw (only thing we called him) said, "Charley me man....what are your plans ?" Me; I guess I'll wait my turn to go to Moraine; HE; "you may be waiting a year or maybe more".....so.....because you work your butt off, because you don't tear up my cars, and because I kinda like you.....I can do "something for you" that the damn contract has no say in; ME; and that would be ?
He; Eddie Black (Terminal Mgr for Associated in Jacksonville, Fla) is gonna hire 10 drivers; if you want to go, all you have to do is pass the physical when you get there, and you have the job. two days later I'm tooling down I-75 in my old '87 Toyota P/U towards Florida. Got there the next day, took the physical, and went to work.

A week later, a guy shows up in Jacksonville that was 50 or 60 spots above me at Norwood; wants a job; Eddie Black says...we're not hiring; The guy says.....what's Charley doing here ? EB; "he's working, not that it's any of your business." (See, seniority only goes SO far; after that, it means SQUAT.) If there's any moral to the story, it's guys that work, keep a good record, don't tear the cars up.....the boss has more incentive to throw an occasional bone your way, than a guy that's a traditional "pain in the butt". But you STILL have to have seniority.

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
StarAC17
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:21 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):
Why would a company waste money on that? Just sent the jobs to China, India, etc.

You can't offshore everything, a lot of the jobs where safety standards are concerned are in construction (I have worked in that industry for 2 1/2 years as and inspector) and you have to employ local people to do that work.

Wherever you employ people you have to oblige by their laws and perhaps China and India have lax labour laws right now, whose to say in 5 years they have enough and collectively bargain for rights.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 10):
[quote=StarAC17,reply=8]The seniority rule is a bad thing in unions which I reckon creates most of the problems you mention.

This statement indicates to me that you have never been in a union! Everything in the union is based ON seniority!
It must be; there's no other way !

Your right I haven't worked in a union but I do realize from my time in the workforce is that just because someone has been there longer does not mean that they do better work. Yes it is probably not good strategy to promote a guy who has been there for 6 months (especially if they know someone in management) but job of a manager or a board to analyse who is of most value to them and do their best to keep them in this economic environment.

Quoting Geezer (Reply 10):
If there's any moral to the story, it's guys that work, keep a good record, don't tear the cars up.....the boss has more incentive to throw an occasional bone your way, than a guy that's a traditional "pain in the butt". But you STILL have to have seniority.

I didn't say senority was a bad thing but I would say that in a union environment they should look at it from the position of a lot of work environments when layoffs roll around and be able to ask themselves who gives the most value and efficiency. You may have a go-getter that does better work who has only been there a year over a complacent employee who has been there 10.

It depends on the job however. In a sales environment there is an incentive to retain the hot shot 25 year old but in an airline a senior caption is someone who would be of more value.
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StarAC17
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:32 am

Quoting PSA53 (Reply 7):
The unions need to take a stand.They must come to the fore front and oppose illegal immigration The great Cesar Chavez oppose illegals knowing illegals could undermine and undercut wages that would be harmful to his promotions of improving work conditions.
Quoting PSA53 (Reply 7):
If I were a union boss,I would have screamed at Obama for issuing the job visas to illegals and undermining the America's working labor force

Both your posts argue the power and danger of corporate lobbying.

What corporations will do is ask a wage that is too low for the average local citizen to take (especially if it involves relocation or a FIFO roster). A small amount of citizens will take it especially if it means re-loacting and being away from their family for long periods of time.

Those same companies then lobby to bring in guest workers who will undercut the equilibrium wage meaning they are trying to avoid the free market when it works against them. If Obama wants a guest worker program then you should have to pay them a competitive wage as an American or else no visa is issued.
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Pyrex
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:46 am

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 6):
medical insurance cartel

Clearly you have no idea of what a cartel is.
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DocLightning
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:13 am

Unions are good when it comes to dealing with large, monolithic companies. But when an economy is based around a lot of small, service-economy businesses like ours is, union membership will necessarily be low.
-Doc Lightning-

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Ken777
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:06 pm

Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 8):
The seniority rule is a bad thing in unions which I reckon creates most of the problems you mention.

Where the seniority system does work is where employers look to cut older workers who have worked up to more benefits (vacation days) or who have higher health insurance costs. Employers have a lot of financial incentives in dumping older workers, or workers who are about to be invested in additional benefits.
 
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:22 pm

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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:31 pm

Quoting Flighty (Reply 1):

If you are paying people higher than the wage it takes to hire good solid replacements, eventually the other guy is going to hire those other workers and cut prices to a level below your cost. That's when your shop closes and his gets bigger.

Or they could do like my company does, and make the same bid. Where we have an ability to win contracts, even without underbidding, is that we're less restricted on work rules. We can offer more services with the same people, and add more flexibility. But we're not about to just give that away for less.

Believe it or not, we really don't want to bid less. One reason is that doing so gives a lot less flexibility WRT assigning total labor hours to a given project. And if we don't end up needing that, of course it's more for the bottom line. Generally, we won't bid less unless we absolutely have to, and even then, it's not a given. It has to really be worth it, and sometimes it is indeed better to walk away...

Quoting Maverick623 (Reply 6):

The ONLY things that were out of hand were company-funded pension programs. As far as insurance premiums, well, you can thank the medical insurance cartel for that one.

Yup. One more thing socializing the issue would solve. I can't think of a single mid-sized company that wouldn't be better off if they didn't have that burden...
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nws2002
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RE: CNN: Union Membership Lowest Since 1930's

Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:20 pm

Quoting Geezer (Reply 10):
Seniority is the ONLY way to be fair and equitable to everyone

No its not. You can manage employees based on performance and the needs of the organization. You can lay off the poorest performing workers or those whose job roles do not align with the new organizational reality.

I am currently a union employee and I hate the union. I would much rather represent myself to my employer because I know I am a valuable employee.

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