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Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Wed Feb 16, 2005 6:22 am

I just searched for Unions and looked at some of the older threads about Unions and there roleplay in the Airline Industry. It seems to me that unions (while trying to help, actually destroy) Im not saying the first union wasn't made for good intentions, but it seems more common they actually cause more harm. (I know Capitan Obvious) Like DL pilot union that, although delta pilots were EXTREMELY well paid fight to keep the salary that high. To me that's a union that is destroying (along with other factors) an airline?? What are your opinions on Unions and there part in the current business world??
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RE: Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Wed Feb 16, 2005 6:49 am

Well...if this thread doesn't have "flame war" written all over it, I don't know what does.

However, I'll jump spite of the risks.

(Full disclosure: I'm a union organizer - no aviation workers in my union, though.)

In my opinion, unions are neither inherently bad nor inherently good. I think unions in the aviation industry are in real trouble now.

If unions represent all or almost all workers in a particular industry and can agree on a single standard for pay, benefits and working conditions there would be no way for airlines to gain a competitive advantage by driving down salaries and benefits. In theory, this is to the advantage of all because it creates the most stable, experienced and (again, in theory) safe workforce.

Of course, that's not the way the industry works today. Because there are significant numbers of non-union airline workers and because different unions are free to negotiate different standards with different airlines, there is a strong incentive for airlines to drive down pay, benefits and working conditions. Airlines know that they can demand concessions from their unions and unions know that if they don't accept them, there's a real chance of their airline going out of business.

So, my point here is that unions are not "bad" or "good". The way things are in the industry now, they clearly are in no position to set standards for workers. The unfortunate part is that, as long as there is an economic incentive for airlines to drive down standards for workers, airlines have less of an incentive to compete based on quality of service or other forms of efficiency. Ultimately, driving down standards for airline workers may have an impact on safety.

'Nuff said. Flame on...

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RE: Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:00 am

oops..srry i dont mean to start a argument just asking.
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RE: Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:06 am

They make a perfect RICO target.
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RE: Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:07 am

Yes - unions certainly do have a...ahem...colorful history.
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RE: Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:33 am

Unions can be either, or both. A union usually forms out of some percieved necessity. Safety, pay, and work conditions are just a few of the areas that have triggered the formation of a union in the past. They are great in that they give labor leverage against management. People should not have to choose between safe working conditions and getting a pay check.

That said, there is the dark side. Left unchecked, unions can be responisible for artificially inflated the cost of production, shady politics, and protecting the incompetent. They also have a role to play in antagonistic management/labor relations.

Sometimes they are needed, sometimes they need to go. I don't think anyone would choose to be in one given a choice, but I don't think anyone would want to work in the conditions that lead to the formation of a union, either.
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RE: Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:50 am

Lowrider has given a good assesment of unions.

I will add that unions have provided a "safety valve" for many employees; if mgmt became overbearing or abusive, employees could organize to prevent such abuses. Unions mainly help blue-collar workforces, especially those who do manufacturing (i.e. manual labor) or repetitive tasks. In the industry I work in, there is no need for unions because the work vaires so much day to day. Having a union would stifle the creativity.

One of the downfalls of unions is they provide a regimented workforce, where Guy A can only do one job while Guy B can only do a different job. Although this protects the jobs of both A & B, this leads to dimished productivity because A cannot do B's job if B is gone. In this era of efficiency, this has caused many corporations to frown on unions because more workers are required than necessary for a given job.

Airline pilots, on the other hand, need to be unionized to promote fairness. Seniority is a union hallmark. There is no effective and fair way to judge that Pilot A is a better Pilot than B if they both follow procedures and get the job done safely. Therefore, seniority is used to determine promotions, layoffs, and job scheduling.


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RE: Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:54 am

When a union is negotiating with an airline or any business which is in financial trouble they really need to stop pushing for higher wages to such and extent that the airline cannot afford it. The union is there to help its members and in doing so help in protecting their jobs. Not willing to take some perhaps temporaray cuts puts those jobs their meant ot be protecting at risk and thus the union is not acting responsible towards its members or the greater community as a whole.

A business goes bankrupt because of unions not willing to be fair, there a say 1000 people un employed. Some of those will find new work immediatley and others will be either unable to be re employed as they are skilled in such a way that there is no demand for such a skill or there is the time old issue of to young to retire to old to re employ. For that latter that places more demand on the welfare system causing greater issues for the greater community as a whole, all casued by unions wanting too much.

The unions have to draw the line somewhere betwee getting the best for their members or loosing everything for their members, even if that means taking a cut untill the business can fix itself up and return to the old wages and benefits.
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RE: Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Wed Feb 16, 2005 8:02 am

Whether unions benefit the members of the unions is open to debate.

To the general public, however, I think mathematically you can prove that unions cost our country wealth. It may be worthwhile, but they do make their employers less competitive on the world scene (read: GM, Ford, Chrysler, and... ahem... ____american public schools____ . )

but we're a democracy, and apparently (in most states) we like unions... for now. Their public image is still effectively "workin' man/woman," even though that's less and less valid.

It's kind of like how Japan protects its farmers and has super high rice prices... just because it humors them, not because it's smart. Allowing unions is similar.
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RE: Unions. Good Or Bad Overall?

Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:36 am

It depends on how they function.Personally I think NO
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