Unions

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by All country, Dec 16, 2006.

  1. All country

    All country Well-Known Member

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    I am so angry with DH's union. They have been completely useless.

    Two years ago the employees at the company where my DH works took major concessions in order to save the company. There were plenty of orders to keep the company going, but because of some poor financial decisions made by management they were facing bankruptcy. (The reason for the companies financial troubles only came out after the employees made concessions.) In Oct. of 2004, employees agreed to a big pay cut, gave up 3 paid holidays, and forfeited some of their insurance benefits (agreed to pay for more out of pocket/less coverage). In doing this, the company promised that in 2006 when they began discussing a new contract they would go back to the 2004 contract and go from it. The company has publicly stated that the employees concessions in 2004 are what saved the company and why they are thriving today. They now brag of making record breaking profits!

    In Oct. 2006 new contract negotiations began. When the first contract was offered it was an insult! It was a raise from their current pay, but did not even take them back to their 2004 wages and benefits. But according to their union "we have negotiated a great contract for you including a 9 1/2% pay raise." They seemingly forgot the companies promise to work from the 2004 contract. Employees voted down the contract. A second contract was offered. It was the same as the first, just had some numbers switched around. It too was voted down. The union then informed employees that they would not back a strike and they had to accept the next contract offered. If they voted down the next contract, then the company could close it's doors and reopen without a union and much lower wages. Last night the new contract was passed out and it was voted on today. It was even less then the last contract that was offered. Their scare tactics worked and the contracted was approved today.

    It really ticked off DH today, when he looked at his pay stub and saw that union dues were taken out this week. What a major waste of his money. He has been supporting the union and they have given all of these worker the shaft. I can imagine the garbage they will print in their next magazine about what a wonderful job they did for these workers. This has been the first time and will be the last that my DH has even been in a union. DH has stayed at his job because he enjoys what he's doing, is really good at it and was loyal to the company. He no longer feels good about working there. A non Union company in the same city offers $5.00 more an hour, more generous paid holidays, and great company paid for health insurance. They are interested in DH and it looks as if he may get on there.
     
  2. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One thing that your hubby can do that really torks the unions off is to demand that portion of his union dues that go to political endevors be returned to him.
     

  3. Judy in IN

    Judy in IN Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wellllll, Unions have some good and some bad.

    It sounds as though the company and union are on the same page....However, the union is a business, just as the company is a business. They would rather collect a lower amount than NOTHING if the company moves or folds. After everything is said and done, a union is just a business too.

    I feel your pain....it's just like when some goldbrick gets his job back through the union, when the company and THEIR FELLOW WORKERS would be better off without him.

    Nothing is perfect, though.The shipping business has lots of unions. Why? Because WE NEED them!
     
  4. almostthere

    almostthere Well-Known Member

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    A union is only as strong as its supporters. If the people walk away and the union falls apart, that will send a message. My sweetie is part of a union, and there are some good points, some bad. Thats too bad he's having so many problems. I think if I were in his shoes I would go to the monthly meeting and raise some cain.
     
  5. QBVII

    QBVII Well-Known Member

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    I highly doubt there are any "real" unions left in the US these days.
    Especially now with illegal immigration.
     
  6. Big Dave

    Big Dave Well-Known Member

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    I was in a union. I went to comet classes. I paid my dues. I collected my unemployment. When I wanted to work and there was plenty I was told in front of other members by our new BA" I have better things to do than find you a job". I went in the next day and quit. I miss using that skill but, I do not miss the polotics.
     
  7. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    what kind of work does he do
    what kind of union is it
     
  8. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    Wher's Norma Ray or Jimmy Hoffa when you need them ?? Our family has always been in a union. Fortunately for us..they have always done right by us. For $9 a week..yes..nine bucks..my husband union has paid 100% pf our medical/dental premiums in insurance health care and also a union pension that he does not contribute too..which is pretty good in today's standards..guess we are just lucky..it's the UFCW and he has been a meatcutter in grocery store chains for years. The company surely doesn't give him anything..if it wasn't for the union. I guess they will have to take a united stand against what is being offered and hope that the rest of the employees will stand by it. Unions are not what they use to be in the 'old days" and maybe that is good ?? :rolleyes: But yes..sometimes it does seem as though the unions get in "bed' with the companies and the employees do lose out. I hope things turn around for you... Changing jobs sounds like an option and I always say that if a company treats you right and you are happy with your job a union isn't necessary...but those things can turn around in a minute too. I wish you luck..what does illegal immigration have to do with unions ?? Isn't it illegal to hire an illegal ?? :cool:
     
  9. arabian knight

    arabian knight Miniature Horse lover Supporter

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    :flame: :flame: Unions,,, Poo on unions~! :flame: :flame:
     
  10. jynxt

    jynxt Well-Known Member

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    I know an awful lot of folks who are going without this Christmas, and have been going without for some time now because their union told them it was time to go on strike. The union isn't paying any of them unemployment, it isn't paying their medical insurance premiums, and it sure isn't buying their kids a Christmas dinner. I will just never understand how folks can remain loyal to a union that will basically hang them out to dry that way.

    My dh used to work union jobs and it stunk for us. They were happy to take the dues but the pay and benefits didn't beat any of the other local jobs that were in non union shops. It seemed to us like all we were doing was lining some guys pocket for no good reason at all. Dh says he will think long and hard before ever joining another one.
     
  11. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    I know it's an ugly spot to be in, but if you didn't sit at the negotating table, you really can't say if the union did the best with the cards they were dealt. We have reached a low point in our country where corporations have zero "soul" and feel no ethical compulsion to do the right thing. The bean counters may have said, "it will cost us X amount to shut down and move to a lower wage area, third world country, sub-out production etc.....". and if the union wants more than that, too bad, we need to move on. Every year we see more companies stealing pensions, elimination heathcare, sending high paying jobs to other countries etc... Maybe your husband's union is wrong, maybe they did the best they could, maybe the company would of packed up and left instead of living up to the 2004 agreement. Don't assume anything, business ethics is nothing but a quaint old fashion concept anymore.
     
  12. Trixie

    Trixie Well-Known Member

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    Any good thing I could say about unions left me when I heard the union rep complaining and taking the part of the illegal workers at Swift and Co.

    I have never been a union member and not a fan of unions, but from the outside it looks as if the unions take the part of being 'international' more than they take the part of American workers.

    I do separate unions from union members. While I don't care for unions, I have been very sad at the loss of the good paying jobs union workers once had in this country.
     
  13. All country

    All country Well-Known Member

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    He is with the UAW. He works with robotics, programs them and stuff like that. He has also done machine work for this company.

    tinknal- How does he go about getting back the percentage that goes for political campaigns?

    One of the things that really got us was health insurance. The contract offered said there would be no change in coverage.

    The contract was agreed upon early Saturday. Later the same day, we received the paper work for our new health Insurance. The coverage is less, we do how ever get to pay considerably higher premiums.

    Nobody wanted a strike, workers just wanted the company to keep their word.

    Yesterday, DH was talking to a young man for our church. He does the same job as DH just different company. The company he works for is non union. Their starting pay for a general laborer is only 19 cents less than the top wage where DH works. For the job skills Dh has it is considerably more. They also have better benefits. We are seeing more and more this of around here. Non union company's actually paying better and giving more benefits. The exceptions are of course retail and fast food.

    For years DH & I have both dreamed and discussed starting our own businesses. We are both in agreement that there is no time better than now.

    The funny thing about this is my Father-in-law.
    Yesterday he was over here and he and DH were discussing the contract. My FIL stated that over the next few years we will see more and more of this, bad contracts, loss of pay and benefits, pension plans disappearing, etc. We are sure he is right. Even knowing this, he still believes that the only way to get ahead is thru factory work. Even when he sees DH earn twice as much working out of our garage, he is sure we are going to lose everything unless DH works in a factory. He is convinced that a factory provides "job security." :shrug:
     
  14. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That just shows you how weak the working-class is in this country. I worked
    at a company up north who told its workers, "We have this here plant in Sparta, WI and we have this other plant in Spring Grove, MN. We are going
    to close ONE of these plants. The first one that ACCEPTS our contract is the
    one we're gonna keep open." Now how are you gonna fight that? Especially
    since the Powers that Be passed the Taft-Hartley Act way back in the 1940's
    which made sympathetic strikes illegal [Btw, this is how come the French, Germans, British, Italians, Spaniards, etc. have a higher standard of living than we do--when one goes on strike, they ALL go on strike and brings the
    country to a halt. Thats called working-class power!]
    I'm reading an excellent book called, Labor's Untold Story, by Boyer & Morais.
    Excellent history of the US labor struggles. Has a great quote by Abraham
    Lincoln, "All that harms labor is treason to America. No line can be drawn between these two. If any man tells you he loves America, yet he hates labor, he is a liar. If a man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is
    a fool." They knew what was going on back then. We have to rediscover it!
    james
     
  15. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    I am on the other side of the coin. I work in the auto industry and we have a union and I would be considered "management". The one thing that people in a union (at least in automotive) don't understand is that they have good benifits and good pay. The more they strike and lay down the better and better it appears to move manufacturing overseas (or south). Mexicans work for $6 an hour while Americans work for $24. Mexican plants don't have the problems with the unions since there aren't any and if they are a problem employee there is a line of people outside the gate ready to take their place.

    So yes, we (Americans) may feel like we are getting the shaft, but as long as our jobs are here I don't see much room to female dog. Where else can you get benefits and the same good pay? If you could name a place, then don't let the door hit you in the #$%! Go take that job... The more unions strike and push businesses into bankruptcy the more and more manufacturing will move out of this country.

    BTW, I also took a pay cut, no raises and no bonuses for several years. I am glad to have a job and do everything in my power to keep our plant here. I wish more Americans shared the team work ethic. This applies from the top down, union or no union. I read today that the Chinese ecomony will be larger than the US in 2045 at the current growth rate. They work (in automotive) for $1.65 an hour...
     
  16. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thats because WE have ALLOWED our politicians to pass laws and such
    that lets these companies ship our jobs overseas! NAFTA (thanks Clinton!)
    CAFTA (thanks Bush!) GATT, etc. We are having a "race to the bottom" as
    they say, but it doesn't have to be that way. Globalization can work both
    ways...it doesn't ALL have to benefit the wealthy corporations. The ceiling
    has been lowered and if we continue to take it we'll all be "glad to have a
    job" that pays MINIMUM WAGE!!!
    I urge you all to read more about it. Our union forefathers fought pitched
    battles to get what little we have today. Eight-hour day, Time and half for
    overtime, Social Security, etc. That fought and DIED for the "Standard of
    Living" we have today that is currently being dragged down by ruthless
    capitalist. We have to fight back! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!
    james
     
  17. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thats because we all have to look at things in the broad perspective. "An injury to one is an injury to all." As long as Corporations have workers to pit
    against each other, they will succeed in dragging ALL our wages down. Look
    at NAFTA and all these other "free trade agreements". They allow capital to
    flow across borders unhindered, but DO NOT allow workers to do such. If labor could move so easily then they wouldn't be able to threaten us with the
    moving the plant across the border scenario.
    And of course, you know the "loss of the good paying jobs union workers once had" is because YOU (and all of US!) ALLOWED our politicians to pass
    all these trade agreements! When is the last time any of you contacted your representative and said, "Hey, What are you DOING?!" They are NOT representing US, and we need to let them know THAT IS GOING TO CHANGE!! Keep up the faith.
    fightin' jim ;-)
     
  18. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    I don't consider $24 an hour minimum wage. I don't have to read more about it... I am in the middle of it. I have a mechanical engineering degree and I HAVE to work overtime that is "free" to the company. It is sad that I would trade paychecks with high school dropouts because "poor them" are put down by the big corporations. There were several hourly shop floor workers that made more than the plant manager (base pay, I don't know what his bonus was). How does that work? They don't pay anything for health insurance and I do. And I say, FIGHT BACK! And then you won't have any more jobs to fight for. They will all be gone.

    I will agree with you that no one need to make millions of dollars every year either. CEO's pay needs to be reduced.

    BTW ~ I don't see myself as better than someone that has dropped out of high school just because I have a degree. My point is that those with a higher education are supposed to make more than those without (according to my guidance councler...)
     
  19. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    I agree. We need to change our free trade agreements. They have hurt more than they have helped...
     
  20. MWG

    MWG Well-Known Member

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    Here is what is happening with my company today...

    http://biz.yahoo.com/bizj/061220/1392775.html?.v=1

    Freightliner to build plant in Mexico
    Wednesday December 20, 12:40 pm ET


    Freightliner LLC announced today that it will start construction in 2007 on a new $300 million plant in Mexico.
    The plant will be in northern Mexico in Saltillo, Coahuila.

    Starting in 2009, the factory will produce as many as 30,000 Freightliner and Sterling trucks annually in order to meet an expected increase in demand. The 740-acre site will have room for expansion and will employ 1,600 initially.

    It will be the second Freightliner plant in Mexico.

    Last week, a Multnomah County jury awarded a German truck manufacturer $350 million in punitive damages in addition to enforcing a pre-existing judgment of roughly $500 million.

    Freightliner also announced in early December that it would lay off 4,000 workers companywide in the next few months.

    Portland-based Freightliner is a subsidiary of Germany-based DaimlerChrysler AG (NYSE: DCZ - News). It's one of the world's largest truck manufacturers.

    Published December 20, 2006 by the Portland Business Journal