I truly believe that unions impact everyone working, whether they are Union or non-Union. Non-Union employees benefit from Union contracts as their non-Union employers provide increased wages and benefits to match union workers so they are competitive to the workforce.
As defined in Webster's Dictionary, union is "a confederation of independent individuals for some common purpose." Therefore the members of any labor organization are the Union; they are the individuals uniting as one to stand up for their wages, hours and working conditions.
I also believe that the media has made a lot of the fact that the monetary offer in the Boeing contract offer is very significant. However, if you have no job security, how good would any monetary offer be if you don't have a job anymore?
I have never crossed a picket line in my life. I don't understand people who do cross a picket line. I think it is wrong.
Would unions exist if employers didn't unfairly exploit workers and vice versa?
How does the pressure on corporations to achieve excellence for their shareholders squeeze the pay, benefits and job satisfaction of union members?
Too many corporations maximize their bottom line at the expense of exploiting their workers unfairly.
How will people be able to consume goods and services when they are effectively earning less or their jobs get outsourced?
Should there be a feature in the U.S. where pay and benefits are tied to how much it actually costs to live here?
A $12/hour job isn't going to pay a $1000/month mortgage, $4/gallon gas, $500/month health insurance, etc.
It's impossible to realistically pursue an American Dream when the evil doers have stolen one's running boots and boot straps. The evil doers must be purged from our governments and corporations, comrades.
Unions have often fought for fair wages and benefits for their members which have in turn enhanced the value of our country. Productive, well cared for people are less likely to become a burden or danger to society.
Unions have helped workers receive fairness from management. And other times unions have abused their employers for short-term, short-sighted gain.
I have no direct experience with unions. One job forced me to pay union dues even though I wasn't a union member. I found another job. No need to pay for benefits and representation I was not directly receiving.
Most often I've sought employment free from union representation. I prefer to accept a job if its pay is acceptable and the employer appears fair and reasonable.
I understand that in Germany companies are legally responsible to shareholders and to their workers, now wouldn't that be something to emulate here in the US?
I applaud the Boeing workers for taking a stand. A good contract will not just appear by some benevolent CEO or board. It will be fought for and won by workers negotiating collectively.
Corporate greed affects us all!
Before unions and the Wagner Act there was no 40-hour work week, few guaranteed benefits or job security provisions, and a lack of decent conditions or fair treatment in many workplaces. We take these standards for granted today, but after more than a quarter-century of federal anti-labor policies (beginning with the air traffic controllers' strike in 1981) a serious erosion has occurred, allowing many private sector employers to break unions with impunity and bully employees. That is what the proposed Employee Free Choice Act is about -- restoring balance to the labor-management dynamic.
Historically, Conservative Republicans have done everything possible to break Unions and the worry I have for the Boeing Unions is that Boeing is a major manufacturer of military aircraft and since Bush as a "War-Time President" has the US in a state of permanent and never-ending War, Bush has the power to force the Boeing unions back to work until the end of the never-ending War, ending negotiations and strikes, and so stifling the Unions.
In other words, Bush could argue that Boeing is essential to his war efforts and so the Unions must sacrifice until the never-ending war ends.
I used to work at Boeing Portland as a contractor. I wasn't a machinist, but my job specifically was impacted (as well as other Boeing and contract workers) because there was nothing actually happening in the shop. Portland specifically is a machinist shop, and when that shop goes down the entire plant comes to a halt. It irritates me that the old prideful method of educating yourself and broadening a skillet is no longer embraced to improve one's pay and benefits. Instead, in the realm of unions, one's length of time on the job seems to be the only indicator of "worth".
On the same token, I do see the need to leverage a company as large as Boeing to take note of the needs of their workers. I disagree with the selfish way that Unions do that though.
As a member of Local 9 (Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union) here in Portland, I cannot stress enough the importance of unions in today's society.
With so many of Americans jobs being outsourced today we need to protect the jobs that we have and rebuild the shrinking middle class.
As a service industry employee I realize that my job cannot be sent over seas and it's time to make our service jobs livable careers, with benefits.
The middle class was created by Union members demanding fair wages and treatment!
And what happens to the people who fight for themselves and make better for themselves with investing in their education/skillset that aren't part of the union? What happens when the company that gets leveraged has to make the decision of going bankrupt or offloading such individuals outside the union? Perhaps they should have joined the Union to save themselves? That's the selfish point I make. All deserve better wages and benefits, but the union members I've met have not done it the conventional way through education or skillet training. They've done it through prying on the company with Union power, and the changes demanded are not just COL. It becomes an exploit of power; a reversal of power exploitation that occurred in the early 20th century before Unions. The unions should hold more accountability to their members, and train them ot match the "worth" they claim to obtain. I just haven't seen enough of that to support Unions anymore.
Silvertea, you obviously have some strong feelings about unions. Its unlikely that anything I say will have a positive impact on how you feel. But I "feel" compelled to say something anyway. I would recommend you read "The disposal American by Louis Uchitelle. There is a story about a woman worker who saw the future at Stanley Works and up graded her skills to meet the needs of the company but was eventually overtaken by factors far beyond her control. The fact is, the world has changed and continues to change at an ever increasing rate. Far faster than workers can re-educate themselves.
The tragedy is that there is a need for unions at all. Perhaps you can suggest critera by which workers can be judge which are not subjective. Subject criteria are easily manipulated. Perhaps you should also rent an old movie "On The Water Front" and get a more clear understanding of what workers went through before unions. Unions are far from perfect. But so is democracy. A union is only as good as its members. demoncracy is only as good as its citzens. Both leave a great deal to be desired. Both provide a level of protection from a greater evil. As the workers in "Right-To Work" states which do not allow collective bargaining were wages are generally lower, 15% on average, that in states with collective bargaining. University of Oregon in Eugene offers courses. For eight years I attended a summer (August) weekend program on a wide variety of labor and employer topics through LERC. I wish you well and hope you find peace (even if we never agree).
Should workers be allowed a veto power over Boeing's, or any company's, ability to enter into collaborative manufacturing agreements with foreign manufacturers and markets?
Developing a new jetliner is so expensive that NO single company can underwrite the multi-billion dollar expense. Boeing probably could not have developed the Dreamliner without the guaranteed orders, and associated outsourcing, that the machinist's union would try to veto.
When I was young, my dad was a big union supporter. He told us all about the bad old days before unions and why unions were so necessary. My reading of history since then had certainly supported everything he said about those early union days. I worked for many years for a large company that was part union, part non-union, depending on which department you worked for. I'm sorry to say that everytime I had to work with union employees to get a job done it was like pulling teeth to get anything out of them. They felt and sometimes said that the union would protect them no matter what they did or didn't do on the job. That was pretty much true. I knew of people sleeping on the job, not just once but repeatedly, and being defended by the union time after time. It was impossible to fire these people most of the time. It wasn't unknown for supervisors trying to get rid of troublemakers to throw up their hands and quit themselves, it was such an impossible job. This led me to feel that perhaps unions have lost sight of their original goals. They've gone too far.
I agree with this completely. Your experiences with Unions pretty much matches my own. Unions need to revise their objectives and goals and get back in touch with their old focus; realizing that demanding better benefits and contracts should also require a level of professionalism and skill set from their members.
My husband works at a manufacturing plant in Eugene that makes heavy machinery for the recycling and wood products industry. They are doing well internationally at the moment because of the weakness of the US dollar. (It is a non-union shop.) The workers are skilled and have worked lots of over-time through the years. Several years ago, the firm "converted" to "lean manufacturing" and "just in time" delivery of parts once made on site.
Now waiting for parts and having to rework delivered ones have thrown their shipping schedule off almost all the time. Is this efficient and cost effective? No, now overtime is a way of life, waiting for and reworking parts. Testing and shipping dates are postponed. Occasionally custom orders worth millions of dollars are cancelled. Is this the way to compete in the gobal economy?
Im a member of the Oregon Carpenters Union.
You are talking about people who dont pull their load.
Our union works it this way.
If you dont work your but of you get Laid off.
Its preaty easy.
I works for us.
I am going to retire in a couple years and its looking good.
But I wouldnt work with out it.
and you machinest's
from Hood River
Now for my personal comment. I worked for the State of Oregon for 18 years. I was a union activist and leader for 12 yrs. Unions are required to represent all employees even non-members by federal law. Unions are a necessary evil just as government is a necessary evil. Because most if not all people tend to promote their own personal interests. This becomes a problem with people have power over others. Unions have a mission to level the playing field between employer and employees.
Its been my experience that American workers are terrified and apathetic; and have been successfully brained washed by corporations to view unions and the American government as evil. It was the American government and unions who stood up to corporations. Many were killed. But in the end workers got the weekend off, 8 hour days, work place safety, and fair wages. People resent unions even when they have not had any personal experience with unions. People believe they do not need a union because they will not get into trouble. But they quickly grab every benefit and pay raise the union bargains. When trouble finds them, they quickly run to the union. You see, sometimes it not what you do or haven't done. Sometimes events just happen and employees face trouble.
I have represented employees who faced termination. Many who violated critical policies accepted termination or resigned. Others who were not guilty or who violated a minor policy also faced termination. Even when factual evidence supported the employee many were terminated nonetheless. Their entire live was disrupted. Loss of income. Loss of health insurance. Blow to their self esteem. Loss of co-workers. It takes about 7-9 months for the grievance process to work through. At any point the employer can voluntarily reinstate the employee. However, they seldom return to their original job because its been filled. They frequently return to a less desireable job or location. The employer gets to substract any wages they earned from what they would have earned had they not been terminated.
A quote from Vietname can also be applied by union leaders to member led unions: We are the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary, for the ungrateful.
I'm so sorry to have missed this program. I worked as a union staff representative for thirteen years. Then I was recruited to a management labor relations position and have done that for the last ten years. I have performed chief spokesperson responsibilities for both sides of the table in public and private sector bargaining in healthcare institutions. I hope if you do a related program in the future I might be able to contribute from experience which may be somewhat unique.
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