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Passions in Poetry

Labor [sic] Unions

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Alicat
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0 posted 12-20-2005 05:10 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

So despite the International TWU advising against it, TWU Local 100 went on strike anyhow in New York City stranding millions of commuters.  No subways, no buses, nothing that monopoly controls, since they've made very sure there can be no free enterprise regarding mass transit in that city and surrounding boroughs/communities.  Local 100 screams for even more pay, even more benefits yet cares little to nothing for everyone else.  They want what they want, and NYC's economy, which impacts far more than that little section of New York State, can go hang.

I've long despised labor unions.  Yes, I know at one time they had a definite purpose towards providing better working conditions, better wages, better safety and whatnot.  That was roughly 80 years ago.  Nowadays, not the same can be said.  I recall when my younger brother was fired from Krogers because he refused to join the local union, and this in a Right To Work state.  That simple phrase means union membership is not compulsory for employment.  But when he refused, within a week, though an exemplary employee, he was fired without reason, as were other's who also turned down the union's overtures of 'guaranteed' employment.  That union no longer exists here, thankfully, as they were taken to task by the state DA for blackmail, coercion and racketeering.  I'm also reminded of when I was in Arizona, another Right To Work state, and Albertson's union in California went on strike.  The union in Yuma was forced to do the same for 'solidarity'.  The union did provide wages, provided the union members picketed Albertson's for at least 7 hours a day, every day of the week.  Granted, the wages were a fraction of what they were making inside the grocery...seems most their union dues had gone to lobbyists and lawyers.  Go fig.

Now, call me crazy, but when you walk off of a job, that's it...there is no coming back with a sheepish grin.  You leave a job, and you don't have a job.  I guess that's the modern purpose of unions.  You can walk out on a company, walk off a job, protest the company, then return to work afterwards like nothing ever happened.  And still get promoted, if the local union gives its blessing.

Bring Back the Scabs!
serenity blaze
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1 posted 12-20-2005 08:38 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'm understanding your point, and it's horrible situation, I agree. But...



Dad was a teamster, bro.

That is sorta ingrained in me. *wince* I was taught to never cross a picket line. It was a worse crime than not looking before you crossed the street, yanno?
Not A Poet
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2 posted 12-20-2005 08:40 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

And that's not to mention even that it is an illegal strike. NYC needs a Ronald Reagan. (Remember the Air Traffic Controllers strike)
Huan Yi
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3 posted 12-20-2005 08:43 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


They’re fighting for the right
to retire at 55.
How could you be so cruel . .  .
so insensitive.

John

Alicat
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4 posted 12-20-2005 09:05 PM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

How could I be so cruel?  Easy.  Fire the freeloaders and hire people that actually want to work.  Set an example, as per the Airline Traffic strikers in the 80's (nod...is where I got my views about unions...gotta love endangering the safety of thousands for personal wants and needs).  Add to that the Longshoreman strike not long after the collapse of the WTCs after the terrorist strike on our country.  Economy very shaky...so what do the Longshoremen do?  Go on strike against technological improvements that would speed up processing of cargo containers, while damaging our national economy.  I'm still amazed that I was able to find work south of Detroit without having to join a union first prior to the initial interview, and actually learned a trade: vacuum cleaner service and repair, and got to keep all the money I earned, outside of Federal/State taxes...the unions got squat!

I hear ya sis...lessons learned at youth are very hard to break.  But then, I was raised to recycle, endorse Free Markets, those who want to work shouldn't have to pay extra to work, and making money wasn't shameful.
Ringo
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5 posted 12-20-2005 09:42 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

Ali- I have to agree with you on the unions... back in 1991, my father was hired by a bottling plant in Landover, Md to be in charge of a warehouse. He had two of his workers show up so plowed that they could not walk more than 2 steps without tripping over imaginary dead turtles in the center of the warehouse floor. He immediately had another worker drive them home and told them they were fired. When they came back the next day to retrieve their car, they came with their union rep and the overall plant manager... and continued working there, even though they had been drinking again (they just weren't drunk).
My father, being who he was, immediately handed his notice, and went home with a sudden case of the flu, and took his 2 weeks vacation, and never went back.
It is a sad state of affairs when a manager is not allowed to fire people who are so drunk they can't stand at work thanks to the union.
Actually, at the time, I was more upset because the Old Man was allowed to bring me up to 2 cases of Yoo Hoo a day... lol.


"...and as we drift along, I never fail to be astounded by the things we'll do for promises..."
Ronnie James Dio
Brad
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6 posted 12-21-2005 06:03 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
It is a sad state of affairs when a manager is not allowed to fire people who are so drunk they can't stand at work thanks to the union.


Indeed.

What do you offer to stop the drunk owner or manager when they fire people?

Christopher
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7 posted 12-21-2005 07:32 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Brad, that employee has options - one is the ability and right to approach the labor board and file suit for wrongful termination.
Balladeer
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8 posted 12-21-2005 08:36 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

A whole lotta wrongs don't make a right, Serenity.

People can see how many union leaders wind up in prison and still can't make the connection....amazing.

Union leaders, for a great part, want two things. They want the dues and they want the power. The good of the worker is secondary and incidental. They will instill the "them against us and us against them" and "all for one" mentalities into the members and use the power that gives them for their own benefits.

Ten years after the Air Traffic controllers were ordered to go on strike, and were subsequently fired, a local television station went look for some of the former employees and the union leaders at the time. The atc's were cleaning pools, cutting lawns and working routine jobs. The union leader who had demanded that the workers go on strike was in Orlando making over 3 million a year in real estate ventures. ALL of the union leaders of that time were doing very well. I don't understand how a worker with a family to feed listens to a fellow living in a multi-million dollar mansion telling him that he needs to tighten his belt and bite the bullet for the good of the union - things that the union leaders have no intention of doing.

I ran an 800 employee resort hotel in Missouri, non-union. Every year the union came to make their pitch to the employees to go union. We had to let them because the law allows, and demands, it. Every year the employees turned them down. I told one of the union fellows one time that the hotel offered higher wages, better vacations, better pension plans, more sick days and, overall, a much better benefits package than the unions demanded. I told him that, if he were truly "for the workers", we should have gotten some kind of medal or award for the way we treated our employees. He just looked at me and said, "What are you - nuts?", then smiled and walked away.

The unions are a shadow of what they once were - and rightfully so. Their gang mentality doesn't work any longer...and it won't work in New York.

At least the unions did manage to do what Al-Queda failed to accomplish - they brought New York to a standstill.
Ron
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9 posted 12-21-2005 08:45 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Union leaders, for a great part, want two things. They want the dues and they want the power. The good of the worker is secondary and incidental. They will instill the "them against us and us against them" and "all for one" mentalities into the members and use the power that gives them for their own benefits.


quote:
I don't understand how a worker with a family to feed listens to a fellow living in a multi-million dollar mansion telling him that he needs to tighten his belt and bite the bullet for the good of the union - things that the union leaders have no intention of doing.


Sorry, but I had to read that twice.

The first time, I could have sworn you were talking about Washington, Mike.
Mistletoe Angel
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10 posted 12-21-2005 08:57 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

I wouldn't go so far as what Michael Bloomberg said in that what they're doing is "illegal", but I definitely find this an utterly irresponsible display.

The city is filled with many families, poor, hungry, who rely on the transit systems to get to where they need to go. This strike literally is a slap in the face on them in particular, and that is why I don't have any sympathy for the way this strike was formulated to begin with.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Balladeer
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11 posted 12-21-2005 09:54 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

LOL! Very perceptive, Ron...and a similarity I would find hard to refute, the only difference being we have a choice to be non-union.
Local Rebel
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12 posted 12-21-2005 11:08 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

People can see how many union leaders wind up in prison and still can't make the connection....amazing



In the blank where 'union leaders' fill in;

politicians,
CEO's,
Policemen,
Clergy,
Lawyers,

what is the connection Mike? ah.. yes... power...
Local Rebel
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13 posted 12-21-2005 11:11 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

They’re fighting for the right
to retire at 55.
How could you be so cruel . .  .
so insensitive.



Well they should just give them the right -- after all -- no one is stopping the other side from renegging on pensions anyway.  What difference does it make?  Promise them anything and cross your fingers.
Local Rebel
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14 posted 12-21-2005 11:16 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Local 100 screams for even more pay, even more benefits yet cares little to nothing for everyone else.  They want what they want, and NYC's economy, which impacts far more than that little section of New York State, can go hang.



Isn't involuntary servitude illegal?  What you've described is the entire purpose of collective bargaining.  Without the power to strike what power does a union have?

Are the demands of the union justifiable?  There's the question -- the answer more often than not seems to be -- 'not if they're getting more than I do'.  Maybe you should be collectively bargaining too.

Comparative and Competitive advantage -- the real funny thing is that banks have figured out they can outsource the job of Economists to India too.
Balladeer
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15 posted 12-21-2005 11:55 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Reb, I can't see where your five substitutions can even come close in numbers.

Neither can the comparisons of actions unless you want to explain to me how priests arrested for molestation are similar to union leaders robbing from the till.
Local Rebel
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16 posted 12-22-2005 12:04 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

How many union leaders have been arrested and convicted Mike?  What are the numbers?

How many politicians, clergy, police, lawyers, and CEO's have been arrested?

Are you suggesting that Jim Baker robbing from the till doesn't count?  There aren't others?  Jerry Fallwell's Rolex doesn't count?    I don't recall bringing up child molestation by priests at all.
Balladeer
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17 posted 12-22-2005 12:51 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

My mistake....you said clergy. That was my interpretation. With the exception of Jim Baker I don't know many who fall into the clery category that have been serving time.

If you want to make the comparison that union leaders are no different than police, lawyers or clergy, be my guest. If it's your contention that unions are noble and are not even similar to protection rackets or corporate extortion, that's fine. All I can do is express my opinion and that opinion is that many unions rape the working members with one hand and the corporations with the other. I'm entitled to that opinion as you are to yours.

Why Are the transit workers on strike?

Roger Toussaint, president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, said, "Transit workers are tired of being underappreciated and disrespected."

Is that a fact or is that him letting them know how they SHOULD  feel? Does their being tired make an illegal strike to paralyze the city valid? Who authorized the strike?

An attorney for the Transport Workers Union's international arm told a court in Brooklyn on Tuesday that the local's decision to strike was not approved and, therefore, unauthorized.

Attorney Peter DeChiara said Transport Workers Union International President Mike O'Brien attended the union vote overnight and urged Local 100 members not to strike.

Attorneys for the international arm of the Amalgamated Transit Union said the group did not authorize the strike, either.


(quotes are from CNN)

These transit workers may find themselves in the same situation as the Air Traffic controllers. If those high-category employees could be replaced, how hard would it be to replace drivers? They can thank their union leader when that happens....


Balladeer
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18 posted 12-22-2005 12:59 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Bill McRae, a bus driver since 1985, said he thought negotiations should have continued — but he still backed the walkout.

"The union executives called for a strike, and we have to do what we have to do," McRae said on Manhattan's West Side. The last city transit strike was in 1980 and lasted 11 days.

Transit officials said about 1,000 transit workers came to work Tuesday, and that they were put to work cleaning and doing paperwork. Toussaint adamantly denied that so many people had crossed the picket line.  


Does that sound like the rank and file want the strike....or the union leaders?
Brad
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19 posted 12-22-2005 06:27 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't get this thread.

Are you (plural) arguing that this strike is bad (i.e. this particular strike is an abuse of the right to strike as a whole)?

Or are you arguing that labor unions are intrinsically corrupt?

If it's the latter, then what mechanism do you offer to put in its place to protect the rights of workers?

Chris's response to this point (my first comment here) is government.

I bet Ron would take issue with that one.

Of if you no longer think that's necessary, why do you think that it's no longer necessary?

Local Rebel
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20 posted 12-22-2005 09:11 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

If you want to make the comparison that union leaders are no different than police, lawyers or clergy, be my guest. If it's your contention that unions are noble and are not even similar to protection rackets or corporate extortion, that's fine. All I can do is express my opinion and that opinion is that many unions rape the working members with one hand and the corporations with the other. I'm entitled to that opinion as you are to yours.



My comparison is that there is little doubt that corruption follows power.  Your inference about unions is an old one -- 'they are infiltrated by organized crime'..

so are politicians, the clergy, the police, lawyers... and -- the police and firefighters are unionized and go on strike occasionally.

you forget Mike -- I had a former GM plant with skilled trades reporting directly to me -- I know all about the UAW from a management perspective first hand.  

But, what I can tell you is that the vast majority of the union members -- as with the vast majority of police and firefighters -- are just average working honest guys and gals who want to do the best they can for thier families and have a good job in a good environment.

Management culture created and continues to create the environment that spawned labor unions -- not the other way around.  Shall we gather a group of middle management from any corporation in the country and ask them about it?  

The popularity of the cartoon Dilbert attests to the problems of the corporate world -- the presense of corruption in unions in no way negates the validity of the need for them or the value they have given to our culture and economy.

If Exxon is allowed to charge what it wants for oil -- why aren't labor unions allowed the same pricing freedom.  We don't have to buy Exxon's oil -- corporations don't have to pay for labor either.

The burger shack has yet to meet yours or my price demand which is why we aren't flipping burgers at burger shack...
Balladeer
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21 posted 12-22-2005 10:10 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

But, what I can tell you is that the vast majority of the union members -- as with the vast majority of police and firefighters -- are just average working honest guys and gals who want to do the best they can for thier families and have a good job in a good environment.

Reb, I couldn't agree more. You will never see a derrogatory word about the rank and file...up to a point. I'll explain that point later. I'm aware that you have had extensive dealings with unions and so have I, in areas other than hotels. I respect you experience in these matters.

Management culture created and continues to create the environment that spawned labor unions -- not the other way around.  Shall we gather a group of middle management from any corporation in the country and ask them about it?

I would have to give a 75% disagreement with that statement. There may be companies that exploit workers but I think they are in the vast minority. Companies have come to learn over the years that satisfied employees are productive employees and productive employees create a better bottom line for the company. Wal-mart is an excellent example of that. Yes, it's popular to say the corporations are the evil overlords who abuse and mistreat their employees but, in my small experience, I find that to be nothing more than a popular thing to say.

Getting back to my "up to a point" when the employees begin engaging in illegal activities simply because they are told to do so, my respect for them goes. It is the union tactics that I find abominable. Yes, the unions can organize a strike and advise people to respect the picket lines but what happens? Should a member decide he doesn't agree with the strike or he feels he needs to work to support his family or he doesn't want to lose his job, are his thoughts respected? You know the answer to that one. Crossing picket lines can lead to car stoning, running gauntlets, being pulled out of one's car and beaten, sabotage and a complete ostracization of everyone in the union who are "following orders". Is this right? Are these activities we should respect the unions for?...this street gang mentality? This "you're with us or against us" attitude? Let the union leaders snap their fingers and the rank and file will turn on their own brothers. That's where my respect for them ends. Is it an "end justifies the means"  situation? I would be willing to guess that there are those who would scream about Abu Grahb or using rap music or sleep deprivation to gain information from prisoners, citing that the "means" are wrong, and yet would say nothing about the unions picket lines which produce illegal violence against anyone who goes against them, citing that their actions produce the proper "ends". Can't have it both ways. In the case of the current strike, it was orchestrated to cause the maximum damage to New York city the week before Christmas. Millions of people were affected, innocent people who had nothing to do with whatever the unions were protesting about....commn ordinary people, the same kind the unions say they are...paid the price. We should respect the unions for that? They have lost respect from many people who very well may have supported them before. Why are the unions going down in flames? One need not even ask...

For those who wear buttons saying "Proud to be Union", I'd like to see buttons with pictures of people being pulled out of cars and beaten with "Proud to be Union" stenciled at the bottom  and let's see how many would wear that one..........

Midnitesun
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22 posted 12-22-2005 10:26 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

thank you, Reb
quote:
what I can tell you is that the vast majority of the union members -- as with the vast majority of police and firefighters -- are just average working honest guys and gals who want to do the best they can for thier families and have a good job in a good environment.

Management culture created and continues to create the environment that spawned labor unions -- not the other way around.  Shall we gather a group of middle management from any corporation in the country and ask them about it?  

The popularity of the cartoon Dilbert attests to the problems of the corporate world -- the presense of corruption in unions in no way negates the validity of the need for them or the value they have given to our culture and economy.

If Exxon is allowed to charge what it wants for oil -- why aren't labor unions allowed the same pricing freedom.  We don't have to buy Exxon's oil -- corporations don't have to pay for labor either.

succinct! nice summation!


and Mike? I agree with you about the violence, the bullying that sometimes...though not always...happens during organized strikes. I've walked a picket line and once crossed a line (yes, Ser!) and never saw anyone bullied or stoned. And unions still serve a purpose, albeit they don't seem to be as popular as they were in the 50's and early 60's.
Local Rebel
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23 posted 12-23-2005 12:54 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Thanks ma'am

and thanks for your response too mike...

a couple of quick things -- I don't think you're going to find the rank and file of Wal-Mart in agreement with the propaganda they feed to Wall Street and the general population.  They're fighting a major battle against unionization and it's not just with hourly people either..

Unions are taking a different turn as the economy has shifted away from manufacturing -- even Pharmacists are talking about forming a union now because of the kind of treatment they get from big houses like CVS, Walgreens, WalMart, et al...

And unfortunately -- even though there was lip service given to inclusive managment -- Deming has left the building -- authoritarian style managment is alive, well, and predominant -- Drucker didn't die -- he just gave up.
 
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