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I think I'm starting to dislike unions...

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Posts

  • AtomikaAtomika technology is your dickfist Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I work in a highly-unionized field in a State that all but outlaws unions. There is virtually no unionization of healthcare workers in Texas, yet jobs are in high demand, relative incomes are high, and there are very few contentious employee-employer relationships.

    Those kind of things happen when jobs demand a higher level of requisite skill and are in demand by the market.


    No one is owed a job, just a safe job once they have it.

    Atomika on
  • Mr. PokeylopeMr. Pokeylope Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I work in a highly-unionized field in a State that all but outlaws unions. There is virtually no unionization of healthcare workers in Texas, yet jobs are in high demand, relative incomes are high, and there are very few contentious employee-employer relationships.

    Those kind of things happen when jobs demand a higher level of requisite skill and are in demand by the market.


    No one is owed a job, just a safe job once they have it.

    No those things happen when the government creates entrance barriers and bars those without the proper license from doing the job. It artificially raises the demand since anyone off the street even with the right skills can't do the job by law. Why can't a CNA or Med Assistant do your job? Do you think they couldn't be taught to do what you do?

    It's further exasperated by our immigration laws that make it difficult for skilled workers to come and fill the demand.

    Mr. Pokeylope on
  • AtomikaAtomika technology is your dickfist Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Why can't a CNA or Med Assistant do your job?

    Coming as someone who was once a CNA and now an RN?

    Are you serious?


    I push paralytics and thrombolitics, drugs that could seriously fuck you up and kill you. Nursing is a scientific degree. CNA is a three-week class where they teach you how to fold a bedsheet.

    Atomika on
  • hippofanthippofant ティンク Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Why can't a CNA or Med Assistant do your job?

    Coming as someone who was once a CNA and now an RN?

    Are you serious?


    I push paralytics and thrombolitics, drugs that could seriously fuck you up and kill you. Nursing is a scientific degree. CNA is a three-week class where they teach you how to fold a bedsheet.

    On the flipside, the high barrier of entry for such jobs that require significant academic/professional training renders the labour market for such jobs much more restrictive than the general, "working-class" labour market. The fact that university professors, for example, don't require a union is because a) only a few people have the intelligence and disposition to fill the position, and b) because even fewer people have the ability to put themselves through the years of expensive, unpaid education to reach that end point. Thinking of skilled labour as though it were a good: low natural supply, high refinement cost plus long-term investment (equaling expensive and risky overhead), met with widespread demand results in that job being well-secured.

    That is to say:
    1) Being a doctor, due to the barriers of entry, is entering a very small, high-demand labour market.
    2) Overcoming said barriers of entry and becoming a doctor is beyond the abilities of many for personal reasons (intelligence, laziness etc,) and/or situational ones (born into a low socio-economic background).
    3) Doctors who say that they have good jobs and that union workers, or could-be-unionized workers, should just work harder and get jobs like doctors are not only dicks - because they know full well many can't become doctors, even if they have the natural talent for it, douchebags - because but for the whims of the universe they could have been in east Baltimore and featured in The Wire, but also morons - because if their advice were actually good and everybody could become a doctor, being a doctor would be a shitty job, thus rendering the advice moot.

    AtomicRoss, I'm not saying you're saying this stuff, but really, most jobs that are just naturally "good" without some sort of labour organization have various barriers of entry, some reasonable and others not, that make them the minority. Note that even doctors will organize if need be, to negotiate with insurance companies and governments.

    hippofant on
  • Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I'm wondering what you're basing your assumption about the ineffectiveness of the NLRB on. I don't have any numbers for that but I'm guessing you don't either. Also, what ways can they screw employees that an employee can't report to their union organizer and/or the NLRB?

    Also a huge part of the point of unions is to deal with work-place grievances once they're installed. Obviously the NLRB has to handle them before that and does in certain cases afterwards.

    Your right, I can't find the specific numbers on NLRB employes(either on Wikipedia or on their website), they do have 51 regional/subregional and resident offices though. The deparment of labour itself contains 17 000 employees in total, for comparison Department of Energy has got 16 000 and the DOJ got 115 000+. The DoL is also home to OSHA and the bureau of labour statistics, so not everyone works for the NLRB. The NLRB has 25 000 cases each year, with about 1/3 found to have legal merit and with 90% of those resolved. Not a bad statistic in itself.

    But reading stories of company malfeasense some of the more popular ways of screwing around with employes are: Making them work long hours(though not overtime) in the most demanding factory job they got. Cutting their hours or arbitreraly changing their shifts, THEN docking their pay if they are late. ). A fun one is citing people for failing to comply with OSHA rules(like forgetting to wear a helmet), on the one hand they enforcing regulation, on the other hand they use them as a weapon.

    The bottom line is if the company can put enough black marks into an employees record before firing them, the less chance there is for their complaints to be considered seriously.

    The can also do preemetive anti union organising by hiring people on full time as "independent" contractor, thereby not being eligible for NRLB protections. This is becoming the new favourite tactic. If someone offers you a job as a contractor this is a large part of a reason why.

    There is also the theoretical one where they could promote you to supervisor, wait a few months and then fire you. Supervisors are not covered by NRLB, they can also not lobby for unionization.

    Just some of the ways companies can legaly fuck workers over. I am sure there are more.

    I am not saying that every company does this or that every worker is a victim(and frivolus charges also exist). I am saying that single employee vs large company its obvious where the power lies(wich is probably what I should have said first).

    Kipling217 on
    Communicating from the last of the Babylon Stations.
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Laws can be changed. Without the "special interest unions" whispering sweet nothings into our legislators ears, the incentive not to get rid of these protections sadly fades.

    Legislators are going to repeal OSHA?

    Probably not, but they could gut the enforcement / penalties and introduce legislation that limits torts for on the job shenanigans. Hell, they'd probably call the second bit a 'jobs bill'.


    The States with the most unionized industry (Michigan, California, Oregon) also have three of the top five national unemployment rates.

    There may be a correlation.

    ...but we both know that doesn't imply causation. Especially since California is so fuck off huge, batshit insane, and has such a diverse economy that 'unionized industry' may not be much of a factor at all.

    Deebaser on
    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I'm wondering what you're basing your assumption about the ineffectiveness of the NLRB on. I don't have any numbers for that but I'm guessing you don't either. Also, what ways can they screw employees that an employee can't report to their union organizer and/or the NLRB?

    Also a huge part of the point of unions is to deal with work-place grievances once they're installed. Obviously the NLRB has to handle them before that and does in certain cases afterwards.

    It's not necessarily that the NLRB is ineffective, it's that a process based on complaint, investigation and litigation is too slow to meet the needs of the worker.

    Let's say I'm trying to unionize my widget plant, and I get notified that the company needs me to start working more nights and/or weekends. I'm not able to do that because I have a kid or a second job or I can't bring myself to miss CSI or whatever, and they let me go. Now, I strongly suspect I was let go because of the unionizing activity, so I report this to the appropriate authorities. They investigate, and even if they find in my favor it takes months and if the grievance is at all serious it winds up in litigation. Even if my case is a relatively open-and-shut affair, I'm looking at not only having no income for 3-4 months but needing to find a new job afterward. And now my history of filing a complaint is a matter of record.

    This is one of the main reasons EFCA wanted to make it easier and faster to form unions: the wheels of law take time to turn, and often that's not time that a given worker has to pursue the case. Justice deferred etc.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Houn wrote: »
    Question: If a shop hasn't unionized yet, exactly what leverage is the "union" using to coerce 50%+1? I keep seeing the word "intimidate" thrown out. How, exactly?
    I'm being hyperbolic with the word "intimidation." There are probably cases where union operatives use veiled threats to coerce people into signing the authorization card, but they're probably as rare as management violating the law the other way.

    Without a secret ballot, unions are free to focus on the workers who haven't signed the card to try and browbeat them into signing up. Imagine having your pro-union co-workers constantly asking you why you haven't signed, why you're selling out your fellow workers etc. Many people would rather go along to get along in such a situation.

    If the final decision regarding unionization is determined by secret ballot, all of that browbeating and coercion (and potential threats) are irrelevant- even if you signed the authorization card, you are free to vote your mind, and no one will know how you voted. Similarly, if you were afraid to sign the unionization card because of concern that your employer would punish you for it, you're free to vote pro-union in the secret ballot election and your employer will never know how you voted.

    A secret ballot in the unionization context serves the same purpose as a secret ballot in any election- it lets the voter vote his mind without fear of coercion or repercussions. Frankly, I don't see why anyone would be opposed to secret balloting.

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    It's not that anyone is opposed to secret balloting. People are opposed to the gap between card check and the secret balloting. If a secret ballot was mandatory a within a week of card check, I think the pro-union crowd would be all for it.


    This thread makes me want to watch Matewan again.

    Deebaser on
    YOLO. Swag. Whatever. Fuck it. Lets do this.
  • KillgrimageKillgrimage Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Modern Man wrote: »
    If the final decision regarding unionization is determined by secret ballot, all of that browbeating and coercion (and potential threats) are irrelevant- even if you signed the authorization card, you are free to vote your mind, and no one will know how you voted. Similarly, if you were afraid to sign the unionization card because of concern that your employer would punish you for it, you're free to vote pro-union in the secret ballot election and your employer will never know how you voted.

    A secret ballot in the unionization context serves the same purpose as a secret ballot in any election- it lets the voter vote his mind without fear of coercion or repercussions. Frankly, I don't see why anyone would be opposed to secret balloting.

    I'm not in a union and don't know anything about unions except from what I've read in this thread, and at first the non-secret ballot thing was puzzling me too. Why NOT have secret ballot? Otherwise, yeah, intimidation! But they way I see it, here's the thing...

    When you have a secret ballot for a state or federal election, what do you do? You go to a public place (library, school) and they have voter stuff set up. Also, to vote, you have to be registered with the town you are voting in. So when you show up at the place, they check you off, you go in an vote and that's it. No one knows who you voted for, but now you've voted and they know that you and just you voted and you can't vote again. Also, the way state and federal elections work is that the candidate that wins is the one who gets more than 50% + 1 of the voting pool. If you don't vote, you don't get a say in who wins.

    Now, if you want to hold a ballot for forming a union, how are you going to do this with complete secrecy? At work, in the break room? No way, the company doesn't want a union and they sure as shit aren't going to supply a place for you to hold the vote. Now where do you go? Well, you can of course always go outside to a non-company place and hold a vote. However, how will you know for a certainty, that you have actual employees voting at this unofficial ballot place that you set up? You can't know, until you have everyone's name, otherwise you could just get a bunch of your non-employee friends to come and vote anonymously. So that's not very secret, especially since only people who are going to vote FOR the union are going to show up. I suppose employees who don't want to union could come and vote nay, but why would they bother? If it's less than 50% of the workforce the union doesn't get formed anyway so not showing up is like voting no, so just from that you know who's for it and who's against.

    I know next to nothing about unions, so if this is bass-ackwards I'll shut my pie hole. However, this thread is fascinating and I would love it if someone could direct me to some movies or liturature that deals with these issues.

    Killgrimage on
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    I'd file this one under the "power corrupts" catagory. Unions are useful and probably required. But when you give people power with no checks and balances against that power, you get corruption, which is bad for everyone. Unions are just as susceptible to this as any other organization.

    I'm trying to think of what purpose unions play these days in a modern, Western democracy. Workplace safety has been enshrined in State and Federal law, we have minimum wage laws etc.

    Unions are partly responsible for the dire straights of the industrial sector in the US, especially in heavily unionized Rustbelt states. They seem to exist to provide jobs for union officials while hurting economic development.

    Like a lot of our large institutions, they're a holdover from the era where people got out of high school and worked one job their entire life. Unions don't have much to offer to the average American worker, who changes jobs every couple of years.

    Well, in fairness unions still work to influence those worker protections and to ensure that the minimum wage is kept at a meaningful level.

    But beyond that? Seems like they largely exist to tax their members and create cushy jobs for themselves.

    Pretty much. Every union I've dealt with or encountered since the mid-late 90s seemed to use my parents/relatives union dues as their slush fund for the upper guy's mistresses and vacations.
    Distram wrote: »
    So, uh, you anti-union people would be totally cool with ownership/management being the sole policy making body in every workplace? No conflict of interest there, none at all.

    Sure, unions are sometimes ineffective or counterproductive. Why does the answer have to be to get rid of them?

    Government is sometimes ineffective and counterproductive - should it go too?

    Why not? I own the business. I decide what it does. As long as I'm following the law and paying fair wages, you just get paid and do the work I ask.

    FyreWulff on
  • nescientistnescientist Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Now, if you want to hold a ballot for forming a union, how are you going to do this with complete secrecy? At work, in the break room? No way, the company doesn't want a union and they sure as shit aren't going to supply a place for you to hold the vote. Now where do you go? Well, you can of course always go outside to a non-company place and hold a vote. However, how will you know for a certainty, that you have actual employees voting at this unofficial ballot place that you set up? You can't know, until you have everyone's name, otherwise you could just get a bunch of your non-employee friends to come and vote anonymously. So that's not very secret, especially since only people who are going to vote FOR the union are going to show up. I suppose employees who don't want to union could come and vote nay, but why would they bother? If it's less than 50% of the workforce the union doesn't get formed anyway so not showing up is like voting no, so just from that you know who's for it and who's against.

    There is a federal agency charged with managing the election, called the NLRB. There have been charges in this thread that they aren't actually that good at their job, with one concern that I echo being the significant lag time between the carding process and the election itself (from their website, "most elections are held within 50 days"). This is really the strongest argument in favor of card-check legislation, because at present those 50 days are used by the company to run a propaganda war in which they have a significant resource advantage.

    I'd like to see the current process changed to address this issue, but I think abandoning the secret ballot is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. One thing that seems like a beat-you-over-the-head obvious problem is that the initial card sent to the NLRB is not anonymized in any way, leaving the company with a "fuck with these guys" list. My thought earlier was to bypass the card-check entirely by replacing it with some sort of electronic registry of pro-union employees with anonymity to preserve their safety.

    nescientist on
    Carl Sagan wrote:
    The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.
  • The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    Pretty much. Every union I've dealt with or encountered since the mid-late 90s seemed to use my parents/relatives union dues as their slush fund for the upper guy's mistresses and vacations.

    What do you expect when the Unions themselves have bought into the Capitalist idea that money is the epitome of success and happiness? The problem is the economic model under which the unions now operate.

    The Crowing One on
    3rddocbottom.jpg
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2009
    Well, they're pretty much PACs that don't want to admit to being a PAC and just a good ol boys club you can join, but you don't get flight miles for paying into it.

    FyreWulff on
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Now, if you want to hold a ballot for forming a union, how are you going to do this with complete secrecy? At work, in the break room? No way, the company doesn't want a union and they sure as shit aren't going to supply a place for you to hold the vote. Now where do you go? Well, you can of course always go outside to a non-company place and hold a vote. However, how will you know for a certainty, that you have actual employees voting at this unofficial ballot place that you set up? You can't know, until you have everyone's name, otherwise you could just get a bunch of your non-employee friends to come and vote anonymously. So that's not very secret, especially since only people who are going to vote FOR the union are going to show up. I suppose employees who don't want to union could come and vote nay, but why would they bother? If it's less than 50% of the workforce the union doesn't get formed anyway so not showing up is like voting no, so just from that you know who's for it and who's against.
    IIRC, the actual vote is held and run by the NLRB. The employer is required to allow its premises to be used for the vote, but they have no part in running it. The actual vote is held under what is described as "laboratory conditions"- it's about as clean as a vote can get.

    I don't think anyone, either employers or unions, has a complaint about how the vote is actually run.

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2009
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Now, if you want to hold a ballot for forming a union, how are you going to do this with complete secrecy? At work, in the break room? No way, the company doesn't want a union and they sure as shit aren't going to supply a place for you to hold the vote. Now where do you go? Well, you can of course always go outside to a non-company place and hold a vote. However, how will you know for a certainty, that you have actual employees voting at this unofficial ballot place that you set up? You can't know, until you have everyone's name, otherwise you could just get a bunch of your non-employee friends to come and vote anonymously. So that's not very secret, especially since only people who are going to vote FOR the union are going to show up. I suppose employees who don't want to union could come and vote nay, but why would they bother? If it's less than 50% of the workforce the union doesn't get formed anyway so not showing up is like voting no, so just from that you know who's for it and who's against.
    IIRC, the actual vote is held and run by the NLRB. The employer is required to allow its premises to be used for the vote, but they have no part in running it. The actual vote is held under what is described as "laboratory conditions"- it's about as clean as a vote can get.

    I don't think anyone, either employers or unions, has a complaint about how the vote is actually run.

    Quiet you! Remember, it's somehow easier to intimidate a secret ballot than it is to force people to publically sign cards.

    I still don't get how secret elections are just fine for everything but unions.

    Oh wait, it's because card checking makes it easier to get a union formed through intimidation, because so many unions pass the card check because workers want to get the unioners out of their face and then it dies in the secret election. Time to get rid of that little problem!

    FyreWulff on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Now, if you want to hold a ballot for forming a union, how are you going to do this with complete secrecy? At work, in the break room? No way, the company doesn't want a union and they sure as shit aren't going to supply a place for you to hold the vote. Now where do you go? Well, you can of course always go outside to a non-company place and hold a vote. However, how will you know for a certainty, that you have actual employees voting at this unofficial ballot place that you set up? You can't know, until you have everyone's name, otherwise you could just get a bunch of your non-employee friends to come and vote anonymously. So that's not very secret, especially since only people who are going to vote FOR the union are going to show up. I suppose employees who don't want to union could come and vote nay, but why would they bother? If it's less than 50% of the workforce the union doesn't get formed anyway so not showing up is like voting no, so just from that you know who's for it and who's against.
    IIRC, the actual vote is held and run by the NLRB. The employer is required to allow its premises to be used for the vote, but they have no part in running it. The actual vote is held under what is described as "laboratory conditions"- it's about as clean as a vote can get.

    I don't think anyone, either employers or unions, has a complaint about how the vote is actually run.

    Quiet you! Remember, it's somehow easier to intimidate a secret ballot than it is to force people to publically sign cards.

    I still don't get how secret elections are just fine for everything but unions.

    Oh wait, it's because card checking makes it easier to get a union formed through intimidation, because so many unions pass the card check because workers want to get the unioners out of their face and then it dies in the secret election. Time to get rid of that little problem!

    it's been said repeatedly but I suppose it continues to need to be emphasized: union elections are different from governmental elections and the lag time produced by the wait for an election provides significant leverage to the business. There's nothing wrong with secret balloting, but the circumstances of the situation make implementing one a pain in the ass.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2009
    The business can't get rid of it though and completely subvert it.

    The union can subvert the process with those stupid carding rules, though.

    Just because it may or may not benefit the business doesn't mean anything, if the entire workforce truly wants a union they'll vote one in. With a secret ballot. Doesn't matter if 100% of the workers sign cards, they can still go through the legal motions to validate it.

    FyreWulff on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    The business can't get rid of it though and completely subvert it.

    The union can subvert the process with those stupid carding rules, though.

    Just because it may or may not benefit the business doesn't mean anything, if the entire workforce truly wants a union they'll vote one in. With a secret ballot. Doesn't matter if 100% of the workers sign cards, they can still go through the legal motions to validate it.

    and if the work force truly doesn't want a union, they won't sign the cards

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • FyreWulffFyreWulff Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    The business can't get rid of it though and completely subvert it.

    The union can subvert the process with those stupid carding rules, though.

    Just because it may or may not benefit the business doesn't mean anything, if the entire workforce truly wants a union they'll vote one in. With a secret ballot. Doesn't matter if 100% of the workers sign cards, they can still go through the legal motions to validate it.

    and if the work force truly doesn't want a union, they won't sign the cards

    Not unless they're intimidated or just want to get the dudes out of their faces since they know they can just vote against them in the actual election.

    I cannot fathom people that seriously think that unions should be able to be solely carded into existence. It seems, as previously stated, that they are mad that they have gotten consistently killed in the actual election and want to remove that little roadblock into forcing themselves into companies.

    FyreWulff on
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    FyreWulff wrote: »
    The business can't get rid of it though and completely subvert it.

    The union can subvert the process with those stupid carding rules, though.

    Just because it may or may not benefit the business doesn't mean anything, if the entire workforce truly wants a union they'll vote one in. With a secret ballot. Doesn't matter if 100% of the workers sign cards, they can still go through the legal motions to validate it.

    and if the work force truly doesn't want a union, they won't sign the cards
    Not true. A long-term campaign to pressure people to sign the card will wear a lot of people down- unless you are solidly anti-union, you're likely to sign the card just to get the organizers to leave you alone. Especially if, as is common in such organizing efforts, your pro-union friends and drinking buddies are pressuring you constantly at softball games, barbecues, the local watering hole etc.

    If the workforce is solidly pro-union, then the secret ballot election is just a formality. So, why be afraid of it?

    Modern Man on
    Aetian Jupiter - 41 Gunslinger - The Old Republic
    Rigorous Scholarship

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    because as our political process demonstrates, the secret ballot means that voters are never bombarded with bad information or outright misled or intimidated

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    FyreWulff wrote: »

    I cannot fathom people that seriously think that unions should be able to be solely carded into existence. It seems, as previously stated, that they are mad that they have gotten consistently killed in the actual election and want to remove that little roadblock into forcing themselves into companies.
    And the charge of "corporate anti-union propaganda" is pretty hypocritical. The pro-union propaganda put out by organizers is just as bad- it certainly does not give an objective analysis of the various pros and cons.

    People who don't want the employer to get a chance to explain the anti-union side strike me as being afraid that their pro-union arguments don't hold much water.

    It seems the unions would love nothing more to have the union organization process consist of one-sided union browbeating of employees until they get 50%+1 of the employees, with no opportunity for a free election or any ability for the anti-unionization side to make a counter-argument.

    Modern Man on
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  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    because as our political process demonstrates, the secret ballot means that voters are never bombarded with bad information or outright misled or intimidated
    So, your solution is to replace it with a process that is even more open to intimidation?

    Modern Man on
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    Rigorous Scholarship

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I mean really, this issue is about the two sides both wanting election mechanisms that favor them. Businesses like a card check with a delay before an election because they have more resources and more ability to run a (misinformation) campaign than the workers do, and the delay lets them leverage those advantages. The unions like the automatic ratification based on cards because it lets them avoid that pressure, and because getting people to sign cards face to face is the easiest way to lock in support.

    What is ridiculous is arguing that the secret ballot makes the election "fair," because that argument presupposes that both sides have the same abilities and resources. No potential union can force workers to go to a pro-union meeting, for example.

    ed: it is far from clear that automatic ratification is "more open" to intimidation

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  • MatthasnopantsMatthasnopants Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    I mean really, this issue is about the two sides both wanting election mechanisms that favor them. Businesses like a card check with a delay before an election because they have more resources and more ability to run a (misinformation) campaign than the workers do, and the delay lets them leverage those advantages. The unions like the automatic ratification based on cards because it lets them avoid that pressure, and because getting people to sign cards face to face is the easiest way to lock in support.

    What is ridiculous is arguing that the secret ballot makes the election "fair," because that argument presupposes that both sides have the same abilities and resources. No potential union can force workers to go to a pro-union meeting, for example.

    ed: it is far from clear that automatic ratification is "more open" to intimidation

    While I agree with Modern Man on basically everything he's said I think intimidation may be the wrong word to use. The automatic ratification system is more open to abuse from the unions by their ability to promise literally anything they want to the employees to convince them to sign cards. An automatic ratification gives management no ability to rebut any of the claims the union is making.

    Frankly the system is currently open to abuse, but in my opinion each side has roughly an equal opportunity to propagandize. The employer can explain their point of view to the employees at work but can make no promises and the union can explain their point of view over dinners or beer they buy for the employees and can make all the promises they want. Saying these opportunities are equal is probably disingenuous because given the rules surrounding the process the union STILL has at least some advantage.

    Matthasnopants on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    of course the business has the opportunity to respond. It's not as though a card campaign is conducted in secret

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    You know, now that I think about it, maybe the solution is to let managers distribute/collect anti-union cards, and if there's more of them than the pro-union cards, then the union doesn't form

    edit: but I mean, even with that, the business still has structural advantages that the union organizers just don't. I'm also not sure where you're getting the idea that the employer "can't make promises."

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  • MatthasnopantsMatthasnopants Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    of course the business has the opportunity to respond. It's not as though a card campaign is conducted in secret

    Oh come on, you think given an opportunity a union wouldn't just take the employees out to dinner, tell them that if they sign the cards their wages will go up 100% and have the employees sign the cards right there? That takes one night, how does management possibly have an opportunity to respond? What if the company only has 30 employees? They only need 16 people to sign cards which is easily doable in a day.

    The lag time between the card check and election is vital for BOTH SIDES to present their views to the employees and to have opportunities to rebut the claims of the other side. I'm willing to compromise on the idea that the lag time should be shorter but automatic ratification is beyond reasonable and betrays the fear in unions that they really have very little to offer many of the employees they want to organize and that management can point this out.

    edit: The employer can't make promises because it's part of the law surrounding the process. An employer can't say "if you don't vote the union in I'll raise your wages" and if they do an unfair labor practice violation can be filed with the NLRB, however a union is free to make any promises they want.

    Matthasnopants on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    of course the business has the opportunity to respond. It's not as though a card campaign is conducted in secret

    Oh come on, you think given an opportunity a union wouldn't just take the employees out to dinner, tell them that if they sign the cards their wages will go up 100% and have the employees sign the cards right there? That takes one night, how does management possibly have an opportunity to respond? What if the company only has 30 employees? They only need 16 people to sign cards which is easily doable in a day.

    The lag time between the card check and election is vital for BOTH SIDES to present their views to the employees and to have opportunities to rebut the claims of the other side. I'm willing to compromise on the idea that the lag time should be shorter but automatic ratification is beyond reasonable and betrays the fear in unions that they really have very little to offer many of the employees they want to organize and that management can point this out.

    edit: The employer can't make promises because it's part of the law surrounding the process. An employer can't say "if you don't vote the union in I'll raise your wages" and if they do an unfair labor practice violation can be filed with the NLRB, however a union is free to make any promises they want.

    In other words, the proto-union has to schedule time on one day outside of work hours for our hypothetical 16 people to all meet, agree that the union is a good idea, get all the paperwork lined up, and that all this is going to be done in secret without management having any idea what is going on?

    This aside from the fact that it's arguable in the extreme to say that management should even be granted the opportunity to respond. They aren't joining the union, they aren't voting in the election, so I don't see any reason their input should be protected.

    And sure, employers can't say that "if you unionize we'll lower wages" or make whatever other outlandish claims. But they're allowed to talk about what they think the effects of unionization are, and it isn't difficult at all to make whatever point you want without offering guarantees. The idea that union organizers have the freedom to make unreasonable pie in the sky statements isn't really much of a point for your side.

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  • Modern ManModern Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    This aside from the fact that it's arguable in the extreme to say that management should even be granted the opportunity to respond. They aren't joining the union, they aren't voting in the election, so I don't see any reason their input should be protected.
    The employees aren't setting up a bowling league- they're looking to create an organization that will directly impact the way the employer is allowed to run its business. Of course the employer should have the right to at least present its side of the story.

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    This aside from the fact that it's arguable in the extreme to say that management should even be granted the opportunity to respond. They aren't joining the union, they aren't voting in the election, so I don't see any reason their input should be protected.
    The employees aren't setting up a bowling league- they're looking to create an organization that will directly impact the way the employer is allowed to run its business. Of course the employer should have the right to at least present its side of the story.

    why? It's the workers making a decision about how and whether to organize themselves. I don't see why the company should have any right to necessarily have input before the workers decide to form a union.

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  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    hippofant wrote: »
    Why can't a CNA or Med Assistant do your job?

    Coming as someone who was once a CNA and now an RN?

    Are you serious?


    I push paralytics and thrombolitics, drugs that could seriously fuck you up and kill you. Nursing is a scientific degree. CNA is a three-week class where they teach you how to fold a bedsheet.

    On the flipside, the high barrier of entry for such jobs that require significant academic/professional training renders the labour market for such jobs much more restrictive than the general, "working-class" labour market. The fact that university professors, for example, don't require a union is because a) only a few people have the intelligence and disposition to fill the position, and b) because even fewer people have the ability to put themselves through the years of expensive, unpaid education to reach that end point. Thinking of skilled labour as though it were a good: low natural supply, high refinement cost plus long-term investment (equaling expensive and risky overhead), met with widespread demand results in that job being well-secured.

    That is to say:
    1) Being a doctor, due to the barriers of entry, is entering a very small, high-demand labour market.
    2) Overcoming said barriers of entry and becoming a doctor is beyond the abilities of many for personal reasons (intelligence, laziness etc,) and/or situational ones (born into a low socio-economic background).
    3) Doctors who say that they have good jobs and that union workers, or could-be-unionized workers, should just work harder and get jobs like doctors are not only dicks - because they know full well many can't become doctors, even if they have the natural talent for it, douchebags - because but for the whims of the universe they could have been in east Baltimore and featured in The Wire, but also morons - because if their advice were actually good and everybody could become a doctor, being a doctor would be a shitty job, thus rendering the advice moot.

    In Canada, physicians, surgeons, and professors are all generally unionized. This is sometimes over and above professional colleges or organizations such as the bar that act basically as super unions. Not only do they enforce discipline and keep the standards of the practice of the profession high, but they alone determine who is and who isn't eligible to become a member.
    Modern Man wrote: »
    FyreWulff wrote: »

    I cannot fathom people that seriously think that unions should be able to be solely carded into existence. It seems, as previously stated, that they are mad that they have gotten consistently killed in the actual election and want to remove that little roadblock into forcing themselves into companies.
    And the charge of "corporate anti-union propaganda" is pretty hypocritical. The pro-union propaganda put out by organizers is just as bad- it certainly does not give an objective analysis of the various pros and cons.

    People who don't want the employer to get a chance to explain the anti-union side strike me as being afraid that their pro-union arguments don't hold much water.


    This sort of point would be valid if we lived in a world where everyone adhered to the norms of communicative rationality. Where all arguments were made without intentional or unintentional errors in reasoning, and there was no lying or omission or unnecessary rhetorical flourishes, and that everyone was in a position to fathom or understand the arguments being made, and assess them accordingly. That obviously isn't the case, and apart from people being gullible or bad at critical thinking, it isn't hard to imagine scenarios in which people vote or act against their economic interest. The bottom line, is that in purely economic terms, unions are going to be in the interest of working people, those without capital or productive property. But for a whole host of reasons, people may not recognize this or accept it and will be likely to resist joining or forming a union.

    The obvious outcome of this is that unions, like companies, aren't particularly committed to giving a full and complete account of the benefits or drawbacks of unionizing or not. The audience and the status of the wider context in which the audience listens or receives the arguments being made simply makes this impossible, and I think it is rather naive of you to think that we can simply make arguments and people will pick the one which is valid over those which aren't. The focus will be on persuasion, just as it is in marketing and politics, as opposed to a full and objective account.

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  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Caaba Beankomy XobthroRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Harrier wrote: »
    JebusUD wrote: »

    Sure it is in our power. Stop trading with places that don't have rules. Refuse to buy goods from places that have practical slave labor. I think that "free trade" is the real problem here.
    I can't fucking believe it never occurs to anyone that free trade isn't inevitable. We could slam shut the country's borders to foreign trade in a very hard way. The United States could close its borders to most foreign goods and break the entire globalization apparatus, and the world would be better for it.

    We don't have to slam the door shut on foreign trade. We only have to have to stop trading with the worst offenders. I do think that the whole "rising tide, lifting boats" thing can happen through trade. Capital investment in foreign countries is not necessarily bad.

    However, this will not happen as long as people are willing to buy cheap goods paid for with the blood of the exploited. We turn away, we ignore the exploitation of people as long as we can get those shoes for 10 bucks cheaper. All the while putting our own industries out of business. It is sickening.

    JebusUD on
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  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Dyscord wrote: »
    Modern Man wrote: »
    Dyscord wrote: »
    This aside from the fact that it's arguable in the extreme to say that management should even be granted the opportunity to respond. They aren't joining the union, they aren't voting in the election, so I don't see any reason their input should be protected.
    The employees aren't setting up a bowling league- they're looking to create an organization that will directly impact the way the employer is allowed to run its business. Of course the employer should have the right to at least present its side of the story.

    why? It's the workers making a decision about how and whether to organize themselves. I don't see why the company should have any right to necessarily have input before the workers decide to form a union.

    Well how else are they going to express their concerns that unionization might force them to cut hours or shut down. "Thats a nice non-union job you have there, it'd be a shame if something happened to it."

    Allowing management to have "input" basically allows management to intimidate employees on a one on one basis where they have a distinct power advantage.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Harrier wrote: »
    JebusUD wrote: »

    Sure it is in our power. Stop trading with places that don't have rules. Refuse to buy goods from places that have practical slave labor. I think that "free trade" is the real problem here.
    I can't fucking believe it never occurs to anyone that free trade isn't inevitable. We could slam shut the country's borders to foreign trade in a very hard way. The United States could close its borders to most foreign goods and break the entire globalization apparatus, and the world would be better for it.

    We don't have to slam the door shut on foreign trade. We only have to have to stop trading with the worst offenders. I do think that the whole "rising tide, lifting boats" thing can happen through trade. Capital investment in foreign countries is not necessarily bad.

    However, this will not happen as long as people are willing to buy cheap goods paid for with the blood of the exploited. We turn away, we ignore the exploitation of people as long as we can get those shoes for 10 bucks cheaper. All the while putting our own industries out of business. It is sickening.

    Since when are the shoes ten bucks cheaper? At most they're one buck cheaper, and the other nine get funneled either to the executives of the company or the shareholders.

    mcdermott on
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    mcdermott wrote: »
    JebusUD wrote: »
    Harrier wrote: »
    JebusUD wrote: »

    Sure it is in our power. Stop trading with places that don't have rules. Refuse to buy goods from places that have practical slave labor. I think that "free trade" is the real problem here.
    I can't fucking believe it never occurs to anyone that free trade isn't inevitable. We could slam shut the country's borders to foreign trade in a very hard way. The United States could close its borders to most foreign goods and break the entire globalization apparatus, and the world would be better for it.

    We don't have to slam the door shut on foreign trade. We only have to have to stop trading with the worst offenders. I do think that the whole "rising tide, lifting boats" thing can happen through trade. Capital investment in foreign countries is not necessarily bad.

    However, this will not happen as long as people are willing to buy cheap goods paid for with the blood of the exploited. We turn away, we ignore the exploitation of people as long as we can get those shoes for 10 bucks cheaper. All the while putting our own industries out of business. It is sickening.

    Since when are the shoes ten bucks cheaper? At most they're one buck cheaper, and the other nine get funneled either to the executives of the company or the shareholders.

    I buy New Balance (made in Murika!) and they're usually cheaper than Nikes

    Deebaser on
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  • big lbig l Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Modern Man wrote: »
    FyreWulff wrote: »

    I cannot fathom people that seriously think that unions should be able to be solely carded into existence. It seems, as previously stated, that they are mad that they have gotten consistently killed in the actual election and want to remove that little roadblock into forcing themselves into companies.
    And the charge of "corporate anti-union propaganda" is pretty hypocritical. The pro-union propaganda put out by organizers is just as bad- it certainly does not give an objective analysis of the various pros and cons.

    People who don't want the employer to get a chance to explain the anti-union side strike me as being afraid that their pro-union arguments don't hold much water.

    It seems the unions would love nothing more to have the union organization process consist of one-sided union browbeating of employees until they get 50%+1 of the employees, with no opportunity for a free election or any ability for the anti-unionization side to make a counter-argument.

    But the employer has more power than the union. The union can say "Hey, if we don't unionize all this bad stuff will happen!", but the union doesn't have the power to control whether or not that actually happens. It's not a credible threat. Whereas when the employer says "Hey, if you guys unionize, we might have to cut your hours and bring in outside consultants, etc!", the employer actually has the power to carry that threat out. It's not enough to say that both sides have to opportunity to browbeat voters so it's equal, the employer has a decided advantage in power and the unions need to be given a step up to make it fairer.

    big l on
  • KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Houn wrote: »
    Question: If a shop hasn't unionized yet, exactly what leverage is the "union" using to coerce 50%+1? I keep seeing the word "intimidate" thrown out. How, exactly?

    at the company im currently employed at, union people coerced the employees to vote for the union usually with threats of violence.

    "we know where you live."
    "it would be a shame if something happened to your family."

    i know it sounds like something out of a bad movie, but sadly, it actually occurred. most of the employees who were coerced were too scared to contact the police. the three that filed complaints, including my cousin, were given a "who gives a shit" attitude by the police (who happen to be very close with the local union).

    i really wish i were lying but im not. this union is just a bunch of thugs. a few employees want to get out of it now, but when they tried, they were told that they would still have to pay dues. some provision in the agreement says that they have to continue paying dues to cover the costs of their collective representation that they originally opted for. or something like that. bleh.

    Ketherial on
  • SipexSipex Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Ketherial wrote: »
    Houn wrote: »
    Question: If a shop hasn't unionized yet, exactly what leverage is the "union" using to coerce 50%+1? I keep seeing the word "intimidate" thrown out. How, exactly?

    at the company im currently employed at, union people coerced the employees to vote for the union usually with threats of violence.

    "we know where you live."
    "it would be a shame if something happened to your family."

    i know it sounds like something out of a bad movie, but sadly, it actually occurred. most of the employees who were coerced were too scared to contact the police. the three that filed complaints, including my cousin, were given a "who gives a shit" attitude by the police (who happen to be very close with the local union).

    i really wish i were lying but im not. this union is just a bunch of thugs. a few employees want to get out of it now, but when they tried, they were told that they would still have to pay dues. some provision in the agreement says that they have to continue paying dues to cover the costs of their collective representation that they originally opted for. or something like that. bleh.

    Jesus, if that's the truth...that's awful.

    But what can you do? Go to the media? This only shares one similarity to bad movies, I doubt it'll share the happy sappy end result where the union gets what's coming to it.

    Sipex on
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