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I don't really understand unions.

 
 
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 03:51 pm
There is a big brouhaha going on here between a co-op of cattle ranchers and the UFW (United Farm Workers).

CNB (Country Natural Beef) is a co-op of 120 ranchers who raise their cattle under strict ethical guidelines - no hormones, no antibiotics, free range.

The UFW wants to unionize the feedlot workers.

The workers don't want to unionize - they say they're paid above scale now and they don't want to pay union dues.

The ranchers say they don't care if the workers unionize -- they just don't want them to do it because they feel pressured by the union.

The union didn't feel like it was getting anywhere so they went to CNB buyers -- Whole Foods, New Seasons and Burgerville to ask them to stop buying from the co-op.

Whole Foods bit, and they buy up to 70% of CNB beef.

New Seasons and Burgerville declined.


Read all about it:
http://www.oregonlive.com/business/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/business/121255171478830.xml&coll=7&thispage=1

I know I'm a little dense but why is the UFW hitting this so hard? This is a small company with a few hundred employees.

What gives?

Thanks!
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,431 • Replies: 18
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 03:59 pm
Re: I don't really understand unions.
boomerang wrote:
I know I'm a little dense but why is the UFW hitting this so hard? This is a small company with a few hundred employees.

What gives?

Thanks!


You answered your own question - because they can! If it was a large company they wouldn't be able to get away with this sort of crap. This is standard old-school Union arm twisting.

This sort of thing should be broadcast all over the place and the idiots at Whole Foods should be made to look like the fools that they are.
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 04:03 pm
Yeah, Union members/Executive can be awfully militant. I'm against pressuring, sabotaging, sanctioning practically anyone so this really annoys me. If I were a worker, I'd ask for a radio spot to tell our side, and maybe take up a collection to send out a leaflet to the companies who were asked to boycott the company.

That's disgraceful.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 07:43 pm
So I'm really not missing something essential and this is really the bullshit it appears to be?

New Seasons and Burgerville are local companies as is the cattle co-op so of course everyone is outraged that Whole Foods, those tucking Fexans, are being such idiots.

But that's really what it boils down to -- they're idiots.

From what I understand this move could force the co-op into the commodities market (another thing I don't really understand) where they would be forced to sell their beef for much less than it is worth and thereby forcing the co-op out of business.

If the co-op goes out of business then none of these people they want to unionize have jobs so they don't need a union.

What is in this for the union?

I really don't get it.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 07:57 pm
boomerang wrote:
What is in this for the union?


More union members paying dues.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 08:00 pm
But the feedlot in question employees 80ish people. Each person makes about $10 an hour. Union dues are what.... 2%?

Seriously, that doesn't pay for the coffee at their next meeting.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 08:07 pm
boomerang wrote:
What is in this for the union?


More union members paying dues to the union.

If their strong-arm tactics are successful, that is. They don't mean for the cattle co-op to go under, because that would not benefit the union, of course. One or the other will have to bend, but the union may be willing to let the co-op go under if the loss of potential membership dues is absorbable. That's precisely why they're picking on such a small company.
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InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 08:10 pm
Sorry, I meant to edit the first post instead of post another response.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 08:19 pm
Oh! Oh! Ohohohohoh!

I think I see where you're going....

It isn't about this small feedlot that is part of this smallish co-op -- it is about Oregon unionization in general. Is that it? We're a HUGE agricultural state without much unionization. The union is picking on the little guy as a way to warn the big guys. Is that it?

Okay.... I'm going to have to go back and read the labor law sections of the articles that have appeared with that in mind....
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 08:22 pm
Control. Watch out for anyone who wants control. They need it because they feel they don't have it. It's one of those tentacle things.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 08:32 pm
boomerang wrote:
It isn't about this small feedlot that is part of this smallish co-op -- it is about Oregon unionization in general. Is that it? We're a HUGE agricultural state without much unionization. The union is picking on the little guy as a way to warn the big guys. Is that it?


Probably more to build leverage than to warn. But yeah, that's the general impression I got from the article.

The union people involved in this so far appear to be typical rabble-rousers. They're professional organizers that are on the union's staff sp their paycheck comes directly from union member's dues. More union members = more job security for themselves (as well as advancement within the union staff...).
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 06:08 am
Non Union members enjoy all the benefits accrued by the pain and suffering borne by union members.

8 hour days
pay rates that are above the pverty line
sick leave holiday pay
long service leave

Wiki
In the United States, Philadelphia carpenters went on strike in 1791 for the ten-hour day. By the 1830s, this had become a general demand. In 1835, workers in Philadelphia organized a general strike, led by Irish coal heavers. Their banners read, From 6 to 6, ten hours work and two hours for meals. Labor movement publications called for an eight-hour day as early as 1836. Boston ship carpenters, although not unionized, achieved an eight-hour day in 1842.[/l]

unions lobby governments and industry bodies. Unions represent the working man at a level he would never be able to achive.

Name any benefit enjoyed by any worker in any industry. I'll bet that benefit only instituted because union members fought long and hard for it.

Wiki
The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions of the United States and Canada (FOTLU) was a federation of labor unions created on November 15, 1881, in Terre Haute, Indiana. It changed its name to the American Federation of Labor (AFL) on December 8, 1886.
# The legal incorporation of unions;
# Compulsory education of children;
# Prohibition of child labor under the age of 14;
# Apprenticeship laws;
# Establishment of an eight-hour work day;
# Repeal of state conspiracy laws which did not provide a safe harbor for labor unions;
# Establishment of a federal agency to collect labor statistics;
# Abolition of convict labor;
# Prohibition of the importation of foreign workers;
# Federal legislation requiring ventilation and inspection of mines;
# Support for Irish liberation;
# Legislation making employers responsible for industrial accidents;



Why should non union members get all the benefits hard won by union members?

These feedlot workers would soon join the union if they had all their union won employment benefits - that you and they take for granted - removed.


Strawbs: You dont get me I'm part of the union
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=KdOCWUgwiWs
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 06:12 am
Freedom on the Wallaby


Henry Lawson

1891

Australia's a big country
An' Freedom's humping bluey,
An' Freedom's on the wallaby
Oh! don't you hear 'er cooey?
She's just begun to boomerang,
She'll knock the tyrants silly,
She's goin' to light another fire
And boil another billy.

Our fathers toiled for bitter bread
While loafers thrived beside 'em,
But food to eat and clothes to wear,
Their native land denied 'em.
An' so they left their native land
In spite of their devotion,
An' so they came, or if they stole,
Were sent across the ocean.

Then Freedom couldn't stand the glare
O' Royalty's regalia,
She left the loafers where they were,
An' came out to Australia.
But now across the mighty main
The chains have come ter bind her -
She little thought to see again
The wrongs she left behind her.

Our parents toil'd to make a home -
Hard grubbin 'twas an' clearin' -
They wasn't crowded much with lords
When they was pioneering.
But now that we have made the land
A garden full of promise,
Old Greed must crook 'is dirty hand
And come ter take it from us.

So we must fly a rebel flag,
As others did before us,
And we must sing a rebel song
And join in rebel chorus.
We'll make the tyrants feel the sting
O' those that they would throttle;
They needn't say the fault is ours
If blood should stain the wattle!
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 07:30 am
I didn't say I was anti-union, I said I don't really understand unions.

Should women/minorities/the disabled be made to join unions because we enjoy the laws that protect our rights?

Should these employees be forced to join a union even if they don't want to?
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 07:39 am
In most cases, I think unions are obsolete. They were needed at one time when companies used to be able to dictate work hours, salaries, working conditions, etc. Now there are laws protecting workers from unsafe working conditions, limiting working hours, etc. Perhaps many of these laws were a result of unions many years ago, but you no longer have to be a union member to ensure you are working in safe conditions, that you are treated fairly as far as many protected groups (race, religion, etc.), child labor laws, etc.

I can understand some unions where a business may have a monopoly in a certain area (ie. small town where 90% of the labor force is hired by one company). But besides that - you get little benefit for those union fees as you are all ready protected by Fair Labor Laws.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 07:43 am
I agree that there was a need and value to unions of the past. I'm not sure I see the need or value today. Yes, most of the benefits we enjoy in our work culture is a result of unions but does that mean they are still benefiting today's work force? I don't have an answer or even a strong opinion. My ex was in a union, my dad and brother have both been in unions with mixed thoughts on whether their working conditions were better or worse because of the unions.

I've never been one to want someone to fight my battles for me in the workplace -- hell, triangulation on behalf of my co-workers took up a ton of my energies and time -- so I've never felt the need to have representation. I understand that there are those who want it, however.

I definitely don't like strong-arm bs by unions trying to come in to good companies with good working conditions just because they can. It's about growing the union for the sake of growing the union (union bosses don't work for nothing), taking dues to pay for their own bureaucratic overhead and wallets.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 07:52 am
Something like 90% of American union members are gun owners.

Why do the unions keep telling their members to vote for gun grabbing Democraps? Because they are in bed together to gain POWER.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 10:17 pm
According to the article that boomerang linked, Oregon's labor laws don't address agricultural workers and collective bargaining for them, and the UFWA asserts that Beef Northwest workers don't get regular salary raises, affordable health insurance or respect.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 10:21 pm
And according to that same article the workers themselves claim otherwise...

You seem to have missed the significant portion of the argument here. Beef Northwest doesn't care if their employee's unionize or not. This isn't a "Business vs. The Union" dispute. It's the employee's that don't want the union.
0 Replies
 
 

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