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Unions, funny or sad?

 
 
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 08:47 am
From Jon Stewart. The Daily Show has found a story that couldn't be made up. A union in Nevada is mad at Walmart for using non union labor. So the union hire a group of non union temp workers at minimum wage
and no benefits to picket Walmart. So, in effect, the union is treating its workers worse than Walmart is and doesn't understand the irony.watch the video, it's unfuckingbelievable.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5817366/union_hires_non_union_protesters_to.html?cat=2
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 1,503 • Replies: 18
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JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 08:56 am
@dyslexia,
Like all things human, the opportunities to **** up are legion. On balance, the counterpart to unions are no stranger to **** ups or just plain inhumanity.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 09:15 am
@JTT,
Unions are also businesses.

BBB
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 09:21 am
I feel the same way about unions as I feel about political parties. They served a valuable purpose at a given point in time but that point has long since passed. They become an entity within themselves and require allegiances of the membership to serve a new master. Doing away with them would be beneficial, imho, so long as the threat of their reemergence, should the need arise, wasn't preempted.
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 09:38 am
@JPB,
yes, the comparison to political parties is appropriate, in the video interview with the union boss, he's talking ****, he knows he's talking ****, admits he's talking **** and then justifies talking ****.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 05:47 pm
@JPB,
Quote:
They served a valuable purpose at a given point in time but that point has long since passed.


I can't agree with that assessment, JBP.
If ever effective protection for workers was needed, it's now. Since the global financial crisis (especially). The term "working poor" comes to mind. Job insecurity, seriously deteriorated working conditions, an increasingly casualized insecure workforce, people working 2, 3 jobs just to keep their heads above water ... I could go on & on.

I think workers need effective unions more than they ever did (based on my observations over my own working life, anyway). The problem is that these are huge challenges, tied to global trends & completely new creative solutions would be required to address them. And I don't see that established, "traditional" unions are up to the task. So fewer & fewer workers belong to those unions, because membership seems to make little difference to their situations.

I know this sounds rather pie in the sky & you might laugh at the notion, but I believe that eventually workers will need to organize on a global basis, to counter the impact of the multi-national corporations on their lives. Those workers who suicided as a result of horrendous work pressures in their Chinese factory needed protection the same as the unskilled, exploited (& rapidly becoming permanently unemployed) workers in the first world, whose situations continue deteriorate. I know that sounds far-fetched, but the continued exploitation of human & other resources (including severe environmental degradation which the impacts on the whole planet) by multi-nationals will urgently need to be addressed one of these days. Me, I really like the idea of strong, properly organized counter-force. And I think that counter-force might eventually become a necessity. (You can call me a dreamer if you like. Smile )
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 05:53 pm
@dyslexia,
I have major mixed feelings for unions. On one hand, they helped secure the labor laws that protect the majority of workers in the US. Minimum wage laws, the 40 hour work week, a mandatory week vacation, etc.... On the other hand, the problem of corruption and bloat is synonymous with unions. It can be too difficult to get rid of certain union workers who don't deserve to keep their own jobs due to inevitable complacence and/or nepotism.

This story on the Daily Show was an appalling wake up call on the hypocritical nature of the US union workforce.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 06:03 pm
@msolga,
At least in the US, unions have been failing their workers in the job security department. For decades, the bloated salaries and benefits going to many blue collar driven factories in the US have driven the manufacturing sector to overseas. Not failing to mention the pure unadulterated greed of the corporations owners and stockholders who clamor for pure unadulterated profits at all costs.

In theory, more effective unions could help but the ability to make sacrifice and compromise seems out of reach for both sides: the unions and the corporate overlords.

I wish the global workforce was like a perpetual pendulum. Right now the pendulum is in the corporations side. The worker is getting the worst treatment in decades. In theory, the pendulum would start moving towards the benefit of the workforce. I'm afraid though that the corporations and their greedy stockholders have gone and done everything in their power to weld this proverbial pendulum to their side in definitely.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 06:05 pm
@msolga,
msolga, I'm with you. I worked in the labor movement for 25 years, ending in 1983. We made progress of which I was proud. But then, I became discouraged because so many unions failed to change their methods. For example, they didn't see the need to organize women as they increased the number of women workers.

I found another way to help people improve their lives outside the labor movement. I could have made more money, but I always worked for non-profits because it was the right thing to do.

BBB
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 06:13 pm
@tsarstepan,
I've read a bit (though I'm hardly an expert!) about corruption, etc, in some large US unions, tsar. So you're possibly quite correct in your assessment.

Not a wonderful state of affairs for the workers covered by those unions, I agree. Why would you bother?

But unions vary greatly from country to country. And can vary a great deal within countries. I'd say that right now in my own country some of the workers who most need effective protection aren't getting it. Largely as a result of the severely weakened demand & supply situation (demand for unskilled workers in particular). The unions who represent them can't offer them much at all in these circumstances.
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 06:25 pm
@msolga,
If the troubled unions around the world can police out their own diseased and rotten infrastructure and return to their idealistic vision of providing a livable wage with reasonable benefits for all the workers of their respective country not go all out and out for the greatest and most expensive contracts that they can extort from their respective industries then perhaps unions can be the saviors du jour.

What these great polpulations of unskilled workers need is training and skill sets that they can take into the next century and not be left behind either underemployed and working 2 or 3 jobs and still incapable of making ends meet or totally unemployed and homeless.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 06:29 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
I know what you're saying, BBB.
Ineffective unions, which are just not up to the task of addressing fresh challenges as they come up. In my own experience such situations arise when we have entrenched leadership of those unions. People who have been in their positions for years & years & are completely out of touch with the problems of the current workforce. (like rapidly increasing casualization & job insecurity!) Those "leaders" have often done an excellent job of discouraging any fresh new blood, to ensure their ongoing control of the union. I used to belong to one of those. Wink

Another problem, in Oz, anyway, is that some public sector unions (especially) are too closely aligned with Labor governments. The argument being that Labor is the most "pro-worker" party. At times such unions appeared to have been more closely aligned with the Labor party (& Labor governments) than with their actual members. As governments are the employers of public sector workers, it undermines the union's bargaining position completely, at the expense of their members. I'd argue that unions should be quite separate to governments & political parties to do their jobs properly.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 06:34 pm
@JPB,
JPB, Union membership is decreasing at a pretty good rate, so it's probably a matter of time before they remain viable. The only problem are the union workers who work for the governments of our country. They create more problems for all levels of government by continuing to demand their current salary and benefits while more Americans lose their jobs and homes, and other government services are getting cut.

San Jose/Santa Clara County will have a prop in the next election to do away with arbitration and let the local governments control salary and benefits.

Betcha they get an overwhelming number of votes for it. The local safety officers didn't want to cut their salaries and benefits to save 65 new recruits; everybody now knows they are out for themselves, and not the safety of the community.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 06:42 pm
@tsarstepan,
I'm with you, tsar.
Unions should simply return to doing the jobs they are meant to be doing, as best they are able.
But, in many cases, we'd need hugely improved, say nothing of hugely motivated leadership, for that to begin to happen .
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 07:12 pm
In the USA greed, corruption, fraud and, as anyone who watched the video in the link I posted can't help but notice, stupidity have rendered many labor unions below contempt. US unions have not come close to their intended purpose for generations. That is not, by any means, indicative of a lack of need for labor organization, unfortunately it is the members who have done all the suffering from the malfeasance of unions. I have been a dues paying, card carrying member of both the Teamsters and United Mine Workers. I am saddened by the abuse of workers by far too many unions.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 07:23 pm
@dyslexia,
I'm sorry, I haven't watched the link you posted (yet), dys. Will do so in a minute.
I just had so much to say about the virtue or otherwise of unions, I couldn't help myself! Wink

Quote:
I am saddened by the abuse of workers by far too many unions.


If that's the case (& it appears to be, judging from what others from the US have said on this site, continuously) then I wholeheartedly agree with you. That's an appalling situation for those workers (especially the lowest paid) who sorely need the strongest possible representation right now. It sounds like high time for some from the bottom up organising & backlash from those workers. The formation of some completely new unions, perhaps?
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 07:47 pm
@dyslexia,
OK I just watched the link.
Between Walmart & their union, what hope for those (Walmart) workers?
And as for the hired "picket-liners" (whose plight is even worse than the Walmart workers) .... well what can you say? Bizarre.
At the very least, the union could have offered them decent pay & conditions.
This is worse than funny or sad. It's tragic.
(Joe Hill must be turning in his grave.
Bring on the Wobblies, I say!!)


This is not any excuse for the union's actions, but if the aggrieved Walmart workers had stopped work & demonstrated on a picket line, they probably wouldn't even have their jobs right now. Screwed, either way. Neutral
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 08:01 pm
@msolga,
Not to worry. With Obama's appointment, without congressional approval by the way, the composition of the National Labor Relations board is bound to improve the lot of the unions. Not worker's necessairily, but unions.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Sep, 2010 08:03 pm
@roger,
Quote:
National Labor Relations board


I honestly know nothing about this board, Roger.
(Pardon my ignorance.)
0 Replies
 
 

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