Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 05:33 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:

Let's look at an example of that: Sam's Club, Walmart's bulk outlet - vs. Costco. Costco pays its' employees far more than Sam's and offers health insurance as well, whereas Walmart typically does not. So it's inherently going to be less profitable than Sam's on the same volume of sales. However, Costco has grown tremendously and is a very successful company at this point.

This is in large part because of their investment in their workforce and conscious decision to accept lower profit margins than their competitors. Because of this they will also get less investors - my (old) financial adviser said 'they're a dog, stay away from them.'

Can Costco be described as 'less greedy' than companies who do everything possible to maximize profit? I think that would be an accurate way to describe it. Their success in the face of large, well-financed competition who has a 'more competitive' business structure shows, I believe, that it is completely possible to run businesses in today's America while respecting the concept that all workers matter, and that everyone's contribution is worth a both a living wage and respect.

Cycloptichorn


I don't know much about either company, except that both have grown rapidly (WALMART more than COSTCO) and both have been financially successful. Are either of these companies inhabited by labor unions ? (I think not.)


Yes, they both have been very successful.

As to the labor union question? Well, you know we could always look it up. From the wiki -

Quote:
While some former Price Club locations in California and the northeastern United States are staffed by Teamsters,[47] the majority of Costco locations are not unionized. The non-union locations have revisions to their Costco Employee Agreement every three years concurrent with union contract ratifications in locations with collective bargaining agreements. Similar to a union contract, the Employee Agreement sets forth such things as benefits, compensations, wages, disciplinary procedures, paid holidays, bonuses, and seniority. As of March 2008[update], non-supervisory hourly wages ranged from $11.00 to $20.50 in the United States, $11.00 to $22.15 in Canada, and £6.28 to £10.00 in the United Kingdom. In the US, eighty-five percent of Costco's workers have health insurance, compared with less than fifty percent at Walmart and Target.[48]


Only a small part of their stores are unionized, but they still have a bargaining agreement with employees which is similar. I wonder if this is part of why they are successful - less power in the hands of the union bosses (who I know you're not big on) while retaining some say in how things are ran.

Quote:
If you are attempting to suggest that WALMART is doomed, I think you have some explaining to do.


Not at all! Instead, I posit that companies CAN be successful without making gross profit for shareholders and management more important than decent conditions and a sense of shared ownership and responsibility for the entire enterprise.

Quote:
I'll agree that worker morale and commitment is a critical factor to success and that fair compensation is a vital component of that. The presence of a labor union constantly seeking to foster combative relations with management is, in my experience an almost insurmountable obstacle in creating a satisfying and economically viable working environment. I can tell you from experience it severely reduces the motivation of management to do the very things you appear to be calling for here.


Well, I agree with that and that's from personal experience on both sides of the union-management experience. But I've also worked with management who was terrible and destroyed the will of anyone to work with them. At the end of the day it is the personality of individuals - and the willingness of the support structures that underlie both Unions and management to effectively police their own sides' behavior - as much as it is the setup of the situation.

Cycloptichorn
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 05:54 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

Well, I agree with that and that's from personal experience on both sides of the union-management experience. But I've also worked with management who was terrible and destroyed the will of anyone to work with them. At the end of the day it is the personality of individuals - and the willingness of the support structures that underlie both Unions and management to effectively police their own sides' behavior - as much as it is the setup of the situation.

Cycloptichorn


Sounds good, except that the basic motivations of American Labor Unions have been to excite member loyalty through confrontation with management, whether there was a real issue or not. That works to destroy all companies they infest - whether they have good management or not.

The track record over the last few decades of union attempts to organize private sector workers attests to my point - they have failed in almost every case. Now of course they are seeking to break the existing legal requirement for a majority decision in a secret ballot before workers are forced into union membership (whether, as individuals, they agree or not). Their new proposal for "card check ("here, sign this card, or do you want to deal with Otto here?) and a decision based only on the majority of cards submitted (by the union organizers of course) is their enlightened remedy for these systematic failures. Doesn't sound like representative democracy to me.

Organizing government workers is much easier,. All you have to do is buy enough legislators and the job is done for you. Then you get to collect 2% of everyone's salary forever. It's a great racket - you don't even have to write invoices or make collections. The government does it all for you and deposits the skim in your bank account every payday.

The long (and continuing) history of union racketeering is also a significant point here.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 06:31 pm
@georgeob1,
I worked as a union worker when I worked for the Teamsters when I worked through college. They took out our dues from our paychecks, but none in our group ever made demands or complained to either management or the union.

This may not be typical in all unions, but I can't see much in the way of challenges when one works under any union. I could be wrong; just not my personal experience.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 10:46 pm
@reasoning logic,
There really is no consensus on the def of capitalism and many think it is a political rather than an economic system.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 10:47 pm
@reasoning logic,
I haven't time to watch a film that long now but I am against privatizing schools as I am against federal schools.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Feb, 2011 10:48 pm
@georgeob1,
Then the Wisconsin Republicans are opposed to the First Amendment.
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 12:46 pm


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0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  2  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 04:32 pm
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/41675492#41675492

If anyone is under the impression this is not a war between the middle class and the super wealthy take a look at this and the Rush comments it contain.

Love the idea of a drug addict making 50 millions plus a year calling teachers and firefighters ETC....... freeloaders.

0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  4  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 05:18 pm
An Egyptian style mass protest, throughout the USA, may one day become necessary.
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 05:48 pm
Interesting that those who support the demonstrators in Madison WI were, in most cases, also among those who denied the authenticity of the teaparty movement. I guess their view of authenticity depends a lot on whose ox is being gored.

The fact is the state is facing a budget crisis and the governor (and a majority of the elected legislators) believe that the excess influence of the public service unions is a major contributor to the problem and a major inhibitor to its resolution - at the state, county and local levels. They are seeking to ; (1)make public sector employees accept cost sharing provisions for health care and pension benefits that are comparable to (actually better than) those that prevail among the taxpayers who pay their bills; (2) to remove the power of their unions to negotiate restrictive work rules with state government agencies; and (3) to require unions, claiming monopoly rights to represent (and collect dues from) broad classes of public employees, to annually recharter themselves by a secret ballot of the employees they purport to represent.

I suspect that, for the unions, the real issue is the recertification provision. More often than not union organizers lose in secret ballots of the employees whose wages they propose to skim. It is much easier to bribe a few state legiclators to get a permanent government-sanctioned monopoly on representation (and the forcible collection of 1-2% of employee salaries).

It is merely convenient to recast this issue as a part of an assumed social struggle between the rich and the poor. The fact is that government employees aren't poor at all. They enjoy on average better compensation, more vacation, and better health care & pension benefits than do the taxpayers who pay their costs. The key political factor in the struggle is the enormous revenue stream derived from the forced collection of union dues to the campaign funds of the legislators in the pocket of the same unions.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 06:08 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob, The pay and benefits of safety officers are way beyond reasonable in many states and counties in this day and age when most corporations are cutting back on 401k's and the employee must share more of the monthly health insurance premium.

What happened in San Jose, CA, was very interesting; when the mayor asked the safety officers to take a cut in pay and benefits to save jobs, they said no. They had to cut over 60 new officers positions to reduce their budget. They don't care about the safety of their community; they don't care if less safety officers are available to respond to emergencies. What is now happening is that the voters have approved the cuts in their pay and benefits through a ballot measure, and arbitration is no longer in place.

I've seen reports that the average pay and benefits for police officers in San Jose cost the taxpayers some $180,000/year. When many retire, they get accrued sick pay that amounts to over $200,000.

That's plain ridiculous when most families are struggling to make ends meet.
BillRM
 
  3  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 06:09 pm
@georgeob1,
Quote:
The fact is the state is facing a budget crisis and the governor (and a majority of the elected legislators) believe that the excess influence of the public service unions is a major contributor to the problem and a major inhibitor to its resolution - at the state, county and local levels. They are seeking to ; (1)make public sector employees accept cost sharing provisions for health care and pension benefits that are comparable to (actually better than) those that prevail among the taxpayers who pay their bills; (2) to remove the power of their unions to negotiate restrictive work rules with state government agencies; and (3) to require unions, claiming monopoly rights to represent (and collect dues from) broad classes of public employees, to annually recharter themselves by a secret ballot of the employees they purport to represent.


Give us all a break no one is buying this have anything to do with a budget shortfall that the governor help to create by granting a tax decrease on businesses as a matter of fact.

The unions was more then willing to come to the table over the matter of health care and pensions but that was not the reason for this actions the reason was attack the middle class and the unions that aid them.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 06:14 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Do you recall the case five months ago when the Police Chief of Orinda (a small & quiet suburb) retired at age 51 on a pension of $230,000 per year?

georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 06:20 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

Give us all a break no one is buying this have anything to do with a budget shortfall tat the governor help to create by granting a tax decrease on businesses as a matter of fact.

The unions was more then willing to come to the table over the matter of health care and pensions but that was not the reason for this actions the reason was attack the middle class and the unions that aid them.


It appears that the taxpayers who elected the new governor of Wisconsin and the legislators waiting to pass the bill in question, don't buy your very facile and transparent deception.

The union is really concerned about the provision of the law that requires them to get a majority vote of the employees they represent (and whose pay they get to skim). With good reason they fear that they will lose these elections. They much prefer the simpler process of buying off previous Democrat legislatures and getting a permanent, uncontestable, monopoly in return. It is interesting that the public service employees of Wisconsin were NEVER asked to vote on the question of union representation - instead the legislature simply mandated that these unions had a perpetual right to 1-2% of their salaries.

Doesn't sound very democratic, or fair, to me.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 06:20 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Is it not strange that the middle class should not look at the top one or two percent of the population that had manage to seize fifty percent of the wealthy of this society in the last few decades instead they should turn on the top end of the middle class that have good benefits such as health care and pensions by ways of unions.

See they are better off then you are and how dare they be is fine if we are talking about fire fighters or teachers or police officers but is forbidden when we are talking about the super rich who have one law after another pass at every session of government at all levels to benefit themselves.

You are a billionaire who own a sport team and wish a better playing facility then you now have no problem the tax payers will build it for you to the tune of half a billion dollars.

0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 06:24 pm
@georgeob1,
I don't remember that one, but I was in the thick of things here in Santa Clara County when I volunteered for the grand jury in 2003-2004. We told both San Jose City and Santa Clara County that they needed to change the retirement system before they go broke. They told us they couldn't do that, because they needed to remain "competitive" with the other communities for officers.

Their pay was already averaging over $90k/year, and they were getting 85% retirement pay after 30 years. We told them this program was no sustainable, but they thought they knew better. They increased their retirement pension to 90%.

Most governments operating are stupid; that's the conclusion I have drawn from seeing all levels of government for decades overspend money they don't have.

In many ways, my politics is conservative in nature; I believe in smaller governments, less government intrusion into private lives, but ensure that our educational system, infrastructure, and business environment are taken care of.


0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 08:16 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

An Egyptian style mass protest, throughout the USA, may one day become necessary.

Indeed. I am friends with many people here in DC who work with or for AFL-CIO and a few other labor rights groups. Last night I went to a social and this is the largest topic of discussion (understandably).

What I know is that people are mobilizing to press back in TN, OH, NY, and ME. I know several people who are coordinating and taking leave to give support.

Something was brought to my attention. Something I haven't heard too much about is what if the GOP tries to leverage by shutting down the gov completely on a federal level. This is far from being over.

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0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 08:23 pm
@georgeob1,
Did you watch the videos I have posted?

The double standard has been the exact opposite of what you are complaining about.

1) The Tea Party was given a huge degree of authenticity. The fact that they are in any way considered to be separate from the GOP is more authenticity than they have ever demonstrated.

2) The WI republicans didn't notify their democrat colleagues about the bill until a week out and then kept moving forward despite false communications on voting times etc.

HCR was apparently "rammed through." This after months and months of city halls and pubic meetings, and numerous concession to please republicans (all for naught). Then in WI, the pubic is cut off from speaking to their reps and votes are taken without a chance to amend. Republicans are full of ****. I'll remember this, next time I hear some cry-baby conservative whining about how Obama rammed through HCR.

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georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 09:31 pm
@failures art,
You are flailing about (like the irate speaker in your video) about illusions of your own making and lies that you have chosen to believe.

I made no complaint about the "ramming through of the health care legislation - only complaints about the harmful stupidity and complexity of its contents and the sorry spectacle of the bribes required for Democrat senators to get that monstrosity passed. I also complained about Democrat protagonists here who falsely asserted that the Republicans offered no alternative, when in fact they did, but were simply ignored by the large Democrat majority.

I don't claim to know the details of the legislative calendar in Wisconsin. However the whining complaints of the agitated legislator appeared to be standard stuff from losers. His complaints about not having time to read and study a 50 page bill were laughable in comparison to the same events surrounding the 2000+ page HCR bill which few Democrats even bothered to read.

My references to the tea party involved assertions by your supporters here that the tea party phenominon was (and is) the invention of a dark corporate conspiracy undoubtedly funded by the evil Koch brothers.

Get a life.
edgarblythe
 
  7  
Reply Sun 20 Feb, 2011 09:41 pm
--Dedicated to the peaceful protestors in Wisconsin, February 19, 2011.

The central issue in our political life is not being discussed. At stake is the moral basis of American democracy.

The individual issues are all too real: assaults on unions, public employees, women's rights, immigrants, the environment, health care, voting rights, food safety, pensions, prenatal care, science, public broadcasting, and on and on.

Budget deficits are a ruse, as we've seen in Wisconsin, where the governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement.

Deficits can be addressed by raising revenue, plugging tax loopholes, putting people to work, and developing the economy long-term in all the ways the president has discussed. But deficits are not what really matters to conservatives.

Conservatives really want to change the basis of American life, to make America run according to the conservative moral worldview in all areas of life.

In the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama accurately described the basis of American democracy: Empathy -- citizens caring for each other, both social and personal responsibility -- acting on that care, and an ethic of excellence. From these, our freedoms and our way of life follow, as does the role of government: to protect and empower everyone equally. Protection includes safety, health, the environment, pensions and empowerment starts with education and infrastructure. No one can be free without these, and without a commitment to care and act on that care by one's fellow citizens.

The conservative worldview rejects all of that.

Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don't think government should help its citizens. That is, they don't think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have 174 bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility.

But where does that view of individual responsibility alone come from?

The way to understand the conservative moral system is to consider a strict father family. The father is The Decider, the ultimate moral authority in the family. His authority must not be challenged. His job is to protect the family, to support the family (by winning competitions in the marketplace), and to teach his kids right from wrong by disciplining them physically when they do wrong. The use of force is necessary and required. Only then will children develop the internal discipline to become moral beings. And only with such discipline will they be able to prosper. And what of people who are not prosperous? They don't have discipline, and without discipline they cannot be moral, so they deserve their poverty. The good people are hence the prosperous people. Helping others takes away their discipline, and hence makes them both unable to prosper on their own and function morally.

The market itself is seen in this way. The slogan, "Let the market decide" assumes the market itself is The Decider. The market is seen as both natural (since it is assumed that people naturally seek their self-interest) and moral (if everyone seeks their own profit, the profit of all will be maximized by the invisible hand). As the ultimate moral authority, there should be no power higher than the market that might go against market values. Thus the government can spend money to protect the market and promote market values, but should not rule over it either through (1) regulation, (2) taxation, (3) unions and worker rights, (4) environmental protection or food safety laws, and (5) tort cases. Moreover, government should not do public service. The market has service industries for that. Thus, it would be wrong for the government to provide health care, education, public broadcasting, public parks, and so on. The very idea of these things is at odds with the conservative moral system. No one should be paying for anyone else. It is individual responsibility in all arenas. Taxation is thus seen as taking money away from those who have earned it and giving it to people who don't deserve it. Taxation cannot be seen as providing the necessities of life, a civilized society, and as necessary for business to prosper.

In conservative family life, the strict father rules. Fathers and husbands should have control over reproduction; hence, parental and spousal notification laws and opposition to abortion. In conservative religion, God is seen as the strict father, the Lord, who rewards and punishes according to individual responsibility in following his Biblical word.

Above all, the authority of conservatism itself must be maintained. The country should be ruled by conservative values, and progressive values are seen as evil. Science should have authority over the market, and so the science of global warming and evolution must be denied. Facts that are inconsistent with the authority of conservatism must be ignored or denied or explained away. To protect and extend conservative values themselves, the devil's own means can be used again conservatism's immoral enemies, whether lies, intimidation, torture, or even death, say, for women's doctors.

Freedom is defined as being your own strict father -- with individual not social responsibility, and without any government authority telling you what you can and cannot do. To defend that freedom as an individual, you will of course need a gun.

This is the America that conservatives really want. Budget deficits are convenient ruses for destroying American democracy and replacing it with conservative rule in all areas of life.

What is saddest of all is to see Democrats helping them.

Democrats help radical conservatives by accepting the deficit frame and arguing about what to cut. Even arguing against specific "cuts" is working within the conservative frame. What is the alternative? Pointing out what conservatives really want. Point out that there is plenty of money in America, and in Wisconsin. It is at the top. The disparity in financial assets is un-American -- the top one percent has more financial assets than the bottom 95 percent. Middle class wages have been flat for 30 years, while the wealth has floated to the top. This fits the conservative way of life, but not the American way of life.

Democrats help conservatives by not shouting out loud over and over that it was conservative values that caused the global economic collapse: lack of regulation and a greed-is-good ethic.

Democrats also help conservatives by what a friend has called Democratic Communication Disorder. Republican conservatives have constructed a vast and effective communication system, with think tanks, framing experts, training institutes, a system of trained speakers, vast holdings of media, and booking agents. Eighty percent of the talking heads on TV are conservatives. Talk matters because language heard over and over changes brains. Democrats have not built the communication system they need, and many are relatively clueless about how to frame their deepest values and complex truths.

And Democrats help conservatives when they function as policy wonks -- talking policy without communicating the moral values behind the policies. They help conservatives when they neglect to remind us that pensions are deferred payments for work done. "Benefits" are pay for work, not a handout. Pensions and benefits are arranged by contract. If there is not enough money for them, it is because the contracted funds have been taken by conservative officials and given to wealthy people and corporations instead of to the people who have earned them.

Democrats help conservatives when they use conservative words like "entitlements" instead of "earnings" and speak of government as providing "services" instead of "necessities."

Is there hope?

I see it in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands citizens see through the conservative frames and are willing to flood the streets of their capital to stand up for their rights. They understand that democracy is about citizens uniting to take care of each other, about social responsibility as well as individual responsibility, and about work -- not just for your own profit, but to help create a civilized society. They appreciate their teachers, nurses, firemen, police, and other public servants. They are flooding the streets to demand real democracy -- the democracy of caring, of social responsibility, and of excellence, where prosperity is to be shared by those who work and those who serve.



http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-lakoff/what-conservatives-really_b_825504.html
0 Replies
 
 

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