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Why the anti-union animosity?

 
 
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 09:26 am
More Americans are employees than employers. Presumably, then, most Americans would have sympathy for fellow employees rather than for employers. Yet that sympathy often doesn't extend to fellow employees who are union members. I can understand if you're a boss who doesn't like unions, but I'm at a loss to understand why a worker wouldn't like them. Can someone explain this to me?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 34 • Views: 15,633 • Replies: 327

 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 09:53 am
@joefromchicago,
i'm a fan of the concept of unions, but i think some unions (the CAW for one) have kind of lost there way, even a few folks i know who are members of the union say some of the demands and the perks are ridiculous, we have health care in Canada, so i can see asking for drug plans, but private hospital rooms, ambulance fees, i mean come on that's a small price to pay when the operation isn't costing you or an insurer thousands of dollars, on of the company contracts had a certain amount of legal fees for personal cases covered, again, perhaps the union should cover work related legal fees, but really, the company should help pay for your divorce, i don't think so
engineer
 
  5  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:01 am
@joefromchicago,
I work in a union plant. The issue that causes the most heart burn is that union rules often make it very difficult if not impossible to address sub-standard performance on the job and to reward strong performances. Of course most workers are hard working and strive to do a decent job, but the few how milk the rules cause a lot of heartburn and tend to be remembered long after the good guys go home.
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:08 am
@engineer,
Well, there are people everywhere who want to work the rules rather than their jobs. I'm not convinced that that's unique to union shops.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:16 am
@djjd62,
djjd62 wrote:

i'm a fan of the concept of unions, but i think some unions (the CAW for one) have kind of lost there way, even a few folks i know who are members of the union say some of the demands and the perks are ridiculous...

That may very well be so, but then Christina Aguilera demands that her hotel room be supplied with Flintstones chewable vitamins, and it doesn't seem to affect her popularity. In a marketplace where both sides bargain for advantages, why begrudge the workers who get a few things that they deem important?
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:19 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
In a marketplace where both sides bargain for advantages, why begrudge the workers who get a few things that they deem important?


If I had a sense that the workers were getting the things they actually want or understand I'd be more comfortable. I've been in meetings where union leadership has things put into the contract that will really only benefit themselves, at the cost of things that would be of benefit to their membership. I was quite revolted by their attitudes.

Union members - generally decent.

Union leadership - I'm suspicious about their motives at least 50% of the time.
Cycloptichorn
 
  3  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:22 am
@ehBeth,
Quote:

Union leadership - I'm suspicious about their motives at least 50% of the time.


Can't we widen that to say 'all business leadership?'

Cycloptichorn
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:28 am
@Cycloptichorn,
You may be able to. I can't.

Not sure how business leadership can be defined in any particularly meaningful way, so I look at business ownership.

The majority (in Canada, at least) of business owners are small business owners, and I am not suspicious of the intentions of the majority of small business owners.
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:39 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

You may be able to. I can't.

Not sure how business leadership can be defined in any particularly meaningful way, so I look at business ownership.

The majority (in Canada, at least) of business owners are small business owners, and I am not suspicious of the intentions of the majority of small business owners.


Instead of ownership, you should say 'management.' That's a better corollary.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  5  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:40 am
@joefromchicago,
I'm on the fence here...

I grew up in airplane country. as much as 25% of the town was employed at times building for Boeing and the many small plane manufacturers based there.

the running motto preached to the guys newly hired on was "slow down, you work too fast. we gotta have stuff to do next week."

and when I was traveling doing arena shows, the union in Chicago was nuts. they handed us a piece of paper with the rules on it of what we had to stop and wait to let the union do, because we were not allowed to do it for ourselves (hanging banners, moving drapes, silly stuff...). it took all day to set for a show that should have taken 4 hours.

but I now work for a small local union, and without it, there would not be any shows or events put on here. but the key figures in it are regular folks, not professional executives. they work right alongside of us for the most part.

I think that it's kinda like businesses themselves.

the bigger they get, the more corruption and greed seeps in.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:46 am
@joefromchicago,
True, but those who don't carry their weight often find they don't have jobs.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:49 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

True, but those who don't carry their weight often find they don't have jobs.


Along with a lot of people who do in fact carry their weight. Thus the need for unions.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:50 am
@engineer,
Theoretically.

I've never worked in a union shop, yet I've seen my share of slackers, shirkers, and screw-ups. Some got fired. Some got promoted. As Joseph Heller pointed out, if you can't shoot the sons of bitches, the next best thing is to give them all medals.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:51 am
A lot of this may stem from Reagan's successful union-busting policy. Without much thought, people assumed that if it was Reagan's policy, it must be a good policy. Long after so many of Reagan's policies have been discredited, they continue to be held in respect. The only comment i can make is that human nature is perverse.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:53 am
@Rockhead,
Rockhead wrote:
and when I was traveling doing arena shows, the union in Chicago was nuts. they handed us a piece of paper with the rules on it of what we had to stop and wait to let the union do, because we were not allowed to do it for ourselves (hanging banners, moving drapes, silly stuff...). it took all day to set for a show that should have taken 4 hours.

Yet management agreed to all those nutty rules. So why not be mad at management rather than the union?
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:57 am
@joefromchicago,
I just call them as I see them, Joe. (I know I sound like Setanta, but... i'm not mad, bubba)

you and I both know there is plenty of nuts to go around in the windy city...
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 10:58 am
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

Rockhead wrote:
and when I was traveling doing arena shows, the union in Chicago was nuts. they handed us a piece of paper with the rules on it of what we had to stop and wait to let the union do, because we were not allowed to do it for ourselves (hanging banners, moving drapes, silly stuff...). it took all day to set for a show that should have taken 4 hours.

Yet management agreed to all those nutty rules. So why not be mad at management rather than the union?


There does seem to be a pretension amongst anti-union folks that management is helpless in the face of union demands.

Cycloptichorn
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 11:14 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Those poor, helpless employers.

I have a theory about this. People are much more envious, and therefore resentful, of someone who is close to them in economic terms than of someone who isn't. Average Guy can envy Bill Gates's success and his billions and can say "I wish I were him," but he can't honestly say "I could be him." On the other hand, if Average Guy's neighbor gets a $5-an-hour pay raise, that's something else entirely. Average Guy sees some auto worker on the assembly line making $55 an hour and says "that joker is making more than me, and he's hardly working at all." In contrast, you can bet that, when Average Guy sees Paris Hilton in a magazine, the first thing that pops into his head isn't "that joker is making more than me, and she's hardly working at all."
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 11:19 am
@joefromchicago,
but i don't have to support paris hilton, i.e. buy her products, actually i've never supported the auto unions either, i.e. i've never bought their products
0 Replies
 
wayne
 
  2  
Reply Tue 22 Feb, 2011 06:16 pm
@joefromchicago,
I don't think there is any particular answer to this question.
On the one hand, unions have long ago become business themselves. I worked in a union shop, long ago, while I believe the union helped at times, it was obvious that human nature and ego had it's effect on union officials.
Others here have mentioned the limitations unions infer upon the high achiever in the group, that is cause for some resentment.

Also, there are the folks who work jobs that will never see any benefit from unions. Small businessmen, and their employees are at the mercy of the economy and inflation. In their eyes the unions have gotten way out of hand, creating inflationary problems, rising costs, standards and the like.

I remember my father ( a small business man) watching union strikers on the tv in the 70's, guys standing in front of a house in the suburbs with 2 new cars in the drive complaining about their share, his opinion of that wasn't too high.

The bottom line is that unions ( not all, but many) did it to themselves. They got just as greedy as the employers they struggled against.
The original purpose was great, protecting the worker's interests, and this country surely needed that. But they didn't stop there, and soon created standards far beyond what the average non-union worker, with a decent employer, could ever hope to acheive.
 

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