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Author Topic: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)  (Read 3097 times)

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Online Valerian

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2011, 09:43:48 AM »
Since Lyell neglected to offer his source for his last post:

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2009/05/what-unions-do-how-labor-unions-affect-jobs-and-the-economy

Quote from: The Heritage Foundation
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
Emphasis mine.

If you're only researching on sites with an anti-union agenda, you're certainly not going to get the whole picture.

Offline Rhys

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2011, 10:35:56 AM »
And you can go on American Progress Reaction and see pretty much the exact same statistics spun to the extreme the other way to show why unions are good thing. This is why neutral sources are our friends.

That said, as you said before only like what was it? 12% of our workforce is unionized? That's the statistic I found, at least. Placing the blame for economic stagnation on the unions when they don't represent 88% of works was enough for me to call your statistics into question. Seeing they come from the Heritage Foundation just makes me roll my eyes and move on, looking for someone who's going to tell the story impartially.

Offline Lyell

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2011, 04:34:15 PM »
I was asked to provide evidence of harm that unions do. Notably while drinking heavily. If we are to discount anyone with an agenda, any second party source is unreliable. A subject that involves how much one is or is not paid is rather difficult to cover unbiased.

A member of the JoongAng Ilbo Economic Research Institute is of the opinion that only unions that have grown to levels which the employer or government cannot control are problems. I don't know how credited this information is since it'll probably be discounted for being about overseas instead of here.

"[…] a labor union of a large business group benefits from wage hike, the expenses to do so go to contractors. Wages of workers at contractors will go down, or the contractors will reduce new hires. An executive of an auto component maker at Ulsan's Hyomun industrial complex said, "Whenever the Hyundai Motor labor union and the firm undergo wage negotiations, prices of our components were mentioned. Eventually, we have to cut down the wage increase that we promised to our workers." Due to the activities of militant labor unions, a labor market becomes polarized.

When Kia or Hyundai motor companies see that some of its car models become unexpectedly popular, the employers must place more workers on the assembly lines of those models as soon as possible. But, the employers could not do so, because the labor unions reject such changes.

When workers change assembly lines, such reshuffles may change the number of representatives at the labor unions representing certain factions or interest groups, disturbing the power balance within the labor unions. Therefore, such position changes are often rejected by unions. After the Kia Motors incident, labor unions have lost the public trust. […]" http://industrialrelations.typepad.com/unionsfirmsmarkets/2005/03/when_unions_hur.html

Problems in Malaysia, "demanded the conversion of daily wages to monthly salaries. Although it was a valid demand, the strike, which lasted 22 days, had an economic backlash. It would be an unimaginable episode, a nightmare, if this were to happen in the present. The loss in revenue productivity and development will run into millions of ringgit if not billions. The economy would be crippled." http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/new-straits-times/mi_8016/is_20100105/unions-harm/ai_n45775096/

But like I said, overseas examples that will likely be dismissed for being such.

I found this one entertaining, though a blog from another economist and clearly slated twords conservatism. May or may not be worth your time. http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/02/labour_unions

I'd quote Milton and Rose Friedman but they're right to work advocates. Which is probably why I don't see a lot of countermaterial, since it would come from union advocates. Oh, I've been trying to find something that disproves the "no economic theory exists that conveys unions increase economic efficiency" bit as a means of entertaining myself. No matter how I plug it in, unions and economic efficiency only seems to point twords arguments about social equality.





Offline Jude

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2011, 04:43:32 PM »
I feel like we have a fundamentally different definition of the word "union."  When I think union, I think of a group of laborers who have come together to pool their individual influence so that they actually have a chance of receiving better compensation and working conditions.  Individually they have no power because their employer can terminate them if they refuse to work, but together they actually have some recourse because collectively they represent an important asset of production.  What's bad about this?

It seems like nearly every criticism you give of unions only applies to those that become corrupt.  I don't disagree that it can happen, but if you're going to judge the entire array of unions by the worst among them, of course you're going to feel that they're bad for our country.  The same can be said of corporations.

Now if you believe there aren't any (or many) greedy corporations out there that do really unscrupulous things to their workers I don't know what to say.  I find that position so utterly disconnected from the reality of modern America that it basically serves as a gap that no discussion can bridge.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2011, 04:52:22 PM »
I have agreed that the Unions can be hard to deal with but I doubt that ALL unions are as diabolically 'anti-business' as you seem to find Lyell. The research institute you pointed out in your post isn't' even an American organization, and from the looks of it primarily focused on business growth.

So, I'll ask this as I'm not sure I'm following your logic in this post and prior ones.

Are you saying that Unions are unneeded to protect the worker's interests at all, despite historic evidence to the contrary going back to the 1800s in several countries? No group is absolutely 'good' or 'evil' and to eliminate one without some counter to another group is asking for even more abuse.

Before you eliminate a group as significant as Unions and Collective Bargaining as a whole, can you say with sureness that big business/government won't exploit the opening? Look at the moves such businessmen as Frank Lorenzo did to break contracts with Unions. He broke contracts, worked people and aircraft to unsafe levels of performance and finally bankrupted Continental in an effort to break the unions. It was such a nasty move that when he did similar actions in 1989 when he ran Eastern Airlines that Congress passed a bill EXPRESSLY to investigate the labor dispute.  President Bush vetoed it and Eastern followed Continental into bankruptcy. Lorenzo got what he wanted, money, and everyone else got poorer out of it.

In both cases it was Business that refused to mediate and discuss things. Lorenzo ran his airlines into the ground, and risked THOUSANDS of people's safety by circumventing safety practices. No one would have noticed if the machinists hadn't tried to bring it up during their negotiations and eventual strike.

Offline Elle Mental

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #30 on: March 07, 2011, 04:57:50 PM »
Your definition of "Union" is likely closer to the original intent of their creation. Much like businesses are formed for the original intent on providing better goods and services to people.

Alas, however, the name of the game is money and authority. And corporations, as you pointed out, are blamed tirelessly for their money loving ways. Unions, however, are hardly a beacon of humanity. You don't think Union leaders are out for themselves? Truth be told, the only time when unions and/or big businesses become insufferable is when they get involved in politics. Because no matter what, a politician will always lean one way or another in regards to business vs. unions. When that happens benefits go to the victor and their original intent becomes highly skewed.

Offline Lyell

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2011, 05:58:58 PM »
I never said unions were anti-business. If the corporation falls, so too do the unions since they won't be able to sustain themselves without dues. I have however said that they are bad for business.

The United States has its own history regarding slave mines and sweat shops. Labor unions brought to light those issues, and later legislation was created to protect the common worker. I have never argued that no good has ever come from unions. Government legislation mandates Human Resource departments and OSHA adherance for corporations. As problems that labor unions addressed recieved recognition and laws to prevent them, unions perpetuated themselves so that they would survive and continue collecting dues. Circumventing safety protocol sounds like something that OSHA would be interested in investigating and whistleblower protection would have prevented backlash, assuming they existed for these scenarios and were called upon. I admit the protection is needed, but the redundancy is costly.

Offline Apple of Eris

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2011, 09:35:34 PM »
I've seen you mention whistleblower protection repeatedly. You do realize that there is a complete mash of federal laws about 20 if I remember correctly that deal with whistleblowing. I can tell you a good number are environmental in nature (as in whistleblowing violations of the clean water/air acts etc), at least one deals solely with truckdrivers, and one is specific to corporate fraud, one act only states that government employees can't be retaliated against for a report to congress.

Now, if you look at the case Garcetti v. Ceballos 547 US 410 (2006) you'll find that the Supreme Court ruled that a government employee, acting in the capacity of their office is entitled to no first amendement protections because they are not acting as private citizens. Essentially, that sets a precedent that a human resource worker could discover that her boss is not hiring, lets say white folks, because they dislike caucasians. Our intrepid HR worker complains through channels and is soon transferred out to a job that pays less, etc. What can she do? Well, as it turns out, because she acted in her job capacity, not much. Had she gone public, there is perhaps a chance she might have protection, but would likely be sued for breach of confidentiality and if it isn't proven what her boss had done, could be hit with a defamation lawsuit as well.

Now look at the protections state by state, as each state offers various levels of protection. Here's a listing by state: http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=13390 I'd like to point out that a number of states have no whistleblower protections, some states offer them only to public employees, and many fewer public and private employees.

Let's take a look at the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 as well. It protects only federal whistleblowers, and has three authorized agencies that enforce the act. One, the Office of Special Counsel. It hasn't had a permanent head since 2008 when Scott J Bloch stepped down. Bloch by the way would later be investigated for retaliating against employees, and also for not following up complaints filed by gay claimants. He later pleaded guilty to improperly deleting files (bringing in an outside firm to scrub agency computers of files related to investigations of his conduct).

Agency two, the Merit Systems Protection Board. Basically it is meant to protect Executive branch employees from wrongful termination. The most obvious being if an employee were hired during a one administration and later fired by a new administration simply for being of the wrong political leaning, basically the board is meant to prevent that. In the past decade, out of approximately 60 cases, less than five were decided in favor of terminated employees.

The third agency is The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This court was critized by several lawmakers, including conservatives such as Senator Grassley (Iowa) for misinterpreting whistleblower laws and setting precedents hostile to claimants. This court, from 1994-2010 has found for claimants in only 3 cases out of 203.

Really before it can be claimed that unions are not needed anymore because whistleblowers have protection, they need to actually have protection.


Oh and just a couple references
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-03-14-whistleblowers_N.htm

http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=13390

and this was interesting reading, to me anyway.
http://digitalcommons.wcl.american.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1339&context=aulr

Offline Lyell

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #33 on: March 07, 2011, 11:15:41 PM »
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives employees and their representatives the right to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or their employer is not following OSHA standards. Further, the Act gives complainants the right to request that their names not be revealed to their employers.

Complaints from employees and their representatives are taken seriously by OSHA. It is against the law for an employer to fire, demote, transfer, or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2011, 11:19:11 PM »
The employee or Representatives may file the complaint. If the person doesn't have a union to represent them then who files? The laws for grievances are similar I am sure.

Offline Lyell

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2011, 11:23:11 PM »
They can choose for their names not to be revealed. It's anonymous as far as the employer is concerned.

Offline Will

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2011, 11:37:51 PM »
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives employees and their representatives the right to file a complaint and request an OSHA inspection of their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or their employer is not following OSHA standards. Further, the Act gives complainants the right to request that their names not be revealed to their employers.

Complaints from employees and their representatives are taken seriously by OSHA. It is against the law for an employer to fire, demote, transfer, or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.

"Occupational safety and health" hardly covers all the necessary bases.  You've been given examples of systems not working; OSHA doesn't handle the same types of cases, so I fail to see how they qualify as a rebuttal.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2011, 11:39:05 PM by Will »

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #37 on: March 08, 2011, 12:23:07 AM »
What (or who do you talk to) in cases like Enron where the company engaged in MASSIVE deletion of electronic documents and other actions? OSHA doesn't do that either.

Offline Lyell

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #38 on: March 08, 2011, 01:08:13 AM »
Corporate fraud? Sounds like a FBI case.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #39 on: March 08, 2011, 01:11:06 AM »
Corporate fraud? Sounds like a FBI case.

Thing was at the TIME the crime didn't exist on the books (technically!)..the Data protection acts were after the fact. Corporate mischief, particularly in this fast developing tech world, sometimes proceeds legislation.

Offline Will

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2011, 01:12:38 AM »
I'm not clear on why taking your employer to court is such a perfect fix.  Others have mentioned companies using certain tactics to quash that kind of action, such as dragging out the litigation to the point where the employee has no money left to continue.  You haven't responded to this, Lyell.

Offline Vekseid

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2011, 04:12:00 AM »
I'm not clear on why taking your employer to court is such a perfect fix.  Others have mentioned companies using certain tactics to quash that kind of action, such as dragging out the litigation to the point where the employee has no money left to continue.  You haven't responded to this, Lyell.

SLAPP lawsuits and gag order settlements in particular.

Not to mention the excessive backlog of civil suits lately.

Corporate fraud? Sounds like a FBI case.

On whose budget?

The FBI was certainly aware of massive fraud in 2004, but they weren't allowed to go after it.

Offline Lyell

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2011, 08:04:36 AM »
I haven't responded to it because like everyone else on this section of the board I ignore when someone has proven their points validity rather than concede. It's fairly common.

Taking the last decade's activity into account and then some, Congressional budget and the diversion of focus from crime to counter-terrorism let recent issues slip through. They've been stretched thin by Bush era paranoia for a while. The Obama administration has been working to correct this mistake since 2008, one of the things I actually applaud him for doing. Before discounting them as a viable means, the FBI should get a proper chance under more optimal operating conditions, yes?

Offline Jude

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #43 on: March 08, 2011, 11:38:24 AM »
Lyell, you have a point about the corruption of some unions, I just don't think the answer is to get rid of them all as a result.  I'm also having a hard time seeing how what you propose as an alternative is any different.

Lets say we abolished unions and the government officially became responsible for watching corporations in order to ensure workers are getting compensated fairly and work under good conditions.  We'd need legislation to establish all of this.  There would have to be some sort of baseline set for each and every industry by the government to establish these fair conditions.  Corporations in every industry would lobby for those standards to be set at a level that is beneficial to them.

Now, in order for those things to be fair, the workers need to have their voice heard as well.  So they're going to need to form a lobbying group as well.  It's costly to lobby; and the group will need to stick around incase congress reviews changing the baseline because of economic conditions such as inflation or cost of living increases.  How is this lobby any different than a union exactly?  All you've done is publicized a private process; something small government conservatives should abhor.

So, why are conservatives so staunchly against unions?  I don't get it.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #44 on: March 08, 2011, 12:03:27 PM »
I know that some companies like pushing everything into arbitration, and that several have been found to have unseemly amounts of connections to their arbitrators. In fact so companies go so far as making ALL issues that come up as the ONLY method of dealing with problems. As in when you sign your contract you give away all your rights to sue or pursue judicial action against the company.

That doesn't seem very fair.

Offline Lyell

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2011, 07:19:06 PM »
Lets say we abolished unions and the government officially became responsible for watching corporations in order to ensure workers are getting compensated fairly and work under good conditions.  We'd need legislation to establish all of this.  There would have to be some sort of baseline set for each and every industry by the government to establish these fair conditions.  Corporations in every industry would lobby for those standards to be set at a level that is beneficial to them.

You mean like how OSHA sets standards for minimum safety and health requirements, as does the federal established minimum wage? Free market theory suggests that corporations who desire employees of stronger skill set and reliability will pay more to hire and retain them. My current employer goes so far as to outline which training and habits will merit advancement and raises.

Now, in order for those things to be fair, the workers need to have their voice heard as well.  So they're going to need to form a lobbying group as well.  It's costly to lobby; and the group will need to stick around incase congress reviews changing the baseline because of economic conditions such as inflation or cost of living increases.  How is this lobby any different than a union exactly?  All you've done is publicized a private process; something small government conservatives should abhor.

How would pooling money to lobby for Democratic candidates and lobbyists be any different than paying dues to an organization that does it for you? Well for one, I'd like to think the money would go to candidates who are interested in protecting EVERY worker instead of just those who are members of unions.
 How much less private would it be than being forced to identify with a union who possibly doesn't represent your views? "Most countries that rely on private donations to fund campaigns require extensive disclosure of donations, frequently including information such as the name, employer and address of donors. This is intended to allow for policing of undue donor influence by other campaigns or by good government groups, while preserving most benefits of private financing." All it would do is level the field for individuals who are already forced to disclose their personal information. Isn't an equal chance for everyone something a democrat would drive for?

So, why are conservatives so staunchly against unions?  I don't get it.

 Typically it comes down to the pay. Union negotiated pay increases hurt many businesses by forcing them to cut jobs and services, export jobs overseas (where it's cheaper), and raise the prices of goods to compensate for the decrease in profit. I don't know why profit is such a bad word on this board. It's a difference between money generated by normal business activities and cost, as Apple has established, workers fall under. Looking at the technical terms a little more closely, I understand what he meant.
 Most profit is reinvested into the business to make sure it can sustain itself as business climate and technology evolve. Unions infringe upon that capacity, usually passing the cost on to the consumer. Considering how low the profit margin is on the food industry already, I can see why McDonald's and other restaurants avoid them like the plague.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2011, 07:22:49 PM »
So.. let me see if I got your issues on Unions donating/collecting money down right.


It's BAD when a union supports politicians who support a generally pro-labor outlook. (Better work conditions, job security, wages and such)

but it's GOOD when folks like the Koch Brothers spend MILLIONS to eliminate known Carcinogens from the lists put out by the American Cancer society, pay even more MILLIONS to lobbyists, special interests and all the rest?

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Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2011, 07:37:02 PM »
Typically it comes down to the pay. Union negotiated pay increases hurt many businesses by forcing them to cut jobs and services, export jobs overseas (where it's cheaper), and raise the prices of goods to compensate for the decrease in profit.

Hang on, do you seriously believe that union negotiated pay rises are why corporations cut jobs and export them overseas?

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Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2011, 09:00:30 PM »
Also, OSHA and the like came out of the unions of the early 1900's.  Before that, we had incidents like the Triangle Shirt Waist Fire, and the Monongah Coal Mine explosion (referred to as 'the worst industrial accident in US history').

Offline itsbeenfun2000

Re: General Union Stuffs (was: Scott Walker, Union Buster)
« Reply #49 on: March 08, 2011, 09:14:48 PM »
Why would we trust the cooporations to do whats right when they skipped all kinds of saftey checks in the gulf? It is not like the big oil/coal/industry is willing not to take risks with the lives of their labor force anymore. With unions at least they have laws they have to answer to.