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Income Inequality

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I'd say it's a generation gap. The older tech workers (say over 35 in this case; that's not old but it's where techie demos shift) and company founders have been very suburban their entire lives. All "nerd" activity was concentrated in the 'burbs with almost no participation from urban dwellers or rural residents. Cities kind of scare them; too many people, non-nerds, suits and weirdos around. The younger tech workers for the most part like the city. They don't like areas with spotty internet or cell service, driving, jocks and former jocks that fill the 'burbs, sports bars, bigass trucks and SUVs, Nu-Country and all that. Whereas the older tech workers ignore that stuff as long as they get some space and "safety".

 

Also the older tech workers seem to really be into car collecting and racing as a hobby whereas the younger ones don't care. Wait about 20 years and see if the value of old collectible video games such as Stadium Events starts passing the value of vintage Ferarris and we'll know.

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You're right.  When I was a kid, nerds were into HAM radio and model railroads.  A guy up the street had one of those antennaes(sp?) in the back yard.  Model railroads are inevitably in basements.  There were a lot of guys into RC racing and flying model airplanes and helicopters.  Again, a suburban-leaning activity.  I don't think I've seen a hipster controlling an RC Big Foot in a parade yet, but I'm sure that day will come. 

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And that's in Cincinnati. R/C is 3X as big up here than it is down there. Tracks can barely make it down there (and usually don't) whereas they get 200+ racers a weekend here.

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I don’t know if you all have noticed, but the world has been largely remade as per the “nerds” born during the 60s and early 70s.

 

Buy stuff, including clothes, from home?  Never go hang out anywhere like a mall?  Discover new music without going to concerts/clubs?  Play games at home instead of sports? Have interests outside the norm without dealing with corresponding social pressures?  Read a book without anyone knowing that (let alone what) you are reading?  Talk to people on the QT without family or friends knowing?  Indeed, minimizing extraneous interaction whenever possible.

 

The “cool kids” would have found this creepy.  The nerds would have like the idea….and did.

 

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What's going on now with "tech nerds" is something different, because it appears to me that they didn't go through the physical harassment celebrated in Revenge of the Nerds, etc.  They have been free to indulge in pursuits that would have formerly gotten them stuffed in garbage cans.  That bad social environment was where much of the army of metalheads and punk kids came from.  There was for several decades a mix of music by oppressors and the oppressed on the radio.  Now it's almost like that dichotomy has gone away, no matter what Lady Gaga's contrived back story says. 

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People pay their car bills before their house and credit cards?  Why is this reporter surprised?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/bill-most-americans-pay-first-160426973.html

 

If you don't live AND work near public transportation, you are left with little choice.  Then, paying a minimum payment on a maxed-out credit card lets you charge $100-200 the next month whereas making a mortgage payment does not.  It seems like a lot of reporters and economists have never been broke! 

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People pay their car bills before their house and credit cards?  Why is this reporter surprised?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/bill-most-americans-pay-first-160426973.html

If you don't live AND work near public transportation, you are left with little choice.  Then, paying a minimum payment on a maxed-out credit card lets you charge $100-200 the next month whereas making a mortgage payment does not.  It seems like a lot of reporters and economists have never been broke!

 

That is a well observed phenomenon. The best position is to have no debts other than your monthly utilities, taxes, and whatever you charge on a credit card. We do use a credit card as I hate to carry much cash. The newest car we have is a 2001 which is just about to turn 50,000 miles. At 12 years old it has been paid for at least 8 years. The house has been paid for at least that long also. We pay that credit card off monthly as I hate to pay interest. If you can keep your head above water in that manner, life is worth living and maybe enjoyable.

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People pay their car bills before their house and credit cards?  Why is this reporter surprised?

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/bill-most-americans-pay-first-160426973.html

If you don't live AND work near public transportation, you are left with little choice.  Then, paying a minimum payment on a maxed-out credit card lets you charge $100-200 the next month whereas making a mortgage payment does not.  It seems like a lot of reporters and economists have never been broke!

 

That is a well observed phenomenon. The best position is to have no debts other than your monthly utilities, taxes, and whatever you charge on a credit card. We do use a credit card as I hate to carry much cash. The newest car we have is a 2001 which is just about to turn 50,000 miles. At 12 years old it has been paid for at least 8 years. The house has been paid for at least that long also. We pay that credit card off monthly as I hate to pay interest. If you can keep your head above water in that manner, life is worth living and maybe enjoyable.

 

Agreed.  I'd also add that the second best position is to have manageable debts at low fixed rates over long terms with no prepayment penalties.  After years of swearing that I'd never be a homeowner (and even going so far as to re-share a lot of articles here from other sites about how it's not as wise an investment as old conventional wisdom posits), I find myself on the wrong end of a mortgage.  (Still no car payment, but my little '01 Altima is north of 160k now and it's starting to need work more regularly.)  But it's at 3.65%, and we bought a house that was well within our means.  Could be worse.

 

Also, from a financial jargon perspective: Those other things you mentioned aren't even really "debts."  Utilities, current taxes, and revolving credit lines (including credit cards) that you pay off every month are just accounts, not true "debts."  Sure, they're financial obligations, but not even that much different than the fact that you owe money to a bar between the time you get your drinks and the time you pay your bill, too.  (My financial institution offers its credit cards as a cash management service, not through its loan department.)  You can still get in all kinds of trouble with credit cards and taxes, and I actually think utility bills are what I'd prioritize first in a cash flow crunch, but it's hard for utilities to really drive someone to insolvency the way loan financing can.

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Also the older tech workers seem to really be into car collecting and racing as a hobby whereas the younger ones don't care. Wait about 20 years and see if the value of old collectible video games such as Stadium Events starts passing the value of vintage Ferarris and we'll know.

 

Good point that I missed earlier.

 

I know the guy that, if I am not mistaken, runs Apple's video department.  (He's pretty low key and if anything would downplay his role).  He's got some very impressive vehicles. 

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FEBRUARY 5, 2014 AT 3:35 PM

Biden: Unions 'only guys keeping the barbarians at the gate'

DAVID SHEPARDSON DETROIT NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

 

Washington — Vice President Joe Biden defended the role of organized labor, saying opponents are mounting a long-term war to attack unions.

 

“These guys on the right — they know without you there — they call every shot,” Biden told more than 1,000 UAW members and retirees on the final day on its four-day annual political conference here. “You guys are the only guys keeping the barbarians at the gate.”

 

He criticized right-to-work laws approved in Michigan and Indiana. “Did you ever think you would see a day when right to work would pass in Michigan?” Biden said. “It’s not a right to work.”

 

He held up a chart that said the fall in unionization had been a factor in the decline in wages.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140205/AUTO01/302050081


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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He held up a chart that said the fall in unionization had been a factor in the decline in wages.

 

And also a factor in an increase in productivity.... ;)

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^No chart?

 

I'll save you the time and let you know that you will find arguments on both sides. 

 

Automation has certainly contributed to higher per worker productivity at the same time that union membership has declined.  That doesn't mean the worker is actually working harder though.  In many instances, it is quite the opposite.

 

I suppose what would really make workers more 'productive' is if their masters still carried whips so they could dole out lashes around the shop.

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^you ever work in a unionized factory, KJP?  No sarcasm intended, serious question.  I ask, because I have worked in quite a few.  Some of the least productive places I've ever seen

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^I'm not KJP, but yes we have heard you harp on that before and, at this point, I don't think that anyone would expect any different perspective from you.  Suffice it to say that you have not worked in enough unionized factories to give a statistically relevant analysis.  I could just as easily say that several non-union shops I have worked at were far from ideal in terms of productivity and pay.  IMO, nothing kills the drive-to-produce more than an underpaying gig you are not happy with that doesn't even carry any job security. 

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San Francisco’s Income Gap Captures Wall Street Spotlight: Tech

By Ari Levy and Dan Levy Jan 28, 2014 9:03 AM PT

 

The epicenter of the income inequality debate has shifted 2,600 miles west, from Wall Street to Market Street.

 

Whether it’s protesters targeting Twitter Inc. (TWTR)’s new San Francisco headquarters and Google Inc. (GOOG)’s buses or the criticism against these agitators by former venture capitalist Tom Perkins, the Bay Area’s technology industry is attracting the kind of attention often reserved for New York’s moneyed elite.

 

Concern about the growing gap between the wealthiest and poorest Americans is erupting across San Francisco, where an influx of newly minted dot-com millionaires is boosting rents and property prices, putting affordable housing that much further out of reach. Rage over inequality has spilled into the streets, where demonstrators have blocked buses transporting Google employees, breaking the window in one in Oakland.

 

“All booms have their winners and losers,” said John Elberling, executive vice president of Todco, a San Francisco-based builder of affordable housing. “Even if you have a good job, it’s very likely you can’t afford to buy a place in the city.”

 

CONTINUED

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-28/san-francisco-s-income-gap-captures-wall-street-spotlight-tech.html

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IMO, nothing kills the drive-to-produce more than an underpaying gig you are not happy with that doesn't even carry any job security. 

 

Second this.

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I have a big problem with many of the cumbersome, unnecessary work rules that unions insist upon. But I have a bigger problem with the collapsing wages in this country. So much so that I'd rather put up with silly work rules in exchange for better wages. Perhaps corporate owners may recognize that the key to prevent unions from regaining strength in America is to embrace revising free trade agreements so they can afford to pay their workers in accordance with the cost of living. Perhaps it's time to put large tariffs on imports from countries that abuse worker/human rights and dump goods here at subsidized prices. But managers/owners had better do something to restore American workers' dignity or they will do so on their own terms.

 

As a friend of mine who was a plant manager at GM in the 1970s and 80s said, "The biggest reason why a union shop exists is because management failed to treat its workers with greater respect."


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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>"The biggest reason why a union shop exists is because management failed to treat its workers with greater respect."

 

This is exactly it.  Most owners have nothing but contempt for their workforce.  Many if not most owners either inherited their businesses from their dad or uncle or they started the business, at least in part, with family money or some other advantage.  Yet they are certain that they would have achieved that same level of success even if they had been raised under the circumstances of their hourly workforce. 

 

Then they purposefully promote the nastiest personalities to manage the shop floor, I think as some sort of sadistic punishment for those hourly workers who they detest so deeply.  Those guys "deserve" it.  At least five times I've been around managers who dared their workers to come in and shoot up the place. 

 

 

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I have a big problem with many of the cumbersome, unnecessary work rules that unions insist upon. But I have a bigger problem with the collapsing wages in this country. So much so that I'd rather put up with silly work rules in exchange for better wages. Perhaps corporate owners may recognize that the key to prevent unions from regaining strength in America is to embrace revising free trade agreements so they can afford to pay their workers in accordance with the cost of living. Perhaps it's time to put large tariffs on imports from countries that abuse worker/human rights and dump goods here at subsidized prices. But managers/owners had better do something to restore American workers' dignity or they will do so on their own terms.

 

As a friend of mine who was a plant manager at GM in the 1970s and 80s said, "The biggest reason why a union shop exists is because management failed to treat its workers with greater respect."

 

Yes, though I would reject most emphatically the line about "contempt" when on site owners are involved.  In fact, the places where unions are the most justified, necessary even, are the places where the decision makers are not on site.  There, they can even be an excuse (to corporate) for site management to treat their employees like people, not numbers.

 

In most of manufacturing, management has learned that skilled people make a difference and that treating them as interchangeable is not cost effective.  Plus, bureaucracies are often simply more comfortable dealing with other bureacracies.

 

Union workers, on the other hand, have learned that they cannot overrule the laws of economics and that they have more in common with their own management than the work force at the competition (an attitude the opposite of the one the UAW grew up with).  Insisting on inefficient work rules to maximize membership has been a thing of the past for a long time.  At one union place I worked, I needed to mark some gages.  One of the tool and die guys loaned me his pencil grinder and showed me how to use it, and I did it.  This would have been a cardinal sin in an old school union shop.  The shop steward didn't say a word, because he was the guy loaning me the tools.

 

The main reason most places have unions is to protect themselves from being arbitrarily effed over.  I've worked at places where I 100% agreed with this logic.

 

The public sector is a different matter because the laws of economics don't entirely apply and also since the unions control a voting bloc. 

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I find it so ironic and hypocritical that many of the same people touting the importance of unions and crisis of income inequality won't bother to buy a union made car. 

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UAW sticker on my window.  That's not why I bought the car, or really even much of a consideration at all, but I like the look of it ;)

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I have a big problem with many of the cumbersome, unnecessary work rules that unions insist upon. But I have a bigger problem with the collapsing wages in this country. So much so that I'd rather put up with silly work rules in exchange for better wages. Perhaps corporate owners may recognize that the key to prevent unions from regaining strength in America is to embrace revising free trade agreements so they can afford to pay their workers in accordance with the cost of living. Perhaps it's time to put large tariffs on imports from countries that abuse worker/human rights and dump goods here at subsidized prices. But managers/owners had better do something to restore American workers' dignity or they will do so on their own terms.

 

As a friend of mine who was a plant manager at GM in the 1970s and 80s said, "The biggest reason why a union shop exists is because management failed to treat its workers with greater respect."

 

I agree with a lot of your statement but I think it places too much blame on company management or owners for declining wages/cheap imported goods.  What about the responsibility of consumers?  Why isn't there any value or consideration to buying American, whether its a car, a piece of furniture, or clothing?  What if there was a huge flashing neon sign in front of every Walmart that said "SHOPPING HERE MAKES AMERICANS POORER & CHINESE RICHER".  Do you think it would change anything?

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Why isn't there any value or consideration to buying American, whether its a car, a piece of furniture, or clothing? 

 

There is quite a bit of value and consideration into that.  Perhaps not enough, but it is going too far to suggest there is none.  I only know from my perspective based on my family and the people I choose to associate with so your perspective might be vastly different.  We not only try to buy items that are "Made in the USA", we also try to stay as local as possible..... supporting locally owned restaraunts over the Cheesecake Factory and frequenting places like Cavotta's.  I shop as much as I can at Sears due to their policy of hiring veterans.  Hell, I even buy GLBC beer for my home even though I like some other beers better.  That's not to say that I never go to WalMart or shop on Amazon.  But I think the "Made in the USA" campaign is still fairly strong..... at least among the circles I am around.

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UAW sticker on my window.  That's not why I bought the car, or really even much of a consideration at all, but I like the look of it ;)

 

I've worked in no less than 10 UAW plants over the course of my career as a contractor.  Most inefficient places I've ever been.  Something that would take 30 minutes in other shops would take all day.  I'm not kidding. 

 

For example, a UAW electrician doesn't carry a bag of tools to where he is working in the plant.  He'll come start with a screwdriver, then decide he needs a pair of sidecutters.  Off he goes, only to return an hour later.  Oh no, now I need a pair of wire strippers.  Off he goes....and eight hours later of this behavior the job is done. 

 

I'm really not kidding...while not statistical, I've endured this plenty of times.

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^Everyone who has a negative view of Unions has similar..... ummmmm..... experiences.  It never fails..... at least on internet forums.  Blame it on the CBA which has that provision in it of which subsection (a) says that the electrician is not to carry his tools around the shop... and subsection (b) provides that if said electrician needs another tool he is to only return after he spits on an American flag and takes a nap.  The right to take any adverse action against the electrician is one of the concessions of management rights the employer made in exchange for the employees agreeing to put in at least 2 hours of hard work a week. 

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I tend to see private sector unionism through the lens of my professional practice (commercial restructuring).  Collective bargaining agreements can be serious threats to enterprise viability, particularly because modern CBAs also often drag employers into other agreements as well, particularly multiemployer pension plan (MEPP) agreements that can have absolutely staggering withdrawal liabilities (because they're often structured so that withdrawing participants face withdrawal liability based on their pro rata share of the total unfunded liabilities of the pension plan, which may have built up over literally decades of chronic underfunding).  We recently managed a case here in northeast Ohio in which the union's own estimate of the withdrawal liability the MEPP would assess our client was about 33% higher than the total value of the company as a going concern free and clear of liens, claims, and encumbrances.  (Yes, the value of the entire enterprise, debt free, was less than the asserted MEPP withdrawal liability.)

 

In either case, though, with respect to the topic at hand, there's something of a range of thoughts of just how much organized labor could affect income inequality, regardless of whether you think that's a good thing or bad thing or think that the ways that unions might affect the economy might be detrimental (or salutary) in other ways.  Absent a complete reversal of globalization (legally and culturally), the power of organized labor to affect the distribution of income in the U.S. might well not be what it was even if the private sector were still 30%+ unionized the way it used to be.  You would simply see a renewed interest in outsourcing and capital movement abroad (a trend which, for the moment, has actually been moving back in America's favor), an accelerated deployment of R&D in automation and other worker-replacement technologies, and so forth.

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^Everyone who has a negative view of Unions has similar..... ummmmm..... experiences.  It never fails..... at least on internet forums.  Blame it on the CBA which has that provision in it of which subsection (a) says that the electrician is not to carry his tools around the shop... and subsection (b) provides that if said electrician needs another tool he is to only return after he spits on an American flag and takes a nap.  The right to take any adverse action against the electrician is one of the concessions of management rights the employer made in exchange for the employees agreeing to put in at least 2 hours of hard work a week. 

 

I have had similar experiences in unionized auto plants, but to me that's more a sign of a bad agreement in the auto industry (one that just got worse over time, and for that I have to blame the management at the auto companies as much as the UAW) than it is a sign that all unions are bad. 

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Interestingly enough, Volkswagen plant in Tennessee has a vote this week to go union or not.  Major outside interests are coming in, attempting to sway the vote either way with information, polling, handouts, online videos, newspaper editorials, etc.  WSJ.com has been covering it quite a bit.  I believe the vote is scheduled for Thursday.

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^Everyone who has a negative view of Unions has similar..... ummmmm..... experiences.  It never fails..... at least on internet forums.  Blame it on the CBA which has that provision in it of which subsection (a) says that the electrician is not to carry his tools around the shop... and subsection (b) provides that if said electrician needs another tool he is to only return after he spits on an American flag and takes a nap.  The right to take any adverse action against the electrician is one of the concessions of management rights the employer made in exchange for the employees agreeing to put in at least 2 hours of hard work a week. 

 

I have had similar experiences in unionized auto plants, but to me that's more a sign of a bad agreement in the auto industry (one that just got worse over time, and for that I have to blame the management at the auto companies as much as the UAW) than it is a sign that all unions are bad. 

 

And if you bring up these examples it's always put back on management that they signed a bad agreement.  In my example above it would be that an ELECTRICIAN, who by definition uses tools, carries a simple toolbox to the jobsite (wow what a concept!).  I suppose management should also spell out instructions in the CBA for potty break time on what to do when the guy is done?  :?

 

This is my problem with the unions I work with.  They spend more time analyzing the rules to see about how NOT to get the job done, than if they just showed up and knocked it out. 

 

There is no reason something that should take 45 minutes in any other shop in the world should take 8 hours because of a CBA.

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I tend to see private sector unionism through the lens of my professional practice (commercial restructuring).  Collective bargaining agreements can be serious threats to enterprise viability, particularly because modern CBAs also often drag employers into other agreements as well, particularly multiemployer pension plan (MEPP) agreements that can have absolutely staggering withdrawal liabilities (because they're often structured so that withdrawing participants face withdrawal liability based on their pro rata share of the total unfunded liabilities of the pension plan, which may have built up over literally decades of chronic underfunding).  We recently managed a case here in northeast Ohio in which the union's own estimate of the withdrawal liability the MEPP would assess our client was about 33% higher than the total value of the company as a going concern free and clear of liens, claims, and encumbrances.  (Yes, the value of the entire enterprise, debt free, was less than the asserted MEPP withdrawal liability.)

 

In either case, though, with respect to the topic at hand, there's something of a range of thoughts of just how much organized labor could affect income inequality, regardless of whether you think that's a good thing or bad thing or think that the ways that unions might affect the economy might be detrimental (or salutary) in other ways.  Absent a complete reversal of globalization (legally and culturally), the power of organized labor to affect the distribution of income in the U.S. might well not be what it was even if the private sector were still 30%+ unionized the way it used to be.  You would simply see a renewed interest in outsourcing and capital movement abroad (a trend which, for the moment, has actually been moving back in America's favor), an accelerated deployment of R&D in automation and other worker-replacement technologies, and so forth.

 

Higher wages and unions are two different things in the sense that unions can force a company to budget labor as a fixed cost.  I'm under the impression that the UAW does this.  So in my perhaps naïve view I don't see a significantly higher minimum wage alone achieving higher income parity because there would be more incentive than ever for employers to abuse employees with production quotas and other tricks. 

 

"Rubber rooms" and other oddities that exist in old-school union situations are things that worked against unions and in favor of the Republican party since Reagan.  I'm not sure how much that stuff still goes on.  But at least in theory, if a union establishes a fixed budget for labor, then its own members benefit from productivity within that, then there could be motivation that creates a win for labor and ownership. 

 

 

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I don't see how you could ever budget hourly labor as a fixed cost, in practical terms.  For that matter, even salaried labor is not "fixed" in the sense that you can reduce or expand your salaried workforce; unions might make it harder to do that because of increased red tape involved in reducing personnel, but not impossible.

 

At least with respect to traditional manufacturing work, if you get an order from a customer that is willing to pay enough for accelerated production to justify overtime, you pay your people overtime and get the job done.  If not, you do it on regular shifts.  Therefore, the costs are going to be variable for reasons that unions don't have any direct influence over.  They might be the most skilled widget-makers in the world, but that doesn't necessarily do anyone any good if no one needs any widgets.

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^Everyone who has a negative view of Unions has similar..... ummmmm..... experiences.  It never fails..... at least on internet forums.  Blame it on the CBA which has that provision in it of which subsection (a) says that the electrician is not to carry his tools around the shop... and subsection (b) provides that if said electrician needs another tool he is to only return after he spits on an American flag and takes a nap.  The right to take any adverse action against the electrician is one of the concessions of management rights the employer made in exchange for the employees agreeing to put in at least 2 hours of hard work a week. 

 

I have had similar experiences in unionized auto plants, but to me that's more a sign of a bad agreement in the auto industry (one that just got worse over time, and for that I have to blame the management at the auto companies as much as the UAW) than it is a sign that all unions are bad. 

 

And if you bring up these examples it's always put back on management that they signed a bad agreement.  In my example above it would be that an ELECTRICIAN, who by definition uses tools, carries a simple toolbox to the jobsite (wow what a concept!).  I suppose management should also spell out instructions in the CBA for potty break time on what to do when the guy is done?  :?

 

This is my problem with the unions I work with.  They spend more time analyzing the rules to see about how NOT to get the job done, than if they just showed up and knocked it out. 

 

There is no reason something that should take 45 minutes in any other shop in the world should take 8 hours because of a CBA.

 

It doesn't.  It is beyond ridiculous to assume that a provision of a CBA could be interpreted to allow a job to be expanded to more than 10x the time it takes normally.  Every single CBA has something in it called a 'Management Rights clause.'  This is the broadest and most all-encompassing clause in the entire CBA.  By default, it reverts all discretion specifically not reserved in the CBA to management.  One of those rights universally in every single CBA I have ever read (and I have read A LOT of CBAs) allows for unfettered control of the efficiency of the workforce.  If you encountered an employee taking 10x as long to do a task as it would normally take, you witnessed an issue with bad management you could find in just about any shop, CBA or not.  Either that or you just saw what you wanted to see.  You won't find a labor arbitrator anywhere in this country who would side with the union in a dispute over workplace efficiency when the union is arguing for something totally out of whack with private sector SOPs

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^Everyone who has a negative view of Unions has similar..... ummmmm..... experiences.  It never fails..... at least on internet forums.  Blame it on the CBA which has that provision in it of which subsection (a) says that the electrician is not to carry his tools around the shop... and subsection (b) provides that if said electrician needs another tool he is to only return after he spits on an American flag and takes a nap.  The right to take any adverse action against the electrician is one of the concessions of management rights the employer made in exchange for the employees agreeing to put in at least 2 hours of hard work a week. 

 

I have had similar experiences in unionized auto plants, but to me that's more a sign of a bad agreement in the auto industry (one that just got worse over time, and for that I have to blame the management at the auto companies as much as the UAW) than it is a sign that all unions are bad. 

 

And if you bring up these examples it's always put back on management that they signed a bad agreement.  In my example above it would be that an ELECTRICIAN, who by definition uses tools, carries a simple toolbox to the jobsite (wow what a concept!).  I suppose management should also spell out instructions in the CBA for potty break time on what to do when the guy is done?  :?

 

This is my problem with the unions I work with.  They spend more time analyzing the rules to see about how NOT to get the job done, than if they just showed up and knocked it out. 

 

There is no reason something that should take 45 minutes in any other shop in the world should take 8 hours because of a CBA.

 

It doesn't.  It is beyond ridiculous to assume that a provision of a CBA could be interpreted to allow a job to be expanded to more than 10x the time it takes normally.  Every single CBA has something in it called a 'Management Rights clause.'  This is the broadest and most all-encompassing clause in the entire CBA.  By default, it reverts all discretion specifically not reserved in the CBA to management.  One of those rights universally in every single CBA I have ever read (and I have read A LOT of CBAs) allows for unfettered control of the efficiency of the workforce.  If you encountered an employee taking 10x as long to do a task as it would normally take, you witnessed an issue with bad management you could find in just about any shop, CBA or not.  Either that or you just saw what you wanted to see.  You won't find a labor arbitrator anywhere in this country who would side with the union in a dispute over workplace efficiency when the union is arguing for something totally out of whack with private sector SOPs

 

So by your estimation, this UAW electrician example didn't have tools (even the most basic) because his manager failed.  This is why I don't like working with unions.

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^If the story told happened and the employee's manager didn't do anything about it, regardless of union or not, how could you argue that the manager didn't fail? Obviously the employee was in the wrong, but if an employee does crappy work, isn't it the employee's supervisor's job to do something about it?

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^Correct (if the story happened).  Despite the constant yet incomprehensible suggestions otherwise, it is not the union's job to police the workforce.  In fact, doing so would violate the contract.  The union does not replace management when CBA is signed.  It's not the union's duty to point out the failures in the exercise of management rights, which nearly universally include the exclusive rights to do all of the following:

 

1) determine matters of inherent managerial policy

2) direct, supervise, evaluate and hire employees

3) maintain and improve efficiency of the workforce

4) determine the overall methods, processess, means, or personnel by which business operations are to be conducted

5) suspend, discipline, demote, discharge for cause

6) layoff, transfer, assign, schedule, promote, or retain with or without cause

7) determine adequacy of workforce

8) effectively and efficiently manage the workforce

9) take actions to carry out and implement the mission of the businses

 

Again, these are "exclusive" rights.  Exclusive means they are rights belonging to management and management alone.  A union cannot manage.  A union cannot discipline.  By doing so, it would not only be operating contrary to the union's mission, it would be invading management rights.

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Will have to agree to disagree with you on this one Hts.  While I'm definitely left-leaning, I have spent far to many days surrounded by these idiots who try their hardest to make a job last as long as possible.  I have no problems with the ideal of a union.  Good wages and job safety should be something we all enjoy, especially those of us who choose to toil in a menial job making things for other people.  But when they deliberately drag their feet, make things harder, take longer, just to pad the time clock and demand more labor, I draw the line.

 

And I actually grew up in a union family by the way--my stepfather was a union rep for years with a tire manufacturer in Akron.  In fact his job was to defend his union brothers against management, even when they were in the wrong (my favorite was the guy who deliberately broke toilets deliberately after finishing his business and was finally caught red-handed by management).  Even he admitted that one was a messy one to defend.  Pun intended.

 

 

 

 

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Are you trying to say that you have encountered American workers doing the bare minimum and/or scamming their employer/customers in some fashion?  No way that would ever happen in non-union settings, like Wall Street or McDonald's or the Hospital...

 

 

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Will have to agree to disagree with you on this one Hts.  While I'm definitely left-leaning, I have spent far to many days surrounded by these idiots who try their hardest to make a job last as long as possible.  I have no problems with the ideal of a union.  Good wages and job safety should be something we all enjoy, especially those of us who choose to toil in a menial job making things for other people.  But when they deliberately drag their feet, make things harder, take longer, just to pad the time clock and demand more labor, I draw the line.

 

And I actually grew up in a union family by the way--my stepfather was a union rep for years with a tire manufacturer in Akron.  In fact his job was to defend his union brothers against management, even when they were in the wrong (my favorite was the guy who deliberately broke toilets deliberately after finishing his business and was finally caught red-handed by management).  Even he admitted that one was a messy one to defend.  Pun intended.

 

It's incredible how so many guys spend most of their workday physically hiding from the boss.  We had a meeting here to announce 4% raises last week and we couldn't find two of the warehouse guys because they were hiding.  I went out in the parking lot and found one of them eating a cheeseburger in his truck and I'm not sure where they found the other guy at.  We've got a small pond in the back of our property and the guys who are into fishing are sometimes caught back there just gazing into the water.

 

 

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Are you trying to say that you have encountered American workers doing the bare minimum and/or scamming their employer/customers in some fashion?  No way that would ever happen in non-union settings, like Wall Street or McDonald's or the Hospital...

 

 

 

I most certainly have.  But in those situations, I can send them packing, or in the worst case just do it myself.  Not so in a union shop, where I'm not allowed to touch anything. 

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Not true.  Take a look at #5 of the management rights I listed above.  There isn't a union shop in the entire country where management is not allowed to discipline, up to and including discharge, for cause.  Now, of course that doesn't mean that you can fire the worker who is dating the girl you always obsessed about since high school.  But you can most certainly fire workers who are not meeting management's standards for efficiency and production, so long as you can prove that the worker failed in that regard and, in most cases, so long as you have adhered to the tenets of the progressive discipline system you agreed to in exchange for some other bargaining table concession from the union.

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Not true.  Take a look at #5 of the management rights I listed above.  There isn't a union shop in the entire country where management is not allowed to discipline, up to and including discharge, for cause.  Now, of course that doesn't mean that you can fire the worker who is dating the girl you always obsessed about since high school.  But you can most certainly fire workers who are not meeting management's standards for efficiency and production, so long as you can prove that the worker failed in that regard and, in most cases, so long as you have adhered to the tenets of the progressive discipline system you agreed to in exchange for some other bargaining table concession from the union.

 

No offense, but it sounds like you're reading contracts and not actually spending time in a UAW facility. Sounds good on paper.  But reality is much different. 

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Nope.  I deal with reality every day..... actual application of the contracts, not just speculation about what might happen under different hypothesis.  No offense, but until you have been through the process of applying the contractual provisions to various factual scenarios, you don't understand reality.

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Nope.  I deal with reality every day..... actual application of the contracts, not just speculation about what might happen under different hypothesis.  No offense, but until you have been through the process of applying the contractual provisions to various factual scenarios, you don't understand reality.

 

And until you try to get something installed in a UAW plant under the time frame that the client and union agreed upon, only to have the union change their story on the day of the job, you clearly only understand contracts and paper.

 

But on this note, we'll agree to disagree.  I agree with most everything else you post on here!

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Really?  I have to experience that very specific, utterly confusing scenario to understand something other than contracts and paper?  Can you recommend a plant where I can gain this vital experience?  I suppose the first thing I would ask upon arriving is why "the client" and "the union" are apparently bypassing management by making oral agreements which cannot be verified on paper so as to allow the union to "change their story on the day of the job."  I might only understand contracts and paper from your perspective, but I certainly do understand how nonsensical that scenario is and, if true, what an utter failure it is on the part of management to not take any part in the operation of its own business. 

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Really?  I have to experience that very specific, utterly confusing scenario to understand something other than contracts and paper?  Can you recommend a plant where I can gain this vital experience?  I suppose the first thing I would ask upon arriving is why "the client" and "the union" are apparently bypassing management by making oral agreements which cannot be verified on paper so as to allow the union to "change their story on the day of the job."  I might only understand contracts and paper from your perspective, but I certainly do understand how nonsensical that scenario is and, if true, what an utter failure it is on the part of management to not take any part in the operation of its own business. 

 

Cleveland Ford Engine Plant was the site of the electrician debacle as noted above.

 

Maybe we should blame the lawyers, for not expressly stating in the UAW agreement that an electrician should actually have to bring tools to a job location within the plant.  :roll: 

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Actually, given your preferences, you want to thank the lawyers (albeit negotiators and lawyers often serve different purposes within a union hierarchy) for not expressly stating whether or not an electrician should actually have to bring tools to a job location.... given your intimate knowledge of the lack of any such language in the contract.  By failing to do so, it reverts to managerial discretion as to what tools are to be carried around the shop (i.e. #4, above - "determine the overall methods, processess, means, or personnel by which business operations are to be conducted").  You might want to consider doing a little research on these issues before responding with assumptions or simply relying on isolated incidents of employee malfeasance which can be found in any shop, union or not.

 

As for Brook Park, I've never had the pleasure of being inside, but someone I always considered to be somewhat of a second Dad (he is my best childhood friend's father) was a worker and, subsequently, a supervisor there for over three decades.  His other son works there now.  My guess is that he is going to call BS on that being even slightly representative of standard operations.

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Actually, given your preferences, you want to thank the lawyers (albeit negotiators and lawyers often serve different purposes within a union hierarchy) for not expressly stating whether or not an electrician should actually have to bring tools to a job location.... given your intimate knowledge of the lack of any such language in the contract.  By failing to do so, it reverts to managerial discretion as to what tools are to be carried around the shop (i.e. #4, above - "determine the overall methods, processess, means, or personnel by which business operations are to be conducted").  You might want to consider doing a little research on these issues before responding with assumptions or simply relying on isolated incidents of employee malfeasance which can be found in any shop, union or not.

 

As for Brook Park, I've never had the pleasure of being inside, but someone I always considered to be somewhat of a second Dad (he is my best childhood friend's father) was a worker and, subsequently, a supervisor there for over three decades.  His other son works there now.  My guess is that he is going to call BS on that being even slightly representative of standard operations.

 

Yes you're right--none of this ever happened.  At the Ford Engine Plant (since you have a friend who's dad works there, you obviously know better).  Also at the Avon Lake Assembly, GM Defiance, Chrysler Twinsburg Stamping or a host of other plants I've worked in.  Any friends work in those who can explain why my UAW labor is given a task, then 5 minutes later disappears never to be seen again?

 

My point is, the UAW, and other unions, do not make my job any easier.  I don't begrudge them their contract and honest wage, but I also work my hardest to NOT have to work with them when I can avoid it.  And so do millions of other Americans, which is one of many reasons union membership has suffered in recent decades. 

 

 

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