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Strike! Strike! Strike!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dcc001, May 27, 2012.

  1. Dcc001

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  2. BL1Y

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    Would the people also get the right to force the government to do its job?
     
  3. Dcc001

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    Ha. The government will NEVER do its job. What did Ronald Regan say? "The ten most fearsome words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.'"
     
  4. Puffman

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    I never heard that the words " I am from the Government, I am here to help you." as being fearsome. I had heard that it is one of the great lies of the world along with "I promise not to come in your mouth" and "I love You."

    Focus: I think that strikes at times have helped the strikers. I think many of America's economic problems currently can be attributed to management not being prepared, smart or strong willed when going to the negotiation table.
     
  5. BL1Y

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    Why is the option to force people back to work? There's an impasse between labor and management. If the government can use its force against labor, why not against management? Require management to meet their demands so the strike ends.
     
  6. Dcc001

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    This is usually the case. The legislation usually forces mediation, but at the end of the day if the workers are working, then the management has the upper hand. There's less incentive to end it in a timely fashion, and it gives the management leverage it didn't have before.
     
  7. Omegaham

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    Funny that you mentioned Reagan, as he fired everyone in PATCO during his presidency.

    As for striking, it's the winners who write history. Today, PATCO is regarded as a bunch of foolish idiots who thought they were so special that they could give a big "Fuck you" to the country before they all got shitcanned. They forgot that military controllers can't strike and that yes, they can be bused to other airports. Whoops.

    On the other hand, the wave of labor strikes that the automotive industry went through cemented their unions as forces to be reckoned with in industry.

    Basically, it really depends on who's stronger. If the CN employees really have a stranglehold on rail traffic and the Canadian government can't do without them, then I guess their skills really are necessary. However, I would not be surprised at all if the Canucks can find an alternative to their services.
     
  8. Disgustipated

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    Before I start an ideological rant, let me:
    Disclaimer: I hate strikes and I hate unions. I don't hate the idea of unions, I hate the way they practically operate - and that's no more obvious than during a strike. I'm also an employer.

    We've got plenty of back history in Australia of what strikes can do, and they tend to polarise people. Those of us that are old enough remember the stevedore's (dock workers) strike and pilot's strike we had, and how badly it affected the whole country.

    Now, if a group of workers collectively want to down tools and walk off the job - I've got no problem with that. That's their choice. If they don't like the working conditions/pay, they should be free to stop providing their services and take them elsewhere. However, they should consider their employment terminated.

    There should be no picket lines, no sympathy strikes, no "no ticket, no work" or any other number of bully tactics that unions employ. These are really only designed (after cutting away the excuses) to hurt the employer and get them to back down and capitulate - either directly or indirectly.
     
  9. AlmostGaunt

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    To be fair, our union leaders in Australia are a bunch of criminal assholes. I lean pretty hard left, but goddamn just once I'd like to see a union leader that doesn't have a few counts of assault against them.
     
  10. Veovis

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    Unions have become big business now. They aren't truly there to help their employees, hell the leader of the teachers union in BC said it wasn't about the results but the fight with the government. They also don't have the same regulations and reporting requirements that a corporation that takes in 5% what they do would.

    To make it simple, none of the member pays attention to where the money went.

    In 2010 that union took in around 32 million dollars in this province. All of it from teachers pockets. 9.1 million Of that, you a third basically, went to management, and campaigns/correspondence.

    In other words in a non strike or negotiation year they spent 4.5 million dollars telling teachers someone else was stealing their money.

    Over the course of 20 years this union has taken around 700 million directly from teacher’s pockets and get this, they are pretty much broke.

    I feel bad for our teachers they have bought into that they are victims from the people that are actually screwing them.


    And thats just one segment of one union in one province. IF the assholes at the top of corporations playing with millions simply stole it, why do union members think that their unions are any better?
     
  11. JWags

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    I completely agree with those who have said that strikes themselves often overshadow what they are striking about. Its turned into a political tool and is often threatened/used in situations where such a drastic measure isn't necessary. Its not about people burning in factories because of terrible working conditions anymore but because things like disapproval of job cuts at other locations (France Air Strike last spring)
     
  12. Volo

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    FOCUS: Essential services, yes. You chose that path, stick with it. This doesn't mean the government doesn't have to play ball, but you can't just pack up your shit and go home when there are lives on the line.

    ALT. FOCUS: They used to, back when shit could get really bad in a workplace. I'll admit that I haven't been a part of any other industry than culinary, but in the last 20 years I haven't heard of, or read about, any workplace in any sector that was so fucked up as to be unworkable in. Anecdotal evidence, yes, but I don't see any reason for someone to strike because they didn't get their scheduled raise, or some other mickey-mouse bullshit.

    On the surface these things always appear to be a huge pissing match, nothing more. If I'm wrong, please enlighten me. Preferably with something to read.
     
  13. scootah

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    I saw kids get the crap beaten out of them in school, because their dad was one of the bosses during a union strike. I saw nation wide strikes because a mine site ONLY had 7 flavours of ice cream. I saw a nation wide strike because a mine site had the wrong brand of ketchup. I saw a coworker who's kid had been beaten up in school that if he didn't stop negotiating against the union his wife would be next. And Australia's most successful serial killer was a dockworkers union boss who carried a handgun in public and killed people in plain sight of the crowd during negotiations, who was never convicted because the union always gave him an alibi.

    On an intellectual level, I recognize the value and benefit of strong unions and I support their right to use ethical tools to get a better work environment. On an emotional level? I have a real hard time giving a fuck about their problems.

    I don't agree with any kind of forced back to work process where the employees can't quit under any circumstance. And I don't really support forced to end a strike in general circumstances. If there are health and safety related conditions - IE nurses at a public hospital being forced to provide ICU/ER care - I'm kind of ok with. If people will die if the teamsters don't move medicine shipments - I'm fine with forcing that shit through. But forcing a restart of general commercial productivity? Fuck that. If you're arguing over how much to pay someone - you don't get to force the government to end a pay negotiation because it's costing the business money.

    I would however like it to be legislation that violence as part of union negotiations see much, much stronger penalties. Treat that shit as organized crime and extortion.
     
  14. PeaMan

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    As an Englishman, reading the state of Australian unions makes me sad. I was over there recently and had some meetings on some of the mines and it seems like the situation is pretty terrible. I then learnt that part of the reason it is so bad is because all of the union trouble makers from the UK went over to Australia when we clamped down.

    So yeah... Sorry for that guys.
     
  15. The Village Idiot

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    Unions are not good for anyone. Just look at the U.S. From a membership high in the '50's and '60's, the U.S. now has the lowest union membership in the history of organized labor in this country.

    It has led to wonderful results for people like me. Before, you couldn't just fire people for no reason if they were in a union. This led to a higher labor cost.

    Before, you couldn't ship jobs off to other countries where labor costs were lower. Now, I am pleased to report, you can do just that, and in fact, the government supports such moves. Before, you would have to potentially do things like limit work hours, pay an inflated wage, recognize holidays, offer benefits, pensions, and all other sorts of nonsense. It was really dragging shit down.

    Now, that unions have effectively been undermined in the U.S., I am pleased to report that we now employ 46,000 employees in the service industry. We are able to employ these people at slightly above minimum wage (in most cases) because we are able to pay our manufacturers - mostly Chinese folks - approximately 51 cents an hour. Recently, we voluntarily reduced their work week from 80 hours to 60 hours. And let me tell you, those 500,000 Chinese workers bitch a hell of a lot less about their 51 cents an hour than our American workers.

    We would caution you, however, if you are planning on moving to China, do buy some nets, some of the workers get a bit hinky and jump out windows because they're pussies and don't like working 80 hours a week. But other than that cost, things have gone tremendously. We look forward to other companies doing the same.

    Yours truly,

    Apple, Inc.
     
  16. Omegaham

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    I always thought that the unions were to blame for the outsourcing of labor to other countries.

    Labor from Third-world countries sucks. They don't have good technology, their education level sucks, and they have to be told exactly what to do; they have absolutely no idea what a good product is. That's why we got lead paint on toys. Some dipshit factory manager said, "Well, we don't have any non-toxic paint. Let's just use this instead. It's almost as good, right? Sure, kids lick paint and it'll kill a few people. Who will know the difference?"

    There are plenty of jobs that cannot be outsourced. For example, they keep trying to outsource tech support to India. And they keep getting backlash, because Satej doesn't actually know anything about computers; he's just reading from the script. To get proper tech know-how, they have to stay in America.

    On the other hand, there are a lot of factory jobs that are completely unskilled, and the unions have forced employers to pay twenty bucks an hour on top of benefits. Cool beans; the factory owners say, "We can keep doing this, or we can incur the enormous short-term cost of building a factory in China, training the managers, shipping the machinery there, and shipping all the products to America."

    The fact that businesses are deciding that THAT is less expensive than employing unionized workers is the death knell of organized labor in America. Businesses are deciding that it's less expensive to build a labor force from the ground up halfway across the world than it is to build products here in America. And the unions say it's because of heartless corporate executives. Way to shift the blame, fucksticks.

    So that's why when Toyota builds a factory here, the employees say "Hell no" to organized labor. They know exactly what's coming after that. They've seen what labor's done to the American car companies.

    Of course, the unions demand protectionism - make enormous tariffs on ALL the things! That way they can keep extorting the employers.
     
  17. The Village Idiot

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    American car companies were fantastic, and yes, unions played a part in their downfall, I don't disagree with anything you've said above. I will make this point: unions, and resulting strikes, are good and bad. People like the benefits of unions - they like not getting paid absolute shit for backbreaking work, pensions, 40 hour work weeks, benefits, etc. - but don't like the potential for strikes and higher labor costs. Fair enough. But my point here is you take the good with the bad. If you're of the belief that paying less for an item is the ultimate driving force, then yes, unions suck. If there are other considerations such as work hours, pay, etc. then it is more of a balancing act.

    Employers are huge fans of protectionism as well. Corporations? They love being corporations because it divorces personal liability from business decisions. Employers like having courts to enforce contracts, they like having regulated markets to move their goods, they like having a banking system so money can flow, they like having a credit system so they can fund their operations. Let me be clear, all of these things are generally good things. But here's the thing, if you're going to decry 'protectionism' then decry it. All of it, for both employers and employees.

    Otherwise, unions and strikes, and your stance on them, comes down to the following question and your answer to it:

    What kind of society do I want to live in? What do I believe a worker is entitled to, if anything? What, as a citizen of my country, am I willing to sacrifice for my vision?

    I am in no way implying there is a correct answer, I am only implying there is a consistent one.
     
  18. Hoosiermess

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    This is a good point. We owe a lot to the Unions as far as our "workers rights". Watch Hoffa. Before Unions were able to change the workplace it sucked pretty bad, even worse than it does now, and they did force some really good changes. Like most other things at some point they over-reached, became inefficient/corrupt, and started heading in the wrong direction. I'm not sure we need them anymore and I do think they are mostly worthless (read I would shut down my business if the union got voted in) but at this point since we are all used to the conditions we have. We do need to give them a nod of appreciation though for what they did in the past.
     
  19. The Village Idiot

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    And in the U.S., the greater amount of union membership is in the public sector now.

    I don't doubt that your particular experience isn't as described, but I guess I would caution painting an entire concept as bad based on a few bad apples. There are some really shitty employers, too, but to say that every employer should be regulated into treating their employees a certain way based on the actions of the shitty would be just as near sighted.

    Overall, strikes serve a legitimate purpose. Sometimes, you will not get an employer to the table unless you take that step. When I was doing research for another post, I noticed that women in the U.S. make less than men on average with a college degree. I didn't examine the number further, as it was not relevant to that particular post, however, I did think 'wow, you know, if all the chicks got together and said 'no more nookie til we get the same pay' I think that might force an interesting showdown. But I bet it would be effective, and at their base, that's the only real power unions have (unless otherwise legislated): act collectively, you may get something done. Act individually, die alone. It's a very old concept, and a solid one from an effectiveness standpoint.
     
  20. BL1Y

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    Can you elaborate on what you mean by bargain in good faith? Do you mean show up to the bargaining table genuinely trying to reach an agreement, or do you mean reaching an agreement with a good faith intention of honoring it? I can understand the latter, but not the former.

    When I was at NYU, the grad students were on strike, demanding that the university recognize their union. This never made any sense to me. If the university were somehow pressured into recognizing the union and sitting down at the bargaining table with them, the university would still be well within its rights to flatly reject every proposal the union offered.

    Employees are within their rights to organize, but I think employers are just as much within their rights to refuse to bargain with a union. An impasse is not a violation of rights.