Would you rather work for a company with or without a union?

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    Oct 25, 2009 12:12 AM GMT
    From my experience, companies with unions have better wages, better benefits and better working conditions than those companies without one. In fact statistically wages and benefits are 15-20 percent higher.

    For example UPS pays $12.88/hour to people without even a college degree right off the street for seasonal driver helpers who just help the driver deliver packages. They wear their legs off, but it gets rid of the turkey dinner pounds, so you don't have to go to the gym. icon_smile.gif That's twice the rate of minimum wage. And UPS will be doubling its delivery force next month when the volume doubles.

    But it's really difficult to get employed at UPS because once someone does get employed, they don't give up their job until they retire or die. The average waiting time to become a driver now is 14 years. You have to work as a part time package handler first for about 14 years before you even have a chance to become a regular driver because all drivers are hired from part time package handlers within the company. They hardly ever have any openings because hardly anyone ever quits. They spend their entire life at UPS. You want to know why? The union. Everyone knows their wages and benefits are better than anywhere else they can go. Drivers have to take a lot of shit, but that 's true with any company.

    In this one company I worked for, EVEN NOW, they have 25 openings even in this economic downturn and they will hire 25 people this week and 25 more will quit, so that next week they have to hire and train another 25 people. And the company only has about 300 employees total. lol Why do you think this happens? Greed . They pay only a little above minimum wage.,yet they expect spotless schools, classrooms, businesses and offices. It's NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. You get what you pay for. If you pay gutter wages, you are going to get gutter help. But I guess, they have to learn the hard way when businesses and schools drop their service because of filthy offices and classrooms. This company needs a union there to shape them up and turn them into a quality first rate cleaning company an then they will grow and be successful without having to hire and train 25 new people every week.
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    Oct 25, 2009 3:07 AM GMT
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    Oct 25, 2009 2:40 PM GMT
    Honestly, $12.88 isn't that impressive IMHO. I made $15/hr 7 years ago working in Nordstrom’s as a sales person.

    Regardless, I personally wouldn't want to work for a company with a union (besides I live in a right-to-work state anyway), because I would worry about job security in the current economy. I understand the significance of unions historically, but today I feel like they are archaic racketeers.

    International Paper just announced last week that they will be closing several mills. Some workers on the floor at these mills were making $70-80K. I am inclined to believe that, if it weren't for the inflated salaries these essentially unskilled laborers (id est lacking vocational or college education) that are the results of the union, the mills may have been able to survive.
  • rnch

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    Oct 25, 2009 2:44 PM GMT
    Ganymede0 said... I made $15/hr 7 years ago working in Nordstrom’s as a sales person...
    cough*bullshit*cough icon_lol.gif
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    Oct 25, 2009 2:53 PM GMT
    rnch said
    Ganymede0 said... I made $15/hr 7 years ago working in Nordstrom’s as a sales person...
    cough*bullshit*cough icon_lol.gif


    No. It's the truth. Call Nordstrom's at MacArthur in Norfolk if you like.
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    Oct 25, 2009 3:16 PM GMT
    hey Ganymede), "I am inclined to believe that, if it weren't for the inflated salaries these essentially unskilled laborers (id est lacking vocational or college education) that are the results of the union, the mills may have been able to survive."

    There are a couple of things to consider. Pay is often dependent on whether or not the employer can find people willing to do the work. Unskilled? Well, perhaps, although after watching a couple of episodes of the world's dirtiest jobs, we can see the correlation between high pay and nasty work.

    If no one wanted to be a mill worker, then the pay has to increase to attract employees.

    What a union often does is this, just by existing: if you don't want a union starting among your employees, pay them well and treat them well, so a union is unnecessary. Non-union employers pay entirely on their largesse. If no unions existed, wages and benefits would quickly devolve back to the state of things back when unions first came about.

    Here's an example. Back in the 70s I worked for a Credit Union. As an assistant accountant, my pay was salary, very low at about $400 gross per month. Management offered a 'merit increase ' of up to 12% based on performance. Then the big day came. Out of 40 staff , one person got 1% and another 2% the other 38 of us got zero, mainly because at one time or another we'd either been away sick, pregnant, Dr's (specialist's) appointment, dental work, or accidents. We had all out performed in productivity as far as the 10 branches went. Most of the branches got zero.

    So we organized. We unionized ONE branch and lo and behold, all the benefits and wage increases we won were instantly extended to all other branches. This was management's way of preventing further unionization, and it worked. Everyone was happy. To this day there is only one unionized branch out of now 25 branches.

    Look at Walmart in the US for example; if anyone needs a union, those workers do. Up here in Canada Walmart is a whole different experience. They pay more than $8 to start (our minimum wage) with benefits. We think they know Canadian workers' willingness to organize and are preventing it.

    London drugs is another. Great employer with excellent benefits. No need for a union.

    A big issue with poor pay and lousy conditions for the unskilled is that someone has to do these jobs. If everyone runs out and obtains skills
    for more pay to get high paid work, who will do these unsavory jobs? Full circle; without the workers, the employer has to raise the wages to entice job seekers.


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    Oct 25, 2009 3:21 PM GMT
    Good input, Men.

    I definitely agree with you on the Dirty Jobs point. That's why I added the caveat of vocational or college educated to explain what I meant by unskilled. I was using the word loosely. I didn't mean in anyway that their duties weren't tough.
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    Oct 25, 2009 3:24 PM GMT

    One more example. A foreign-national co was building the skytrain here for the Olympics. They brought in all Mexican workers. They paid them $1,000 gross per month US. Welders, carpenters, all kinds of skill, but more than they'd make at home. Not enouth to live averagely up here in BC. On top of it all, they were told that their housing (leased by the foreign-national) would be paid out of their wages. This left them with about $100 per week to live on, before taxes! When they complained, and suggested to the bosses they were thinking of unionizing, they were told they could be easily shipped back to Mexico or sent to another project in the former Soviet Union.

    So they went to the media. Most of us were pretty outraged, as on top of NOT hiring available Canadians, the pay was drastically lower than most Canadians could live on. Very clever: as no Canadian wanted the job, they could bring in Mexicans. This is in the lower mainland where the rent for a studio apartment is about $600 a month with no utilities included.

    When the company saw the combined anger of the public, they relented and boosted wages and benefits.


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    Oct 25, 2009 3:52 PM GMT
    G Force, I think you found the root cause in your statement "lol Why do you think this happens? Greed ." A union isn't necessarily the answer; a better wage is; which would be easily obtained if the earning disparity between those at the top and bottom of the organization was smaller. A union is expensive for a company and expensive for the workers. IMHO.
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    Oct 25, 2009 3:55 PM GMT
    lol Voltaire, excellent point! Which is why the possibility of a Union is usually sufficient for things to be kept equitable.


    Say, nice to see you! - been awhile since we've seen your posts on the main forums.

    -us guys
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    Oct 25, 2009 4:07 PM GMT
    A quaint historical fact - the dissolution of unions in the US tracks to the stagnation of wages (as adjusted for inflation) for the average worker. It also tracks to the massive increase in executive salaries. Studies have shown that having unionization among blue collar workers actually leads to higher salaries and benefits among white collar workers. So, do I want to work in a union shop? Not really. But I do want broad unionization.
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    Oct 25, 2009 4:11 PM GMT
    Thanks Bill & Doug! (aka MenInLove) Always great to see what you have to say on any subject. Work has me working crazy long hours - exploiting me terribly because I'm not in a union hahaha!

    Actually I agree with you Jprichva; most companies won't do the right thing, making unions necessary. But like MenInLove said, just the threat of unionization is often enough to prompt a company to treat its workers fairly. So the existence of unions is very good, but if you're lucky you won't need them.
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    Oct 25, 2009 4:29 PM GMT
    I would rather see there not being a need for Unions to fight for what should be considered normal rights to a working wage. But facts being as they are, the Unions are the only reason greedy business owners in general weren't able to hold the common man down. Imagine for instance the conditions Minors, loggers, pipefitters, welders, construction workers in general and factory workers used to work in until they banded together in Unions to force their workers rights. We'd still be having sweat shops, and minors company stores where the minors 'scripts' payments only got them deeper in dept to the company store. For these reasons we have needed and continue to need Unions. We need another form of Unions to back stockholders in these huge banks to force more for them and less bonuses and CEO obscene wages.
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    Oct 25, 2009 4:33 PM GMT
    rnch said
    Ganymede0 said... I made $15/hr 7 years ago working in Nordstrom’s as a sales person...
    cough*bullshit*cough icon_lol.gif


    That's pretty accurate. I made $14/hr when I was with Macy's about the same time with commission on top of that. $15/hr for Nordie's against a draw doesn't sound that outlandish. Right before I left, the company wanted to bust everyone down to $8/hr and over double our contribution to our benefits while reducing the overall level of coverage. If we didn't have the union, they would have succeeded.
  • rnch

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    Oct 25, 2009 4:36 PM GMT
    jprichva saidHere's the simple truth which all you anti-unionists either gloss over or actually like:

    The corporation has an enormous advantage over the individual worker. The notion that a single person can negotiate a better deal than his co-worker is just an amusing fiction. Essentially, without a union, the worker is kept both poor and powerless. I understand that many of you like the idea of that. I don't.

    Unions are the only way for workers to gain enough muscle to force the corporations to deal fairly. And despite thirty years of pro-business propaganda, the evidence is overwhelming that most companies won't deal fairly unless they're made to. Ugly? Who cares, it's true.
    EXCELLENT reply...very true to life.
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    Oct 25, 2009 4:56 PM GMT
    $12.88....

    Government mandated Minimum wage here is one US cent off $13 icon_rolleyes.gif

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    Oct 25, 2009 5:06 PM GMT
    I've never worked WITH a union so I have nothing to base my answer on. My ex, on the other hand, did... and he had a miserable time with them. They had everyone by the short and curlies, it seemed.
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    Oct 25, 2009 5:10 PM GMT
    While everyone here is singing the praises of unions, let's not forget there are downsides to unionization. I have to deal with both unionized and non-union service providers.

    Without exception, I get excellent service and customer care from non-union personnel. The union workers on the other hand invariably show me complacency and an interest in doing only the bare minimum. It's frustrating. But they know their jobs are protected so they seem to have no pride and no motivation to actually provide good customer service.

    And to the OP, if you're the kind of person who works a grunt job for 14 years hoping that one day you might be able to drive a truck for the rest of your life, well, you're probably a good candidate to be a union worker. Personally, I wouldn't waste 14 years (I wouldn't waste 4 years).

    There are better and quicker routes to a good paying job that's far more interesting and rewarding than driving a truck and delivering packages.
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    Oct 25, 2009 5:12 PM GMT
    Ganymede0 saidHonestly, $12.88 isn't that impressive IMHO. I made $15/hr 7 years ago working in Nordstrom’s as a sales person.

    Regardless, I personally wouldn't want to work for a company with a union (besides I live in a right-to-work state anyway), because I would worry about job security in the current economy. I understand the significance of unions historically, but today I feel like they are archaic racketeers.

    International Paper just announced last week that they will be closing several mills. Some workers on the floor at these mills were making $70-80K. I am inclined to believe that, if it weren't for the inflated salaries these essentially unskilled laborers (id est lacking vocational or college education) that are the results of the union, the mills may have been able to survive.


    It is impressive for an unskilled job that requires nothing more than a high school diploma. There aren't any companies around here who pays anywhere's near that for an unskilled position. The average wage for an unskilled position around here is about $7-$8/hour. And, if you get a permanent position, even part time package handlers who only work about 20/hours week get a fully paid, no deductible health plan, including vision, and dental, company pension and a union pension and paid vacations, and paid holidays. There isn't any company without a union that has this type of compensation package. That's why it's so difficult to get into UPS because nobody ever leaves and thte average waiting time to become a driver is 14 years. lol I'll be ready to retire by then. lol
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    Oct 25, 2009 5:29 PM GMT
    Global_Citizen saidWhile everyone here is singing the praises of unions, let's not forget there are downsides to unionization. I have to deal with both unionized and non-union service providers.

    Without exception, I get excellent service and customer care from non-union personnel. The union workers on the other hand invariably show me complacency and an interest in doing only the bare minimum. It's frustrating. But they know their jobs are protected so they seem to have no pride and no motivation to actually provide good customer service.

    And to the OP, if you're the kind of person who works a grunt job for 14 years hoping that one day you might be able to drive a truck for the rest of your life, well, you're probably a good candidate to be a union worker. Personally, I wouldn't waste 14 years (I wouldn't waste 4 years).

    There are better and quicker routes to a good paying job that's far more interesting and rewarding than driving a truck and delivering packages.


    The job is great for me because I get my health insurance fully paid for, including dental and vision at no cost to me, plus these benefits extend to everyone in my family. We pay absolutely nothing for health, dental or vision. And for me it 's great because its a physical job which has been just great for my health. I have my own home based photography business so the hours work great with this. To me a minimally stressed job that keeps me healthy and provides my health insurance is the most important to me. I've been in other stressed filled jobs and beleive me they really suck. They are not worth sacrificing your health for them.
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    Oct 25, 2009 5:38 PM GMT
    I am working my first union job. This is the first job that pays benefits and a living wage. Ya, some union leaders make ridiculous demands. But that problem is with the particular leader, not unions in general.

    By the way, who else is enjoying their weekend. Hint. Hint.
  • Timbales

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    Oct 25, 2009 5:43 PM GMT
    I work for a privately owned manufacturer that is a non-union shop. I get paid a competitive salary and have good benefits. From my personal experience with unions, I would not want to work a union job.
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    Oct 25, 2009 5:51 PM GMT
    Hey congrats, MunchingZombie!

    I used to think Union bosses were a little kookoo, but then I saw what management was doing - the same thing.

    "We are in tough times, (2002 - oh yeah, right) so we are removing all vacations for all employess (excluding managemnt) except for 1 week per year. "

    or during another negotiation,
    " for all new hires no matter what the position, minimum wage for the first two years and one week unpaid vacation"

    I later asked a manager how many people will take the unpaid week off.

    "None," he replied, " they can't afford to loose a week's pay at minimum wage."

    So basically both sides demand outrageous things of the other, then they sit down and negotiate til they meet in the middle. If not, an arbitrator comes in and does it for them- leaving both sides a little miserable. Heheh, that teaches them to be fair to each other.

    suck the juIce out of every second of your weekend, Munching! You earned it!

    -Doug
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    Oct 25, 2009 6:03 PM GMT
    unions suck. I used to work for Stop & Shop an Ahold USA co.... my first experience with unions HELL NO... never ever again

  • Oct 25, 2009 6:04 PM GMT
    meninlove said lol Voltaire, excellent point! Which is why the possibility of a Union is usually sufficient for things to be kept equitable.


    Say, nice to see you! - been awhile since we've seen your posts on the main forums.

    -us guys

    A union is not just for the unskilled I am a teamster but in a white color profession; masters degree landscape architect/ environmental planner. Without union protection the administration would pressure us to work 70hrs a week if they did not have to pay overtime or compt time.

    Unless you own the firm ... you will never get anywhere working in a nonunion shop.