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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:03 pm 
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stip wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
thodoks wrote:
Some of you guys kill me.
I'm curious as to your general opinion on unions.


Does thodoks have opinions? Or does he just post dismissive comments?


From his recent comments it seems that he has transcended mere mortal 'opinions'. He now resides on mount Olympus with the other economist-gods and behaves accordingly.


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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Skitch Patterson wrote:
tyler wrote:
stip wrote:
What does helping a union adjust to 'modern times' even mean?
Personally I think this type law goes to far, but then again so did extorting unions dues that went beyond what was required for basic contract representation. If unions want to be an organizational wing for a political party they should be funded on voluntary contributions not a forced and taxpayer funded form of donation.



Yep. I have a huge problem with the situations that you are required to be in, that have absolutely no obligation to provide you with quality service. A good example of this is the DMV/Secretary of State office. If you're there you HAVE to be there. Every service provided by them is exclusive to them, and as a result, the service is horrific. You are required 100% to play be their rules, and they can be as surly and unresponsive as they want, and you have no recourse.


Yeah, monopolies are problematic, and the fact that sometimes competition doesn't necessarily make sense doesn't get around that problem (do we need two DMVs?)


Skitch Patterson wrote:
And the Unions are a similar situation. To work in a specific place, you must join the Union. As a result, you must donate to them in the form of dues.. and you have no recourse on what those dues go to.


Unions are democratic organizations. This comes with all the attendant difficulties with execution and everything else (i.e.--people have to be involved), but union leadership is elected and can be changed if you don't like the decisions your leadership makes. That seems to me to be not an insignificant thing.



Skitch Patterson wrote:
Ask yourself this....What if your union decided to start pushing pro life candidates, or anti gay marriage initiatives? What if your money was being used to support causes you are steadfastly opposed to? Why should that put the onus on you to find another job?

See above, but first and foremost unions exist to advocate for bread and butter workplace issues. It's true they'll end up supporting political candidates that may have social values, etc that you may not always agree with, but in the end the efforts almost always line up with candidates that are more likely to pursue legislation and policies that protect or increase wages, working conditions, benefits, etc.

Skitch Patterson wrote:
There is no question this will weaken the Unions financially, and therefore politically. But should the Unions be so active politically? A law like this doesn't change the relationship between the government and employees, or even the employers and the employees. It just changes the relationship between the Union and the employees.


I said this above, but I don't necessarily have a problem with this per se. I do think, however, that you cannot disarm one side without the other.

One of the major distortions in our economic and political system is the lack of countervailing power against corporations, big banks, and other economic elites. For better or for worse (and there are lots of things I will be quite critical of unions about) unions are the only politically significant representation working people have. If you limit the ability of unions to do this you have to pair it with equivalent limitations on the side of economic elites. If you don't do that you end up with an even more one sided system than we have.

It may be that we can do better than unions, but until a different institutional and organizational mechanism for the representation of worker interests exists unions are important and steps to weaken them are almost certainly more about eliminating one of the few remaining checks on corporate political power than they are about fixing unions.

And unions are not monolithic entities. The labor movement is constantly divided amongst itself about how to reform itself to account for changing economic times, new forms of economic organization, etc. I would much rather see that change come from within.

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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:12 pm 
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simple schoolboy wrote:
stip wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
thodoks wrote:
Some of you guys kill me.
I'm curious as to your general opinion on unions.


Does thodoks have opinions? Or does he just post dismissive comments?


From his recent comments it seems that he has transcended mere mortal 'opinions'. He now resides on mount Olympus with the other economist-gods and behaves accordingly.


Several times a few months ago I posted comments from a Keynesian economist colleague of mine explaining the issues he had with the Austrian school, where it goes wrong, etc. None of its champions chose to address the issues that were raised, and it was disappointing to see how RM's economic elites chose not to engage someone who actually knows what they are talking about. It's much easier to just link articles and use academic jargon against an audience who isn't prepared to respond than one who is.

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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:14 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:22 pm 
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stip wrote:
simple schoolboy wrote:
stip wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
thodoks wrote:
Some of you guys kill me.
I'm curious as to your general opinion on unions.


Does thodoks have opinions? Or does he just post dismissive comments?


From his recent comments it seems that he has transcended mere mortal 'opinions'. He now resides on mount Olympus with the other economist-gods and behaves accordingly.


Several times a few months ago I posted comments from a Keynesian economist colleague of mine explaining the issues he had with the Austrian school, where it goes wrong, etc. None of its champions chose to address the issues that were raised, and it was disappointing to see how RM's economic elites chose not to engage someone who actually knows what they are talking about. It's much easier to just link articles and use academic jargon against an audience who isn't prepared to respond than one who is.


Isn't it easier to just say that they're both wrong and then provide nothing to back it up?


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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:44 pm 
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broken iris wrote:
stip wrote:
unions can't really function effectively if workers can decide whether or not they'd like to be a part of a union. There is a great deal of empirical evidence to back this up. This is a real severe blow not just to their political power, but their ability to take care of the needs of their members. It is an attempt to kill the unions, not make them lean or more efficient.


If the union provides a real benefit to the worker, then why wouldn't the worker would choose the union. It's only in the situation where the value-add in being a union member is doubtful that choice becomes a threat to the union. And if a worker decides the union is not acting in their interests, what alternatives do they have if there is no 'right to work'? There's also the whole 'Freedom of Association' thing.


In theory that's true, of course, except it ignores union busting tactics and pressures, the weakness of the NLRB to protect organizers, etc. I can share information on this if people care, but the 'choice' to join a union is hardly made on an equal playing field. The bottom line is that the union is almost always the weaker entity compared to management, and without formal protections can't compete.

I don't have a good answer to the freedom of association issue besides what I said above. It really comes down to whether freedom of association (within your job) should trump the demonstrable material benefits that come from unionization. And it may just be one of those things where we need to choose one of these over the other, in the same way that pro-life and pro-choice views just aren't compatible. Privileging one kinda negates the other.

broken iris wrote:
stip wrote:
And all this is on top of the fact that the motivation to weaken unions has little to do with economic concerns (the broad evidence that exists seems to indicate that workers do better in unionized workplaces in terms of salary and benefits), and lots to do with helping to undermine an organizational weapon of the democratic party.


I agree that the motivation here has a lot to do with politics or our awful two-party system, but doesn't this mean that anyone who wants a job where a union exists would be forced to become a sponsor of the Democratic party? Surely people shouldn't be forced into particular politic beliefs to provide food to their kids.


Nothing new to say here that I didn't say in my last post. I agree, but given the realities of power and where corporate money goes I'd hate to see one side disarm over the other. When you shop at your local wal-mart you're supporting conservative policies, after all.


stip wrote:
What does helping a union adjust to 'modern times' even mean?


Speaking from an outsiders perspective, they appear, again from an outside perspective as I claim no actual special insight into their inner-workings, to be fighting for an outmoded way of doing business. We have foreign car companies opening up factories in the South because of favorable business conditions there (a lower paying non-union job vs. no job), we have easy imports from overseas, and 3D printers are going to eliminate almost all of the fine-skill work that humans do and probably eventually eliminate the much of the imports as well (sorry, dock workers unions). Globalization is reality. Technological progress is reality. Every other industry from Finance to Programming to Construction is dealing with this and stomping your foot or passing laws to protect unions is not going to stop it. The unions need to make the people more valuable to the employer than the tech or outsourcing, or no employer will choose the people without a gun to their head. Or in this case, thugs at their child's soccer game.[/quote]

A few things to say in response to this

1. you are right that we are switching to an economy where industrial jobs are not going to be the center of union strength, and organizing around that model may be less effective. That's why unions are now switching their focus towards trying to organize lower wage service workers. you can only unionize when there are jobs.

But keep in mind too that the favorable conditions of non union jobs exist because of union busting. Workers are a cost of production, and employers will go where those wages are cheapest. One could argue though, couldn't they, that this is all the more reason to fight back against that tide. The problem isn't that the north has unions. it's that the south doesn't.

2. Globalization is nothing more than the rules and laws and governing bodies that oversee international trade. Rules can benefit corporations or they can benefit nations. They can benefit workers or employers. Who they benefit is determined by politics. That unions are losing this fight is no reason not to fight it. Correlation is not causation, but it's not hard to draw the causal links between the decline in unions and the decline in the American middle class.

3. And that's why they are at your soccer game. I'm not saying that's not an obnoxious technique or anything, but the sad fact is that the basis of almost all power is its ability to be disruptive. The goal is to draw attention to and dramatize the issue. Maybe this particular gambit isn't going to work.

4. Regarding the 'gun to the head' thing. We have to make a choice as a society. As technology improves and we need fewer workers or can get them elsewhere, the employer will always choose elsewhere or fewer workers. It's cheaper and they make more money. Certain skilled workers can perhaps make themselves valuable but that leaves the vast majority of the people out in the cold. This means we can either privilege the employer's ability to make more money (and perhaps provide cheaper goods) or we can decide that it is more important to us to protect jobs and employment at wages that make a decent life possible. And this may require a gun to the head.

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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:45 pm 
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simple schoolboy wrote:
stip wrote:
simple schoolboy wrote:
stip wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
thodoks wrote:
Some of you guys kill me.
I'm curious as to your general opinion on unions.


Does thodoks have opinions? Or does he just post dismissive comments?


From his recent comments it seems that he has transcended mere mortal 'opinions'. He now resides on mount Olympus with the other economist-gods and behaves accordingly.


Several times a few months ago I posted comments from a Keynesian economist colleague of mine explaining the issues he had with the Austrian school, where it goes wrong, etc. None of its champions chose to address the issues that were raised, and it was disappointing to see how RM's economic elites chose not to engage someone who actually knows what they are talking about. It's much easier to just link articles and use academic jargon against an audience who isn't prepared to respond than one who is.


Isn't it easier to just say that they're both wrong and then provide nothing to back it up?


more fun too.

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"Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference."--FDR

The perfect gift for certain occasions


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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:45 pm 
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I'm a member of Unite. One thing I will say about Unions in general, is a bit of communication wouldn't go amiss. The holiday policy where I work is crap. Only 1 person in the team is allowed off at any 1 time, we have no say over when our shifts start or end and you can forget about flexitime. We're not allowed phones, not even switched off, and even if you had one in your coat pocket without anyone knowing, your coat has to be hanging up round the corner. The only places you're allowed to use your phone, they've deliberately blocked the phone signal (there's a consensus on that it's not just me being paranoid). You can forget about email as well. So, in the day you can't phone, you can't email, you can't book a day off to ring because people are off. Why does any of this matter? Because "a friend" was going through a problem and he emailed "his union". He even said in the email that he can't ring and why. Do you know what the reply was? "Ring this number", a number which is only available in the day in the week! Luckily the problem sort of blew over, but if my friend really needs his union in the future and they piss him about like this again, he will make it clear in no uncertain terms that if he can't even communicate with them he will be cancelling his subs and leaving them! :evil: :shake:

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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:52 pm 
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our union is usually very good about communication. You might just not have good people running yours, but that's an organizational issue. Some are better than others.

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"Better the occasional faults of a Government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a Government frozen in the ice of its own indifference."--FDR

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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:58 pm 
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A lot of times I can't stand my union. Our contract has piss poor annual raises negotiated into it but the company uses that as an excuse to never give out merit based raises. So it's great when you first start or suck, but isn't so great when you've been there a few years and have proven yourself more valuable than many of your peers.

But on the flip side we have a payroll guy who tries to nickel and dime you and acts like its his money. He's tried to not pay me overtime a couple of times and an email CC'd to the union usually puts a stop to that.

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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:18 pm 
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cutuphalfdead wrote:
A lot of times I can't stand my union. Our contract has piss poor annual raises negotiated into it but the company uses that as an excuse to never give out merit based raises. So it's great when you first start or suck, but isn't so great when you've been there a few years and have proven yourself more valuable than many of your peers.

But on the flip side we have a payroll guy who tries to nickel and dime you and acts like its his money. He's tried to not pay me overtime a couple of times and an email CC'd to the union usually puts a stop to that.


how is andy hiller not exposing this scumbag?


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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:37 pm 
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nah wrote:
cutuphalfdead wrote:
A lot of times I can't stand my union. Our contract has piss poor annual raises negotiated into it but the company uses that as an excuse to never give out merit based raises. So it's great when you first start or suck, but isn't so great when you've been there a few years and have proven yourself more valuable than many of your peers.

But on the flip side we have a payroll guy who tries to nickel and dime you and acts like its his money. He's tried to not pay me overtime a couple of times and an email CC'd to the union usually puts a stop to that.


how is andy hiller not exposing this scumbag?

Because Andy Hiller works for hdh.

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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:16 am 
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stip wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
thodoks wrote:
Some of you guys kill me.
I'm curious as to your general opinion on unions.


Does thodoks have opinions? Or does he just post dismissive comments?

I do, and I like to think they consistently evolve (read: I'm not Human Bass). I just find more often than not that the juice from debating on the internet is rarely worth the squeeze, and that fundamental differences in approaches to analysis preclude anything but exasperation (at least, on my part). Also, this forum is pretty much dead, and I typically reserve meaningful/non-troll posts for elsewhere.

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 Post subject: Re: Are you part of a Trade Union?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:00 pm 
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thodoks wrote:
stip wrote:
Green Habit wrote:
thodoks wrote:
Some of you guys kill me.
I'm curious as to your general opinion on unions.


Does thodoks have opinions? Or does he just post dismissive comments?

I do, and I like to think they consistently evolve (read: I'm not Human Bass). I just find more often than not that the juice from debating on the internet is rarely worth the squeeze, and that fundamental differences in approaches to analysis preclude anything but exasperation (at least, on my part). Also, this forum is pretty much dead, and I typically reserve meaningful/non-troll posts for elsewhere.



Maybe you should put a little fixin' on it.

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