Have you ever belonged to a union?

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Seattle, Nov 28, 2019.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Have you ever belonged to a union and what do you think lead to their decline in the U.S.?
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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Nope (don't live in the U.S. anyway).

    The decline? Maybe automation cause robots don't form a union.
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  5. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    I joined the stock clerks and cashiers union when I went to work for Kroger's in 1968.

    The Y-donor was a member of the UAW from 1958 to the day he died, forty years later. Union got him the wages that kept us in school clothes and food. I don't know if big money worked to lessen their effectiveness or people just got smug and stupid.
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The mob got involved in some unions I believe and in others it seems that there was just too much of an us vs them environment within the company.

    What percentage of union workers would you say couldn't go to college or wouldn't even if it was free?
  8. sculptor Valued Senior Member

  9. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I work in a corporate setting for a private firm so no union. I think greed on the part of the union leadership caused much of their demise and that greed probably was part of the reason corporate CEO’s started outsourcing their work to other countries. Unions are still needed to keep labor standards fair in some cases like in factories, warehouses, etc but, they need to be aware that they can “negotiate” the people they’re supposed to protect, right out of a job.
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  10. LaurieAG Registered Senior Member

    I have been in several unions, all left wing, over the years but I have never been in a right wing union.

    You may think it's strange to have right wing unions but they are currently the most powerful faction at the moment, at least in Australia.

    Our previous opposition leader, whose team failed at the last federal election, was a high ranking right wing union lawyer/official and he became unelectable because an official investigation revealed he did a deal with a large business organisation so that cleaners in his union received a 2 cent per hour pay rise and the organisation paid $40,000 so that somebody else could be employed getting that dirtbag elected to our federal parliament.

    Hopefully things will turn out better in the future as our current opposition leader is a left winger.
  11. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I was a union member for nine years and went on strike once.

    One of the problems with unions is that they're the victim of their own success. The members have become so affluent that they can't afford to go on strike. Thus, they've lost most of their leverage.
  12. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

    I remember one Xmas back in the '60s when we didn't get presents because the UAW was on strike against GM.
  13. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    How did that work out?
  14. River Ape Valued Senior Member

    One of the old time British print unions that tried to rule the roost back in hot metal times.
    Nowadays the name brings a blank look even from near 99% of Brits.
    I found I had joined when I got paid my first wages. Union dues had been deducted. My job was regarded as a NATSOPA job so that was that.
    New technology swept away the old unions in UK and I feel sure that would have played some part in the US.
  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Yes, twice - the first one I helped organize, but it soon amalgamated into a larger, more powerful one. The second was for government employees. They didn't get me particularly good pay, but they were absolute bears on worker safety, which was a serious issue at the time.
    While the mob connection and political influence attributed to some unions in the US garnered many headlines and elicited some legal "crackdowns" (more in appearance than fact), most unions have always been supportive of worker's rights and welfare, contributing to the member's sustenance in hard times, injury and retirement, setting up education funds for members' children and compensation for families in case of death or disability.
    The short answer: Ronald Reagan. (at the same time, in England, Margaret Thatcher, in Ontario, a little later, Mike Harris)
    Once government sides decisively with employers - all employers, against all workers - the serious kneecapping begins. Then you have strikers ordered back to work, employers allowed to use scabs and illegals; safety inspections become negotiable; regulations relaxed,mandatory and unpaid overtime, at-will employers free to exploit, part-time and contract labour, gig economy -- a blanket license to screw over the generators of revenue.
    The process is accompanied by the ridicule, vilification and eventual disappearance from public consciousness of the working class as a social entity.
    (and then they go crazy and start voting for their mortal enemy)
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Been a member of a Union [AMWU] all my working life. They were formed out of total necessity and are still an indispensable part of Australia and the fight for just wage and conditions. I was also a Delegate when working for ICIANZ [Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand] and helped in obtaining a 38 hr week and other conditions like 4 weeks Annual leave and a wopping $15/weekly increase in our pay packets during a long drawn out 5 week strike. We were the first to achieve the shorter working week along with the petrochemical industry in my country something that is now spread throughout industry.
    1972 interestingly enough, was the election of a Labor government after 23 years in the wilderness and our greatest ever PM Gough Whitlam.

    Yes, some unions like some multi-National companies and Bosses can be greedy and show scant regard for their members and economic conditions in general.

    And yes, there certainly has been a decline in Union membership in my country, as wages and conditions and working justice has been generally achieved across the spectrum.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Hi Laurie: I dislike the labels left or right at least when applied to myself, the same as I dislike being labeled an Atheist.

    I was actually disappointed that Anthony Albanese missed the top job in favour of Shorten at that time and still believe he could have achieved victory.
    A great pity that our elections are still 2 years away!Time enough for the average Joe Blow to forget the current inactions, stupidity and lack of leadership by that sniggering arsehole we now have for PM during our current bushfire crisis. Something I certainly hope I am wrong about!!!
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

    1) No

    2) The end of many of the factors that drove workers into unions - effectively captive populations of workers, nearly nonexistent safety and health regulations, limited mobility between jobs, lack of vocational training, exploitative policies intended to control workers (the 'company store' and the like.)
  19. LaurieAG Registered Senior Member

    Me too paddoboy, I was in the LHMU in 2004-10 and one of my union reps was Susan Lamb who was later elected for the Longman electorate in 2016 but lost at the last election by a small margin. The two union reps would come to my place for meetings because HR only let them visit a tiny little room next to their office that was under video surveillance so there were only 17 LHMU members out of 230 employees.


    The employer introduced a new EBA that gave the 53 admin staff the state clerical award but shafted the cleaners for 2c per hour. I don't think it was a BS job like Shorten pulled but the cleaners copped the consequences. Susan is a good QLD born country girl from Mackay and she was elected 8 years later so I doubt she was in on the Shifty Shorten's scam.

    The employer did have another operation in Melbourne so I actually hate that walking turd Shorten more than Morrison. At least he didn't stab minimum wage cleaners in the back to get money to be elected as a MP, or dump his wife for the GG's daughter like Barnaby Joyce did, they kept that bloody quiet.

    That's the problem with the ALP extreme right, their numbers men recruit child molesters and crooks then shaft the our left wing PM's like Kevin Rudd and smear them with their own shit. Pauline Hanson got in at Inala because ALP Bill D'Arcy was convicted of molesting young girls between the ages of 9 and 11 when he was a teacher at Canungra in the 1970's. Gordon Nuttal was convicted of fraudulently obtaining a kickback of $300,000 from a businessman and our current bloody state government let the bastard have all of his superannuation minus $300,000.

    You better check if they did the same for old mate Eddie Obeid and that ex ALP NSW convicted child molester who was released recently and the NSW police warned him recently about using social media the filthy pervert.

    If I was you paddoboy I'd give up on the hate Morrison BS and make yourself informed of what is happening in your states ALP, that's if you don't mind their 'rock spiders' getting hold of your kids and fiddling with them.

    Bill Shorten is the numbers man who recruits these disgusting vermin and not Morrison so open up your eyes and see the real situation before it's too late. That bastard is just waiting for Albo to get elected as PM so he and his rotten mates can stab him in the back like they did Rudd. Seriously look it up and open your eyes.

    Susan Lamb was worth her weight in gold but I wouldn't piss on Shorten if he was on fire!
  20. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    In the US, where most states have "right to work" laws, union membership is "optional"
    - The applicant knows he won't be hired if he opts to join the union. The power of a union is in being united; piecemeal, it will wither, fragment and die.
    - Without it, the bosses can pick you off one by one; claw back all the gains your fathers and grandmothers won.
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  21. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Well, the unions may have gained safe(r) working conditions, etc. but by now those things should be enshrined in law for all workers, union or otherwise. And if you let the government erode those rights now, you might as well allow government to ban unions too. The solution isn't unions; the solution is kicking the government in the pants.
  22. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    That's coming - has come and gone in some erstwhile democracies. It's governments that have successively eroded the unions in North America, just as it had been governments that sent out riot police to break strikes less than a hundred years ago. Union rights have been gradually curtailed by governments over the last thirty years.
    Indeed, some workers feel they no longer need unions because some governments have enacted some of the legislation demanded by unionized workers in return for their political support. But after every four or five years of labour-friendly administration comes a conservative one that promises lower taxes and more oppression of some minority, and they quietly claw back as many of the gains as they can get away with.
    And once that happens, unions no longer have political clout, and the 'labour' party gets gentrified; makes its pitch to the middle class - whatever that's perceived to be - and forgets that the working class every existed.
    As the right-wing goes farther and farther right, the centrist liberal party leans right, and the progressive party gets sucked into the middle position, leaving the left wing empty.

    As regards safety, they don't need to take the regulation off the books - just make a lot of inspectors 'redundant' and not pay attention to their reports. As regards solidarity, they don't need to ban unions - just declare more kinds of service 'essential' and force strikers back to work, or give employers the right forbid their employees joining a a union, to hire 'freelance', or just pass a "right-to-work" law.
    Except that would take a revolution or civil war. The people don't own government: money does. Apparently, constitutions and laws are no longer considered binding on government administrations.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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  23. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Then people might as well stop voting - but that would be the problem, not the solution.

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