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(The New York Times)   Manufacturers can't fill their skill positions because--shock of shocks--those they hire expect to be paid more than a burger-flipper at McDonald's. Or, as one boss says, they expect a "union-type job"   (nytimes.com) divider line 273
    More: Asinine, Mcdonald, National Association of Manufacturers, Boston Consulting Group, electrical wiring, cutters, manufacturers  
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5435 clicks; posted to Business » on 25 Nov 2012 at 10:50 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-25 05:27:05 AM
FTFA: The secret behind this skills gap is that it's not a skills gap at all. I spoke to several other factory managers who also confessed that they had a hard time recruiting in-demand workers for $10-an-hour jobs. "It's hard not to break out laughing," says Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center, referring to manufacturers complaining about the shortage of skilled workers. "If there's a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages," he says. "It's basic economics." After all, according to supply and demand, a shortage of workers with valuable skills should push wages up. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of skilled jobs has fallen and so have their wages.

Subby, I really hope that asinine tag is for the manufacturers and not the expectations of the workers, cause, well, there's your problem.
 
2012-11-25 06:03:03 AM
What a moron. Wow, how has this farking guy survived that long in his business?

If you have high-skilled positions to fill that have a low pool of labor to chose from, you have to offer them more than $10 an hour, because there are other businesses who are in the same position as you, and they will raise the offers to get the skilled labor.
 
2012-11-25 06:11:17 AM
Pay workers? THEY'RE WORKERS! Why should I have to pay them? They can live off their trust funds!
 
2012-11-25 06:26:21 AM
piss poor analogy TFA used. there is a large skill set difference between one who can perform data programming of a NC/CNC machining apparatus compared to the operator who merely feeds fresh raw stock and keeps their hand on the emergency switch.
 
2012-11-25 06:50:14 AM
Fiduciary duty.
 
2012-11-25 06:55:37 AM
Of course, it's impossible for an employer to impart skills on employees who don't have a degree or experience in that field but seek work there for that $10/hr.
 
2012-11-25 07:13:57 AM

ThatGuyFromTheInternet: Of course, it's impossible for an employer to impart skills on employees who don't have a degree or experience in that field but seek work there for that $10/hr.


Invest in the business instead of stripping it to the nth for maximum short term profit? Are you insane!? That's not how business is done!
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-11-25 07:23:34 AM
The problem is that no one is going to invest time and money in gaining skills unless they are paid enough to make the investment worthwhile.

It amazes me how so many "free market" don't want free markets unless they have the upper hand. When they have to pay more they want the government to step in and help them import foreigners who will work for less, give them subsidies or otherwise save them from the free market.
 
2012-11-25 07:25:53 AM
I was helping my son research a term paper this week, and for the first time read the original Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Their identification of the interaction between Bourgeois and Proletariat was spot-on and no different today, as evidenced by this article.

While I disagree with the turns that Communism took throughout history, the economic factors they identified in the mid 1800s was spot-on.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-11-25 07:31:38 AM

Earguy: I was helping my son research a term paper this week, and for the first time read the original Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Their identification of the interaction between Bourgeois and Proletariat was spot-on and no different today, as evidenced by this article.

While I disagree with the turns that Communism took throughout history, the economic factors they identified in the mid 1800s was spot-on.


Marx wasn't so good at solving the problems of capitalism, but he did a great job of identifying them.
 
2012-11-25 07:34:32 AM

Earguy: I was helping my son research a term paper this week, and for the first time read the original Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Their identification of the interaction between Bourgeois and Proletariat was spot-on and no different today, as evidenced by this article.

While I disagree with the turns that Communism took throughout history, the economic factors they identified in the mid 1800s was spot-on.


If you want to understand why Communism, especially pure Communism, fails, then I suggest you check out the second part of Adam Curtis's documentary All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. The three episodes encompass a variety of topics, such as the first one dealing with Ayn Rand
 
2012-11-25 07:40:12 AM
If you're going to pay me $10/hr you are going to get $10 worth of effort. Flipping burgers will get results because of low effort required. Operating and programming machining equipment takes a lot of effort so you make not like the results
 
2012-11-25 07:49:25 AM
My last job was as a security guard, and I started at $10/hr (it's now $10.50). That was low skill and only required a high school diploma. You want somebody to get a degree for the same pay?
 
2012-11-25 07:50:21 AM
Amazingly, in before "B-b-b-b-b-but Jerbcreators!"
 
2012-11-25 08:10:50 AM
Ahh the fictional labor shortage, soon to be followed up by "we'll we have to move these jobs over seas/hire immigrant workers/use prisoners because no Americans are available? We tried, SEE!?" God forbid you offer a fair wage and benefits.
 
2012-11-25 08:20:22 AM
How dare market forces act upon businesses. It's inhuman to expect wages for labor. Don't people realize that workers are lucky to even be paid at all? The only answer is to bring back forced labor in our factories and warehouses, and nationalize the workforce as any other resource. It's not socialism when labor is forced to profit the job creators, right?

People who speak the loudest about the "free market" really seem to hate it...
 
2012-11-25 08:31:24 AM
I was recently told by Independent Farkers that only skilled labor deserves decent wages and benefits like health insurance. I was also told that Job Creators and market forces would pay them accordingly. Now I don't what to believe
 
2012-11-25 08:51:29 AM
Union member: $50 an hour employee doing a $10 an hour job.
 
2012-11-25 08:52:43 AM

doglover: Pay workers? THEY'RE WORKERS! Why should I have to pay them? They can live off their trust funds!


You're an idiot. Workers live off of their dividend payments, just like everyone else.

//How do you remember to breathe?
 
2012-11-25 08:55:10 AM

Cup Check: "If there's a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages," he says. "It's basic economics."


I'll weigh in on my field of expertise: aviation. The "experts" are wringing their hands with worry about the pilot shortage. Yet the average starting wage remains below $20K at the regional (entry) level jobs. 

Funny how a lettuce shortage or whatnot plays out differently.
 
2012-11-25 08:58:24 AM

Earguy: I was helping my son research a term paper this week, and for the first time read the original Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Their identification of the interaction between Bourgeois and Proletariat was spot-on and no different today, as evidenced by this article.

While I disagree with the turns that Communism took throughout history, the economic factors they identified in the mid 1800s was spot-on.


You're spot-on that Communism is an economic, rather than political, concept. As in, the need for a centrally planned economy driven by dictatorial powers is driven by economic considerations rather than political ones. However, it also underestimates the ability of democracy to meet the needs of the proletariat, and basically assumes that the bourgeois will dominate the political system and use it to serve their own ends. Which was largely what this last US Presidential election was about, in my opinion. Which again proves how useless Marx was in actual practice.
 
2012-11-25 09:00:58 AM

Tell Me How My Blog Tastes: Earguy: I was helping my son research a term paper this week, and for the first time read the original Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Their identification of the interaction between Bourgeois and Proletariat was spot-on and no different today, as evidenced by this article.

While I disagree with the turns that Communism took throughout history, the economic factors they identified in the mid 1800s was spot-on.

You're spot-on that Communism is an economic, rather than political, concept. As in, the need for a centrally planned economy driven by dictatorial powers is driven by economic considerations rather than political ones. However, it also underestimates the ability of democracy to meet the needs of the proletariat, and basically assumes that the bourgeois will dominate the political system and use it to serve their own ends. Which was largely what this last US Presidential election was about, in my opinion. Which again proves how useless Marx was in actual practice.


I am gonna make my previous message more broad. I recommend Adam Curtis's Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace to every Farker.
 
2012-11-25 09:22:13 AM

Generation_D: Union member: $50 an hour employee doing a $10 an hour job.


Apparently, not.

For all the ire that folks have for unions, I ask this question again--because thus far the market hawks have yet to answer it:

Do you support Chambers of Commerce? Do you support industry organizations? Should industry leaders lobby and look out for the interests of their own industries? If you do, then congrats, you then should equally be in support of labor to look out for their own interests. Or to put it another way:

"If capitalism is fair, then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor."
--Frank Lloyd Wright

Because that is what folks are doing. Capitalizing on their labor. What they have to offer.

For all the ire that folks seem to have about teachers' unions, they don't seem to understand what the job actually entails, and how little compensation that teachers are looking for the investment of time and effort that they put into what amounts of 60-80 hour weeks, with a fair amount of that put into weekends and even on all those "lavish" vacations that they get, not to mention the constant career grind to certify, continue their own education and training, while serving their communities and the kids.

If doctors and hospitals get their own representation to further their interests, then why are nurses who work with them shoulder to shoulder, or EMTs and techs who serve with them suddenly bad for wanting to look out for their own interests, as well as for patient safety? Is their perspective actually IN the trenches not to be trusted because they deal with patients more often? Are the voices of teachers who are doing the job not to be trusted because they have first hand knowledge how policies affect their time and effort, or should we listen to paper pushers far and away from the classrooms who can break things down with charts and little classroom experience? Who aren't involved in the real job?

Please. Elaborate on why labor should not look out for their own interests, when the management and industry should lobby.
 
2012-11-25 09:24:45 AM
I have this exact same problem - everyone WANTS a system analyst with 25 years experience but nobody wants to PAY me for that experience. they're all like 'you should be paying US to work in this wonderful shiathole'. employers are genuinely shocked when I lay out that while I'm expecting to take a bit of a pay hit to work in a new job...i'm not willing to take a $20-30k pay cut to work night shift on the weekends and/or be on call 24/7.

f*ck that.

you want me to work my ass off for you? pay me a fair wage.
 
2012-11-25 09:27:09 AM

hubiestubert: Please. Elaborate on why labor should not look out for their own interests, when the management and industry should lobby...


Because in the GOP universe, rich people deserve their money while the middle class worker does not.
 
2012-11-25 09:28:51 AM

Earguy: I was helping my son research a term paper this week, and for the first time read the original Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Their identification of the interaction between Bourgeois and Proletariat was spot-on and no different today, as evidenced by this article.

While I disagree with the turns that Communism took throughout history, the economic factors they identified in the mid 1800s was spot-on.


Communism as written by Marx and Engels has very little to do with any government that has ever claimed to be Communist.
 
2012-11-25 09:36:12 AM

Weaver95: I have this exact same problem - everyone WANTS a system analyst with 25 years experience but nobody wants to PAY me for that experience. they're all like 'you should be paying US to work in this wonderful shiathole'. employers are genuinely shocked when I lay out that while I'm expecting to take a bit of a pay hit to work in a new job...i'm not willing to take a $20-30k pay cut to work night shift on the weekends and/or be on call 24/7.

f*ck that.

you want me to work my ass off for you? pay me a fair wage.


Chefs are the same. Folks want someone who can write budgets, who can riff specialty items, who can order, juggle labor, food cost and still manage a kitchen, while being on the line, develop catering business, create entire menus, and work the line as well, but when it comes to paying them, suddenly, folks get antsy. I've been offered full on chef positions for what amounts to $10 an hour for the amount of time I'd put in, and were insulted that I declined their kind offer, when they described to me the problems that they'd been having filling the position.

Guess what? The only folks who will accept the jobs are f*ck ups who can't find work anywhere else.
 
2012-11-25 09:38:06 AM

GAT_00: Earguy: I was helping my son research a term paper this week, and for the first time read the original Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Their identification of the interaction between Bourgeois and Proletariat was spot-on and no different today, as evidenced by this article.

While I disagree with the turns that Communism took throughout history, the economic factors they identified in the mid 1800s was spot-on.

Communism as written by Marx and Engels has very little to do with any government that has ever claimed to be Communist.


Are you suggesting that communism hasn't been proven illegitimate because Russians are inherently dictatorial and corrupted it?
 
2012-11-25 09:38:52 AM

hubiestubert: Weaver95: I have this exact same problem - everyone WANTS a system analyst with 25 years experience but nobody wants to PAY me for that experience. they're all like 'you should be paying US to work in this wonderful shiathole'. employers are genuinely shocked when I lay out that while I'm expecting to take a bit of a pay hit to work in a new job...i'm not willing to take a $20-30k pay cut to work night shift on the weekends and/or be on call 24/7.

f*ck that.

you want me to work my ass off for you? pay me a fair wage.

Chefs are the same. Folks want someone who can write budgets, who can riff specialty items, who can order, juggle labor, food cost and still manage a kitchen, while being on the line, develop catering business, create entire menus, and work the line as well, but when it comes to paying them, suddenly, folks get antsy. I've been offered full on chef positions for what amounts to $10 an hour for the amount of time I'd put in, and were insulted that I declined their kind offer, when they described to me the problems that they'd been having filling the position.

Guess what? The only folks who will accept the jobs are f*ck ups who can't find work anywhere else.


There are some that actually cannot pay those high wages. I can understand a mom and pop operation having to keep costs down by having lower wages because their revenue will be significantly lower than larger businesses.
 
2012-11-25 09:39:49 AM
This is what a recovering labor market looks like,wingnuts.
 
2012-11-25 09:44:10 AM

hubiestubert: For all the ire that folks seem to have about teachers' unions, they don't seem to understand what the job actually entails, and how little compensation that teachers are looking for the investment of time and effort that they put into what amounts of 60-80 hour weeks, with a fair amount of that put into weekends and even on all those "lavish" vacations that they get, not to mention the constant career grind to certify, continue their own education and training, while serving their communities and the kids.


My only problem with teachers' unions is that there seem to be too many stories where serving communities and kids seem to be waaaay down their list in importance when compared to protecting their turf, and they waste their political capital on some of their members that deserve it the least. If I saw a more balanced approach coming from unions in support of their real mission, which in my view is turning out as many top-quality students as humanly possible, then I'd be more full-throated in my support of them.

Otherwise yeah, I'm a pretty big union supporter. Wtf good is a job if you can't support yourself with it? I'm willing to pay higher prices to do that.
 
2012-11-25 09:45:17 AM

cman: Tell Me How My Blog Tastes: Earguy: I was helping my son research a term paper this week, and for the first time read the original Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Their identification of the interaction between Bourgeois and Proletariat was spot-on and no different today, as evidenced by this article.

While I disagree with the turns that Communism took throughout history, the economic factors they identified in the mid 1800s was spot-on.

You're spot-on that Communism is an economic, rather than political, concept. As in, the need for a centrally planned economy driven by dictatorial powers is driven by economic considerations rather than political ones. However, it also underestimates the ability of democracy to meet the needs of the proletariat, and basically assumes that the bourgeois will dominate the political system and use it to serve their own ends. Which was largely what this last US Presidential election was about, in my opinion. Which again proves how useless Marx was in actual practice.

I am gonna make my previous message more broad. I recommend Adam Curtis's Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace to every Farker.


It's documentary day for me. Do you know if it's available on Netflix? If not, I'll toss it in my Blockbuster queue
 
2012-11-25 09:46:07 AM

bronyaur1: This is what a recovering labor market looks like,wingnuts.


Recovering from 40 years of declining relative wages?
 
2012-11-25 09:48:52 AM

hubiestubert: Generation_D: Union member: $50 an hour employee doing a $10 an hour job.

Apparently, not.

For all the ire that folks have for unions, I ask this question again--because thus far the market hawks have yet to answer it:

Do you support Chambers of Commerce? Do you support industry organizations? Should industry leaders lobby and look out for the interests of their own industries? If you do, then congrats, you then should equally be in support of labor to look out for their own interests. Or to put it another way:

"If capitalism is fair, then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor."
--Frank Lloyd Wright

Because that is what folks are doing. Capitalizing on their labor. What they have to offer.

For all the ire that folks seem to have about teachers' unions, they don't seem to understand what the job actually entails, and how little compensation that teachers are looking for the investment of time and effort that they put into what amounts of 60-80 hour weeks, with a fair amount of that put into weekends and even on all those "lavish" vacations that they get, not to mention the constant career grind to certify, continue their own education and training, while serving their communities and the kids.

If doctors and hospitals get their own representation to further their interests, then why are nurses who work with them shoulder to shoulder, or EMTs and techs who serve with them suddenly bad for wanting to look out for their own interests, as well as for patient safety? Is their perspective actually IN the trenches not to be trusted because they deal with patients more often? Are the voices of teachers who are doing the job not to be trusted because they have first hand knowledge how policies affect their time and effort, or should we listen to paper pushers far and away from the classrooms who can break things down with charts and little classroom experience? Who aren't involved in the real job?

Please. Elaborate on why labor should not look out for their own interests, when the management and industry should lobby.


So, sad/funny story :

My mother in law is finishing her Masters in early childhood education and her husband (my father in law ) said that he couldn't wait until she graduated because then she would have more time on her hands once she started teaching.

I came from a family of teachers and could do nothing but laugh.
 
2012-11-25 09:48:53 AM

bronyaur1: This is what a recovering labor market looks like,wingnuts.


Recovering still from 1979? Because that's when the number of manufacturing jobs peaked.
 
2012-11-25 09:49:03 AM

cman: hubiestubert: Weaver95: I have this exact same problem - everyone WANTS a system analyst with 25 years experience but nobody wants to PAY me for that experience. they're all like 'you should be paying US to work in this wonderful shiathole'. employers are genuinely shocked when I lay out that while I'm expecting to take a bit of a pay hit to work in a new job...i'm not willing to take a $20-30k pay cut to work night shift on the weekends and/or be on call 24/7.

f*ck that.

you want me to work my ass off for you? pay me a fair wage.

Chefs are the same. Folks want someone who can write budgets, who can riff specialty items, who can order, juggle labor, food cost and still manage a kitchen, while being on the line, develop catering business, create entire menus, and work the line as well, but when it comes to paying them, suddenly, folks get antsy. I've been offered full on chef positions for what amounts to $10 an hour for the amount of time I'd put in, and were insulted that I declined their kind offer, when they described to me the problems that they'd been having filling the position.

Guess what? The only folks who will accept the jobs are f*ck ups who can't find work anywhere else.

There are some that actually cannot pay those high wages. I can understand a mom and pop operation having to keep costs down by having lower wages because their revenue will be significantly lower than larger businesses.


If you're a Mom and Pop operation, you run your own damn kitchen. That's how you keep the costs down. I'm not talking about Mom and Pop joints. I'm talking places that are looking for a chef.

I did consultancy for a while. I saw a LOT of folks who got into the business without really knowing what to expect. You want to start a restaurant? You expect to be in the place. Running it. You need to have operating costs for at least two to three years going in. In your hands. Not just enough to get the locks off, the licenses, but operating costs for at minimum of two years because otherwise, you might as well not even start, and just hand the money and the deed for the place over to the bank and save yourself and others the time and trouble.

The sad thing? Over three quarters of restaurants fail in the first two years. Why? Because they don't understand that you NEED operating costs, and that the profit margin on restaurants is thin. Like 10% thin. You can bump that up if you jigger with some things--but not by much. Generally speaking, you are looking at .30 on each dollar coming in going to labor. .30 on the dollar going to food. .30 on the dollar going to building, licenses, mortgage, utilities and such. It is NOT a business that you can roll into without a good business plan, and good management skills at your disposal. The best way to manage a place that is small, is to cut your labor cost, and run it yourself. You can't do that, then you have to figure in that cost of labor in your figures, or you need to find something else to do. You have to be involved in the joint, or you don't go in at all.
 
2012-11-25 09:50:59 AM

Bontesla: So, sad/funny story :

My mother in law is finishing her Masters in early childhood education and her husband (my father in law ) said that he couldn't wait until she graduated because then she would have more time on her hands once she started teaching.

I came from a family of teachers and could do nothing but laugh.


I have that pesky Secondary Ed degree. I don't teach, and am a chef by trade, but yeah, I larfed at that...
 
2012-11-25 09:52:05 AM

hubiestubert: Generation_D: Union member: $50 an hour employee doing a $10 an hour job.

Apparently, not.

For all the ire that folks have for unions, I ask this question again--because thus far the market hawks have yet to answer it:

Do you support Chambers of Commerce? Do you support industry organizations? Should industry leaders lobby and look out for the interests of their own industries? If you do, then congrats, you then should equally be in support of labor to look out for their own interests. Or to put it another way:

"If capitalism is fair, then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor."
--Frank Lloyd Wright

Because that is what folks are doing. Capitalizing on their labor. What they have to offer.

For all the ire that folks seem to have about teachers' unions, they don't seem to understand what the job actually entails, and how little compensation that teachers are looking for the investment of time and effort that they put into what amounts of 60-80 hour weeks, with a fair amount of that put into weekends and even on all those "lavish" vacations that they get, not to mention the constant career grind to certify, continue their own education and training, while serving their communities and the kids.

If doctors and hospitals get their own representation to further their interests, then why are nurses who work with them shoulder to shoulder, or EMTs and techs who serve with them suddenly bad for wanting to look out for their own interests, as well as for patient safety? Is their perspective actually IN the trenches not to be trusted because they deal with patients more often? Are the voices of teachers who are doing the job not to be trusted because they have first hand knowledge how policies affect their time and effort, or should we listen to paper pushers far and away from the classrooms who can break things down with charts and little classr ...


Back on topic. When I was a Union member, I was told not to work beyond "medium" because "it would start management thinking they could make do without as many of us."

Should businesses organize for politics? Maybe they shouldn't.

But I know Unions are all about protecting mediocrity and closing ranks when anyone screws up.

They were essential 100 years ago when owners were hiring private cops to shoot at $1 a day employees.

Now? give me a break. Pick any profession with unions, and you will find stories of unionism either obstructing progress or protecting membership's mediocre job performance.
 
2012-11-25 09:54:26 AM

Generation_D: But I know Unions are all about protecting mediocrity and closing ranks when anyone screws up ..


I have to wonder....do you believe that ANYONE who screws up should be punished or just union members?
 
2012-11-25 09:55:58 AM

Generation_D: But I know Unions are all about protecting mediocrity and closing ranks when anyone screws up.

They were essential 100 years ago when owners were hiring private cops to shoot at $1 a day employees.

Now? give me a break. Pick any profession with unions, and you will find stories of unionism either obstructing progress or protecting membership's mediocre job performance.


So, how about more employee owned companies? Link
 
2012-11-25 10:03:53 AM

Weaver95: Generation_D: But I know Unions are all about protecting mediocrity and closing ranks when anyone screws up ..

I have to wonder....do you believe that ANYONE who screws up should be punished or just union members?


Thats just it. If guys not in a union screwed up like a union employee is allowed to, they would be fired most of the time. And this is based on over 20 years of seeing it happen in the workplace.

Work Telco for years and watch the contrast between large unionized shops and smaller CLEC's without any union. It works both ways, the upward mobility is greater in the non-union, where call center can move up to manager or engineering jobs fairly quickly if there's merit and opportunity. Its encouraged.

In a union shop? You better just hope your job class doesn't have a bump going on, where the guy sitting on his a-- with 15 years experience gets to have your slot cause you only have 4.
 
2012-11-25 10:08:44 AM

Generation_D: Should businesses organize for politics? Maybe they shouldn't.

But I know Unions are all about protecting mediocrity and closing ranks when anyone screws up.

They were essential 100 years ago when owners were hiring private cops to shoot at $1 a day employees.

Now? give me a break. Pick any profession with unions, and you will find stories of unionism either obstructing progress or protecting membership's mediocre job performance.


Really? The NWU--National Writer's Union--is one of the pesky structures. They are currently fighting to prevent the extension of copyright from ballooning. They are likewise fighting for writers to have a better share of their own intellectual property. Their actual labor. Which, distributors and publishers would have literally NOTHING to do but twiddle their thumbs and make phone calls to one another without.

Teachers unions WANT better standards for their own, because that means better teams, better use for public dollars, and greater professional development. What they don't want are arbitrary testing created by out of state firms that will suck dollars from their pockets, for a test that doesn't accurately translate to performance in the classrooms.

Are there bad unions? Certainly. Unions are only as good as their rank and file--the same as management is only as good as the folks you hire to fill the positions. The problem is that folks seem to have the idea that ALL unions are the same, and each union is its own animal. With its own challenges.

You don't want unions? Then best pressure industries to abolish the need for organized labor. That is the fastest way to do so. Until that happens though, folks will seek to cover their own asses, which is exactly the same thing that management and owners are doing. Until we see an end to industry organizations seeking to protect the interests of owners and management, then we will have an equal argument for workers to seek to protect their own interests.
 
2012-11-25 10:17:28 AM
Some other union stories:

Seattle's Port of Seattle Longshoremens. Fought automation for years, because it would cut into job count. Seattle's years behind automation now compared to other ports on the west coast. But thats OK, because we protected the original job count that was established when ships were unloaded by hand 100 years ago. The price is just passed along to anyone that lives in the Northwest who had goods shipped in and out of Seattle.

Back in the midwest, I was a card-carrying member of AFSCME working in an administrative computing shop for a large state university. We printed payroll checks and ran other batch jobs. Though by the late 80s, the trend was away from centralized processing and towards putting these fandangled PC's on desks and letting them print their own email. Result: In the 4 years I worked there, I was "bumped" 3 times. Meaning someone with seniority got to have my job slot, while I had to take either graveyard shift or in one case be laid off entirely. Unionism protected the guy with 20 years who was sitting on his a-- reading his bible all day, or the other guy sitting on his a-- who was working crossword puzzles in 10 different newspapers he brought in. In fact I think he was the shop foreman.

Cop union.. the cop shoots someone's dog, what happens. Union closes ranks. Teachers union, the teacher commits misconduct, what happens.. Union closes ranks. I have cops and teachers in my extended family. They all have stories.

In every profession I've been a part of, if a union is involved it protects the weakest members of the union from the same standards those of us outside a union would be expected to be accountable for: Absenteeism, bad work ethic... sleeping on the job, coming in hung over, you name it. Browsing porn at work -- at Boeing, a large union shop, they have a cottage industry in computer forensics going, because the boeing machinists cannot get through the work day without browsing porn. Are they fired? no, there are strict union rules on what can and can't be done. So you have guys with 5, 6 strikes for browsing sh*t at work or sending harrassing emails or what have you still on the job. I know this because I took a year's worth of computer forensics training from one of the guys that regularly is called in to investigate. Can't fire them, can only do things like dock them a weeks pay or require they get counselling.

In the real working world outside of the union bubble, if you sexually harrass someone at work you are gone, period. Saw it happen a few times. Frog marched out. Never happens in a union.

On and on it goes. To the point I have to wonder if those white-knighting the unions have ever actually been in close contact with a real 21st century union situation. I have been, the last 20 years of my career have been in contact with them, not to mention seeing how police and fire protect their own regardless of what damages their more ridiculous members can cause.

Unions were needed when ownership was shooting at employees. Now, the tables have turned to the point that unions are all about protectionism and favoritism, and they do those of us without union membership (cause there's never enough union slots to go around) a huge disservice. By taking a whole class of jobs out of the hands of the private sector and protecting them, you create an artificially inflated price, so that things like Line Chef II or Computer Operator III are paid ridiculously more than "entry level" .. and creates zero incentive for people in those jobs to perform beyond the minimum needed.

20 years ago I was pro union. But its hard to keep ignoring their numerous faults.
 
2012-11-25 10:19:45 AM

Earguy: I was helping my son research a term paper this week, and for the first time read the original Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels. Their identification of the interaction between Bourgeois and Proletariat was spot-on and no different today, as evidenced by this article.

While I disagree with the turns that Communism took throughout history, the economic factors they identified in the mid 1800s was spot-on.


Marx made two incredible findings- the first is that labor and capital are hopelessly at odds with one another and that the relationship is built upon conflict. The second is his theory of labor power (and by extension his labor theory of value), which argues that under capitalism labor is commodity (can be bought and sold) and thus is the most valuable thing a worker or a capitalist can have, mainly because it is a capacity to produce more value than it costs. Therefore, the more work a capitalist can get out of a worker, the more accrues to the capitalist. This latter finding is why worker organizing is so important for retaining some measure of control over one's own labor power (and thus profits). Unfortunately, Marx's prediction of class consciousness has not come to fruition in places like the U.S. Instead, our class consciousness gets expressed through political preferences, educational status, race, etc.
 
2012-11-25 10:23:57 AM
And just to sum this up; guys, I recognize your nicks and I respect your opinions. I am not hard righty and haven't voted for a Republican since John Anderson, Illinois, 1980. Despite objecting strongly to modern unionism for myself, I do think modern Republicanism (Tea baggers and jesus freaks) are worse. I'd really like to see a business moderate / personal life liberal party form out of the old Rockefeller Republican and Blue Dog Democrat. I would also like to see businesses stop funding teabagging asswits. I would also like a pony.
 
2012-11-25 10:26:39 AM

Generation_D: Some other union stories:

Seattle's Port of Seattle Longshoremens. Fought automation for years, because it would cut into job count. Seattle's years behind automation now compared to other ports on the west coast. But thats OK, because we protected the original job count that was established when ships were unloaded by hand 100 years ago. The price is just passed along to anyone that lives in the Northwest who had goods shipped in and out of Seattle.

Back in the midwest, I was a card-carrying member of AFSCME working in an administrative computing shop for a large state university. We printed payroll checks and ran other batch jobs. Though by the late 80s, the trend was away from centralized processing and towards putting these fandangled PC's on desks and letting them print their own email. Result: In the 4 years I worked there, I was "bumped" 3 times. Meaning someone with seniority got to have my job slot, while I had to take either graveyard shift or in one case be laid off entirely. Unionism protected the guy with 20 years who was sitting on his a-- reading his bible all day, or the other guy sitting on his a-- who was working crossword puzzles in 10 different newspapers he brought in. In fact I think he was the shop foreman.

Cop union.. the cop shoots someone's dog, what happens. Union closes ranks. Teachers union, the teacher commits misconduct, what happens.. Union closes ranks. I have cops and teachers in my extended family. They all have stories.

In every profession I've been a part of, if a union is involved it protects the weakest members of the union from the same standards those of us outside a union would be expected to be accountable for: Absenteeism, bad work ethic... sleeping on the job, coming in hung over, you name it. Browsing porn at work -- at Boeing, a large union shop, they have a cottage industry in computer forensics going, because the boeing machinists cannot get through the work day without browsing porn. Are they fired ...


Interesting stories. Thanks for posting them.
 
2012-11-25 10:27:46 AM
You don't want unions? Then best pressure industries to abolish the need for organized labor. That is the fastest way to do so. Until that happens though, folks will seek to cover their own asses, which is exactly the same thing that management and owners are doing. Until we see an end to industry organizations seeking to protect the interests of owners and management, then we will have an equal argument for workers to seek to protect their own interests.

Weaver: In companies I've been a part of that were non union, typically tech startups, there is much less of this "us versus them" "management versus workers." It always annoys me how much unions cast the argument in 100 years ago terms. Most companies I've been in now are pretty flat -- 3 or 4 layers from entry level to VP / CEO. Sometimes less.

Unions absolutely do not fit that model, and most tech employees in seattle work in startups, or former startups. Unionism is a holdover from when employers shot at employees. Now they don't fit how companies are.
 
2012-11-25 10:27:52 AM
Generation_D

I think you are confusing people who support unions with blind support. The notion of having strong unions to keep wages high enough to support a family does not mean there can be no critique of union structure or practices. Why is that so hard to understand? Additionally, we could sit and list all day egregious actions taken by corporations- does that mean people advocate for doing away with them "because their time has passed"?
 
2012-11-25 10:29:42 AM

hubiestubert: Chefs are the same. Folks want someone who can write budgets, who can riff specialty items, who can order, juggle labor, food cost and still manage a kitchen, while being on the line, develop catering business, create entire menus, and work the line as well, but when it comes to paying them, suddenly, folks get antsy. I've been offered full on chef positions for what amounts to $10 an hour for the amount of time I'd put in, and were insulted that I declined their kind offer, when they described to me the problems that they'd been having filling the position.


Not just chefs. What you describe is an independent small business owner/operator, without the rewards. This is the current US dilemma. Those with risk capital are demanding enormous returns, as you know. That's why you can't set up your own restaurant and do as you describe. The businesses that are going concerns now are not offering acceptable wages to competent employees for management level performance.
 
2012-11-25 10:32:25 AM

Generation_D: Now? give me a break. Pick any profession with unions, and you will find stories of unionism either obstructing progress or protecting membership's mediocre job performance.


If you're right, Fed Ex (non-union) should be smoking UPS (unionized). Link, Link, Link

Admittedly, share price is an inexact comparison, but the general consensus is that fed ex is getting smoked by a unionized competitor that is managed much, much better. Soooo.... mediocrity and such? Or good jobs for good pay for a good company? I know what I think.
 
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