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Old 06-04-2007, 06:14 AM   #31
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Default Re: Economy robust, middle class income dropping?

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I've been around Union work sites since I was 14. I have never seen anyone sitting on their ass. Matter of fact I've seen my dad send people home for not busting their ass as hard as their foreman was.

This does happen. My uncle is a lifer in the steel industry and works hard.

But I will never forget my dad and other uncle telling me stories of working in the mill during the summer while they were in college and some guy coming up to my dad and telling him to take it easy as he was working too hard and making the other guys look bad.

I think the bad taste in my mouth comes from the fact that, I busted my ass, paid my dues and went to school. I get out and find a job and am happy for what I get. Then I see a Union guy (some friends of mine, like my teacher buddy) bitch and complain about his pay and benefits when he gets paid like a champ and has it great!!! It gets tiring.

This is a big topic right now in Michigan...people are pissed when they find out what the Union has negotiated and gets compensated for.
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Old 06-04-2007, 09:07 AM   #32
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Default Re: Economy robust, middle class income dropping?

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This is a big topic right now in Michigan...people are pissed when they find out what the Union has negotiated and gets compensated for.
So what? It's called collective bargaining and it's what seperates the free market system from communism. It's funny too because anti-Union types usually love to talk about fair market value and workers negotiating a price with mangement. Well that's exactly what's happened. I do think that Unions have gotten too powerful and need to be reigned back in somewhat. But the day you eliminate them is the day both companies and politicians start rolling back all those labor laws you talk about. If you don't think it would happen, think again. I worked in management for a few years before I joined the Air Force and trust me when I tell you that every CEO in this country would snatch your benefits from you in a heartbeat if they could.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:08 AM   #33
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Default Re: Economy robust, middle class income dropping?

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So what? It's called collective bargaining and it's what seperates the free market system from communism. It's funny too because anti-Union types usually love to talk about fair market value and workers negotiating a price with mangement. Well that's exactly what's happened. I do think that Unions have gotten too powerful and need to be reigned back in somewhat. But the day you eliminate them is the day both companies and politicians start rolling back all those labor laws you talk about. If you don't think it would happen, think again. I worked in management for a few years before I joined the Air Force and trust me when I tell you that every CEO in this country would snatch your benefits from you in a heartbeat if they could.

Not if they want to attract top flight talent. Of course they are going to look at how to save money and offer you just enough to keep you. But do you need a forced Union due payment and others to negotiate for you?

I'm sorry, I we have to agree to disagree as I still haven't heard a valid argument that can change my mind about the power of unions in this country. I see the negatives way more then the positives. Just try and set up a booth at a convention trade show to see where it is a pain in the ass. You have to sit and fricking wait for those guys to break you down when you could have been done on your own in half the time! Why??!!

And, it is a big deal in Michigan because, instead of having rational compensation demands, the Unions are (naturally) resistent to any changes. As a result, the companies are closing plants and downsizing or sending work overseas where they can get the same work cheaper.

The way the unions are set up now promote laziness and lack of accountability. I am all for people trying to negotiate a better wage and am all for capitalism. But I also think that I am not owed anything by a company that hires me other then the agreed upon wage. If I don't like it, I will go somewhere else. If they don't want to pay it, then they don't value my work anyway. If they do, they will pay. It's as simple as that.

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Old 06-04-2007, 10:36 AM   #34
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Default Re: Economy robust, middle class income dropping?

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Not if they want to attract top flight talent. Of course they are going to look at how to save money and offer you just enough to keep you. But do you need a forced Union due payment and others to negotiate for you?

I'm sorry, I we have to agree to disagree as I still haven't heard a valid argument that can change my mind about the power of unions in this country. I see the negatives way more then the positives. Just try and set up a booth at a convention trade show to see where it is a pain in the ass. You have to sit and fricking wait for those guys to break you down when you could have been done on your own in half the time! Why??!!

And, it is a big deal in Michigan because, instead of having rational compensation demands, the Unions are (naturally) resistent to any changes. As a result, the companies are closing plants and downsizing or sending work overseas where they can get the same work cheaper.

The way the unions are set up now promote laziness and lack of accountability. I am all for people trying to negotiate a better wage and am all for capitalism. But I also think that I am not owed anything by a company that hires me other then the agreed upon wage. If I don't like it, I will go somewhere else. If they don't want to pay it, then they don't value my work anyway. If they do, they will pay. It's as simple as that.



What? You really think it's Unions that are driving companies overseas? Companies are going overseas because they can treat workers like garbage and get away with it. American companies in particular are stubborn about giving anyone incentive to leave unions behind. Foreign companies like Toyota are exellent at putting working with unions and creating an atmosphere where both can coexist. But American companies have their heads buried in the sand on this issue.

What has me confused is you say labor laws protect you, but then you say that you don't need more than the agreed upon wage. Well then labor laws really aren't protecting you are they? It's also obvious that you don't have kids. Because if you did, you'd understand why American workers demand health care coverage when they negotiate contracts. And I'll go one step further and say that you're against universale health care coverage. I'll be very curious to see what happens the first time you get stuck with a $70,000 hospital bill and nothing but your agreed upon wage to cover it.
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Old 06-04-2007, 11:39 AM   #35
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Default Re: Economy robust, middle class income dropping?

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What? You really think it's Unions that are driving companies overseas? Companies are going overseas because they can treat workers like garbage and get away with it. American companies in particular are stubborn about giving anyone incentive to leave unions behind. Foreign companies like Toyota are exellent at putting working with unions and creating an atmosphere where both can coexist. But American companies have their heads buried in the sand on this issue.

What has me confused is you say labor laws protect you, but then you say that you don't need more than the agreed upon wage. Well then labor laws really aren't protecting you are they? It's also obvious that you don't have kids. Because if you did, you'd understand why American workers demand health care coverage when they negotiate contracts. And I'll go one step further and say that you're against universale health care coverage. I'll be very curious to see what happens the first time you get stuck with a $70,000 hospital bill and nothing but your agreed upon wage to cover it.
Why would you be owed more then an agreed upon wage?

I am all about whatever it is you can get and negotiate. And, whether or not I have kids is a non issue in this matter. I am not against health care or comapnies providing it.

Clearly you don't know much about the American Auto industry and their union concessions. Not trying to slight you or anything, but if you did, you wouldn't have made that statement.

I have never worked for a company where I have seen more Union cooperation and concessions then at my company (one of the Big Three). Pension plans, family health care for life, flex hours, over 20 company wide, paid holidays (including opening day for deer season). You think those things equate to being "treated like garbage?"

And, I have family members that worked in the airline industry, for comparison. My brother and mother are both in HR. (My brother has a degree in labor and industrial relations and has negotiated union deals for his company). Neither one could believe the benefits my company currently has in place for their contract. And, I know that my company is insisting on lowering some of the compensation (pensions, etc.) for the next negotiation phase out of necessity. Plus, with all of the recent layoffs and buyouts (some of them in the six figure range), they offer tuition reimbursement, career fairs and in some cases relocation packages. Not too bad a deal for, in some cases, an unskilled laborer.

So, I suggest reading up on some of those things before making definitive statements like that. I am not anti Union, per say. I am just a realist, and think some people don't realize how good they have it and think they are "owed."
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:02 PM   #36
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Default Re: Economy robust, middle class income dropping?

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What? You really think it's Unions that are driving companies overseas? Companies are going overseas because they can treat workers like garbage and get away with it. American companies in particular are stubborn about giving anyone incentive to leave unions behind. Foreign companies like Toyota are exellent at putting working with unions and creating an atmosphere where both can coexist. But American companies have their heads buried in the sand on this issue.

Oh...and here is some reading for you about the wonderful pro Union Toyota vs GM.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06144/692719-185.stm



P.S. The most critical part of this article in regards to our discussion is this:

"In Arlington, GM pays union-scale wages of $26.50 to $30.50 an hour to its 2,800 hourly workers there. On average, GM pays $81.18 an hour in wages and benefits to U.S. hourly workers, including pension and retiree medical costs. At that rate, labor costs per vehicle at Arlington are about $1,800, based on the Harbour Consulting estimate of labor hours per vehicle.

In San Antonio, Toyota will use non-union labor and will start its 1,600 hourly workers at $15.50 to $20.33 per hour, which will grow after three years to $21 to $25. Harbour Consulting President Ron Harbour estimates Toyota's total hourly U.S. labor costs, with benefits, at about $35 an hour -- less than half of GM's rates. The brand-new plant won't have any direct retiree costs for many years. So if the San Antonio factory does no better than match the Arlington plant in productivity, it could still enjoy a labor cost advantage of about $1,000 per vehicle, a substantial sum in industry terms. That's money Toyota could translate into extra standard features -- such as stability control -- that could make its trucks more appealing."
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Old 06-04-2007, 12:19 PM   #37
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Default Re: Economy robust, middle class income dropping?

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Oh...and here is some reading for you about the wonderful pro Union Toyota vs GM.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06144/692719-185.stm

Did you read the article or just post it? Because 90% of that article focuses on the regional factors as well as government tax breaks. On paragraph talked about labor costs and even then it admitted that the numbers are off because Toyota has no retirees to deal with.

You hate Unions, I get it. You talk about your grandfather and his views on Unions, but I bet he took full advantage of every bennie he got didn't he? I think you probably should wait until you've spend a couple of years in management before you can understand what this country would look like without strong labor unions.
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Old 06-04-2007, 01:53 PM   #38
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Default Re: Economy robust, middle class income dropping?

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Did you read the article or just post it? Because 90% of that article focuses on the regional factors as well as government tax breaks. On paragraph talked about labor costs and even then it admitted that the numbers are off because Toyota has no retirees to deal with.

You hate Unions, I get it. You talk about your grandfather and his views on Unions, but I bet he took full advantage of every bennie he got didn't he? I think you probably should wait until you've spend a couple of years in management before you can understand what this country would look like without strong labor unions.

Yes, I read the article. It is one example and it still debunks your earlier post about Toyota and the American automotive industry treating their employees like garbage. And, actually, the amount spent per car is even greater when you factor in the Michigan and Kentucky plants form the other two American manufacturers.

And, no you must not get it because I don't hate the idea of Unions, as I have repeatedly stated. I hate what many of them have become and what type of work ethic they often (not intentionally) promote. Unions can serve a great purpose, but they are now less necessary and often abused. (Teamsters, anyone?) And what is the deal with a forced (i.e. closed shop) membership? I remember the Moon Township Giant Eagle cashiers and baggers went on strike once when I was in High School. First, I couldn't believe there was even a union of cashiers and baggers (closed shop, no less). Second, I remember them getting really mad because Giant Eagle just hired new employees. I didn't blame Giant Eagle. I say, if you are trying to make a career out of a job that a High School kid would easily do for minimum wage, don't get pissed off because the company isn't willing to pay more for it. Go educate yourself and find a new career! That doesn't equate me hating the Union. I just couldn't see the point of their gripes.

I can't speak to what benefits my grandfather did or did not take advantage of. I do know that he was/is a hard worker and a man that did not live extravagantly or beyond his means. He raised 7 children who are all good, hard working and practical people. He also didn't abuse the system and frowned upon others that did. You can make any assumptions you want but that's all they would be, assumptions.

Peace,

Rob




P.S. Let me add that my feelings towards Unions in no way defend the actions of some corporations and CEO's that take golden parachutes and exercise stock option worth millions while the company is laying off thousands of employees.
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Last edited by Hammer67; 06-04-2007 at 02:33 PM. Reason: add P.S.
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Old 06-04-2007, 02:08 PM   #39
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Default Re: Economy robust, middle class income dropping?

Hammer

What is interesting...

Is that 1000 dollars per vehicle for labor costs... takes away the buying power of the middle class in America for vehicles. Think about airlines, phone companies, car rentals, etc.etc. Union made means an extra charge for union paid.




The short-sightedness of unions.
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Old 06-04-2007, 02:40 PM   #40
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Hammer

What is interesting...

Is that 1000 dollars per vehicle for labor costs... takes away the buying power of the middle class in America for vehicles. Think about airlines, phone companies, car rentals, etc.etc. Union made means an extra charge for union paid.




The short-sightedness of unions.

That is part of the problem, especially in the automotive industry. And they are just now noticing it. You have some people, considered unskilled labor, making more money then people with MBA's and they balk when someone suggests that may not be market value. Anyone with a lick of logic must realize the hole some of the major union employers dug themselves into and the political power of the Unions themselves.

But, human nature is to hold on to what you have. And I don't blame them (union employees) for being offended when GM, Ford, USAirways, etc. realize they are overpaying and come back and say "Enough".

Then, all of a sudden, you have this guy who has a family and has maybe overextended himself or even just learned to live off of that high income. Perhaps he has multiple cars, kids in college, summer cabins, boats, a high mortgage payment, etc. Of course they would balk at that. But unfortunately, as they are learning in Michigan (and as they learned in Pittsburgh in the 60's and 70's), if you aren't willing to take a cut back down to reality, then you won't have a job, period.

It is a really touchy subject as many people need to change the fabric of their lives.
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