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Thread: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Buonosera,

    I, uh, have been troubled by your reluctance to knuckle under to my racquet, uh join organized unions, over these past few decades. You don't like paying membership fees to me, your Don, erh, I mean your local? Don't you know this money buys you protection, erh, I mean representation and security? I think I'm going to have Lucco Brazzi come by your house tonight, maybe around 3AM, to sit down and explain the benefits of union membership to you, your wife and your children. Make you an offer you can't refuse. After all, with this new legislation, I'll get your personal info, and I'll get a record of how you voted.

    Now, are you really sure you want to continue to defy the don? After all that money I spent this past fall to get my union racquet going again, erh, encourage Democracy and liberty?

    For those of you wondering what I'm on about, Democrats in the House & Senate, apparently with White House approval, have waited exactly 6 weeks to trot out card-check legislation, something I was told was a delusional fantasy of us paranoid fruitbat right-wing cranks. Is that free beer I smell? By the way, Wal-Mart, one of the few people hiring as we approach double-digit inflation, got downgraded from a buy to a hold, on this.
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    smell the glove Senior Member Major Robert Dump's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    I don't much care for unions, with the exception of some high-risk, poorly regulated industries. But take it from a former general manager of a Wal-Mart Supercenter that did 1.7 million in gross sales per week -- the anti union mantra of Wal-Mart borders on gestapo tactics equally as ridiculous as the union wackos who think they are jesus incarnate here to save us all. I'd be happy to go into detail later.

    If people want to unionize they should be able to, their gain, their loss, live and learn whatever. But the crap that the left and Big Labor try to do to enable unions far reaching power is ridiculous. I mean seriously, get with the times. If a company treats its employees so poorly that they need to organize then by all means let them organize, but the key word is "organize", not have johnny-come-lately sign a card because people are pissed they have to work new years eve.

    The fact of the matter is that the state and most companies adequately police themselves because it is good for business. So someone had to work some unpaid overtime or got a pat on the butt from the boss or got fired for being black. That really sucks, and there are ways to make it right that don't involve making everything union. God, no ballots, just a quick card check? Are you kidding me, the freaking paper boys would be union......

    Out of curiousity, are the .orgs respective states right-to-work or pro-union shop. My state is not union shop, meaning if a business/sector is union then you are not required to join the union as a requirement for your hiring or continued employment. When this issue was being debated in oklahoma 10 years ago the pro-union shop folks went on and on about how rampant worker abuse would occur blah blah blh blah as if were making unions illegal or something. Well, the abuse hasn't changed and the economy has grown leaps and bounds, and not being pro-union shop has actually drawn companies here, and unions have not died out.

    Hell, I even do my grocery shopping at a union supermarket because it's closest, but I must admit some of the service really sucks and the prices are slightly higher. Can you guess why?
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    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    To Clarify MRD's request for information for our non-usa types:

    Union Shop = To be employed at company X, you MUST be a member of the union (one of the unions) representating workers at company X.

    Closed Shop = You cannot be forced to be part of the union in order to work at company X, but must abide by the terms of the union-negotiated contract and cannot enter into an independent contract of your own with company X. Some places make you pay dues as though you were a union member.

    Right to Work = You cannot be forced to be part of the union in order to work at company X, nor are you required to abide by the terms of a union contract.


    Unionization (organizing) is permitted in all states. Once a sufficient number of employees express an interest in forming a union at a particular company and/or facility, an establishment vote is conducted by secret ballot to determine if a majority of employees wish a union to be formed.

    One aspect of the proposed legislation is to make this establishment vote (or disestablishment votes that are held to de-unionize a unionized workplace) a vote that does NOT require a secret ballot. As Don C's OP suggests, opponents believe this will lend itself to union thuggery and intimidation tactics.
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    Poll Smoker Senior Member CountArach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    As Don C's OP suggests, opponents believe this will lend itself to union thuggery and intimidation tactics.
    Alright, can this be clarified for me - How can the Union be thuggish and intimidatory if, by definition, it doesn't actually exist yet?

    Further, why would the Union do this?

    Two questions I just don't understand. I can see the Democratic argument against this (And I fully respect that position and even find it attractive myself, despite my own overtly pro-union views) but I'm not quite sure why these two points are used.

    Thanks for clearing up the terminology as well Seamus, it was useful for us non-yanks.
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    Amphibious Trebuchet Salesman Member Whacker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    Unionization (organizing) is permitted in all states. Once a sufficient number of employees express an interest in forming a union at a particular company and/or facility, an establishment vote is conducted by secret ballot to determine if a majority of employees wish a union to be formed.
    I am not 100% sure of this, BUT I believe my current state of residence (North Carolina) does not allow unions in any shape or form. There is no teacher's union here in the state for one.

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    Ice stink there for a ham. Member Mystery Science Torture 3000 Champion, Mini Putt 3 Champion, Super Hacky Sack Champion, Pencak Champion, Sperm Wars Champion, Monkey Diving Champion Yoyoma1910's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Well CA, to learn this first you should locate Jimmy Hoffa.
    Last edited by Yoyoma1910; 03-13-2009 at 05:29.

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    Arena Senior Member Crazed Rabbit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by CountArach View Post
    Alright, can this be clarified for me - How can the Union be thuggish and intimidatory if, by definition, it doesn't actually exist yet?

    Further, why would the Union do this?
    Union, in answer to your first question, means organizing arms of existing national union organizations. That's what this is about; the existing unions want to make it much easier to organize other groups of workers.

    Why? For money and power - the new union members pay fees to the national organizations that organized them. The fees mean more money for the union leaders and more political power.

    So we're not talking about oppressed groups of workers banding together, but outside groups agitating to form unions so those national union groups can make more money. That's the reason behind the unionizing drives; money and power, not looking for workers to help.

    Now, in relation to card check;
    With this law, a union can be organized if a organizers get 50%+1 of the workers to sign cards indicating they want to join a union. Previously an employer could request a secret election for the employees to decide. So with card check the union knows everyone who has and has not signed. And another way this is different from an election, besides the secrecy, is that you can't simply say no once. The union can and will just keep asking until they get the signatures they need. You could say 'no' for fifty times in a row but you'll still count as a 'yes' if you sign the card after that.

    I'll assume you can see the potential for abuse and pressure. It simply isn't a fair way to decide an issue. Currently, more people sign cards than vote yes for unionization in secret elections. The national union organizations know this and try to get a super majority (I've seen a figure of 75%) of people to sign cards before they try to get the new union formed (as the employer almost always asks for a secret election).

    CR
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    Poll Smoker Senior Member CountArach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoyoma1910 View Post
    Well CA, to learn this first you should locate Jimmy Hoffa.
    Umm.... okay?
    Quote Originally Posted by Crazed Rabbit View Post
    Union, in answer to your first question, means organizing arms of existing national union organizations. That's what this is about; the existing unions want to make it much easier to organize other groups of workers.
    Ah, I thought that might be the case. Thanks for clearing that up. Now I at least understand that point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crazed Rabbit View Post
    Why? For money and power - the new union members pay fees to the national organizations that organized them. The fees mean more money for the union leaders and more political power.
    I see no problem with unions having more political power - the only way that workers can get anything out of politics is if they organise and use their numbers to show their strength. United we stand, divided we fall, etc.

    Have you got any statistics on union leader's pay? I can't find any myself (after a quick bought of googling).
    Quote Originally Posted by Crazed Rabbit View Post
    So we're not talking about oppressed groups of workers banding together, but outside groups agitating to form unions so those national union groups can make more money. That's the reason behind the unionizing drives; money and power, not looking for workers to help.
    But again, that power is to the benefit of those who are now entering into unions, not to the union leaders themselves. Further, if there is a problem with the union leader wielding the power irresponsibly, what is to stop the members from voting him out at their next election? Or are most unions not democratised in the US?

    As I've said though (In the previous debates we have had on this issue) I don't like the card check system and I do prefer secret elections (Though then again I also support compulsory union agreements in many cases - I'm under one myself and I earn far more compared to other people in similar ununionised jobs). Then again I wouldn't exactly mourn the passing of this law - anything that gives rise to more unoins is fine in my book. The idea is good, I just don't like the methodology.
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    The problem with the current secret ballot system is that the delay it forces gives companies time to fire pro-union workers and intimidate the rest. The proposed bill would change the system so that the card check would lead to unionization without the secret ballot unless evidence of harrassment was shown. If the workers wish to deunionize, that process is a secret ballot. It's not perfect but the rhetoric against it is greatly exaggerated.

    Have you got any statistics on union leader's pay? I can't find any myself (after a quick bought of googling).
    They get a commision based on how many workers they force into joining up at gunpoint

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    Things Change Member JAG's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro View Post
    The problem with the current secret ballot system is that the delay it forces gives companies time to fire pro-union workers and intimidate the rest. The proposed bill would change the system so that the card check would lead to unionization without the secret ballot unless evidence of harrassment was shown. If the workers wish to deunionize, that process is a secret ballot. It's not perfect but the rhetoric against it is greatly exaggerated.



    They get a commision based on how many workers they force into joining up at gunpoint
    Exactly. What the companies and people here are worried about is that company abuse, intimidation and breaking of the law could be replaced by workers doing the same thing, could being the important word.

    There is nothing wrong with any of this, all it will mean is more people being represented and not being walked over by their, large multinational, rich employers. Give the little man a fighting chance, but who could be opposed to that? Ah yes, those people who look down at, don't care about or worship big business. Republicans then I guess.
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    Jillian & Allison's Daddy Senior Member Don Corleone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    If what Sasaki and Jag say is true, why is the legislation written in such a way as to specifically grant access to personal information for all workers to the organizer? Why do Johnny No-Nose Trombino and Sal "Icepick" Tomasio need my home address and phone number, if they already have my answer on "no card"?

    This isn't about Wal-Mart or Home Depot. It's about organizing EVERYBODY. Semiconductor companies, insurance firms, everyone's going to be up for grabs. Our entire economy will go the way of the New York City waterfronts. And I'm going to pull a Tribesman on that one, go look up what happened there on your own.

    To me, the following has always been the case, and always will be, at least within the United States: Organized Labor = Organized Crime. The unions have always been run by large crime families from Chicago, New York & Philly and always will be.
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    Poll Smoker Senior Member CountArach's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone View Post
    To me, the following has always been the case, and always will be, at least within the United States: Organized Labor = Organized Crime. The unions have always been run by large crime families from Chicago, New York & Philly and always will be.
    Then change the unions

    New unions = more active participation = less crime.
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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Corleone View Post
    The unions have always been run by large crime families from Chicago, New York & Philly and always will be.
    I'm gonna tell my neighbor about this! She's a member of the Police Union, and she's gonna be angry as anything to find out that she's part of a criminal conspiracy!
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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Unions

    The union fee is the easiest 3-400 dollars I pay every year. Without a doubt the best investment I make. If my employer tries to pull a dirty one on me, I get backing. Fast and hard. The times I've needed them, all I've had to do is make a short phone call, and the situations were sorted out almost instantly. And that's in addition to the big politics they're pushing for, of course.
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    I'm gonna tell my neighbor about this! She's a member of the Police Union, and she's gonna be angry as anything to find out that she's part of a criminal conspiracy!

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    Ice stink there for a ham. Member Mystery Science Torture 3000 Champion, Mini Putt 3 Champion, Super Hacky Sack Champion, Pencak Champion, Sperm Wars Champion, Monkey Diving Champion Yoyoma1910's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
    I'm gonna tell my neighbor about this! She's a member of the Police Union, and she's gonna be angry as anything to find out that she's part of a criminal conspiracy!
    Considering that the idea of "government" is theoretically the largest organised criminal/extortion racket...

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    Upstanding Member rvg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoyoma1910 View Post
    Considering that the idea of "government" is theoretically the largest organised criminal/extortion racket...
    Still, capitalist government is preferable, since they try to take as little as possible while the commies will rob you of everything.
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    Praefectus Fabrum Senior Member Anime BlackJack Champion, Flash Poker Champion, Word Up Champion, Shape Game Champion, Snake Shooter Champion, Fishwater Challenge Champion, Rocket Racer MX Champion, Jukebox Hero Champion, My House Is Bigger Than Your House Champion, Funky Pong Champion, Cutie Quake Champion, Fling The Cow Champion, Tiger Punch Champion, Virus Champion, Solitaire Champion, Worm Race Champion, Rope Walker Champion, Penguin Pass Champion, Skate Park Champion, Watch Out Champion, Lawn Pac Champion, Weapons Of Mass Destruction Champion, Skate Boarder Champion, Lane Bowling Champion, Bugz Champion, Makai Grand Prix 2 Champion, White Van Man Champion, Parachute Panic Champion, BlackJack Champion, Stans Ski Jumping Champion, Smaugs Treasure Champion, Sofa Longjump Champion Seamus Fermanagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    Unions

    The union fee is the easiest 3-400 dollars I pay every year. Without a doubt the best investment I make. If my employer tries to pull a dirty one on me, I get backing. Fast and hard. The times I've needed them, all I've had to do is make a short phone call, and the situations were sorted out almost instantly. And that's in addition to the big politics they're pushing for, of course.
    The kind of union you allude to, my Norse friend, does not exist in the USA.


    Whacker:

    North Carolina is a Right-to-Work state, but does allow unions. The AFL-CIO lists more than 25 member uions present in the state with about 190 union locals.


    Arach:

    Don C's comment, while certainly too "complete" in its characterization, is relevant. For many years and in way too many places, Organized Crime has exerted a LOT of influence on unions and did, de facto, control the Longshoremen and Teamsters for decades. Many suggest that they still have quite a degree of control and influence in union locals and internationals. Removing that influence entirely would take a LOT of police effort and probably a fair degree of bloodshed.

    The biggest problem with unionism in the USA is that union internationals are all too often more concerned with the goals at the international level and less so with taking care of the union locals and their members.


    JAG:

    That point's up the biggest flaw in your perspective. The last 30 years of unionism in the USA has shown the internationals to be far too unconcerned about their members and their locals and far too concerned with pattern bargaining, leverage, and constant increases in benefits. Many of the employers wouldn't qualify for sainthood, I acknowledge, but both sides have screwed up on numerous occasions.
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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Fermanagh View Post
    The kind of union you allude to, my Norse friend, does not exist in the USA.
    I know. So go create it. Gah!
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    Ice stink there for a ham. Member Mystery Science Torture 3000 Champion, Mini Putt 3 Champion, Super Hacky Sack Champion, Pencak Champion, Sperm Wars Champion, Monkey Diving Champion Yoyoma1910's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by rvg View Post
    Still, capitalist government is preferable, since they try to take as little as possible while the commies will rob you of everything.
    I'm not saying anything against the idea of government, nor supporting one over the other with this statement.

    I'm simply stating the irony that Lemur's neighbor works as an enforcer for a societal construct that has been theorised to have arisen and function in a manner that would make it the largest example of an organisation that functions as highly structured criminal entities do.
    _______________________________________________________________________________


    Personally, I prefer mixed economic governmental models, as they offer a more flexible apporach to ever changing societal concerns. It is one thing for an individual to profit. It is another for an individual to suffer at the profit of another. I am proud to live in the U.S. and be a part of my nation. But I have also literally seen men in this nation starved to death in their bed, left with nothing but their pride and belief that they should not burden their state. You might say, "Well that is how they wish to go," as their eyes turn yellow and they shrivel to a fragment of a man. But if a man has paid into his society, then he deserves to at least not starve to death.

    Bring back the unions. Bring back the pensions. Return money into the public health sector. And when the disease that is man's selfish heart has been cured, then you can take it all back to your pockets. A nation and its leaders, especially when democratically elected, are neither better nor moral tahn those who poulate it. Our leaders are citizens no greater than ourselves. We focus on their falures as humans, when we as a people falter as humans. We claim they do not understand what we as a people need, when we know as little as they do.

    Well, what good are we as men, when there is any man amongst us who is thought us as less than another?

    Is there a corporate entity out there who would give a thinning hair about their workers if they weren't required to? It's true, now in post industrialized nation sworkers are treated decently, but that is born on the back of longterm and thourough regulation. And it was brought forth by unions and labor organizations. Yes, some are corrupt, but so are many of the business enterprises that the workers are under or the civic entities that are there to protect the workers and the environment that surrounds them. If you're worried about some cancer, then use a sharpened scalpel to remove the mutated cells rather than a chainsaw to sever the limb.

    I demand companies that give quality goods. I demand organisations to support the workers who create these goods for these companies, and I demand a government which insures that neither the company nor the work organisation take advantage of one another or the people they produce goods for. I want a government who actually does something when a company dumps tons of toxic sludge in the back yard of the people it employes, and I want those who are employed by that company not to fear for the loss of their employment when they raise concern against their employers.


    Edit:


    Anyway, every state has different laws regualting a union's power within those states. If you want to weaken the unions power in your area, why not work to have your state changed into a Right to Work State? Like Louisiana.
    Last edited by Yoyoma1910; 03-13-2009 at 19:59.

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    Member Member Alexander the Pretty Good's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    I know. So go create it. Gah!
    Yeah, but that's not really an argument for this piece of legislation. If it were to be enacted, it should wait until the unions get better.

    ()

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    Needs more flowers Moderator drone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Virginia is a Right-to-Work state, most of the south is.

    My biggest problem with US unions is that they don't maintain standards. If you are going to protect your members from the evil employers and secure primo wages, you should also quality-control your employees, instead of protecting the incompetent. It only gives the union and it's profession a black eye.
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    This comment is witty! Senior Member LittleGrizzly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Really good post Yoyoma, a pleasure to read!
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by drone View Post
    Virginia is a Right-to-Work state, most of the south is.

    My biggest problem with US unions is that they don't maintain standards. If you are going to protect your members from the evil employers and secure primo wages, you should also quality-control your employees, instead of protecting the incompetent. It only gives the union and it's profession a black eye.
    Yes, I remember two summers right after high school of my primo wage as a janitorial member of the SEIU in California, railing against the Corporation, and being surrounded by a bunch of vulgar untrained half wits. Oh he horror... no toilet was cleaned! And the root canal I needed was completely free, too, I swear! Oh the perils against our society that the weekly Union pro morale BBQ brought.... Oh the horror.... the horror....


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  25. #25
    Member Member Alexander the Pretty Good's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    So you think criticisms of unions as protecting even incompetent workers from employment consequences are overblown? You ever read hear of tenure?

  26. #26
    Ice stink there for a ham. Member Mystery Science Torture 3000 Champion, Mini Putt 3 Champion, Super Hacky Sack Champion, Pencak Champion, Sperm Wars Champion, Monkey Diving Champion Yoyoma1910's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander the Pretty Good View Post
    So you think criticisms of unions as protecting even incompetent workers from employment consequences are overblown? You ever read hear of tenure?
    Yes of course, as has everyone else who has had to endure time in the university.

    Nothing is without its flaws. But, as a said, a scalpel not a chainsaw.

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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    So, the unions "don't care about protecting local union workers" but take great pains to protect incompetant workers? You can't have it both ways.

  28. #28
    Member Member Alexander the Pretty Good's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    For starters, tenure is a high-level policy, and not specifically protecting incompetant workers. It happens to do so, but not because of special attention from the local union boards. Furthermore, I'm not advocating chainsawing unions.

  29. #29
    Old Town Road Senior Member Strike For The South's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    The automakers have unions and that seems to be working out.
    There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford

    My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.

    I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation.

  30. #30
    smell the glove Senior Member Major Robert Dump's Avatar
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    Default Re: Secret Ballots!?! Where do you think you are, America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strike For The South View Post
    The automakers have unions and that seems to be working out.
    Yes, when 60% of the money GM spends on employees goes to retirees, I'd say the Union did too good a job. And the cars still suck.
    Baby Quit Your Cryin' Put Your Clown Britches On!!!

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