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View Diary: GE Workers Win Big Organizing Drive (22 comments)

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  •  I get a lot more than a minimum wage without a (0+ / 0-)

    union.

    Sure, and why should the employer give 'em a dime over the minimum wage?  That's what they face without some ability to stand together.

    And I bet that the GE workers that voted for and against the union in this case were also making more than minimum wage.

    I have the best bargaining chip in the world - my feet.  In particular, I can walk out of my current job tomorrow and be pretty confident of finding something else equally good in less than a month.  (And, in fact, since my current contract is up in July I'm already looking for and negotiating my next job.)

    What do you have against workers unifying, and why should they not pay for the costs of being represented?  

    I think it should be up to workers if they want to be unified.  Are you suggesting that the 41 GE workers who voted against the union should be forced to be unified with other workers against their will?

    Hate to break it to you, but even if they are forced to join the union and pay dues they will not be unified.  In fact, they will be eagerly waiting for their chance to have a decertification election and get rid of the union that they were unwillingly forced to join.

    As a country, we have to suffer through Bush terms even when he doesn't win an electoral majority, and we pay taxes whether we like American policy or not. What's wrong with majority rule in the workplace?

    The workplace is not a government.  My boss is not a government official and my company cannot pass laws.

    •  Ah, but guess again (0+ / 0-)

      Without a union, yes, you are right, you have the right to quit.  That may be a good option for you, but in a high-unemployment state of the economy such as the one we face now, it may not be the best option for everyone.  

      People who vote against the union may actually eventually realize that they benefit from the union's presence, and may decide they want the union to stick around.  Sometimes they are unjustly accused of some kind of wrongdoing by the employer, and they have recourse with a union.  Or they may otherwise have been unfairly treated.  Most people at the workplace don't have contracts, unless they have a union that bargains it for them.  So you are one of the fortunate few.  I suggest you look a bit more carefully at the workforce as a whole before making those kinds of judgments as to what will help most workers.

      In this country, many suffer under the myth of "rugged individualism", when upward mobility has in fact not been operative for many, especially as union density has declined over the last 30 years.  

      The workplace does compare with the government, and can either be an autocracy completely controlled by the employer, or more of a democracy where workers have a voice.  Without a union in the workplace, then employers run the show and workers have nothing to say about it other than they can quit; so in that workplace, the boss can and does "pass laws" that dictate working conditions. Ideally, workers should be willing to pay for their representation that provides relief and protection from such harsh workplace laws and no input, but some want something for nothing, as I gather you would.  What would happen if one of your employers treated you unfairly, violated your contract, or fired you without cause?  Unions can do something about that; you would be on your own in addressing that without a union.

      As the law is now, unions have to represent the entire group, including those who voted against it, and in right to free ride states, they have to represent non-members for free.  Is that fair?  

      Perhaps some employers will see the benefit of paying decent wages, but many do not, and even when they start out with good intentions, when things get tough, it's the unrepresented workers who are most likely to get the shaft, through unilateral changes (e.g., layoffs, decreases in wages and benefits) that employers with unions can't make without bargaining.  

      "The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love."

      by Budlawman on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:09:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They may, but most people don't change their minds (0+ / 0-)
        People who vote against the union may actually eventually realize that they benefit from the union's presence, and may decide they want the union to stick around.
        Most people at the workplace don't have contracts, unless they have a union that bargains it for them.  So you are one of the fortunate few.

        Fortunate or unfortunate - I have a contract because I'm a contract worker, not a staff, and I'm working for a fixed one year period.  I know I'm out of work in June.

        The workplace does compare with the government, and can either be an autocracy completely controlled by the employer, or more of a democracy where workers have a voice.

        No.  It's not a government because I can opt out at any time.  You can't do that with governments.  For example, I have no way of opting out of my relationship with the IRS.  And my employer cannot throw me in jail.  He pays me money in return for my doing what he wants... and I can break the deal any time I want.

        Ideally, workers should be willing to pay for their representation that provides relief and protection from such harsh workplace laws and no input, but some want something for nothing, as I gather you would.

        I don't have a union and I don't pay for it.  So that's nothing for nothing, not something for nothing.

        What would happen if one of your employers treated you unfairly, violated your contract, or fired you without cause?   Unions can do something about that; you would be on your own in addressing that without a union.

        Life's unfair - if my employer treats me unfairly I walk.  I've done it.  If they violate my contract I sue.  I haven't had to do that.  If they fire me without cause I leave - my current contract is the first time I've ever had any kind of deal except employment at will.  I've never had a union and I have always handled these situations on my own.

        in right to free ride states, they have to represent non-members for free.  Is that fair?

        I've already said that I don't think that they should have to do that.  People who opt out of a union contract should have to handle their relationships with their employer on their own.

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