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View Diary: AFL-CIO's Trumka calls for new strategies: 'Our basic system of workplace representation is failing' (68 comments)

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  •  Go into the benefits business... (7+ / 0-)

    Yes, this is thinking along the right path.

    I'll give you an example of my union, Local One, IATSE, NY Stagehands.  We work for multiple employers over the course of a year, sometimes as many as 20 or more.  It would be impossible to get benefits from each employer.  However, our older brothers devised a system to handle this, many years ago: they created two funds, Welfare, and Pension which are separate entities from either the Union, or any employer.  The employer pays a contractually obligated percentage of the workers pay (not taxed or added to the W-2) into these funds.
    A worker who makes a yearly minimum is covered.  Simple.

    The funds are jointly administered by 3 union reps, and 3 employer reps for the members.

    What's great about this set-up is that no one can steal the money.  When our pension fund is "over-funded", the employer can't come in and take the "extra" money.  Instead, our pension increases.

    We have the same struggle with health care costs as everyone else.  The difference is we are secure in knowing that the fund will be there in the future, and can't be taken away by any employer on a whim.

    We also have an Annuity fund which works like this, with individual contributions to a named account for each employee.  It functions like a 401K, with the employer adding a fixed percentage each payday.

    I could see a system like this for ANY kind of worker: white collar, home-health care, day laborer...

    If a carpenter built a cabin for poets, I think the least the poets owe the carpenter is just three or four one-liners on the wall. Mike Lefevre - steelworker

    by Bob Friend on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:21:08 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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