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View Diary: Why Unions? Labor 101 (269 comments)

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  •  unionizing the professionals (4+ / 0-)

    Currently we have professional societies which really don't act as unions and on top of it, are getting into conflict with their international counterparts.

    Professionals who often have management positions or leadership positions, want to be a free agent and also think for themselves and make decisions based on their own logic.

    My question is, in Sweden, Finland and Norway, professionals are in the union, so what is it (beyond cultural) that attracted professionals to join forces and how can that be adapted in the United States to still give flexibility iindependence yet a coalition of force against age discrimination, "at will", labor arbitrage, reduced pay, probably number one is corporate raiders manipulating bankruptcy law to get out of their pension obligations, switch to 401ks that do not even have matching contributions and so on?

    It seems there is no structure currently to deal with the needs of professionals, enable them to be free agents to a degree, yet join forces together to protect American labor and work values.

    http://www.noslaves.com http://forum.noslaves.com

    by BobOak on Tue Jun 13, 2006 at 09:19:11 AM PDT

    •  Because it's against the law... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sockpuppet, John DE, BobOak, kraant
      In the U.S. for any manager or supervisor to be in a union.  In other nations, this isn't the case.  Ergo, their supervisory unions survived and ours went poof.  

      In the public sector in some states in the U.S., supervisors can and do organize, and have formed strong locals in some places.  It's just a matter of how the law has shaped consciousness really.  

      •  Not quite accurate (8+ / 0-)

        Managers can't be in a union, but professionals, as long as they don't supervise other people, can be.

        However, the law separates out professionals into their own units, encouraging conflict between professionals and other folks in a company, often encouraging the professionals to identify more with management than other workers.

        The public sector does have separate rules and the success of organizing professionals there does reflect that there is nothing inherent in professionals that doesn't allow unionization.

        •  SEIU and AFSCME sort of handle public sector (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          farleftcoast, kraant

          professionals

          Like at City, County and State workers

          Googling Monkeys-R-US -2.75,-3.54 http://www.politicalcompass.org/

          by Dour on Tue Jun 13, 2006 at 12:03:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  At the school where my husband teaches (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kraant

          (and I assume this is fairly common) the instructional supervisor for a department is also a teacher and a union member, even though s/he supervises other teachers.  I'm a little confused as to how this is allowed, although it seems to me that it makes sense that you don't necessarily have to be either labor or management -- it certainly makes sense to allow people to wear both hats.

          But if anyone wants to explain it to me, I'd be appreciative.

          •  Depends on state law (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ppluto, kraant

            Public school teachers are covered by state laws, which have different rules on whether supervisors and managers can be unionized.

            Ultimately, most supervisors aren't making the big decisions about funding and direction of the schools, so it's appropriate for lower-level supervisors to be protected-- even if regular labor law doesn't extend that to private sector employees.

        •  Further correction re: supervisors (0+ / 0-)

          It is not unlawful for supervisors to be in a union.  Rather, an employer under Taft-Hartley can lawfully refuse to bargain over the terms and conditions of supervisors, and can thus cause them to be effectively excluded from the benefits of union representation. (In the process of gaining representational rights, employers and unions often argue about who is truly a "supervisor" and thus entitled or not entitled to gain representational rights under T-H)   That may sound like semantics, but it is not, because there are some unions, like the Marine Engineers, like some in the entertainment field, where there are quite a number of supervisors and no one questions or repudiates it; the employers do not challenge it.  Moreover, in the public sector (at least in California), supervisors can form their own unions. (To be sure there are a number of states where public sector employees are still forbidden to organize at all).

      •  Composers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StuartZ, kraant

        Composers of music for film are affected by this.  The film producers want a delivered soundtrack, which means the composer has to pay the musicians and technicians to record it.  This makes the composer a 'manager'.

        By not being in a union, unlike everybody else involved in film production, the composers are treated badly financially.  (not John Williams maybe, but people less famous)  Some producers think there is nothing wrong with paying nothing at all, just "you'll get your name in the credits and you'll get performance royalties".   That's back end money, which doesn't pay your expenses up front.  IF you get any back end at all; in the USA theaters do not pay any performance royalties and ASCAP/BMI don't pay out squat for instrumental underscore on TV.

        As I said, this doesn't apply to people like Williams, Zimmer, Horner, etc, who can command big up-front $$.

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