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View Diary: In further praise of unions. (209 comments)

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  •  I run a non-union company. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FarWestGirl

    We're not a charity - we don't pay employees more than we have to or give more benefits than we have to.  But you see, simple fact is that we do have to pay employees a competitive salary or we can't keep them.  Same applies to benefits.

    In general, since we are non-union, we make the decision on benefits based on whether it seems that our employees would prefer the benefit to the cash cost of the benefit as salary.  It's that simple.

    So, for example, many companies in our industry are quite inflexible on vacation schedules.  People have to take them during season downturns.  We've reviewed our work load and, in general, we find that we can usually let people take vacation when they want to.  It's a benefit that is effectively free for us.

    On the other hand, our work force is almost all young and healthy.  We don't have any health insurance beyond Worker's Comp.  Why?  Because our employees, mostly, don't value it as much as they value the equivalent in cash.

    Is that good or bad?

    •  What happens when (3+ / 0-)

      one of those young, healthy employees gets in a car wreck and spends a few nights in the ICU? Or one of them gets pregnant? Or falls off a ladder and breaks their arm? Medical bills can hit thousands just for a few tests and a trip to the ER.

      Sorry, but I believe a union is like a motorcycle helmet. When you're sailing head first through the air at a wall, it's too late to put it on. Everybody who has a boss needs a union.

      "All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms labor is treason. -Abraham Lincoln

      by happy camper on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 06:00:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, when that happens they get screwed (0+ / 0-)

        financially or they rely on the hospital to give them free treatment and the taxpayer ends up paying.

        But we got a quote on health insurance and then we did a poll - did people prefer the cash or the insurance?

        It was pretty damned near unanimous - people preferred the cash.

        I'm my employees' employer, not their parent.  I am not in loco parentis and I don't want to be.  If a union insisted on health insurance in preference to higher wages it would be going against our staff's express wishes.  

        If you think a union can somehow get insurance as well as higher wages, well, there's a limited pot of money available for employees beyond which we just shut down.  We don't really care if that money goes to salaries or benefits, but either way the total is limited.

        •  So, you're on the government welfare teat, too? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happy camper, Dirtandiron, debbieleft

          Well, when [medical expenses] happen[] [my employees] get screwed financially or they rely on the hospital to give them free treatment and the taxpayer ends up paying.

          If you're employees "get screwed financially," from medical expenses that you don't, or won't provide insurance for, then they have to work harder to dig themselves out of the hole, reorganize under bankruptcy, or end up needing government assistance to get by, etc. And this is not nanny state thinking, how? Oh, but at least they're motivated workers, if they can still work.

          Conversely, if they aren't screwed financially, because they don't pay, then "the taxpayer ends up paying." And you're sloughing off foreseeable expenses of having employees and a business, expecting the nanny state to absorb the assorted costs and act loco parentis for both your business and employees, so you can all gamble on retaining more immediate resources. Feh.

          I'm my employees' employer, not their parent.  I am not in loco parentis and I don't want to be.

          As a taxpayer (yes, I am), I don't appreciate your circuitous utilization of state subsidization of your business.

          And you apparently see nothing wrong with any of this.

          Sometimes I blame it on the whole human race. Sometimes I wonder if it's me.
          - G. Pendderwen

          by Urtica dioica gracilis on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 10:50:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't distort what I wrote... (0+ / 0-)

            If you're employees "get screwed financially," from medical expenses that you don't, or won't provide insurance for, then they have to work harder to dig themselves out of the hole, reorganize under bankruptcy, or end up needing government assistance to get by, etc. And this is not nanny state thinking, how? Oh, but at least they're motivated workers, if they can still work.

            I'm perfectly happy to pay for medical insurance if my employees want it.  They're the ones who told me that they preferred cash.

            As for relying on the state... we pay taxes, we follow regulations, we operate in the business environment as it exists, not in some Libertarian fantasy.

            We also rely on the state for policing rather than hiring our own security guards, for fire fighting rather than subscribing to a private firefighting company, and for national defense rather than hiring mercenaries.

            If the government cuts back on its funding for health for the uninsured or makes such debts undischargeable during bankruptcy our employees may decide they value health insurance more than they value its cash equivalent in which case we will pay for it.

            In the same way, if the government cuts back on policing and other public services our employees may decide that they value secure company provided dormitories over buying / renting their own houses in which case we will also provide that fringe benefit.  (Don't laugh - we do provide that as an optional fringe benefit for our China subsidiary's staff.  We maintain a company dorm with room for 6 people with priority for junior staff.  The cost comes out of their base salary.)

          •  Why do you object to the taxpayer paying? (0+ / 0-)
            You support single payer, right?

            So in that case the taxpayer will also pay... in fact, the taxpayer will pay for EVERYONE, so that's even more for the taxpayer to pay!

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