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Union Education 101

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  • johnny46
    replied
    The real reasons for outsourcing is the unreasonable desire for governmentally enforced job security. It's expensive and complicated to legally employ people in the US. From tax codes that occupy entire walls to a large government machine that will punish you for firing the wrong person.

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  • DeputyChiefGonzo
    replied
    I try to keep my thinking neutral on unions, although I do think that some of the industrial unions share part of the blame for our industry going off-shore.
    Hmmm.. a lot of high technology companies and industries are non union.... yet they have their manufacturing and tech support off shore...so that argument holds as much water as a fish net...

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  • jccrabby3084
    replied
    Originally posted by tree68 View Post
    I've got to lump to things together here - one is the fact that I've been around long enough to see a lot of news about contract negotiations in a lot of industries - and many of the union proposals were characterized as 'demands,' especially if the negotiations were hamstrung. Perhaps it so happens that the reports I've seen over time (and not relating to the current situations - I haven't heard "demand" used in any recent coverage) have all been biased toward management.
    There are really no "demands" just want to haves and this goes both ways. Both sides look at issues they would like to address and create a list. Much of the items listed are considered nice to have, but most times are discarded through negotiations. Through the course of negotiations there can be issues that become more of a sticking point which can prevent a deal happening sooner as well as prolong negotiations. In the event that negotiations stall out then there are the issues you see with work stoppages or lockouts which are the last resort in most cases.

    Now, you mentioned unions are unions, but take into consideration the NFL. This is a union negotiation of millionaires against billionaires and look where the sticking point is. It isn't so much the "demand" of the union, but the issue that the owners have "demanded" more in revenue. That is the sticking point thus leading to the lockout, it isn't the unions making outrageous "demands".

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  • MIKEYLIKESIT
    replied
    Every year the city where I work sends out a survey to the residents asking them to rate all city services. The FIRE DEPARTMENT comes in first each and every year. No other city dept comes close. I am proud of that. I am also proud to be representing my UNION LOCAL as their president and also secretary of our pension board. The horse that died during this thread's grandkids are getting ready to croak as well after this last beating. So I bid you adieu.

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  • tree68
    replied
    Originally posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    Tree.. who is stating to the press that the "union" is making demands?

    Hint: it is not the union.
    I've got to lump to things together here - one is the fact that I've been around long enough to see a lot of news about contract negotiations in a lot of industries - and many of the union proposals were characterized as 'demands,' especially if the negotiations were hamstrung. Perhaps it so happens that the reports I've seen over time (and not relating to the current situations - I haven't heard "demand" used in any recent coverage) have all been biased toward management.

    The other is my opinion that to John Q. Public a union is a union. So in his mind the public safety unions are the equal of the UAW or the UMW, with all the negative connotations they may carry. Only laws that prevent public employees from striking have, in JQP's perception, prevented them from holding the municipalities hostage.

    I try to keep my thinking neutral on unions, although I do think that some of the industrial unions share part of the blame for our industry going off-shore.

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  • DeputyChiefGonzo
    replied
    Originally Posted by tree68
    Indeed. I can't remember how many times over the years I've heard about negotiations stalling over the list of union demands. Not requests, not talking points, not proposals, demands
    I can't remember how many times over the years that I have heard about negotiations stalling because the city/town/county refused to negotiate unless their employees were willing to have something rammed down their throats in violation of the contracts they signed with the city/town in the first place.

    If asking that the city/town/county abide by the contract as they require us to abide by it is "demanding"... so be it.

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  • RFDACM02
    replied
    Originally posted by tree68 View Post
    Indeed. And what the union brings to the table are demands.
    Typical anti-Union BS. Often the stalled negotiations are due to bargaining points swaying heavily into the managements side and upsetting the balance. As MIKEY said, our local typically knows what there is to work with and goes in with this in mind, not asking for the moon every three years as so many would like you to believe. I've worked both sides of the negotiation table in the same department, I know the city also starts with unreasonable demands they never intend to follow through. Both sides tend to come on strong at the outset and quickly come to the real issues that are reasonable. Once in a while a proposal from either side might create a stir that is generally unanticipated by the proposing side and most often requires education of the effects to both the employer and the employees. BTW, most of the "employers' negotiation team" have next to know clue how their proposals might affect the FD and are also ignorant to the effect the unions' proposals might effect the dept. This is where the FD staff often is brought in to review and comment.

    For instance: For years due to financial issues locally our firefighters wore non-complaint uniform pants. Basically they could have "demanded" the proper attire, but instead chose to maintain insurance benefits and COLA's, as the pool of dollars wouldn't sustain both. Finally after an injuries relating to the non-compliant pants, both sides decided proper attire was necessary and struck a balance. This is only one of many similar type issues. We've also "demanded" that our radio system actually be able to reach dispatch after a ill-planned "upgrade", an unsafe engine be repaired as it was a hazard on the road, haz-mat team physicals be conducted per schedule and to eliminate the City's right to move a firefighter into any other city position as they see fit. Crazy demands I know, we should just be happy we're employed, right?
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 03-20-2011, 08:09 AM.

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  • scfire86
    replied
    Originally posted by tree68 View Post
    The owner has two choices - maintain his future profit at the current level by not increasing wages and face the possibility not getting anything at all because his workforce walks, or forego some of his future profit by increasing wages.

    So labor is telling the owner - spend a portion of your future profits on increased wages, etc, or we walk.

    The owner now has two new choices, live with the lesser profits, or raise the price of his products to make up the difference.

    This introduces a new issue - what is an acceptable profit?

    Labor may feel that new, lesser profit is acceptable and appropriate. The owner, of course, feels that the older, higher profit is how things should be. So if the owner restores the profit by increasing prices, then next time around, they'll be right back where they started this time...
    Keep empathizing with conservative business interests. It really helps knowing you sympathize with folks who have their eyes on how much they can get out of your wallet.

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  • DeputyChiefGonzo
    replied
    Originally posted by tree68 View Post
    Indeed. I can't remember how many times over the years I've heard about negotiations stalling over the list of union demands. Not requests, not talking points, not proposals, demands.

    You've got to remember - in most people's minds, a union is a union. It doesn't matter if the members are miners, manufacturers, or firefighters. And what the union brings to the table are demands.
    Tree.. who is stating to the press that the "union" is making demands?

    Hint: it is not the union.

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  • tree68
    replied
    Originally posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    You're missing the point. These increases, assuming revenue remains neutral, would cause the owners future profit to decrease relative to the level of profit prior to the increased expense.

    It's largely semantic, but it's not telling the owner how to spend his profits, because the expense is paid from revenue and the residual is the profit.
    The owner has two choices - maintain his future profit at the current level by not increasing wages and face the possibility not getting anything at all because his workforce walks, or forego some of his future profit by increasing wages.

    So labor is telling the owner - spend a portion of your future profits on increased wages, etc, or we walk.

    The owner now has two new choices, live with the lesser profits, or raise the price of his products to make up the difference.

    This introduces a new issue - what is an acceptable profit?

    Labor may feel that new, lesser profit is acceptable and appropriate. The owner, of course, feels that the older, higher profit is how things should be. So if the owner restores the profit by increasing prices, then next time around, they'll be right back where they started this time...

    Leave a comment:


  • FireMedic049
    replied
    Originally posted by tree68 View Post
    Right, if revenue remains flat (ie, the owner doesn't raise his prices), then any increase in expenses, be it utilities or wages, decreases his profit. So you are telling him how to spend his profits - on your increased wages.
    You're missing the point. These increases, assuming revenue remains neutral, would cause the owners future profit to decrease relative to the level of profit prior to the increased expense.

    It's largely semantic, but it's not telling the owner how to spend his profits, because the expense is paid from revenue and the residual is the profit.

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  • tree68
    replied
    Originally posted by johnny46 View Post
    Someone needs to define what they mean by "demand," then.
    Indeed. I can't remember how many times over the years I've heard about negotiations stalling over the list of union demands. Not requests, not talking points, not proposals, demands.

    You've got to remember - in most people's minds, a union is a union. It doesn't matter if the members are miners, manufacturers, or firefighters. And what the union brings to the table are demands.

    Leave a comment:


  • johnny46
    replied
    Someone needs to define what they mean by "demand," then.

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  • DeputyChiefGonzo
    replied
    Originally posted by MIKEYLIKESIT View Post
    What if the cow jumped over the moon? We don't "demand" anything. Some of you people are truly brainwashed...and misinformed.
    Mikey.. excellent observation... far too people drinking "Faux dittohead flavored Kool-aid..." and believing it...

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  • MIKEYLIKESIT
    replied
    A negotiated contract makes life much easier for labor AND management. Clearly defined benefits, work rules etc. keep everyone on the same page. If either side decides to deviate, there is a clear path and mechanism to deal with it. Each and every IAFF local is autonomous. That means we don't get free lawyers. We negotiate with our employers at a LOCAL level. We win some and we lose some. It is a FAIR system to EVERYONE...including the taxpayer. I think some of you out here think we wave a magic wand and the union fairy comes in and stuffs money in our pockets....
    I agree 1000% that goverment needs to stop its wasteful ways. Myself and the members of my local earn a decent but not extravagant living. We work more then our fair share of hours in a fairly busy corner of the world. We have a good and well funded pension that is a miniscule portion of our citizens tax bill. We are not a drain on the system and we certainly are not waste. The Brother from Packerland has covered all the key points. Good luck to all the brothers and sisters out there who have no bargaining rights. I admire how hard you have to work not only to earn a fair living, but also to protect your members from management shenaningans.

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