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Tech Firms Oppose Union Organizing 715

Posted by kdawson
from the fears-of-a-40-hour-week dept.
cedarhillbilly passes along a piece from TheHill.com on the chilly reception that tech firms and lobbying groups are giving to a bill promoting union formation, which has a chance of passing in a more strongly Democratic congress and with a Democratic president. "Up to now, large tech groups have been on the sidelines in what is likely to be one of the roughest fights in Congress next year. A few, however, are preparing to weigh in. That makes other tech lobbyists nervous that, by doing so, the industry could sacrifice relatively good relationships with Democrats and, therefore, jeopardize some of their other legislative priorities."
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Tech Firms Oppose Union Organizing

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  • Re:UAW (Score:3, Informative)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @09:30AM (#26144143)

    Oh yeah. Good minimum wage definitely protects the insiders, that is union workers. The rest of the people can go unemployed heh ? Screw them.

    An employer can't even refuse to do business with them, it's illegal. Union are thug gangs.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @09:33AM (#26144185) Homepage Journal

    I can tell you it's not but a racket. The only ones who benefit are the union hierarchy, not the members.

    I've mentioned before I work for state government. In my state, PA, anyone who works for the state and is not classified as management level MUST pay union dues though they are euphemistically called "fair share fees" because they represent your fair share of all the privileges and benefits the union supposedly bargains for you. Here's how well that system works.

    Years ago when I initially worked for the state, I was in the temporary clerical pool. My sole benefit was I got paid. No vacation, no health insurance, no nothing else BUT, I still got the privilege of paying the union for all those benefits I got for working at the state.

    I eventually got a permanent job in the state, based on my skills and the people around me wanting to keep me, so then I got those other benefits. Then governor Tom Ridge, who you remember from such classic films as, "We need a color-coded threat level to paralyze the nation into fear!", decided to eliminate the one state agency which was recognized as a leader in efficiency and responsiveness. In fact, the place I worked for instructed agencies from other states on how to become better.

    What did the union do? Shrugged their shoulders and said, "Oh well. We're not going to fight it."

    I left for the private industry rather than being shoved out the door.

    Now, back with the state after several years, it appears for the second time in six years the contract the union negotiated with the state as far as COLAs and raises are concerned is being thrown out the window. But, I still get to pay the union for all those benefits.

    If the union wants to unilaterally renegotiate the terms of the contract for which I'm supposedly paying them, then I should do the same. Why should I have to pay the union for all these benefits if they're not going to honor the contract?

    Unions are bad news. They cause more troubles than they solve and yes, I have and do work with people who should have been fired long ago for not doing their job but because of the hoops that one has to jump through to fire someone, it's easier to just keep them and let them retire.

  • by jorghis (1000092) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:10AM (#26145337)

    The reason people are so against it is that its primary purpose is to take away the secret ballot from workers considering joining a union.

    Currently if union wants to move in it has to get a certain number of workers to sign a petition and then a secret ballot is held. If the union wins, bam the company is unionized.

    What the unions want to do is just collect 50% of the signatures and skip the secret ballot step. This is called the "Card Check" provision, because the workers just sign cards and hand them to the union boss. Why? Because there are an awful lot of people who are willing to sign when the union boss is at their door leaning on them but when the secret ballot comes around the union routinely doesnt get anywhere near the number of votes the thought they had.

    This is all about pushing unions into workplaces where the union cant win a secret ballot. The country tilted too far right in the past few years and now we are about to see what kind of legislation gets enacted when the left controls things and wants to push their own agenda on people whether they like it or not. Virtually every democrat supports this because it was made a litmus test on getting the big union campaign funds during the election.

  • Re:heh (Score:5, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:56AM (#26146067) Homepage Journal

    Why would he be concerned about union growth?

    bad employees need unions more than good employees

    I'm guessing the people writing these comments are well under the age of 45. They were born and have lived in an age when corporate marketing has been the very air they breathe. It's no wonder that they think it's a bad thing that employees of a company should want to organize. It's also a very sad commentary on their ability to think beyond today and their own circumstances.

    There was a time in this country when ownership ruled, management ruled to the extent that people were hurt and died on a regular basis on the job. The ones that didn't die, lived in absolute penury. If the ownership and top management of corporations, and wall street, have their way, these days will return.

    We have learned by recent events that modern corporate ownership is so short sighted that they would destroy their own market, say, the middle class, in order to obtain short term profits. They would even destroy their chances to exist five years from now (without a bailout) to show profits this quarter.

    There was a time, and I lived during it, when hiring people was a sign of corporate success. Today, a company's success is measured by how many people they can lay off, how many plants they can close. It doesn't take a genius (which means the above commenters have a chance here) to see that this is a recipe for a very bad situation.

    Without organized labor, there would have been no middle class in the United States. There would have been craftsman and a mercantile class which would have occupied a similar position, but that's a very small number of people. Without unions, there would be no "two weeks vacation" or "Sundays off" or even all those little perks that people in the tech industry like to love. You do not have to work in a union company to enjoy the benefits that unions have won.

    I'm sad that so many of the newly minted adult workers of today are ignorant of 20th century history of labor and why organized labor is so absolutely critical to the existence of a prosperous people.

    There are places on earth you can go if you want to see what it's like to work in a place that has no tradition of collective bargaining. I would suggest that "stoolpigeon" and "canUbelieveIT" might benefit from seeing what it's like to work in these places.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @12:19PM (#26146537) Homepage

    What's being proposed for the US is similar to what Canada already has. About 25% of Canadian workers belong to a union, compared to about 12% for the US. The US and Canada had about an equal percentage of unionized workers in the 1950s, when changes in US law made it harder for workers to unionize.

    There are successful unions for professionals. Check out The Animation Guild [animationguild.org], which is part of IATSE. If it came from Hollywood and was animated, an Animation Guild member probably did it. In Redwood City, Dreamworks and EA have facilities in the same building complex, with many people doing similar jobs. Dreamworks is unionized, but EA is not. The Dreamworks people have reasonable hours, unlike the EA peons.

    Here's the Animation Guild [animationguild.org] standard contract. A few key points:

    • Everything in the contract is a minimum from the employee side. Individual employees can negotiate for raises and bonuses beyond the minimums. This differs from, say, UAW contracts, which have specific pay scales.
    • The working week is five days, with two consecutive days off. ("Unions: the people who brought you the weekend".) Beyond five days, pay rises to 150% of the base rate. Beyond 6 days, 200%. There may still be "crunches", but you get paid well for them. This discourages employers from managing in a way that leads to "crunches".
    • More than 8 hours per day, pay rises to 150% of the base rate. More than 14 hours per day, 200%. And yes, those multiply by the day overtime rates. This really discourages "crunches".
    • "On call" employment is at least 4 hours. So if you have to come in on a weekend to deal with a crisis, you get paid for 4 hours minimum. This discourages unnecessary "crises".
    • There's an industrywide pension plan, and pensions are portable across the industry. As the Animation Guild points out, only two animation studios that were active when they were founded in the 1940s are still active.

    Unionization is about being jerked around less.

  • Re:UAW (Score:3, Informative)

    by chrb (1083577) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @01:16PM (#26147555)

    when Child Labour was outlawed in Britain, the Unions backed it.

    Somewhat ambiguous wording - the Unions were obviously against Child Labour.

    Another benefit of Unions - the development of a standard eight hour working day [wikipedia.org]. In Britain, the chronic abuse of child workers resulted in the Unions demanding a maximum of 8 hours per day (or 40 hours per week) for child workers. This standard eventually became the norm for most adult workers as well.

  • by superdave80 (1226592) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @01:24PM (#26147689)

    Corporate bosses strong arm signers of the petititon...

    How do you 'strong arm' someone when it's a secret ballot?

    and tell them if the union passes they'll lose their jobs.

    So, you haven't seen the news about American automakers, have you? Yep, unionized industries never lose jobs!

    ...isn't it more common for corporations to strong arm employees out of a union than these mobbed up union bosses?

    There, fixed that for ya.

    Gee, I wonder why the union people want to bypass the second step and just ratify the union if they get enough people to sign the petition? Hmm, I wonder why?

    Yeah, I wonder why...

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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