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Would you advise a young person to join a union?

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posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 10:11 AM
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The daughter of a friend is about to start a job in a local school district this fall as a para. She attended her new hire orientation yesterday, and was given a presentation by the local union rep for employees. The rep laid out all the reasons that they could benefit by joining, and from what I was told, was very matter-of-fact and up front; no mis-representation or exaggeration of facts was given to induce the new hires to join the union.

This morning, the young lady asked me if she should join. She asks me for lots of advice; I've know her since she was born, was best man at her parent's wedding, etc., and she considers me her "uncle".

I've never seen her so animated or excited in a long time as she is about this union. She is already talking about participating in some larger capacity within the union.

My question: would you advise her to join? We're all aware of how the unions have benefited the working class in past years. But there are also the arguments that unions have outgrown their usefulness. And there is always the danger of copping a management vs worker attitude, which can be career limiting.

What would you do? Advise her to join or not? Why or why not?

Edit to add this this union is not the teacher's union. It is a separate union for "para's", who are more or less teacher's aides.

[edit on 24-8-2006 by jsobecky]




posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 10:13 AM
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you always want to be in a union if one is available to you. it all comes down to safety in numbers!



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 10:45 AM
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How much will it cost for her to become a member? What are the benefits that they have offered?

My personal view is that unions have become nothing more than 1 step away from a RICO charge. There are a few at the top making lots of $, while their main job is flexing political muscle in DC. All lobyists/special interest groups are anathema to a democratic society. Unions had their purpose, but it is long past. They are killing the US auto industry. My father was an educator for most of his life, and he couldnt' stand the NEA. They are ultra left-leaning, and go so far as to stick their noses into other issues such as gun control.

Strategically, I think her joining a union depends if her career and social goals match what the union is preaching. She's young, and these may change.

Tactically it may be a good move if they have a lot to offer and can protect her job.

Overall, I think unions are a shill.



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 10:48 AM
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She should join.

Some unions are really worth joining. I know mines is (The National Union of Journalists).

No union is indestructible but there is indeed safety in numbers.



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 10:52 AM
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I'm thinking about joining the union at ups [where i work]
but i'm not sure how long i will be working there



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 10:57 AM
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My personal experience with unions (bearing in mind I personally have never joined a union) has been all negative.

I have worked closely with members of the International brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and Teamsters.

These unions seem only interested in 2 things: negotiating as many perks and pay raises as possible, while simultaneously doing as little as possible. The tradesmen I have seen in these unions all seem substandard, and actually getting a job done on time and under budget is next to impossible.

In most cases, I view unions as an anachronism left over from a time long since past, and nothing more now than a quasi-political party overrun with special interests, bribes, and organized crime.



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 11:03 AM
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Originally posted by hogtie
How much will it cost for her to become a member? What are the benefits that they have offered?

A couple things the rep pointed out:

The union was successful in saving the job of a para last year. The student that the para was assigned to help moved out of town, the school tried to fire the para under the fact that her student was gone and thus so was her job. The union stepped in and made them re-assign the para.

The cost is less than $50/month. They pay $24.xx every two weeks.

The para's contract is up for re-negotiation next year. The union says they will fight for them in the contract talks.


Strategically, I think her joining a union depends if her career and social goals match what the union is preaching. She's young, and these may change.

Excellent point, and this is one of my main concerns. This girl can go far, and I'd hate to see her limit herself. But I may be over-reacting.

I agree with many of your other points about unions in general and the NEA in particular. The NEA has made it nearly impossible to get rid of incompetent teachers, is my main knock against them.



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 11:13 AM
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I have belonged to two different unions in the Past: The Retail Clerks and Communiation Workers of America and found both to be of immense security, especially when it comes to unwarranted harassment from co-workers/supervisors and from a salary/contract point of view. I always encourage membership in a union if one is available, since it greatly increases ones job security, if nothing else.

As for the comment that unions are killing the US aouto industry: ask an auto worker if he/she shares your sentiment. It's nit the unions killing our economy; it's the fact that foreign auto companies are producing a better product. The union issue is a non-issue in that respect.

[edit on 8/24/2006 by Stormrider]



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 11:16 AM
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See if she can find the para and make sure that what the rep said happened really did. This is a good example of what makes a union benefit her and hurt society. How does forcing an institution to waste funding on an unneeded postition help the students? Couldn't that money be better spent elsewhere? That is one thing to ask her, since I imagine that she really cares about the kids. The union can also protect people who do really crappy jobs. She may see this as time goes on, and begin pulling out her hair. Also, see if she can find out, other than that para, what is the turnover / termination rate like there? Has there been times when there looked like there would be major cutbacks on staff?



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 11:28 AM
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I have belonged to the CWA union and let me tell you, if it weren't for them no one would have been treated fairly at the place I worked. They really did a great job at making sure all the employees were treated just and fairly.

Then again my ex was a member of IBEW and they were virtually useless. The local grocery store union (not sure what they are called) seems like they are actually working more for the businesses rather than the workers. So I guess it all depends on the union.

Unions still have a purpose. Let's face it, a lot of big businesses and organizations want to get the most work out of an employee and pay them the least amount of wages. A unions job is to make sure that employees get treated and paid fairly. As long as there are greedy big businesses out there, there will be a need for unions.



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 11:33 AM
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My husband is union and I can't tell you the amount of benefits we reap from it.
While yes it's true that in his field he may get laid off due to lack of work what is a benefit is that he goes to the hall and gets picked up by another company. Now I am not sure how your friend's works details obviously vary but it is a more stable way to work IMO.

Pension guarantees, benefits, pretty good increases in pay at least better than Corp American.

It's not a cult or anything. If she doesn't like it she finds something else to do. Only thing is is once you get out you usually don't get back in.



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
What would you do? Advise her to join or not? Why or why not?



If it were me, I would encourage her to join, but I would make it clear that if she plans on participating within their structure she should never shoot for the moon, that no longer works as it did in the 60' and 70's.

Back then workers and unions had the upper hand until American companies adapted systems used in Japan and elsewhere, such as Just in time, containerized shipping, out sourcing and production cells which cut jobs as well as wages.

As we all know that is no longer the case now if we did not have unions, they would just cut jobs no questions asked and no questions answered.

A good example would be the meat packing industry which at one time were well paid piece work jobs. That is no longer the case most plants are now non union and they will hire the cheapest labor they can find (mostly illegal immigrants I might add) which takes away jobs from American citizens who prefer a decent wage for a good days work.

Some examples that show that unions still do work and yes even they have problems, however most have still retained a lot of benefits others have lost. For those I would use The teamsters both trucking and Shipyards (I am sure there are others I just cannot think of them)
. Sure even they have lost some benefits but those that they have managed to retain are far better then those in other industries where they have completely abolished paid retirement insurance.


One final point, I think this all stemmed from when Ronald Reagan took an uncompromising stand against striking air-traffic controllers. That was a very sad day for unions in American. :shk:

As you can see I am pro union but even I realize that some have gone too far in the past.



posted on Aug, 24 2006 @ 12:25 PM
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Originally posted by hogtie
See if she can find the para and make sure that what the rep said happened really did. This is a good example of what makes a union benefit her and hurt society. How does forcing an institution to waste funding on an unneeded postition help the students? Couldn't that money be better spent elsewhere? That is one thing to ask her, since I imagine that she really cares about the kids.

The are questions that someone with more experience/maturity would ask. Not young kids, who sometimes have trouble getting and holding a job to begin with. But they are points that should be considered.


Has there been times when there looked like there would be major cutbacks on staff?

I would expect that seniority would be the determining factor in job cuts due to budgetary concerns, which is the most common reason for major cutbacks in schools, police & fire, etc. In that case, the union can do nothing except to enforce the seniority rules. But then again, there might not be seniority rules if there were no unions.

I'm somewhat familiar with unions, having grown up in a union family. My dad was a member of the steelworkers union. I remember him telling me that he initially resisted joining, and always regretted not joining sooner. So I understand the benefits that come from unions.

Edit: fix BB code

[edit on 24-8-2006 by jsobecky]



posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 03:21 AM
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Not all unions are equal, but generally speaking I'm a fan. My experience comes from construction unions, and that might be very different from what the union can provide a teacher.

I was a union operating engineer up until July (I decided to withdraw my card and leave the industry since the union hasn't got much work where I'm living/studying at the moment and I simply wouldn't work as a scab in this particular industry).

My brothers are both union carpenters (infact one of them will be making journeyman this fall).

In our experiences, the union has been absolutely necessary. They trained us and helped us find work in the industry when we were starting out. That's probably the biggest thing. You can end up putting up with a lot of crap when you're starting out if you're a scab. I've seen contractors try to renegotiate wages after the fact by as much as 1/3, but I've never seen it happen to the union.

My brother had to deal with a contractor not long ago who would never provide enough water or porta-johns. It sounds like a little thing, but since it was about a 20 minute walk to the watercooler/johns and back guys just had to do without for fear of getting canned, and it was a problem. They fired my brother for putting up a fuss about it. The BA sent him out to another job after just one day out of work, and in the meantime dropped by that job site to chew the super's butt and get them to agree to a special policy on breaks since they weren't shelling out the cash for extra coolers and johns.

So long story short, in my experience the union is a great way to learn a trade and ensure that you don't get nickel and dimed by cheap employers.

For a teacher on the otherhand, being sallaried and not having exactly the most adverse working conditions, a lot of the day to day benefits would be lessened, and since you're state employed your employers can't simply cave in to your demands unless the political situation works out. So I suppose I've gone to all this length just to say that although i like unions, I really don't have the experience to give you an answer on this particular subject.

One more thing I will add though: during my brief stint as an apprentice carpenter, before I went back to the operators, I found that in that particular union there was a great social aspect to it. I was active in the carpenters PAC and was friends with the BAs and a lot of the members who I'd never actually worked with, and going to the meetings and then BSing with the guys afterwards about who had beat up the most ironworkers the previous week was more or less the highpoint of my social calandar. But that can be hit and miss. I haven't done as much networking in the operators.

Edit to add: I don't know if it's true, but rumor has it that when Bush first got into office, Doug McCarran went in to hear his little "I'm a Republican, but I can still be your friend" speil, and replied, "F. you", sans abbreviation. One more reason to be a fan.

[edit on 27-8-2006 by The Vagabond]





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