posted on Aug, 27 2006 @ 03:21 AM
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
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
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
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]