August 27, 2010 12:32:00 PM
Steve Moore raised several good points in his letter supporting the right of labor unions to strike (Voice of the people, Aug. 25). His history of labor unions is correct. They did form to put an end to dangerous work conditions, hard, long hours, and child labor. Counter-point: Because of the unions demands for ever-increasing wages and benefits, where have most jobs once held by Americans gone? Answer: To countries that have child labor, sweat-shops, poor working conditions, etc.
The conditions that spawned labor unions haven''t existed, or have been outlawed by law, for a hundred years. This means that the unions, like the NAACP, have outlived their usefulness and exist for two reasons: because of the money generated through membership dues and the power wielded by those in charge. If either of these two organizations really gave a hoot about their members, they would stop creating controversy and stop dragging up the past. That doesn''t help anybody in the future.
Yes, I think the unions are a prime reason why we have this current economic mess. NAFTA is another reason for this mess, too. When it becomes cheaper, or more economically feasible to ship jobs, factories, and raw materials overseas and then ship the finished product back to the States, doesn''t that illustrate a glaring problem?
Unions protect workers (I prefer the term "employees" because the boss works just as hard in a different category and "workers" just sounds Communistic to me.), who by all rights should be fired because of poor work ethic or other justifiable reasons. Unions demand wages and benefits that raise the cost of the company''s product to where it is priced out of the market, forcing the company to close.
Union members, as illustrated by this strike, often think that they are indispensable or irreplaceable, just because they are union. Here''s a news flash. Almost ANYBODY can be trained to run any machine and if that anybody is non-union they will do just as good a job at a lower pay scale and be just as happy.
When there are more jobs than people looking for work, the wage offer goes up. When there are more people looking for work than there are jobs available, the wage offer goes down. It''s called Capitalism and the Free Market.
When a company wants to keep qualified, skilled employees, it will offer them wages the company can sustain in the market. I have left companies before when I thought I deserved a higher wage. I didn''t strike, I just turned in my two-week notice and left.
I understand that this strike isn''t about the pay, but about "seniority rights." Get over it. There''s a recession going on. This contract won''t be forever. When the contract is up, the economy will hopefully be a lot better. Temporary concessions won''t hurt anybody and may just make everything a lot better for everyone in the long run.
One last observation: The highway, street, and road ROW''s are for vehicular traffic, not foot traffic or strikers. It is illegal to post political campaign signs on them, even though everybody running for dog catcher on up ignores the law.
Cameron Triplett Sr., Brooksville
jimmy williams commented at 8/28/2010 9:27:00 PM:
You say this contract won't last forever,on seniority this contract would give them time to get rid of the older workers and last i heard that was illegal
disappointed in support commented at 8/28/2010 10:10:00 PM:
Just another one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
disappointed in support commented at 8/29/2010 11:14:00 AM:
about 1/3 of their new employees refused or failed the drug screening, what a work force out there to pick from!!!!!!!!!!! several notable "sons or daughters" of city run goverment!!!!!!!!!!!
citizenkane commented at 8/31/2010 9:37:00 AM:
Cameron, your comments are not personal accounts, but opnions formed from word of mouth. To post comments from these referance points is irresponsible. Unions have not outlived their usefulness but in today's world are needed more than ever. The lost of personal integrity by employers, money managers, etc., demands reforms from whatever means possible. The collective voices of unions is a very good source to maintain stability in a world such as we live. Too many people fall by the wayside by not having an advocate to speak for those who cannot. Your comments are divisive to the community during this time, to a group of citizens who do not need or welcome these comments that you post, that have no personal accounts to validate an opnion. A citizen
frustratedinore commented at 9/30/2010 6:17:00 AM:
Ok, I'd like to say that as a former unioneer, I have to agree with both sides, on the one hand, while working within a union as a general laborer, I saw many good benefits to having unions, the pay was usually better, the work lasted, and employees worked in safe, non-oppressive environments.
However, the longer I stayed with the union, and the more sites I worked on, the more I saw things that were just outright messed up.
On my first worksite, everybody on site had a job to do, even the foreman worked, in some cases, helping in various areas, including in teaching me to clean the machinery and site, and helping me to haul various components for the builders. it was a well oiled machine in which all the employees worked very efficiently, and were all union.
by my fifth site, I'd seen a lot more of my union than I cared to, from beligerently drunk foremen to methed out forklift/heavy equip operators. I did what I was told to do, I worked. on my last site, a lift operator whom was strung out, not sure on what, crashed the lift into the side of the building we were redoing a sidewall in. it tore three weeks of our work apart in minutes, and I watched as even as he was being arrested, our rep was fighting for him to keep his job. the guy made 7 bucks more an hour than me and was completely worthless all the time.
not saying that unions need to die off, but they all need a lot of work, my story isn't unique, it happens in every field from top to bottom and the only way I'd ever join another union, at this point, is if I could look from the top down, real thouroughly.
op is right, in many aspects, such as our big threes' falls recently, I know a guy whom worked for gm for years through unions, made almost 25 bucks an hour. his job was to attach 2 bolts to every frame that passed him.
two bolts? the average fast food worker does more than that, and makes considerably less, and what did the unions do when the big 3 told em, "hey, we're in a bad way right now, and need to cut wages for a bit, just till things bounce back"? they did what all unions do, they threatened to strike, they pizzed and moaned, and called party foul.
ok, enough negativity. sorry if I hurt any current unioneers' feelings.
but here's my take, unions across the board have gotten too damn big, we need some business protection, a kind of oversight that can work negotiations with union reps and find reasonable middle grounds.
unions need to trim their fat, get rid of incompetent employees and get realistic about their seniority rules, just cuz man A worked with em for 5 years and man B only 3 shouldn't mean that man A gets the better jobs/pay just because of that, when man B works more efficiently and does a better job overall.
the alternative for the unions is that they can continue as is, on this self destructive path that has lead and will lead to evermore jobs being outsourced to foreign countries.
where will your workers be then, I wonder? only so many can ask if others want fries with their orders, in my HT, that particular job is typically filled by hispanics, nothing against most of em but it'd be nice if they at least understood what I was ordering, then again there'll probably be a union for them soon too.
1. Susan Estrich: Close to home NATIONAL COLUMNS
2. Michael Gerson: The GOP as the party of reform NATIONAL COLUMNS
3. Lynn Spruill: Lest we forget LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Froma Harrop: Doing well by doing good -- but better by doing bad NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Our View: Summer's home stretch DISPATCH EDITORIALS