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19-04-2013, 03:58 AM #81
I've been part of two unions as well, and while the last one - District Council 37 - was more or less useless, it was mostly due to ineffective leadership and a too widely disparate rank and file to really be organized in an effective manner. The other had a far more effective means of collective bargaining and also knew how to use allied unions to rally for a common cause.
The thing is, pointing to bad or shortsighted leadership within unions and thus saying "we don't need unions" is, in my opinion, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Bad leadership is bad leadership, and if you read my blog you'll see plenty of examples of bad union leadership, but no representation is far more of a detriment to labor and society overall. I am most definitely a universal supporter of unions because they need to exist. They should exist with competent leadership, but first and foremost they need to exist.
19-04-2013, 04:05 AM #82
Last edited by Berzee; 19-04-2013 at 04:08 AM.
19-04-2013, 04:39 AM #83
19-04-2013, 06:37 AM #84
Won't somebody please think of the women though?
19-04-2013, 07:40 AM #85
It pisses me off that something so important has turned into such a load of bullshit. Even over here where the law is well and truly on the side of employees I totally agree that we still need unions, but our unions are far too interested in politics that I sometimes wonder if it isn't worth scrapping all the major ones and starting again, killing ties to the ALP. I know that's impossible, but I can dream.Nalano's Law - As an online gaming discussion regarding restrictions grows longer, the probability of a post likening the topic to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea approaches one.
Soldant's Law - A person will happily suspend their moral values if they can express moral outrage by doing so.
19-04-2013, 10:00 AM #86
Obviously, the situation in the games industry, where people have to work extremely long hours for relatively poor remuneration, have little job security and few benefits, is no better, either for those individuals or society at large. The point here is simply that either extreme is bad. Just pitting two organisations - organised labour and private ownership - against one another, not expecting either of them to exercise any restraint, and saying "no holds barred", is a recipe for conflict, opposition, divisiveness. I'm not against unions - I'm a supporter of them. I am however, against any group wielding disproportionate political power. I expect management and unions to work together towards a mutually beneficial compromise. There are plenty of companies and unions who do work this way together.
On the subject of the specific example I gave, there was no evidence of this sort of mentality. The only reason given was essentially: they are making our working conditions worse, so we must strike. I don't agree with that ideological position. And I didn't agree with the "we don't want a race to the bottom - we want private sector pensions to get better, not ours to get worse" argument either. We are approaching a public sector pensions crisis. The system is fundamentally flawed and ultimately unaffordable. The reason private sector pensions aren't (weren't, technically) a patch on public sector pensions is because such pensions aren't economically viable. You simply can't save enough throughout your working life to have a pot that big when you get to retirement. There was some statistic - in an article written in the guardian I think, ironically enough - which said that in order for someone on a teacher's salary in the private sector to get the same pension as a teacher, they'd need a pension pot of around £750,000.
Last edited by RandomTangent; 19-04-2013 at 10:37 AM.
19-04-2013, 10:10 AM #87
The UK is significantly left-leaning compared with the US. Even our mainstream "right wing" Tory party is probably left of your Democratic party in some policy areas. For example, in the UK, the average public sector wage is actually now higher than the average private sector wage. This wasn't always the case, and in the past, it was used as a justification for the superior benefits those working in the public sector often received. Obviously this doesn't mean there aren't disproportionately highly paid individuals in the private sector - of course there are.
I believe - and I'll check this afterwards to be sure - that the changes to public sector pensions here were primarily about 1) closing off final salary schemes to new applicants and 2) increasing pension contributions from current members. The problem with the public sector pension scheme in the UK is that there is no fund. The pensions of people currently in retirement are paid for by the pension contributions of those currently in work. It is completely unsustainable, and it was a massive mistake, but that's unfortunately how the system works. I imagine changing it now would be extraordinarily costly.
Last edited by RandomTangent; 19-04-2013 at 10:15 AM.
19-04-2013, 01:17 PM #88
1) The reason there's a pension crisis is because the fund was routinely raided for quick liquidity by city officials or was invested as a giveaway to the stock markets whereupon it was decimated by the financial crisis.
2) In terms of overall expenditure, pensions are a relatively small portion of budgets when it comes to the public sector but come with relatively little political opposition when they're on the line because the retired think they're untouchable and the non-retired think the issue will be resolved before they're retired.
They tend to lead in the headlines because represented public sector employees on average have it better than comparable non-represented private sector employees and as such political opponents use it as a wedge to divide the working class.
19-04-2013, 02:59 PM #89
Interestingly, here, pension reform creates quite a lot of political opposition. I remember just before our last-but-one general election, the then Labour government had put forward proposals for public sector pension reform - it's been a hot political issue over here for at least a decade. There were large strikes, huge public outcry, and it being more or less on the eve of a general election, the government backed down. At the time, there were various committees and various reports which continued to stress the fact that our public sector pension system was about to become unaffordable, but it isn't until recently that the issue has once again been tackled by a government.
19-04-2013, 03:05 PM #90Originally Posted by BerzeeOriginally Posted by Nalano
Originally Posted by NalanoOriginally Posted by Berzee
19-04-2013, 03:12 PM #91
That's basically the issue that I think most people have with Unions. Yes, they (in theory) do a lot of good. But they are also political groups that push their own agendas that may not even have the workers best interests in mind (the annecdotes regarding the Labor Party come to mind). And this mentality of "If you want to work here, you have to give us money" is the big issue. Because it is basically making it mandatory for employees to support political groups and causes they may not agree with.
A few years back my father was working for a company that manufactures inserts for bullet-resistant vests. He worked on the assembly line and was forced to join the union and pay dues if he wanted to work there. Which basically meant he paid his dues and was constantly indoctrinated as someone would walk around the floor and basically say "You are going to vote for X in the upcoming election" a few times a day.
I fully suspect he was exagerating, but the fact of the matter was that he was being forced to contribute money to the campaign of politicians and groups he strongly disagrees with and had to put up with being told who to vote for "in the interest of the Union".
Also, he lost the job about a year later because the Union only cared enough to protect the long-term members and seemed to be working with the company to lay off/fire people before they classified as "long term" for the purpose of job security.
Last edited by gundato; 19-04-2013 at 03:16 PM.Steam: Gundato
If you want me on either service, I suggest PMing me here first to let me know who you are.
19-04-2013, 03:16 PM #92
In that sense, it's more symptomatic of a cascade failure of leadership, exacerbated if not caused outright by the lack of direct representation and accountability in federal government. After all, our system is made specifically to limit direct democracy whenever possible.
19-04-2013, 03:31 PM #93
I'm afraid I have to confess to a certain amount of ignorance about the details of the American political system - particularly how federal and state government are organised and how each interacts with the other. Interesting bit of history on NY though - thanks.
19-04-2013, 03:40 PM #94
1) Only feds are guaranteed to be allowed run a debt
2) The electoral college favors underpopulated states in national elections
3) Large cities exist mostly in highly populated states
Thus, cities are chronically underrepresented and thus underfunded - especially in economic downturns - despite being cash cows in times of prosperity. California, for instance, has had to manage a huge state debt to keep services afloat despite being a net payer in federal taxes, and New York can't run any deficit at all, so fiscal crises end up with stark cuts to services almost immediately (not to mention are the primary reason NYS can't pass a budget on time: Choosing who to cut is a blood war.)
19-04-2013, 04:04 PM #95
19-04-2013, 04:12 PM #96
19-04-2013, 05:27 PM #97
- Join Date
- Nov 2011
19-04-2013, 05:42 PM #98
19-04-2013, 06:01 PM #99
Like I said before (and before and before) -- it's not actually possible for anyone to negotiate fair wages and good working conditions for me, 'coz I already have got those things. That means any negotiations made on my behalf must needs be aiming for a deal that's unfairly advantageous to me, which would leave me feel a bit grabby.
I guess the one thing that could be negotiated without making me feel that way would be an ironclad guarantee that the fair deal I've got now will persist until the end of days...but I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of commitment!
Last edited by Berzee; 19-04-2013 at 06:20 PM.
20-04-2013, 05:43 AM #100
- Join Date
- Mar 2013
Berzee, I would argue that if the person who owns the company you work for (assuming that you work for a company rather than being self employed/owning your own company) makes any money at all you are inherently not being paid fairly