: Unions and Closed/Open Shop


Beej
Oct 14th, 2005, 12:47 PM
http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/10/14/alberta-strike051014.html

The above article is just an example from today's news, and not meant to limit the discussion.

Closed shop union regulations -- power to the people, violation of rights, other? Also, if possible, can this be kept civil?

My opinion: Unions are great things, as long as there are open-shops. Otherwise you are being forced to join an organisation and be represented by its policies if you want the job.

SINC
Oct 14th, 2005, 02:08 PM
I agree that as long as shops are open, and no one is forced to join, unions are fine.

In this case where union members resort to violence to stop co-workers who disagree with the union's decisions to strike, union members should be banned from being anywhere near the plant.

It is goon squads like this that give unions a bad name. Law officials must protect the workers who want to cross the picket line, even if the majority of union members voted to strike.

That is the ugly side of the union movement.

mrjimmy
Oct 14th, 2005, 02:15 PM
Either you're in a union, or you're out. If the majority has voted, you must respect that decision. You may not like it, but you have to respect it. It's the same with government. You can't 'half' be in a union.

SINC
Oct 14th, 2005, 02:26 PM
Rubbish. Unions remove any freedom of individual choice and that is just plain wrong. If a member chooses to continue to work to support their family, it should be allowed under law.

I simply shake my head at prolonged strikes. What ever salary they eventually win, when you consider the lost wages, workers are the losers every time.

ArtistSeries
Oct 14th, 2005, 02:27 PM
So SINC, how to you propose workers rights are protected?

mrjimmy
Oct 14th, 2005, 02:32 PM
Whether you choose to believe it's rubbish or not is inconsequential. A Union's strength is the solidarity of it's membership, nothing more, nothing less. Members vote in a union - it is not a dictatorship (which I think many believe is true).

As far as lost wages - each strike is a skirmish - better working conditions and fair wages is the war.

ErnstNL
Oct 14th, 2005, 02:38 PM
Sinc said:Rubbish. Unions remove any freedom of individual choice and that is just plain wrong. If a member chooses to continue to work to support their family, it should be allowed under law.
It is allowed under law.
Against a person's religious faith is one example. A person of the Jehovah Witness faith may work without penalty.
It's a democracy, like our country. You can't opt out when the majority rules.

sammy
Oct 14th, 2005, 02:40 PM
As a member of the IBEW, I can point out that part of our agreement includes a no strike no lockout agreement. That means members won't have to strike, owners won't lose customers, and customers get the job done without labour disruption. Win-win as far as I can tell.

SINC
Oct 14th, 2005, 02:42 PM
So SINC, how to you propose workers rights are protected?
By government through good legislation, not bullies throwing fists on picket lines.

Mugatu
Oct 14th, 2005, 02:44 PM
SINC has a point about how the workers are always the ones to lose. Even if they win (GM/Ford and the huge amounts of benefits they give out) they'll eventually lose (GM looking into bankruptcy protection).

I would cross a picket line if I had to feed my family (not get a new TV). SINC is refering to the shinanigans going on at the meat packers plant near Brooks, Alberta. There was some violence the other day and the workers just looked like common thugs (at least on the 30 second clip in the news).

Isn't having to join a Union just oppression of the majority on the minority? Heh, it could even be argued that it's discrimination.

mrjimmy
Oct 14th, 2005, 03:00 PM
(GM looking into bankruptcy protection).
Do you think that's because of wages? I'll bet that payroll represents a fraction of the reasoning behind GM's move.

What's better, progressively clawing back wages and benefits (not to mention working conditions) to the point of being wage slaves? Inflation marches on. Paying your workers less and less doesn't contribute to healthy economic growth.

Do you believe that working conditions (including health and safety) and wages would be the same today if unions never existed? Management and owners would choose to invest in these things out of the goodness of their hearts? Overlook the bottom line for their workers?

I have worked in both unionized and non-unionized workplaces and I would choose unionized any day of the week.

Beej
Oct 14th, 2005, 03:09 PM
It's a democracy, like our country. You can't opt out when the majority rules.

Union workers work with non-union on a daily basis. It's only a majority by specific job definitions (majority of such-and-such a job-type) and doesn't easily allow for job types to split off from the union. The 'solidarity' is often forced onto job classifications that have no use for the union but increase the union's power and, most importantly, revenues. Sort of like the Alberta government, realizing it will have more clout with Saskatchewan, assumes control of the Saskatchewant government.

My analogy is intentionally a poor fit: just like the 'it's a democracy' bit is not an adequate argument because unions are not government and saying they're 'like' one does not justify their powers.

Beej
Oct 14th, 2005, 03:18 PM
Do you think that's because of wages? I'll bet that payroll represents a fraction of the reasoning behind GM's move.

What's better, progressively clawing back wages and benefits (not to mention working conditions) to the point of being wage slaves? Inflation marches on. Paying your workers less and less doesn't contribute to healthy economic growth.

Do you believe that working conditions (including health and safety) and wages would be the same today if unions never existed? Management and owners would choose to invest in these things out of the goodness of their hearts? Overlook the bottom line for their workers?

I have worked in both unionized and non-unionized workplaces and I would choose unionized any day of the week.

GM has many problems, including higher wage and benefits costs as well as a legion of unemployed but paid workers that they have to keep around under the negotiated union deal (GM's fault for ever signing it). Of course, the crappy car designs never helped them. :)

Unions served a purpose in the past, but being useful in a time with little government worker protection or social safety net does not mean that they are useful with today's government protection and safety net. Now they can be most effective for common bargaining (some companies may prefer to negotiate with one union instead of 10,000 individuals...but that should be between the individuals and the company).

I too have worked both and I would choose non-union any day of the week. The union kept my salary artificially low for too long, charged me dues for the privelge of holding my salary down and, on the upside, created a work environment where it was very easy to be an overachiever.

ErnstNL
Oct 14th, 2005, 03:22 PM
Sorry Beej, I don't agree. When your job requires you to become a union member you can't opt out. If you don't like it, too bad. I'm not saying you have to like it.
Unions win some and lose some. In my experience, it was better to be in a union.

ErnstNL
Oct 14th, 2005, 03:33 PM
Beej said:
Unions served a purpose in the past, but being useful in a time with little government worker protection or social safety net does not mean that they are useful with today's government protection and safety net. Now they can be most effective for common bargaining (some companies may prefer to negotiate with one union instead of 10,000 individuals...but that should be between the individuals and the company).

Well, there is no perfect system is there? We can list of many abuses that employers heap on employees and vice versa. The agreement protects the employer as well. It spells out in a legal document what boundaries, rights and expectations are placed on the employees. It works both ways.

Beej
Oct 14th, 2005, 03:46 PM
Beej said:


Well, there is no perfect system is there? We can list of many abuses that employers heap on employees and vice versa. The agreement protects the employer as well. It spells out in a legal document what boundaries, rights and expectations are placed on the employees. It works both ways.
I disagree with the justification, but well put. I'm glad that the discussion has remained courteous.

SINC
Oct 14th, 2005, 03:50 PM
Another thing that bothers me about unions is there "seniority rules" policy.

Far too many times I have seen less senior employees passed over for workers with awful habits and just plain lazy who got positions that were beyond their skill levels due to their seniority. Either that or they "bump" their way into jobs they are ill equipped to handle.

Seniority sucks for anything but vacation time.

mr.steevo
Oct 14th, 2005, 03:53 PM
Hi,

Everything in moderation.

I think this news link and forum question is loaded. When you show a story about assualt and injury and then ask for people to comment in general terms... It would be like posting a story about a person who was released from a psychiatric hospital and then killed someone the next day and me asking how is the psychiatric business doing?

Unions and employers are fine as long as there is respect and understanding between each other.

s.

ErnstNL
Oct 14th, 2005, 04:15 PM
Sinc said:
Seniority sucks for anything but vacation time.

;) Not where I work. Everyone gets a fair chance.

Gerbill
Oct 14th, 2005, 05:20 PM
By government through good legislation, not bullies throwing fists on picket lines.
Yeah, right. By the Klein government in Alberta? By the Campbell government in BC?

We are witnessing how well governments protect workers in BC right now - the striking teachers are being bullied by the government, which is also their employer. I think we may be in for the edifying spectacle of teachers being hauled off to jail.

Strikes and lockouts are supposed to be a fair economic contest. The only legitimate role governments have in labour disputes is to ensure a level playing field - not to intervene on behalf of either party.

Sonal
Oct 14th, 2005, 05:22 PM
My ex-husband used to work part-time at Zellers when he was in school. Many years ago, one store in Toronto unionized, while the other stores did not. (My ex, who was approached about unionizing, said that he turned it down because he didn't want job security for a job he had no intention of staying at for the rest of his life.)

Zeller's management had an interesting way of dealing with it. For the store that unionized, they stuck to the collective agreement--raises at a certain rate at certain intervals, etc. For the stores that did NOT unionize, they gave all the employees higher raises than what the unionized stores got.

The union idea died off pretty quickly, and I think the store later de-unionized.

SINC
Oct 14th, 2005, 05:22 PM
Nevertheless, the line must be drawn at violence by union members on picket lines. Toss 'em in jail where they belong.

Beej
Oct 14th, 2005, 05:34 PM
Hi,

Everything in moderation.

I think this news link and forum question is loaded. When you show a story about assualt and injury and then ask for people to comment in general terms... It would be like posting a story about a person who was released from a psychiatric hospital and then killed someone the next day and me asking how is the psychiatric business doing?

Unions and employers are fine as long as there is respect and understanding between each other.

s.
Sorry, that wasn't my intention.

I just got the idea to start my first thread when I read the article...this is a topic I've enjoyed discussing with others in the past, and the article reminded me of that.

I could have picked an article on the B.C. teachers, or no article at all, but I arbitrarily went with the one I was looking at when the idea struck. No ulterior motives.

ErnstNL
Oct 14th, 2005, 06:07 PM
It's interesting how courts deal with strikes.

I was in an illegal walkout as a healthcare worker 6 years ago. We wanted to be treated the same as another bargaining unit. We withdrew our services and provided minimum essential services. The government and employer went to court to apply an injunction against us, forcing us back to work.

Our union couldn't officially support us, though they thought it was a just cause.
It was a social, peaceful withdrawal of services.

The injunction was over-ruled.
The NF Supreme court Justice Judge Green ruled that an employee can't be forced back to work in a place he/she doesn't want to be. In effect, saying you can't force a person to work. The courts should not be forced to intervene in a labour dispute. We were overjoyed.
It worked out for us in the end.

(I'm not in the union anymore, I'm in Management :eek: )

RevMatt
Oct 14th, 2005, 07:30 PM
My wife worked a stint this summer at a non-unionised plant, one which makes all the bullet-proof jackets for the Army and most of the police forces in this country. (If you care, you can figure it out, and I didn't say it ;)) That experience nicely identified why government protections alone are not sufficient. Simply put, her colleagues did not have the education to understand their rights, nor did they have the confidence in law and order that middle class folks have. The violations of labour law at this place were flagrant and many, and pointing them out resulted in hostility from management, and the spreading of backroom mutters amongst the workers about the trouble maker. The laws are there, but, as we all know, the law does not treat everyone equally, nor does everyone have equal confidence in it. Besides which, if you are a middle-aged person working for roughly $10/hr, can you afford to possibly damage your employment? Even if the firing isn't just, can you afford to wait for that legal fight to be resolved? What pays the bills in the meantime?
I am not unaware of the problems with unions. And I agree that violence by picketers or strike breakers should not be tolerated. but it could have easily been prevented if the company had not been encouraging strike-breaking (where did the buses come from?), or if the Police had moved to prevent it, by not allowing the buses in. We all know that strike-breaking results in violence. Why were the buses allowed to even be there?
Should a better, more democratic system be designed? Probably, but only if it doesn't lose the power of protection that numbers bring. Does anyone really think that if a workplace is part unionised it won't consistently be the union members who are laid off? Or that the union won't be undercut by bribing, as that story from Zellers indicates? Aren't any Zellers stores paying above union-type wages these days...
Unions are not the solution to all problems. But they have certainly improved conditions for all workers, unionised and not.
Does no one else think it significant that the changes in employment law that have led to fewer employee rights and longer work weeks in Ontario all started with Mike Harris, and his successful defeat of the public unions?

mrjimmy
Oct 14th, 2005, 08:50 PM
Amen RevMatt

Kosh
Oct 15th, 2005, 01:31 AM
Unions served a purpose in the past, but being useful in a time with little government worker protection or social safety net does not mean that they are useful with today's government protection and safety net.

I'd have to disagree and a recent news item shows that unions are still required. Would you believe that there are still many women that are not paid the same as men for the same job and work. Equality is still a major problem in Canada. In fact there was a public service union that just won a court batte a few years ago to get equality for women in the public service. The government doesn't even protect their own.

Unions have their place.

As for the unions with thugs and criminals, well those shouldn't exist.

Vandave
Oct 15th, 2005, 02:20 AM
Some of the things that I hate about unions include:

1. Culture of Entitlement

Over time, I notice that union workers develop a culture of entitlement. They feel that the less work they do the more money they deserve to make.

2. Protection of Incompetent and Lazy Workers

No matter how incompetent or lazy workers are, the union leadership will always defend the worker. It doesn't matter how extreme the case is.

3. Wages Way Above Market Rates

There are so many union jobs where workers are making obscene amounts of money for doing tasks that don't deserve such high wages. For example, some janitors in schools make more than teachers. Numerous examples of such wage disparities exist. It's not right and its not fair that taxpayers have to foot the bill.

4. Political Affiliations

Many public sector unions are heavily involved in politics and contribute money (not theirs mind you) to left leaning political parties. Not all of their members support such political goals. I observe that many such union leaders use their leadership position to further their political goals which are unrelated to their leadership mandate (e.g. anti-capitalist, anti-globalist, etc...).

5. Inflexibility

The current economy and reality of the world is that change happens quickly. Expecting a career with one company or one type of position just doesn't fit with reality. I find many unions are totally inflexible when it comes to restructuring or reallocation of human resources.

Ottawaman
Oct 15th, 2005, 02:30 AM
I've been in unions, I"ve been on both sides of stirke/ lock outs lines.

I've seen legally striking workers run over ( by cars) and seriously hurt by non union workers forced to cross by economic desperation. I have watched employers with video documentation of said vehicular assaults, deny/ hide the video evidence.
I have watched management teams use bargaining tactics that were designed to force strikes in order to save enough payroll to reduce operating costs or fund expected wage demand increases.
I've seen management teams lose millions of dollars in profits in a single year, demand wage concessions from blue collar workers, while giving themselves double digit raises and performance bonuses.
My conclusion is that we live in an economic situation which still has many 1800's attitudes towards workers rights.
On the other hand, I've seen lazy. corrupt union officials do nothing to foster any sort of positive relationships between employers and workers. Unions, that exist to collect union dues and not much else.
You might think I dislike unions, you would be wrong.
Why, because I cannot trust the government to police my rights as a Canadian worker in this era of maximize profits at all cost, global economy, salvation of the universe, third world slave labour, outsource the world, until only Walmart remains, cheaper is better, homegrown sucks, quality - never heard of it, People deserve to make 9 cents a day making nike shoes, kind of reality we live in.
Sure I'm naive, the world has never been fair and never will be, so why bother, right?

GratuitousApplesauce
Oct 15th, 2005, 03:14 AM
Some of the things that I hate about unions include:
Some of the things that I hate about big business/corporations include:
1. Culture of Entitlement

Over time, I notice that union workers develop a culture of entitlement. They feel that the less work they do the more money they deserve to make.
1. Culture of Entitlement

Over time, I notice that business leaders and corporations develop a culture of entitlement. They feel that the higher they rise in the corporation and the less work they do, the more money they deserve to make.
2. Protection of Incompetent and Lazy Workers

No matter how incompetent or lazy workers are, the union leadership will always defend the worker. It doesn't matter how extreme the case is.
2. Protection of Incompetent and Lazy Management

No matter how incompetent or lazy managers are, the business world will always defend the them. It doesn't matter how extreme the case is.
3. Wages Way Above Market Rates

There are so many union jobs where workers are making obscene amounts of money for doing tasks that don't deserve such high wages. For example, some janitors in schools make more than teachers. Numerous examples of such wage disparities exist. It's not right and its not fair that taxpayers have to foot the bill.
3. Wages Way Above Market Rates

There are so many business jobs where CEOs are making obscene amounts of money for doing tasks that don't deserve such high wages. For example, some CEOs make 100 or 200 times the average wage paid in the company. Numerous examples of such wage disparities exist. It's not right and its not fair that taxpayers have to foot the bill by giving these corporations massive tax breaks.
4. Political Affiliations

Many public sector unions are heavily involved in politics and contribute money (not theirs mind you) to left leaning political parties. Not all of their members support such political goals. I observe that many such union leaders use their leadership position to further their political goals which are unrelated to their leadership mandate (e.g. anti-capitalist, anti-globalist, etc...).
4. Political Affiliations

Many large corporations are heavily involved in politics and contribute money (not theirs mind you) to right leaning political parties. Not all of their stockholders support such political goals. I observe that many such corporate leaders use their leadership position to further their political goals.
5. Inflexibility

The current economy and reality of the world is that change happens quickly. Expecting a career with one company or one type of position just doesn't fit with reality. I find many unions are totally inflexible when it comes to restructuring or reallocation of human resources.
5. Inflexibility

The current economy and reality of the world is that change happens quickly. Expecting a career with one company or one type of position just doesn't fit with reality. I find many corporate leaders feather their nests with bonuses that insulate them from the economic fluctuations of their company and set themselves up for life. Just ask Dick Cheney, working in government and still getting bonuses from Halliburton, while he funnels lucrative contracts their way. Nice and cozy.

See Dave, the unfair blanket criticisms can cut both ways.

Vandave
Oct 15th, 2005, 03:42 AM
See Dave, the unfair blanket criticisms can cut both ways.

Good comeback... But, I thought it was clear I was generalizing about unions. I don't think my statements apply to every employee or every union. That said, I think my generalizations are quite accurate. I don't believe the ones you have presented about business are.

One major point you have to accept is that as a consumer you have a choice to buy a product or not. As a taxpayer, I don't have a choice... I'm stuck with the current crop of public sector unions.

With respect to each point:

1. Entitlement

Have you been to a corporate office? You'll see that most managers are actually very hard working. They have an ability to dramatically affect the profit and loss of a company, hence the relatively high wages earned.

2. Incompetence

Businesses routinely fire people that don't meet expectations.

3. Wages above Market Rate

Your argument is not logical. By definition, business managers are being paid the market rate.

4. Political Affiliations

Those shareholders are free to sell the stock if they don't like the actions of management. I can't fire the public sector unions. Your analogy doesn't hold.

5. Inflexibility

Again, it's a free market. I don't care if Haliburton or other companies want to give former managers money.

However, in Cheney's case I think it is a Conflict of Interest and he should distance himself from Halliburton.


In the business I am in, I have had the opportunity to work in the periphery of both union and non-union workers. I have observed that union people have major attitude problems and are not very co-operative. In contrast, the non-union workers seem quite happy and have always been helpful to me. Coincidence? Hmmm.... I don't think so.

MacNutt
Oct 15th, 2005, 04:23 AM
Good stuff Vandave.

Case in point:

My Dad spent forty years working for Air Canada (back when he started with that company it was called "TCA").

He was in a union for almost ALL of that time.

He spent all of his days writing up airline tickets at a desk on the frontlines. During that time he worked with two other people who were also long term Air Canada employees. One was a guy called Ray who was pretty efficient. The other was a dyslexic Swiss-born lady whom they all liked...but who couldn't write one single ticket without scrambling the data. If she tried to write YVR (Vancouver) she ended up typing GTW or something.

So both my dad and his buddy had to write all of their own ticketrs...and re-write HERS as well. This went on for every day of every week for every month of the year for twelve solid YEARS! It made the whole system much less eficcient...and she could have been better utilised in a whole BUNCH of different tasks at the airline. She spoke seven languages fluently.

But that's NOT how it works in the Union world.

My youngest brother used to work for Air Canada. He now works for the BC Ferry system. He often bitterly comments on how the "highest paid old dudes just sit on their butts and let everyone else do the work...or they don't even show UP!"

We are not talking "management here" This is the rank and file.

One of the biggest single complaints I've heard about Unions...and this was often voiced by other union members...is that there is no way to flush out the deadwood. Inefficiency...VERY expensive inneficiency...on a grand scale, is an integral part of Big labour.

Senority is high on the list of importance with Big Labour. Actually doing the work is wayyy down the list of priorities. Almost at the bottom, really. The old guys who do nothing, get paid the lion's share...the young hungry lions...who do the lions share of the work...get paid just a fraction of what the old guys get.

And this doesnt sit well with ANYONE. Employer or worker.

Which is probably why Big labour has suffered so many crushing defeats lately. And why Big Labour is dying these days. Pretty much everywhere you care to look. It's footprint is shrinking rapidly in every single westernised nation. Every single day of every single year.

Eventually this old way of thinking will be gone and it will not be lamented for it's passing. This will happen rather soon, I'd think. In fact, it's happening as we speak. Pretty much everywhere.

Trust me on this.

And look for yourself, if you don't believe me. ;) :D

gwillikers
Oct 15th, 2005, 04:51 AM
One of the biggest single complaints I've heard about Unions...and this was often voiced by other union members...is that there is no way to flush out the deadwood. Inefficiency...VERY expensive inneficiency...on a grand scale, is an integral part of Big labour.

Hey wait a minute, isn't it also an integral part of something else... um, wait a minute, it's coming to me... um, oh yeah...

OUR PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS!!

But, no, no, you and Dave can go ahead and just focus narrowly on Unions. Because that's just good politics. Right boys? :confused:

:cool:

MacNutt
Oct 15th, 2005, 05:16 AM
Hey wait a minute, isn't it also an integral part of something else... um, wait a minute, it's coming to me... um, oh yeah...

OUR PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS!!

But, no, no, you and Dave can go ahead and just focus narrowly on Unions. Because that's just good politics. Right boys? :confused:

:cool:

Not for very much longer. This is changing rapidly, these days...

The "work" is not at all solely relegated to Big Labour. It will ALL be contracted out much sooner than anyone thinks. This process is already underway. Petty much everywhere.

Trust me on this.

MacNutt
Oct 15th, 2005, 05:18 AM
Look for yourself. It's everywhere.

Big labour is dead. It just hasn't actually fallen over quite yet... ;) :D

mrjimmy
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:19 AM
Which is probably why Big labour has suffered so many crushing defeats lately. And why Big Labour is dying these days. Pretty much everywhere you care to look. It's footprint is shrinking rapidly in every single westernised nation. Every single day of every single year.
Would you care to elaborate? Perhaps give some examples? Or is this just another attention grabbing headline. Big labour and the CBC all in one blow - Wow - I'm afraid to go outside.

Get real.

Beej
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:33 AM
I'd have to disagree and a recent news item shows that unions are still required. Would you believe that there are still many women that are not paid the same as men for the same job and work. Equality is still a major problem in Canada. In fact there was a public service union that just won a court batte a few years ago to get equality for women in the public service. The government doesn't even protect their own.

Unions have their place.


Those equality cases were mostly to do with equalizing wages across different jobs that people 'felt' should be paid the same because some were mostly women and others mostly men, other cases were from government actions 20+ years ago.

The 'equality' gap so often quoted compares very different things and is a commonly used tool of misinformation. Sometimes comparing completely different jobs, other times comparing people who put in significantly different hours (e.g. when looking at lawyers).

Beej
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:39 AM
Some of the things that I hate about big business/corporations include:

1. Culture of Entitlement

Over time, I notice that business leaders and corporations develop a culture of entitlement. They feel that the higher they rise in the corporation and the less work they do, the more money they deserve to make.

4. Political Affiliations

Many large corporations are heavily involved in politics and contribute money (not theirs mind you) to right leaning political parties. Not all of their stockholders support such political goals. I observe that many such corporate leaders use their leadership position to further their political goals.



Vandave responded to most of these, but I'll comment on a couple.

1. Management works far longer hours than union and isn't paid extra for overtime, the higher up you go the more hours they work (there are no 38 hour per week CEOs). What you wrote seems to just be based on wanting to counter an argument, not having a counter.

4. Reasonable point, although I would like to see information on this. Unions definitely play in this territory in a one-sided manner, are there figures on corporations? Either way though, Canada's new contribution laws will help with this.

Beej
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:43 AM
Hey wait a minute, isn't it also an integral part of something else... um, wait a minute, it's coming to me... um, oh yeah...

OUR PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS!!

But, no, no, you and Dave can go ahead and just focus narrowly on Unions. Because that's just good politics. Right boys? :confused:

:cool:

Your point? Governments happen to be the home of a large portion of Canada's union employees and, relative to non-government, generally have a very higher union percentage. This is not the only problem with governments, but it's one of them.

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 15th, 2005, 09:21 AM
last time macnutt went on a Lagavulin induced anti-union rant I posted this link, from HRSDC, that showed union membership actually going up in terms of numbers of members
http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/en/lp/wid/union_membership.shtml

in particular, please review Table 1., union membership 1990- 2004

As usual when confronted with "facts" [a word seemingly missing from his personal dicktionary (no typo)], he never bothered to comment and probably didn't bother to read.

Beej
Oct 15th, 2005, 09:50 AM
Great link. I believe a lot of the confusion comes from # versus %. The trend, from before 1990, is (quite certain, but my memory is not the greatest) a downward % of the total workforce but probably higher total #s. This implies lower influence despite growth. This is more pronounced in the U.S., so I may be remembering U.S. data.

Another important factor is what types of jobs (by education, salary and productivity) are more or less union dominated. I don't have data on this, but the implications, if %s are shifting significantly, are important.

Vandave
Oct 15th, 2005, 02:18 PM
Hey wait a minute, isn't it also an integral part of something else... um, wait a minute, it's coming to me... um, oh yeah...

OUR PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS!!

But, no, no, you and Dave can go ahead and just focus narrowly on Unions. Because that's just good politics. Right boys? :confused:

:cool:

About 3 out of every 4 government workers are union members.

I agree with MacNutt, unions will eventually go the way of the dinosaur. I think the unions know this as well, hence the big push to unionize entry level retail jobs (e.g. Starbucks, Walmart).

To have a strong economy we need to keep making advances and become more efficient. Public sector unions unfortunately do not share this goal and seem to think that money comes out of thin air. The private sector unions are not so naive. They seem to understand the link between a healthy company and jobs / higher pay.

I think we need to create a system whereby the pay of unions members and union leaders is linked to performance (e.g. produtivity). If you want to inefficient people in your work force, then its your loss, not the taxpayer. If you want to help build a strong society and strong economy, then welcome aboard and you'll get rewarded for working hard.

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 15th, 2005, 02:57 PM
unions are the products of bad/evil management
no one to blame but themselves

just think of every manager you've had and just think about their biases/prejuidices

if mgmt. was better unions would go away by themselves

I had a manager that refused to allow me to take Ukrainian Christmas off, but allowed other ethnic holidays

I found a job and quit 2 weeks later and told him and his boss why.
I should have taken the matter before a review board, but I was young.

SINC
Oct 15th, 2005, 03:06 PM
Every union contract I ever negotiated on behalf of management was with a fat cat American who came to Canada to provide his union's professional negotiating skills. He always stayed at the best hotels and ate the biggest steaks etc., all on the backs of his members.

I once had a loyal employee inform me what his demands were going to be at a union meeting the night before the start of negotiations.

I quickly altered our offer to better in every way each of his demands. When I presented it as a take it or leave it offer the next morning, his committee and he accepted on the spot.

I then asked staff why they needed a union when the guy did nothing and the dues they were paying were outrageous.

The union applied for and received decertification within six months and the shop has been union free since.

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 15th, 2005, 03:35 PM
when mgmt. treats employees fairly, there is rarely a need for unions

again, unions (good and bad) are a product of bad mgmt.

bring in good/fair mgmt. and unions disappear

mrjimmy
Oct 15th, 2005, 04:18 PM
when mgmt. treats employees fairly, there is rarely a need for unions again, unions (good and bad) are a product of bad mgmt. bring in good/fair mgmt. and unions disappear

Succinct and to the point. Unions are not about to disappear until the above mentioned occurs. People are not about to roll over at the hands of greedy employers and corporations. In fact less now than ever before in history. Your ignorance is their power. We live in the information age. People have witnessed the Enrons and WorldComs. Dying are the Corporate dictatorships.

Remember, everything is cyclical.

GratuitousApplesauce
Oct 15th, 2005, 05:21 PM
Vandave responded to most of these, but I'll comment on a couple.

1. Management works far longer hours than union and isn't paid extra for overtime, the higher up you go the more hours they work (there are no 38 hour per week CEOs). What you wrote seems to just be based on wanting to counter an argument, not having a counter.

4. Reasonable point, although I would like to see information on this. Unions definitely play in this territory in a one-sided manner, are there figures on corporations? Either way though, Canada's new contribution laws will help with this.
With my post last night I was trying to show that the same arguments could be made in reverse and to point out that they weren't necessarily true in all cases.

While managers and CEOs undoubtedly work long hours, they have chosen to do so and are generally doing so for excellent compensation or to try and advance. If they are working long hours for crappy pay, and no chance for advancement, I'd say they might want to look into joining a union or are just foolish. There is a myth that everyone who is in a union is a slacker and I think Vandave was propogating that myth.

I believe that you will finds slackers in all walks of life, you will find managers and CEO who are slackers as well as other employees, union or not. I know many union members who come home from their jobs burnt out and tired just like anyone else and work hard for the money they have been paid. Is anyone surprised that a certain percentage of the population will try to take advantage of a situation to serve their own ends?

As far as political donations, I believe that the NDP, here in BC, receives a far greater share of its donations from individuals than unions, contrasted with the BC Liberals (for non BC-ers, equivalent in economic philosophy to the Reform/Conservative mindset) who receive massively more donations from corporations than from individuals.
BC Liberals
Total Donations 1996 - Oct. 2004 $41,735,398
Corporate and business share 69%
Individual donations share 28%
Labour donations share -
Other 3%

BC NDP
Total Donations 1996 - Oct. 2004 $27,260,960
Corporate and business share 3%
Individual donations share 87%
Labour donations share 9.5%
Other 0.5%

from BCFacts.org (http://www.bcfacts.org/campaign-contributions)If these amounts are correct then the BC Liberals have received almost 29 million dollars, more money from corporations than the NDP received in donations from all sources, while the NDP received 2.5 million from unions.

I would be very happy to see a cap or a ban on all union and corporate political party donations. Of course those political parties that benefit massively from corporate largesse, might have a wee problem with this.

mrjimmy
Oct 15th, 2005, 06:12 PM
Thank you for your reasonable and balanced post GA.

It's when the finger pointed and name calling disappear that real understanding and empathy can occur. Unions are certainly not the sole domain of greedy, lazy incompetent scoundrals. As GA eloquently put you will finds slackers in all walks of life, you will find managers and CEO who are slackers as well as other employees, union or not. Unions are there to protect their membership first and foremost. If something untoward is occuring in the process the membership must act. A union's power is democractic. Hold a vote. Members certainly aren't the victims as people would like you to believe.

MacDoc
Oct 15th, 2005, 06:23 PM
That's why checks and balances are so important between institutions and within them.

Unions balance big biz as a force and neither are inherently good or bad for a nation or a worker.

Gov is referee - many problems do arise when gov is ref AND player. ........:(

Mugatu
Oct 15th, 2005, 07:34 PM
when mgmt. treats employees fairly, there is rarely a need for unions

again, unions (good and bad) are a product of bad mgmt.

bring in good/fair mgmt. and unions disappear

So everytime a union comes in they magically wave their perfect little management wand and everything will smell like roses? I think not.

Bringing in a union is a gamble, it can make things better, worse or replace old problems with new ones.

I also fail to see how bringing in even more bureaucracy will increase the chances of anything being solved. If governments actually enforced the laws to protect workers, or create new laws where needed, unions would not be relavent. Until that happens they'll be here to stay, good or bad.

GratuitousApplesauce
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:01 PM
If governments actually enforced the laws to protect workers, or create new laws where needed, unions would not be relavent.Laws which wouldn't have existed if it were not for the blood and sacrifice of union members decades ago. We cannot just leave it up to politicians to look out for our rights, because they are under far too much pressure from corporations who want to roll back those rights.

I am not a union member, never have been and I recognize that unions are not perfect. I believe in many cases various unions have actually been harmful to their own members and society in general.

But I am glad that they are around and I'm glad that they fought for what they did in the past. Without them here now, anti-worker governments would quickly turn back the clock to the bad old days, when there were no employee standards, leaving the average person to fend for themselves against large corporations. They are already working on that as much as possible and it has often been unions and their members who have stood up to speak out against it.

As the figures that I posted above show, corporations have the ear of the elected, because they put them in power with their money and the union movement provides a necessary although somewhat imperfect balance to that.

Beej
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:05 PM
Thanks for the info GA, interesting stats. B.C., in general, has interesting politics with unions...I think opposing 'Big Labour' was actually part of the campaigning. Always fun to watch BC politics.

As for checks and balances, having two large entities fighting each other does not strike me as a good check or balance for an individual. Neither one represents you, they represent their own continued existence.

I'll just use my own decision as a check and balance. A union is yet another level of government where the majority controls and I find Fed/Prov/Muni governments to be more than enough...I often disagree with the majority.

If unions had annual no-confidence votes broken down into the smallest reasonable categories (each job category defined in their agreement), then open shops may not be necessary and unions, government ones especially, would suddenly lose a large chunk of their top earners.

Where do you draw the line? If the majority of clerks want a union and they outnumber accountants, do they all get unionized? If so, how can the accountants leave in the future? Do they have to out vote everyone else? I'm actually curious about this.

GratuitousApplesauce
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:12 PM
Thanks for the info GA, interesting stats. B.C., in general, has interesting politics with unions...I think opposing 'Big Labour' was actually part of the campaigning. Always fun to watch BC politics."Big Labour" is a created bogeyman and has always been miniscule compared to the enormous Goliath of "Big Business".

Beej
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:15 PM
"Big Labour" is a created bogeyman and has always been miniscule compared to the enormous Goliath of "Big Business".
We'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

gwillikers
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:23 PM
Your point? Governments happen to be the home of a large portion of Canada's union employees and, relative to non-government, generally have a very higher union percentage. This is not the only problem with governments, but it's one of them.

I was referring to elected politicians. And my point was, that trashing unions is considered good politics, despite the fact that it just amounts to narrow-minded rhetoric when the big picture is considered. Unions are among the least of our problems, but if it's open season, line up and fill your boots.

Mugatu
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:48 PM
Laws which wouldn't have existed if it were not for the blood and sacrifice of union members decades ago.

I completely agree. There was a time and place for unions when governments were behind on laws to protect workers.

However, if the governments of today did their jobs (be impartial, actually enforce labour laws) then the beauraucratic yoke that is a union would not be needed. Good for business and good for workers. Too bad our governments have proven over and over that they can easily be bought (and not only by 'big' business).

Mugatu
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:54 PM
I was referring to elected politicians. And my point was, that trashing unions is considered good politics, despite the fact that it just amounts to narrow-minded rhetoric when the big picture is considered. Unions are among the least of our problems, but if it's open season, line up and fill your boots.

I would have to agree that unions are very low on the priority list. Then again, this board is just a bunch of Mac junkies/armchair politicians (myself included). :D

Why does everyone have to say 'big picture'? Isn't the big picture just your point of view and not necessarily the actual 'big picture'? What one person claims to be a mole hill might be a mountain for someone else. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the big picture is obtuse at best.

SINC
Oct 15th, 2005, 08:55 PM
Too bad our governments have proven over and over that they can easily be bought (and not only by 'big' business).
Yep, does NDP and "big union" ring a bell?

Mugatu
Oct 15th, 2005, 09:02 PM
Yep, does NDP and "big union" ring a bell?

Ding Ding. :D

gwillikers
Oct 15th, 2005, 09:04 PM
Why does everyone have to say 'big picture'? Isn't the big picture just your point of view and not necessarily the actual 'big picture'? What one person claims to be mole hill might be a mountain for someone else. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the big picture is obtuse at best.

Ya, I guess in the grand scheme of things, saying "big picture" is kind of obtuse. :D

;)

MacDoc
Oct 15th, 2005, 09:05 PM
Tell me why is okay for "the wealthy" to band together as a corporation thus magnifiying the power of individuals involved yet somehow it's not okay for "the workers" to band together in THEIR own interest as an offset.

There are some truly amazing individuals and the corporations they created.....Kellog comes to mind.

There are some truly destructive interests........some of the coal mining practices come to mind.

Gov is not always neutral either so individuals...be it "the wealthy" OR "the labourers" need be their own champions. ( Venezuala for instance is quite a battleground right now ).

Unions do far more than just deal with management - they have many roles in arbitrating disputes between members.

Would you as a worker prefer management to decide or a group of your peers whose leadership you voted in????
You're a poorly spoken worker injured.....a union spokesperson knowledgeable about labour laws and management responsibilities is invaluable to that person.

As with any bureaucracy it's open to abuse, corruption and stagnation, that goes for unions, corporations or governments.
Unions mostly have a decent method of dumping leaders.
Shareholders pitch boards or investors vote with their wallets.
Voters pitch governments.

Institutions ARE needed in complex societies.......institutions representing labour are part of the equation in my mind.
I may not always like the consequences.....but I respect their role.

Beej
Oct 15th, 2005, 09:29 PM
Tell me why is okay for "the wealthy" to band together as a corporation thus magnifiying the power of individuals involved yet somehow it's not okay for "the workers" to band together in THEIR own interest as an offset.


Would you as a worker prefer management to decide or a group of your peers whose leadership you voted in????



A lot of good stuff in your post and a lot that I disagree with, but have nothing new to add on those points right now, so I'll give my answers to your questions.

When the wealthy form a corp. they own it and have to get people to work for them towards their interests. Unions get between that basic agreement, which I have no problem with, unless you as an individual have no choice but to let them get between you and your employer. They aren't the owner, and they aren't the prospective employee, I would prefer that each person gets to choose their representation.

I would prefer me and my employer working directly together with no side groups, pseudo governments, etc...This has worked best for me, but I can understand why people would want otherwise; my problem being that for them to get that, with current regs, others lose their choice.

Couple interesting side notes:

1) RRSP, CPP and registered pensions have a total value of over $1 trillion and the TSX total market cap is around $1.6 trillion. This is mostly middle-class money. Acknowledging that there is a lot of cross-country investing, the general point is that we all have an important stake in corporations being profitable, the old notion that it's us and them is gone...almost everyone's retirement depends upon it. Strangely it's the wealthiest people whose retirement doesn't depend upon corporate profits.

2) I did some digging after GA's helpful B.C. data and found that Elections Canada has a wealth of information of party finances. Learned some neat things about funding in Canada and recommend the site to all data-geeks.

MacDoc
Oct 15th, 2005, 10:36 PM
Beej - the middle ground is small business or even individual enterprises. ( small biz gets the shaft very often even tho it's responsible for some 50% of the jobs :mad: )

Large institutions tend to breed an offsetting large counterbalance.

I neither like unions nor large companies so I make my way without benefit...or headaches of either.

Abuses like "join the union or don't work at all anywhere" ( and the similar banning by the company ) as occurred in many "one industry towns" have decreased with a more mobile work force and choices of work.

That said I would bet there are those who know of similar abuses from union or management that still occur.
Someone mentioned being blacklisted in the Toronto area....never did find out the details.

I'd like to hear the good and bad..

•••••

Corps have shareholders who choose a board to represent their interests...collectively.
Workers wealth is their labour and THEY choose union reps to represent THEIR interests...collectively.

Both shareholders and workers can "withdraw" from the arrangement....sometimes in both cases it costs to do so.

Beej
Oct 15th, 2005, 10:49 PM
Corps have shareholders who choose a board to represent their interests...collectively.
Workers wealth is their labour and THEY choose union reps to represent THEIR interests...collectively.

Both shareholders and workers can "withdraw" from the arrangement....sometimes in both cases it costs to do so.

First, I don't think the analogy is particularly apt, but here's another way to look at it:

Shareholders can choose a company individually or collectively (part of investment fund) which also determines their representation (voting), individuals can even choose the type of equity (bond, common and preferred shares). Closed shops remove the ability of an employee to make this choice. They are forced to 'join the collective' if they want to work for the company. Resistance is futile? :)

SINC
Oct 15th, 2005, 10:59 PM
First, I don't think the analogy is particularly apt, but here's another way to look at it:

Shareholders can choose a company individually or collectively (part of investment fund) which also determines their representation (voting), individuals can even choose the type of equity (bond, common and preferred shares). Closed shops remove the ability of an employee to make this choice. They are forced to 'join the collective' if they want to work for the company. Resistance is futile? :)
Exactly! :clap:

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 15th, 2005, 11:29 PM
First, I don't think the analogy is particularly apt, but here's another way to look at it:

Shareholders can choose a company individually or collectively (part of investment fund) which also determines their representation (voting), individuals can even choose the type of equity (bond, common and preferred shares). Closed shops remove the ability of an employee to make this choice. They are forced to 'join the collective' if they want to work for the company. Resistance is futile? :)

i think that a lot of "problems" of publicly traded companies could be solved by NOT allowing them to own stock in their own companies
think Enron, Worldcom, Bre-X, etc.

what is good for the shareholders is not always what is good for the company and vice versa

perhaps officers would then be more cirucumspect in their decisions affecting many people and many dollars

it's a revolutionary idea, but a little revolution is good now and again

Dr.G.
Oct 15th, 2005, 11:51 PM
Michael, oftentimes, an executive in a company is given "stock options" instead of a salary. This is treated differently than a straight salary, especially when the options may be bought for a few dollars and sold for 10 to 100 times their face value.

MacDoc
Oct 15th, 2005, 11:54 PM
It's perfectly apt.

Shareholders choose a board to manager their collective interest

Unions members choose union reps to manage their collective labour.

Individual shareholders and individual workers can choose to withdraw based on their dissatisfaction with the agreement between management ( the board ) and labour ( the union) and the progress of the mutual arrangement.

Responsible boards and responsible unions respect each others responsibilities to their constituencies and work together to further the overall collective wealth of the two groups.

All your other aspects are just variations on a theme.
If you want to work in a unionized plant then you abide by the rules.

If you want to invest in a public company you also agree to the bylaws governing your investment.

Individual desires have very little to do with this "institutional" structure....
Bylaws, board and union representation are worked out by vote within each respective structure ...board or union....and issues are negotiated between the two representative groups assigned by the constituents to do so.

The only fundamental difference is one labour unit represents one person while it's not that way in shareholding.
Nonetheless, the "collective" representation is Labour/Union vs Board/shareholders.

Both groups are limited in their actions by a body of law governing labour, unions, corporations and boards of directors.

Some companies manage without a formal labour component by effectively bringing labour into management instead of across the table.

Some companies notably in Germany not only have unions but have union representatives on the boards of directors ( by law ) and in some cases union/labour are shareholders as well.

Many unions have a "shareholders stake" by way of their pensions and many large unions are major equity investors ( Ontario Teachers )

You are tangling up "individuals" with institutions.

Me, I prefer the individual journey dealing as little as possible with either structure, but I understand the function of both institutions in modern societies.

No question the "demarcation lines" are considerably blurred with the large variety of arrangements in play in the world.

Canada Post and it's "franchisees" are an interesting mix of corporation, unions, government and independent operators with a monopoly thrown in just to spice it up. :eek:....oh and I think they own Purlolator too just to complicate it further.

MacDoc
Oct 16th, 2005, 12:06 AM
what is good for the shareholders is not always what is good for the company and vice versa

That merely says.........corruption or mismanagement can be found in ANY institution where collective interests are represented by a small group and oversight of that group is bloody good idea. ( Ontario Hydro, board and Clitheroe come to mind ).

It's one reason oversight committees that are independent are so critical. ( see Toronto police )

Ombudsmen too have an important role representing the individual against the institution.

Where the US and some Canadian companies got in so deep and screwed shareholders came when the supposed "oversight" group - the "independent auditors".......became more interested in lining their pockets with "management fees" than acting the public interest in checking company books.

Who better to know how to "cook the books" than the guys assigned to watch for just that.
Talk about conflict of interest :mad:.

The whole Enron story, from the Dept of Justice, to the auditors, to the board members and their banks........Conspiracy of Fools......could not be more aptly named.

Anyways .......any big organization....labour or management and those elected to run them is open to abuse and corruption and societies need independent bodies to prevent it.

Beej
Oct 16th, 2005, 12:11 AM
You are tangling up "individuals" with institutions.


Well, I guess we really look at this differently and that is reflected in a disagreement over the analogy.

By construction, closed shops tangle up individuals and institutions. This is unnecessary and, in my opinion, not good, although I understand why it is done.

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 16th, 2005, 12:13 AM
Michael, oftentimes, an executive in a company is given "stock options" instead of a salary. This is treated differently than a straight salary, especially when the options may be bought for a few dollars and sold for 10 to 100 times their face value.

exactly my point
if an executive can buy "options" for pennies on the dollars and make their value rise a few fold by "creative accounting" or laying off 10% of the workforce (something that wall street seems to like), it reeks of opportunism

let the executives work with a salary that is approved by the stockholders and any bonus must be approved by stockholders at an annual meeting, where annual reports have been handed out

after all, doesn't the company "belong" to the shareholders?

it think then executives will truly earn their pay

hey, it's just an idea
the "options" or "sweat equity" methodologies seem to be full of holes

Vandave
Oct 16th, 2005, 02:45 AM
I think some of the union defenders here are missing the main point. Nobody is advocating that unions shouldn't exist. I think they have a valid role to play in our society. The point I am trying to make is that there are some serious problems with unions, in particular the government sector unions (again entitlement, incompetence, wages above market rates, political affiliations and inflexibility). I think some of the private sector unions are slowly catching on the points I raise. For example, the CAW negotiated job losses for the overall job of Ford, knowing that a healthy company eventually is healthy for the union.

For all of you that support unions, these issues should really concern you. If you really feel strongly that unions have a role to play in protecting workers, then you should work towards fixing these problems.

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 16th, 2005, 10:33 AM
why not have the union representative for the company sit on the board of executives
that way the true numbers are known and they can properly inform their membership of what is and what is not possible in terms of pay raises, etc.

an open book policy may cure mgmt vs. employee angst
if the company is doing poorly, the union board member can report as such and union demands may be adjusted
by the same token, if the company coffers are full, the wealth should be spread around to the employees and the company can't cry poor

might not be a bad idea here

the adverserial system of us vs. them promotes distrust and abuse

Vandave
Oct 16th, 2005, 11:27 AM
why not have the union representative for the company sit on the board of executives
that way the true numbers are known and they can properly inform their membership of what is and what is not possible in terms of pay raises, etc.

an open book policy may cure mgmt vs. employee angst
if the company is doing poorly, the union board member can report as such and union demands may be adjusted
by the same token, if the company coffers are full, the wealth should be spread around to the employees and the company can't cry poor

might not be a bad idea here

the adverserial system of us vs. them promotes distrust and abuse

If its a public company, the numbers are already publically available.

If its a private company, it's nobody's business what the company makes.

If a company wants to let the union in one the meetings, then it sounds like a good idea. I don't like the idea of forcing a company to do it though.

MacDoc
Oct 16th, 2005, 11:53 AM
It's interesting that the criticizers of unions AND corporations in the thread bring up much the same abuses - just variations. In my mind these are afflictions that easily beset any large organized group headed by a small number of people representing them.

Michael I could not agree with you more that the adversarial system is a plague on western society. :mad:

Vandave I'll point to the LCBO as an example of a government organization unionized that really changed over a few years to the point they won Retailer of the Year.......as judged by the Private Retail sector.

If I can point to one source of enormous grit and expense in the systems of managing large organizations and negotiating agreements amongst them - adversarial and the lawyers themselves are prime examples.

Ever try to ask a lawyer to draft an agreement that is fair to both sides....most won't do it.

There was a terrific article on the importance of trust for a society to prosper.
Creating adversarial conditions where there there is little reason to - where guided cooperation is really necessary for both sides to prosper.

Mediators, ombudsmen, arbitrators should have far more respect and training.

One group I'm familiar with in family law :( requires both parties to sign off on NOT going to court to resolve the issues.

Efforts like this
http://www.adr.ca/

The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) courses are designed for people who negotiate and deal with disputes, either their own or those of others. Managers, HR professionals, government employees, businesspeople, consultants, team leaders, educators, health care professionals, lawyers, accountants, union and management representatives, people who want to be professional mediators, and others who negotiate or deal with conflict can all benefit from attending.

Japan works with very few lawyers involved - tho they have their own set of issues - by and large their unions and companies work together very well.
One reason....the gap between the executives in the company and the wages of the workers is one the lowest in the world. ( fair play is a huge aspect for humans )

In my mind in a generalized sense ( and less so in Canada ) western economies have lauded the "dog eat dog" aspects of competitive capitalism and downplayed the cooperative aspect - after all pooling capital IS a cooperative method of achieving more than one individual can undertake....just as a barn raising is.

One thing not mentioned here is the aspect of "risk aversion".
People are different and some want to manage their way entirely on their own others prefer a group effort with a set out path of promotion, income, pension etc.

I think a prosperous inventive society needs to offer a multitude of pathways to individuals who view risk differently.

In Canada having small business as such a large job creator I think is indicative of a reasonable balance of the large institutions and the smaller more flexible organizations.....people can choose their course.

I've always admired couples where one is an entrepreneur and the other say a teacher - they partake of the benefits of both structures and are by and large quite successful. It's an example of the "risk comfort".

The unionized worker half will not get rich but will not likely go broke and has reasonable job protection and pension.
The entreprenurial half may well have some feast periods where family income soars and some real down times where the safety net of the union work saves the day.

I think modern economies do offer choice to individuals, families and smaller groups who wish to "do things differently" - employee ownership etc.

I'd say what society requires is far less of the adversarial dispute resolution and better and more things like Ombudsman, independent oversight groups and a real willingness to work WITH the other side rather than against.

BTW I also think the automotive unions have done a reasonable job of that but we'll see when the upcoming real crunch hits for Ford and GM :(

••••

If its a public company, the numbers are already publically available.

If its a private company, it's nobody's business what the company makes.

If a company wants to let the union in one the meetings, then it sounds like a good idea. I don't like the idea of forcing a company to do it tho

:clap: exactly.....and in particular the last line.

The only caveat I might make is where a company is the sole employer in a town or region I think there needs be some protection for workers through gov arrangements ( I believe there have been situations like this in the pulp industry which is so cyclical )
I think if an employer brings people to the region in "good times" there is a clear responsibility to ease "bad times"...and not just be allowed to walk away.

Beej
Oct 16th, 2005, 01:30 PM
Vandave I'll point to the LCBO as an example of a government organization unionized that really changed over a few years to the point they won Retailer of the Year.......as judged by the Private Retail sector.

One thing not mentioned here is the aspect of "risk aversion".
People are different and some want to manage their way entirely on their own others prefer a group effort with a set out path of promotion, income, pension etc.

I think a prosperous inventive society needs to offer a multitude of pathways to individuals who view risk differently.

In Canada having small business as such a large job creator I think is indicative of a reasonable balance of the large institutions and the smaller more flexible organizations.....people can choose their course.


LCBO is not a good example to use because it doesn't operate at much of a profit...its wonderful service is tough to compete with if you have to make a profit. The much lauded $1 billion dividend is just a tax that they take credit for. I'm sure many businesses could really boost quality if profit wasn't a major issue...where they'd find investors would be an issue.

Good point on risk aversion, it's a major factor. I don't agree with the small/large institutions as indicative of courses to choose, but at least we agree the concept of people wanting to undertake different risks is important.

As far as adversarial dispute goes, Vandave's point on public versus private sector unions is key. The government has no real bottom line (a budgetary surplus is not the same as net income), and public unions must accept that surpluses do not mean they earned or deserve a raise and deficits don't mean they're overpaid.

The process needs to focus on benchmarking with other jurisdictions and with the private sector, taking into consideration all aspects of the work (hours, benefits, etc...) not with each side focussing on one aspect that they feel is unfavourable (that's for provincial-federal relations :) ).

However, the current state is that public sector unions (federal, at least) appear to have many overpaid workers, so any desire to move to non-adversarial grounds will be challenged -- neither side is interested in what's best for the country, they're playing zero-sum games because governments don't create wealth so its difficult to share the risks and potential prosperity...what would they do, link GDP growth the salary? Voter turnout? It will take very creative and open discussions to get good performance standards in the public sector management, and the unions will be more difficult because they have nothing to gain except, possibly, some respect from other Canadians.

Jordan
Oct 16th, 2005, 02:14 PM
I worked in a Hospital for 11 years and belonged to HEU (Hospitals Employees Union) in BC.
As some of know a year and a half ago the Liberal govt forced us back to work with a 15% wage loss, housekeeping and dietary staff were laid off then contracted out at almost half the wage. And the Unit I worked in was shut down (pulled funding) and I was laid off. HEU at that time was demanding a 2-3% wage increase each year for the next 3 years, job security (yeah right, no one has job security anymore).

My opinion on HEU, they kept pushing for higher inflated wages for some HEU members, dictatorship (never once did the Union reps listen to the members at meetings), protect the rights of incompetent employees, coerce members to vote for a specific political party (not me), took part of my wage so union reps can go have a good time in an expensive Hotel in Vancouver (with very little funds for the strike, where did the money go? hmmm. Then folded when slapped with fines) and Head office refused to acknowledge or reply to my letters and e-mail concerning some issues over the 11 years working.

Did I support HEU when we went on strike April 2004................ never.
I refused to go sign in as essential service staff, I made the Union reps so uncomfortable to come around me that they stopped coming to the Unit I work on.

What I found is most of HEU members had no clue what was going on, if the shop Stewart said something about union business the members would say "OK, how high should I jump for you". Even if it was decremental for them, idiots!

I now work manufacturing Aluminum windows in a non union shop. Half the wages, working conditions that are not the greatest but tolerable, management that definitely thinks of the bottom line and how much profit can they get by pushing the employees harder (not me once again, I have a certain quality that can't be pushed, unless they want crap for windows) but are fairly decent to the employees. I got a pretty good deal on windows for my home, but of course I had to build them on my own time.

BigDL
Oct 16th, 2005, 11:34 PM
I just want to point out that in a situation of a "Closed Union Shop" the union and the employer agreed to those conditions. Your prospective Employer has given you a choice; take the union shop as a condition of employment or don't take the job.

There are roughly 2/3rds of workplaces in Canada that are non-unionised and the majority of unionized workplaces do not have union membership as a condition of employment to get or maintain a job. Lots of other places to get a job.

The BIG LIE of Unions protect "lazy workers" what a crock. Employers through bad managers and supervisors encourage lazy workers. The hard workers, even the good union members in a workplace, are tired of carrying the slack offs. They often wonder why management won't do something with the dead weight.

With regard to a union representing the workers at an establishment it happens in one of two ways. 1) The Company voluntarily recognizes the Union as the sole bargaining rep for the workers or 2) the Government (of the Province or Canada) certifies that the Majority of the workers eligible voted to have a Union represent them for the purpose bargaining terms and conditions of work with their employer.

Are unions good or bad? Unions are people organizations if they have good people in key position guess what? They function efficiently if not they function at not so high a level.

As far as Unions and the NDP, the NDP was heavily supported by Organized Labour at a time when the CCF was faltering. The Unions were there at the ground floor of a populist peoples democratically organized political party so what is so strange about the union's continued support of the NDP.

Over the years I have heard many Union Leaders say as a consumer for justice shop at and support a Cooperative, financially for justice deal with and support a Credit Union, and for justice in the labour market join and support your Union as well as the Labour Movement these are all democratically run peoples organizations.

Lastly the social safety net that we enjoy in this country is as a direct result of the higher rates of Unionization in Canada since the second world war. If you think medicare, (un)Employment Insurance or CPP/OAS exist at the current levels because of the kindness or goodwill of the Liberals or the Conservative Parties you better give your head a shake.

MacDoc
Oct 17th, 2005, 12:13 AM
Good posts you guys. DL excellent overview and Jordan nice from both sides.

Beej
because governments don't create wealth

Sorry I think you are way off base there.
Parks, schools, public works of all sorts a "common weal". Even the institutions of justice, government, security are "public weal". OUr dear Mayor Hurricane Hazel knew that only too well and developers in Mississauga were tasked with creating both private wealth and public wealth at the same time and it did not cost Mississauga a nickel - hence the debt free status.
I'd also argue that the Mississauga City Centre complex is a 50 year plus creation of wealth.

I used the LCBO specifically because they were judged by the private sector for retailer of the year not the underpinning as a gov monopoly.

That the largest buyer of alcohol products in the world and formally a dowdy boring provider could turn itself into an award winning service to Ontario consumers that the bulk of them support.....hey that's my point about good management needed .....private or public.

My sense really is that oversight and third party bodies with teeth are needed to prevent abuses...which ever side of the table.

Beej
Oct 17th, 2005, 12:45 AM
Sorry I think you are way off base there.
Parks, schools, public works of all sorts a "common weal".

That the largest buyer of alcohol products in the world and formally a dowdy boring provider could turn itself into an award winning service to Ontario consumers that the bulk of them support.....hey that's my point about good management needed .....private or public.



Good distinction and sloppy wording on my part, thanks for pointing that out. Because governments don't create private wealth, union contracts (and management performance agreements) are particularly difficult. How does one reward a non-elected someone for good public policy work and how do you know its good without politicizing it (ie good for the party's ideology)? Public unions will always be difficult to handle because the common interest with the employer is transient at the best of times and non-existent at the worst. The simple mechanism of profit sharing available to private sector unions is extremely complex in a government setting...what is government profit? It's not the same as budgetary surplus.

In this setting, expecting a union to discipline incompetence is troublesome because the many aren't as 'hurt' by the incompetence as in a private sector setting. Similar difficulties are seen in government managers, but the problems can be managed :) by firing people.

On the LCBO, I don't think that's particularly good point, given their profit situation. Anyone can put together good service if they aren't required to make money. The talent is in doing both. Canadian Airlines had far better service than Air Canada, but went out of business. Westjet on the other hand, was well managed.

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 17th, 2005, 01:11 AM
and westjet just happens to have employees with shares
go figure, eh?

Beej
Oct 17th, 2005, 01:24 AM
And it's non-union. They copied the Southwest model.

Chealion
Oct 17th, 2005, 02:16 AM
And it's non-union. They copied the Southwest model.

After all, they were both started by the same entrepreneur.

I'm loving the thread, good discussion, no barbs going back and forth (sans Macnutt's baiting.)

MacDoc
Oct 17th, 2005, 03:03 AM
This came up elsewhere how can an organization with vast pension commitments compete on a level playing field with a start up??

•••
Beej ......I think you answered your own observation.....given government coffers why SHOULDN'T an organization like the LCBO be world class.
That it is now, and recognised as such by other retailers shows progress within the gov sanctorium.

You bring up another point.
Private corps are responsible to shareholders and to a degree policians to voters but the public service bureaucracy seems to slip between the slats.

IF you have a 30 year veteran like Hazel McCallion minding the shop.....the bureacrats tremble.

4 year ministers get snickered at. It's one thing I find wrong with the management of the long term interests of cities, provinces or nations.

We see now in China the incredible power for change orchestrated with just about zero public input by a small cadre of technocrats and uni-party leaders.

Japan and Germany were rebuilt from the ground up by how.......being conquered.
At the same time Britain floundered.

Something wrong but I'm damned if I see a solution.

FDR did it in the US but the nation was on it's knees and he's perhaps once in a century leader.

I fear and see too much caution in undertaking the big long term projects like the Canadian north and power generation in Ontario.

Does anyone think the St. Lawrence Seaway would actually get built these days????? :(

SINC
Oct 17th, 2005, 09:36 AM
Just by way of update on the Lakeside Packers strike, it has turned ugly.

RCMP have now laid charges against four members of management for "dangerous driving" in an incident that forced the union president's vehicle off the road.

They also laid charges against the union president for assault with a weapon for his role in bashing the windows out of a bus with a baseball bat as it tried to enter the plant.

Pick your favourite news site for further info on this particular strike.

Beej
Oct 17th, 2005, 03:14 PM
Beej ......I think you answered your own observation.....given government coffers why SHOULDN'T an organization like the LCBO be world class.
That it is now, and recognised as such by other retailers shows progress within the gov sanctorium.

We see now in China the incredible power for change orchestrated with just about zero public input by a small cadre of technocrats and uni-party leaders.
(

LCBO is not a sign of progress because it shows that government still confuses good management/governance with customer satisfaction (at all costs). Governments providing good service with little respect for where the money comes from (extra taxes) is government being government, not progress. Granted, it's better than bad service and high costs, so maybe it's progress from the point of view of how badly they could do things, even though their basic philosophy remains flawed. But I've drifted off topic...

The second point is a cost of individual freedoms and is a problem because of a lack of policy leadership on how to ensure that the right share of societal benefits flow to locals who felt the cost (e.g. highway through your backyard, what is the policy for compensation?). This would make a great new thread if someone could focus on a specific question (hint, hint..) so it didn't just become individualism versus collectivisim.

MacDoc
Oct 17th, 2005, 09:07 PM
LCBO is not a sign of progress because it shows that government still confuses good management/governance with customer satisfaction (at all costs). Governments providing good service with little respect for where the money comes from (extra taxes) is government being government, not progress.

WHAT are you babbling about??? :eek: The LCBO uses both scale ( largest in the world) and good retail practice ( as judged by it's prvate retail peers ) to satisfy customers ( as judged by polls saying Ontarians are pleased ) to provide variety, consistent service levels and safe product while meeting the alcohol management goals.

And it brings money into the government coffers for other programs.

Just what the hell does an organization have to do to satisfy you????? :rolleyes:

You have this knee jerk...it's gov therefore it can't be, good efficient and fulfill it's role of alcohol consumption management and satisfy it's customer base.
No pleasing some people.

ohhh and does this while paying it's staff a living wage as well.

BushLeague
Oct 17th, 2005, 09:44 PM
Hi,

I'm not sure if I want to speak at this time or not. I am one of the teachers in B.C. walking a picket line. I don't want to debate the viability of unions but I can say these things...

1. This government declared teachers an essential service in an effort to restrict what actions teachers could take during bargaining (e.g. striking). The United Nations and the International Labour Congress has ruled that any law declaring education an essential service should be repealed. Being declared an essential service means you don't have any bargaining rights.

2. Teachers were in the bargaining process when the government passed Bill 12 which mandated a contract. This effectively ended our right to negotiate a contract. This despite the union following all the rules and laws of the land-seeking judgements from the Labour Relations Board before taking any actions.

3. On a personal level, I find it reprehensible that the government claims to be fighting for children in the province. Schools in my district were closed 9 extra days last year due to underfunding by the government (I've been on the line for 6 days so far). I am in the classroom everyday with children and, next to the CUPE employees, I am the paid the least ind the education system. The further you get away from the classroom, the higher the salary of the individual- e.g. my principal makes nearly $30,000 more than I do. The people who make decisions about children and their education are often not even remotely qualified to make those decisions. I have 30 years of experience and 6 years of university training and I'm at the bottom of the food chain and this government doesn't think I should negotiate working and learning conditions.

I, for one, have no faith that the government of the day (and I mean, any government) will look after my rights. I think anyone who believes that a government will look after their individual rights is naive. When it suits them, they pass a law and then attack anyone who stands against an unjust law. I have a right to negotiate a contract.

I do know that without a union or federation of teachers; there would not be an effective voice for students. If the government could get away with it; they would increase class sizes and cut the number of teachers- it's all about the money.

Signed,
BushLeague (an unhappy but dedicated teacher)

MacDoc
Oct 17th, 2005, 10:30 PM
Yep - referee AND negotiator is a bad mix.
This is where an independent arbitration board would be most suitable perhaps.
I think Bob Rae did a good job in Ontario laying out a program for educational spending.
The Gov did not adopt it all but at least they chose an independent to do the report.

You have my sympathies.

Vandave
Oct 17th, 2005, 11:27 PM
Hey Bushleague,

I agree with you that education shouldn't be an essential service. Education is delivered over a 13 year period. What other government services take that long to provide? It seems to be one of the less essential services when you think about it. That said, I think missing a month of school can seriously set students back. So perhaps the balance is having a maximum period of time for withdrawing services. Obviously this would still remove a lot of bargaining power for teachers.

In any case, a law is a law. You can't pick and chose the laws that suit your needs. If you want to change the law, then you should do it correct way (i.e. through the Legislature).

What rights are you talking about? Nobody is taking away anybody's rights. Ms. Sims is an idiot if she thinks she is some type of civil rights crusader.

Don't get me wrong, I think we need to make some changes here is BC on the education front. I think teachers should stick with 0, 0 and 0 until the contract runs out in 9 months. Focus on the classroom. This is where you have public support. When you mix the money into it, expect a major backlash from the public. Worry about the money part of the equation in 9 months.

The Liberals aren't going to back down. Look what happened to the HEU. Take the first step and go back to work. Your union overplayed its hand and lost. The BCTF should have slowly withdrawn services and should have staged rotating one day strikes throughout the province. The slow but steady pressure would have made a difference. But now, the BCTF has forced the Liberals into a corner that they have no out from.

Vandave
Oct 17th, 2005, 11:28 PM
Yep - referee AND negotiator is a bad mix.
This is where an independent arbitration board would be most suitable perhaps.
I think Bob Rae did a good job in Ontario laying out a program for educational spending.
The Gov did not adopt it all but at least they chose an independent to do the report.

You have my sympathies.

That's true and that's why the BC Liberals extended the current teachers contract for another 9 months. The idea was to buy time to figure out a better negotiating system.

ArtistSeries
Oct 17th, 2005, 11:39 PM
Education is delivered over a 13 year period. What other government services take that long to provide?
So what are you suggesting, two years of pre-school and off to work?
Giving engineering degrees to 8 year olds?
Learn to read and write and off the the coal mines?

GratuitousApplesauce
Oct 18th, 2005, 12:44 AM
The BCTF should have slowly withdrawn services and should have staged rotating one day strikes throughout the province. The slow but steady pressure would have made a difference. But now, the BCTF has forced the Liberals into a corner that they have no out from.
You've got it wrong, Dave. That's exactly what the BCTF (BC Teacher's Federation) was attempting to do before Campbell's government, in a ham-fisted attempt to curry favour with inconvenienced parents, passed Bill 12 which mandated that the teacher's must live with their current long-expired contract for the rest of the year. The Liberals forced themselves into a corner and the word is that the Campbell government had no inkling that the teachers would develop a spine and actually defy their hastily crafted law.

Now the polls have come out and say that Campbell gambled badly, thinking the public would be backing his bullying stand. The Ipsos-Reid poll shows that the public is 2-1 in favour of the teacher's action. I'd say Campbell's boys are looking for a way out of this, and will be the ones to back down, just like during the Ferry Worker's strike.
You can't pick and chose the laws that suit your needs.You mean like the BC Liberals did when they decided that they would suspend the bargaining rights of 43,000 teachers, for no other reason than it suited their agenda? Yeah, the rule of law is so convenient when you can write the law to suit your own purposes.

And I'm sorry, many think this is beside the point, but Gordon Campbell, convicted drunk driver, who never lived up to his promise to advocate for Mother's Against Drunk Driving has no moral right to lecture anyone about the example they set by breaking laws. Refusing to obey an illegitimate law designed to break a union is no match for choosing to get in your car after a pitcher or two of martinis.

Vandave
Oct 18th, 2005, 12:51 AM
So what are you suggesting, two years of pre-school and off to work?
Giving engineering degrees to 8 year olds?
Learn to read and write and off the the coal mines?

I think you are missing my point. I am not being critical that education takes that long to provide. I am saying that it isn't an essential service because it is not an immediate service (e.g. surgery).

Vandave
Oct 18th, 2005, 12:57 AM
Now the polls have come out and say that Campbell gambled badly, thinking the public would be backing his bullying stand. The Ipsos-Reid poll shows that the public is 2-1 in favour of the teacher's action. I'd say Campbell's boys are looking for a way out of this, and will be the ones to back down, just like during the Ferry Worker's strike.
You mean like the BC Liberals did when they decided that they would suspend the bargaining rights of 43,000 teachers, for no other reason than it suited their agenda? Yeah, the rule of law is so convenient when you can write the law to suit your own purposes.

That sounds like the poll before the teachers walked out, which was 63%. My feeling is that the teachers have lost a lot of that support. My guess is support is currently at 40%. If the poll you referenced was taken in that last few days, then I am way off. Please provide a reference if you have one.

You mean like the BC Liberals did when they decided that they would suspend the bargaining rights of 43,000 teachers, for no other reason than it suited their agenda? Yeah, the rule of law is so convenient when you can write the law to suit your own purposes.

I couldn't disagree more. This is an elected government. By the people, for the people. This isn't the NDP in the dying days of power. The Liberals just got re-elected with a strong mandate. That gives them the right to legislate what they like. Breaking the law is morally wrong. This isn't a civil rights issue.

I'm sorry, but that's democracy.

And I'm sorry, many think this is beside the point, but Gordon Campbell, convicted drunk driver, who never lived up to his promise to advocate for Mother's Against Drunk Driving has no moral right to lecture anyone about the example they set by breaking laws. Refusing to obey an illegitimate law designed to break a union is no match for choosing to get in your car after a pitcher or two of martinis.

Bringing up the drunk driving thing is silly. People make mistakes. We all have made big mistakes in our lives and that includes teachers and probably Ms. Sims. I doesn't take away from the Liberal government.

GratuitousApplesauce
Oct 18th, 2005, 01:54 AM
Now the polls have come out and say that Campbell gambled badly, thinking the public would be backing his bullying stand. The Ipsos-Reid poll shows that the public is 2-1 in favour of the teacher's action. I'd say Campbell's boys are looking for a way out of this, and will be the ones to back down, just like during the Ferry Worker's strike.
You mean like the BC Liberals did when they decided that they would suspend the bargaining rights of 43,000 teachers, for no other reason than it suited their agenda? Yeah, the rule of law is so convenient when you can write the law to suit your own purposes.That sounds like the poll before the teachers walked out, which was 63%. My feeling is that the teachers have lost a lot of that support. My guess is support is currently at 40%. If the poll you referenced was taken in that last few days, then I am way off. Please provide a reference if you have one.The only reference that I could find on the net is from the BCTF, which refers to "weekend polling" (http://bctf.ca/TakingAStand/archive/2005-06/2005-10-17b.html) and to the support numbers being up from last week. I heard Michael Smyth on CKNW tonight referring to a just released Ipsos-Reid poll and he mentioned the 2 to 1 support in favour figure several times on his show tonight. My impression from the way he spoke of it was that this was new information and he speculated on how it may impact the Liberal's strategies.
I couldn't disagree more. This is an elected government. By the people, for the people. This isn't the NDP in the dying days of power. The Liberals just got re-elected with a strong mandate. That gives them the right to legislate what they like. Breaking the law is morally wrong. This isn't a civil rights issue.

I'm sorry, but that's democracy.
No it's not a civil rights issue. It's an issue where the Liberals elected a self-serving law, that while it is technically their legal right to do, holding the reigns of government doesn't give them the moral right to pass just any law that suits their fancy. But these "democrats" seem to have a history of doing this. In the case of their HEU back to work law, they had to pass legislation to protect themselves from lawsuits.

I'm sorry but that's not democracy. We don't elect dictatorships for four years, so they can pass whatever law they like, we elect governments and we expect them to govern, which means they should have been looking for solutions well before this blow-up occurred. And these guys weren't.

And I'm sorry, but 46% is not a strong mandate in my books. More BCer's voted against them, then voted for them. But we've had this discussion before. :)
Bringing up the drunk driving thing is silly. People make mistakes. We all have made big mistakes in our lives and that includes teachers and probably Ms. Sims. I doesn't take away from the Liberal government.Not silly at all, Dave. It wasn't a mere mistake on Campbell's part. It would have been a mistake if he miscalculated a bit and was one drink over the line. Our Premier was at least 10 drinks over the line when he endangered the lives of others by weaving all over the highways of Maui. If he'd killed somebody that night would that have been a mistake as well? Nobody I care to hang out with drives when they are that blotto. He knew what he was doing, it was premeditated and he didn't give a damn.

But maybe a good example of the Campbell government's wonderful respect for the rule of law is when they tore up a legally binding contract with the HEU and then passed legislation to allow for that, all the while ignoring the fact that they had specifically promised the Hospital Employees that they wouldn't do that. I bet there are many of us that would like to be able to pass laws to tear up contracts that apply to us, too.

Campbell's rule of law spin is based on moral quicksand, not democratic principles.

GratuitousApplesauce
Oct 18th, 2005, 02:07 AM
I just heard the CKNW 10 pm news report on the Ipsos-Reid poll, giving the figure of 57% in support of the teachers. This must be a different poll than the BCTF site was referring to, they must have their own pollsters.

Still nothing I can find on Google, but sometimes online news is slow to report news that isn't national or international.

mr.steevo
Oct 18th, 2005, 03:51 AM
Hi,

I asked a buddy of mine who is a teacher in Vancouver what was happening. Here is what he emailed me:

************************************************** **************
The lowdown:
2001-2 -- Liberals break contract with teachers, impose new one with many items removed--class size and composition etc, retroactive salary decrease. Teachers fight it in court, court rules that the government acted unlawfully, government says tough ****, rewrites the law and legislates teachers back to work. **** sandwich.

2005-- Government claims that it cannot negotiate a settlement after ordering the employer to offer no improvements unless removed from current student conditions. Government introduces and passes Bill 12 in 48 hours.

Bill 12?

Sections 1and 2: extends existing teacher contract (that no teacher voted to accept in 2001-2002) 9 months with unwritten "pledge" to bargain in good faith in June 2006. Okay--I could buy that.

Section 3: If any future agreement is made between teachers and the school trustees--the Finance minister can veto that agreement. HUhhh??

Section 4: (the kicker) If this Bill is found to violate the labour code, this Bill overides the labour code!!

That's why we're "fighting the power". Consider yourself informed. Incidentally, this government has been in violation 9 times with UN international labour laws....yakka wakka woooo.

The bottom line: the government will be able to hold out longer than we can, and support will decrease if we're out much longer. Nothing short of a miracle will stop the dispute, yet I (we) couldn't take it without protest (in good conscience).

************************************************** **********************

I find it interesting that the government can break its own rules then change the rules to make it fit. This is very disturbing. Having a government change the rules in mid-swing makes for, as was mentioned above, a psudo dictatorship. I'd be pissed if I was inconvenienced by this teachers strike, but I would be more scared with what this government is doing.

My question to those who do not support the teachers striking in BC is this. Aren't you concerned with the broader implications of what this type of governing could lead to? Do you feel so protected and isolated that you truely believe that this type of control would never happen to you?

s.

gwillikers
Oct 18th, 2005, 04:49 AM
Local News

UBC law professor says the BC government is breaking the law when it comes to BC teachers

October 16, 2005 - 9:49 pm

By: Reshmi Nair

If international law gets brought into the teachers' dispute, it may be the government that is found guilty for breaking it Joel Bakan, who is a UBC law professor, says the Liberals have been brought before the United Nations International Labour Organization before. It was during the teachers' dispute a few years back, and it was found guilty for labelling teachers as an essential service and forcing them back to work. The same thing has happened again, and Bakan says the government is being hypocritical in pointing the finger at teachers for breaking the law because by creating Bill 12, it has broken the law first. Bakan says taking the government over to Geneva to face the ILO isn't the simplest answer. He says since the government has already ignored international law, it will probably just keep doing it.

Beej
Oct 18th, 2005, 07:34 AM
WHAT are you babbling about??? :eek: The LCBO uses both scale ( largest in the world) and good retail practice ( as judged by it's prvate retail peers ) to satisfy customers ( as judged by polls saying Ontarians are pleased ) to provide variety, consistent service levels and safe product while meeting the alcohol management goals.

And it brings money into the government coffers for other programs.

Just what the hell does an organization have to do to satisfy you????? :rolleyes:

You have this knee jerk...it's gov therefore it can't be, good efficient and fulfill it's role of alcohol consumption management and satisfy it's customer base.
No pleasing some people.

ohhh and does this while paying it's staff a living wage as well.

This is quite simple and not 'babbling' or 'knee jerk'...thanks for those comments, the discussion was too polite before.

The money transferred to the government is from the monopoly/tax status and could be received without the government running the LCBO: it is NOT because of good management.

Just satisfying customers is not enough, efficient management is also needed. Where is the proof that LCBO is efficient? They set their own price AND operate at roughly $0 profit: this does not indicate efficiency. The LCBO is an asset that is used in lieu of paying off debt (~5% interest rate) -- if it can't cover that minimal interest cost then taxpayers are funding its questionable management.

Full recognition of the value of taxpayer's money in how the people's asset is managed. If this is still not clear, maybe start a new thread and we can go through it without labelling the others' comments as 'knee jerk' or 'babbling'.

Beej
Oct 18th, 2005, 07:47 AM
Does anyone know if the B.C. law is allowed under the Charter? Maybe there hasn't been time to raise a challenge, but it would be the clearest indicator of the morality of the law. Does the limitation of rights fit in with other limitations (small example being seat belt laws) or not fit because it is more fundamental?

SINC
Oct 18th, 2005, 10:04 AM
Sorry for the interruption, but I too want to say how much I am enjoying the exchanges in this thread and add that I am learning an awful lot I did not know before. Thanks to all.

Vandave
Oct 18th, 2005, 11:02 AM
Does anyone know if the B.C. law is allowed under the Charter? Maybe there hasn't been time to raise a challenge, but it would be the clearest indicator of the morality of the law. Does the limitation of rights fit in with other limitations (small example being seat belt laws) or not fit because it is more fundamental?

The Supreme Court of BC has held up the law.

Vandave
Oct 18th, 2005, 11:17 AM
Hi,

I asked a buddy of mine who is a teacher in Vancouver what was happening. Here is what he emailed me:

************************************************** **************
The lowdown:
2001-2 -- Liberals break contract with teachers, impose new one with many items removed--class size and composition etc, retroactive salary decrease.


Retroactive pay decrease? That's a flat out lie. They got either a 7.5% or 15% raise over the three year period.

That's why we're "fighting the power". Consider yourself informed. Incidentally, this government has been in violation 9 times with UN international labour laws....yakka wakka woooo.

Is this the same UN that appoints countries like Libya and Syria to the human rights council? The laws in Canada are not made up by the UN. The recent laws the Liberals passed have been held up by the BC Supreme Court.


My question to those who do not support the teachers striking in BC is this. Aren't you concerned with the broader implications of what this type of governing could lead to? Do you feel so protected and isolated that you truely believe that this type of control would never happen to you?

I don't see broader implications. I think the teachers overplayed their hand and lost. Time to go back to work and back to the bargaining table. If this is about class sizes and resources then take pay out of the equation. They would get almost 100% public support.

I am affected by this actually. My wife and my mother are teachers.

I am offended by George Heyman's speech saying that veterans shouldn't stand with the Liberal government on Remembrance Day because they didn't fight for this type of freedom. Some teachers were holding up signs saying the Nazis created bad laws too. Ms. Sims compares herself to a civil rights crusader. I supported the teachers more than the government on this issue. When I hear stuff like this, my level of support starts to fall. I imagine the public feels the same way as well.

Mac Yak
Oct 18th, 2005, 02:22 PM
That sounds like the poll before the teachers walked out, which was 63%. My feeling is that the teachers have lost a lot of that support. My guess is support is currently at 40%. If the poll you referenced was taken in that last few days, then I am way off. Please provide a reference if you have one.


Here's the latest Ipsos-Reid poll, released today:

"A new BC Ipsos Reid poll taken over the past weekend shows that teachers and the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) are ahead in the battle for public support in their ongoing contract dispute with their employer and the provincial government. Nearly six-in-ten (57%) residents say they tend to side more with teachers and the BCTF in this dispute. About one-third (34%) of residents tend to side more with the public school boards and the provincial government. These results are virtually unchanged from an Ipsos Reid poll taken one week ago that found the public supporting teachers and the BCTF by a margin of 55% to 33% over the employer, the BC Public School Employers’ Association."

http://www.ipsos-na.com/news/pressrelease.cfm?id=2829

The comment about the government "buying time to figure out another system" seems somewhat disingenuous. Successive NDP and Liberal governments have had 15 years to straighten this out, and both have done nothing else other than legislate them back to work with nothing more than promises for the future -- almost all of which have turned out to be hollow.

An impasse 15 years in the making -- largely triggered and fuelled by ongoing government ineptitude -- and it's expected to be resolved within nine months? Let's get real. The time is now for the two sides to have meaningful discussions and a negotiated settlement, instead of finger-pointing and bad decisions.

The teachers are the latest object on the horizon. Close behind them are an armada of other public-sector unions, all wanting reasonable deals -- including the nurses. The Liberals need to show now that they can negotiate in good faith instead of bullying people with legislation. Anything else other than serious face-to-face talks would be (and are) delusional. The unions are not going to go away.

Jinny Sims said on Monday: "There is a difference between breaking the law, and fighting a law that's intended to break you." At least in this case, there would be "lawbreakers" on both sides of the bargaining table....

GratuitousApplesauce
Oct 18th, 2005, 02:30 PM
Here's the latest Ipsos-Reid poll, released today:

...

The comment about the government "buying time to figure out another system" seems somewhat disingenuous. Successive NDP and Liberal governments have had 15 years to straighten this out, and both have done nothing else other than legislate them back to work with nothing more than promises for the future -- almost all of which have turned out to be hollow.

An impasse 15 years in the making -- largely triggered and fuelled by ongoing government ineptitude -- and it's expected to be resolved within nine months? Let's get real. The time is now for the two sides to have meaningful discussions and a negotiated settlement, instead of finger-pointing and bad decisions.

The teachers are the latest object on the horizon. Close behind them are an armada of other public-sector unions, all wanting reasonable deals -- including the nurses. The Liberals need to show now that they can negotiate in good faith instead of bullying people with legislation. Anything else other than serious face-to-face talks would be (and are) delusional. The unions are not going to go away.

Jinny Sims said on Monday: "There is a difference between breaking the law, and fighting a law that's intended to break you." At least in this case, there would be "lawbreakers" on both sides of the bargaining table....
I guess what I heard on Michael Smyth's radio show last night was just an early scoop.

I agree with everything Mac Yak has said.

mr.steevo
Oct 18th, 2005, 05:08 PM
Retroactive pay decrease? That's a flat out lie. They got either a 7.5% or 15% raise over the three year period.

Hi,

Lie or error? He did respond to my email late last night. Maybe he was tired? Anyway, I did look at the collective agreement http://www.bctf.ca/bargainingbulletin/archive/2001-02/2002-02-04.html and it does make mention of 7.5% but it isn't clear what it is refering to. I've asked him to explain.

I'm surprised that you don't see the "broader implications" of forcing contracts and changing the laws to suit the wants of a government. It scares the crap out of me!

s.

Vandave
Oct 18th, 2005, 06:07 PM
I'm surprised that you don't see the "broader implications" of forcing contracts and changing the laws to suit the wants of a government. It scares the crap out of me!

s.

What scares the crap out of me more are unions that hold the public hostage. There needs to be a better mechanism for bargaining with public sector unions.

Perhaps the easiest solution is just supply and demand. If the government offers too little money, people are free to walk and do something else. Eventually a balance between working conditions and pay takes hold.

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 18th, 2005, 06:15 PM
What scares the crap out of me more are unions that hold the public hostage. There needs to be a better mechanism for bargaining with public sector unions.


it's called "binding arbitration"

BigDL
Oct 18th, 2005, 11:31 PM
What scares the crap out of me more are unions that hold the public hostage. There needs to be a better mechanism for bargaining with public sector unions.What scares the [email protected] out of me is the way teachers have become the the primary child care providers and social directors/workers for today's youth. The public held hostage I don't think so. The public inconvenienced probably.

Right across this country teachers are required to do more and more for/with less and less. The real obscenity in this dispute in BC is the Campbell Government continually under funding education and then having the nerve to say it is an essential service.

The Campbell Government is doing nothing more than abdicating their responsibilities and trying to use the teachers as scape goats. And to think some otherwise intelligent people are buying this [email protected] and think a better system is needed. We have a better system it's called open and fair bargaining.

mr.steevo
Oct 19th, 2005, 01:24 AM
Hi Vandave,

I just heard back from my buddy. The mentioned wages reduced was what he called 'an error". Just a late night email mistake I guess. He didn't expect me to put his email on a public forum, so he wasn't wearing his editing hat.

s.

gwillikers
Oct 19th, 2005, 04:08 AM
What scares the [email protected] out of me is the way teachers have become the the primary child care providers and social directors/workers for today's youth. The public held hostage I don't think so. The public inconvenienced probably.

Right across this country teachers are required to do more and more for/with less and less. The real obscenity in this dispute in BC is the Campbell Government continually under funding education and then having the nerve to say it is an essential service.

The Campbell Government is doing nothing more than abdicating their responsibilities and trying to use the teachers as scape goats. And to think some otherwise intelligent people are buying this [email protected] and think a better system is needed. We have a better system it's called open and fair bargaining.


clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap...

Well said.

:)

Beej
Oct 19th, 2005, 07:57 AM
For the B.C. case, does anyone know if they are underpaid, overpaid or about right? Is the B.C. system really underfunded? A lot of times there is something wrong with the status quo, but one side or the other has a vested interest in it, so they talk about everything as less than the status quo, instead of relative to an objective standard.

If the teachers are overpaid then it would take decisive government to bring them back in line, binding arbitration isn't very good at that. If their pay is roughly normal, then something may be wrong with government practice. Does anyone have this information?

RevMatt
Oct 19th, 2005, 10:59 AM
For the B.C. case, does anyone know if they are underpaid, overpaid or about right? Is the B.C. system really underfunded? A lot of times there is something wrong with the status quo, but one side or the other has a vested interest in it, so they talk about everything as less than the status quo, instead of relative to an objective standard.

If the teachers are overpaid then it would take decisive government to bring them back in line, binding arbitration isn't very good at that. If their pay is roughly normal, then something may be wrong with government practice. Does anyone have this information?


In part that would depend on whether you are willing to consider working conditions and other intangibles part of a measurement of appropriate compensation. Also, appropriate is not always the same as "normal" or the "status quo". It should be a reflection of both how important their work is in the eyes of society, and how demanding it is. Personally, I think teacher's salary should far exceed that of politicians or CEOs. And since that isn't the case, they can ask for whatever raises they want, imho. BUT please note that this is only partly about money. It is also about the issues raised in the other thread - classrooms without enough desks or books, and it is about the issues raised further up this page by BigDL. A simply comparison with other jurisdictions is not particulalry relevant here.

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 19th, 2005, 11:04 AM
gov't take on B.C. teachers salaries (http://www2.news.gov.bc.ca/news_releases_2005-2009/2005EDU0087-000911.htm)

BC teachers federation version (http://www.bctf.bc.ca/ResearchReports/2005ts01/report.html)

you decide
either way BC teachers are not unjustly paid compared to private sector and let's not forget the holidays that teachers get

What the teachers should do (and maybe they do now since it's been a long time since I've been in school and I don't have kids) is stop participating in extra-cirricular activities after school, like coaching sports

Let the schools either pay them extra or hire coaches.

RevMatt
Oct 19th, 2005, 11:25 AM
Interestingly, they both say the same thing - BC comes third, after Alberta and Ontario. An excellent example of spin, I must say :D But again, salaries are only a small part of the picture.

Beej
Oct 19th, 2005, 11:47 AM
Personally, I think teacher's salary should far exceed that of politicians or CEOs. And since that isn't the case, they can ask for whatever raises they want, imho.


I have no problem with good teachers making $100k+. From my school years, it was about 40%/40%/20% each for bad (demotivating), acceptable and good (insipring).

I have a huge problem with all ranges of abilities being rewarded based on experience. If a union came forward with a proposal that included a substantial long-term performance component, that would be something to truly demonstrate their commitment and it could clearly connect performance with working conditions...that would truly be 'for the children'.

Paul O'Keefe
Oct 19th, 2005, 01:01 PM
it's called "binding arbitration"

This is exactly the right solution when there is an impasse. Macking strikers criminals is not the answer. Using mutually acceptable tools like binding arbitration is.

No other employee has the right to legislate their works back or to enforce a unilateral contract.

MACSPECTRUM
Oct 19th, 2005, 01:45 PM
This is exactly the right solution when there is an impasse. Macking strikers criminals is not the answer. Using mutually acceptable tools like binding arbitration is.

No other employee has the right to legislate their works back or to enforce a unilateral contract.

but one musn't complain too loudly when their income taxes go up
there should be certain working sectors deemed too important to allow to strike and those contracts should be negotiated by either party before 30 days of end of contract and then binding arbitration so that the public is not the victim

scabbing should be condemend as should be those that cause havoc (see recent bell strike) by destroying company property and causing service interruptions