Why Do We UNIONIZE?

Bob Owens

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Sep 9, 2002
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Why do we have a Union?

Do we have a Union so that in the best of times we might get a raise? Well nonunion people usually get raises when times are good and they dont have to pay dues to get that raise.

Do we have a union so we can screw off and not do our job properly and not get fired? Well some might but the majority of Union workers are willing to give the company a fair shake and produce.

Do we have a union to that seeks to insure the survival of the company at ANY expense? No the company should have management that tries to do that.

Do we have a union so we can foot the bill of a function that the company would incuur as Human Resources? I would hope not but that is what our unions appear to be doing.

Threats of take it or leave it and if you dont take this you will be out of a job or we will go bankrupt and get rid of all of you are not new to the field of union/management relations. These threats are constant and ever present. Sometimes these threats are enacted or they attempt to enact then but are thwarted by the solidarity of the workers. Labors failures are remembered more so than the victories,victories like when the APFA beat Crandall when he told them that he would replace all of them, he couldnt are not brought up as often as Lorenzos ''victories at Continental. At Continental the workers lost because they were all willing to cross each others picket lines, thinking that Lorenzo would spare them. EAL is sometimes cited as another victory for the company side, however that whole deal was not quite that simple and at best it was a draw. Lorenzo had an airline to transfer EAL asetts to but lots of people other than the employees lost a lot of money on that whole mess and is regarded as a textbook example of poor management. Where would AA transfer their assets?
What is new to labor/management relations is that Unions, supposedly real unions, not company sponsored emploee representation groups, are not fighting against such threats but rather accepting whatever the company tells them and being all to eager to set workers back decades in working conditions,benifits and pay. Where is the fight? Where is the strength in numbers? If the company is simply going to impose its will then why do we need a union? If the union is not only powerless to fight this but also agreeeable to lock us in until the end of the decade where is the benifit derived from paying dues? Why did we seek System protection if as soon as it would be of any real use, we abondon it? Why isnt the Union acting like a Union? Shouldnt the Union be telling the company, hey, maybe you are in trouble and maybe we could help you out but we are not going to committ to six years of concessions when we will likely be out of this next year and if you do get to abrogate the contractand impose new terms we will strike. That is how its done. That is how its always been done. They make their threats and we make ours back. The concept of, oh they said this if we dont do that, we had better do as they say, no matter how unreasonable is typical of a non-union shop.The rhetoric of the company and the union are the same. If our union can not provide us a counterpoint to setting our conditions back to the 50s and cuuting our income by nearly 40% without a fight of what use are they really? If you come to work and do your job right why should you pay dues to a Union that says that they can not protect you pay and benifits? One that does not even try?
 

RV4

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Aug 20, 2002
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Very good post Bob,

It appears to me that we are in a strange situation.

The company has some how lured the union into a belief that the union leadership is running the company. Maybe they are, and this needs to change without delay. The union is suppose to be all of us acting collectively, not a dictatorship structure that allows dominance by apppointment, which wets the bed of company on every issue of importance to the member. The TWU in Tulsa even complains when management informs the workers of what is happening. The TWU in Tulsa runs to management and reports anyone involved in change, while defending the non-producers, thieves, and sleepers. The TWU in Tulsa begs management to not release information until "they" have it first as if information is the only "power" they have left. It is worse that pathetic Bob, it is time to leave. Either the TWU goes or we go, but we cannot continue this path and succeed in life.

Where is all that "strength in numbers"?

Where is the advantage of being affiliated with the AFL-CIO?

Why does our union leadership propagate as much if not more fear than mangement when threats and intimidation are the leading edge of the sword of concessions?

Bob, I fear the facts are evident. We are paying dues to a company union that protects dues for politics more than paychecks and benefits.

I understand your desire to represent your members of your local and will no longer attack you for your oath and paycheck you receive from the company union. However, I would ask you to consider how much further you can take this, without losing your credibility. Do something that has never been done before and make it count. You have a sound mind, and valid reasons for everything you believe and do without exception.

But could you guys collectivly please figure out some way to use that involvement, structure, and dues money for something other than defending the undefendable? If any place can accomplish this, it is New York. I am not advocating breaking the law or anything like that. I am advocating some form of proving the members are the supreme authority and standing firm when the dictator comes to retaliate.

God, grant the members the wisdom to replace the dictators on United States soil.
 

Buck

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Aug 20, 2002
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On 4/12/2003 10:03:10 AM mojo13 wrote:

Damn Bob, you''re right. Fear is a very strong emotion that must be overcome. The company has done an excellent job of spreading it.

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As for the spreading of fear, I would give the TWU more credit than the company!
 
OP
B

Bob Owens

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Sep 9, 2002
14,274
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Other than the airline industry I know of NO UNION that would recommend such cuts and givebacks for such a long time to their members.
Once again if the union can not lead us to resist what do we need them for?
How much of a cut in benifits and pay will Jim Little be taking? Will Luby''s fees go down? Will Sonny Hall take a cut and lose vacation and pay more for his medical or will they get to just sit back and watch the dues flow in for the next six years? What are we taliking here $18 million a year to say "sorry fellas but we cant help you, it could be worse", then when AA is making megabucks " your Presidents Council did this" down to "well you guys voted it in, we didnt ''tell'' you to vote yes (we just offered NO leadership or other options and simply kept repeating the wosrt case scenario).
 

RV4

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Aug 20, 2002
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On 4/12/2003 10:03:10 AM mojo13 wrote:

Damn Bob, you''re right. Fear is a very strong emotion that must be overcome. The company has done an excellent job of spreading it.

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It takes a big man to admit that!

It is not just the company! It is your company union also spreading the fear!

I know many in Tulsa that needs to see the Wizard for some courage...

And they are not LIONS either, they are SHEEP!
 

KCFlyer

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Aug 20, 2002
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I guess it depends on your seniority. A junior guy would want a union that would fight to protect his job. That might include concessions when a company faces bankruptcy.

A senior guy would rather have the union protect his wages, even if it means downsizing the company and cutting many of the junior members.

So the unions are damned if they do and damned if they don''t.
 
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Bob Owens

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Sep 9, 2002
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On 4/12/2003 1:28:58 PM KCFlyer wrote:


I guess it depends on your seniority. A junior guy would want a union that would fight to protect his job. That might include concessions when a company faces bankruptcy.

A senior guy would rather have the union protect his wages, even if it means downsizing the company and cutting many of the junior members.

So the unions are damned if they do and damned if they don''t.

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Wrong;
Our junior guys came to us and said preserve the wage. They know they will be back. They also dont want to end up working for free.