[kooler] unions (Was: Does there exist good free web hostingfor commercial u

RBW nomad2002 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 15 20:45:14 PDT 2005

Andrew Lentvorski wrote:

> Michael O'Keefe wrote:
>> Maybe it's the "not illegal" clause that causes us to jump through 
>> hoops so we can show we went through every effort to accomodate an 
>> employee, so they don't come back and sue later for wrongful/illegal 
>> dismissal ?
> They'll sue you anyway.  Better to offer them a bribe to go away and 
> sign a non-suing agreement.
> Everybody complains about this--"You paid that twerp to go away!  How 
> do I get that deal?".  To which I respond, "I'll make him your partner 
> and let you manage him for the next 6 months to build up a paper trail 
> to make HR happy, if you wish."  Suddenly, it looks like a good deal.
> It's normally worth paying a rather significant chunk of money to get 
> bad blood out of your group *today* rather than 6 months from now.  
> And people will generally sign agreements for remarkably low amounts 
> of cash.
> -a
While I take it at face value you are describing situations where the 
employee in question was worthy of dismissal and while (having been in a 
UAW clerical local at a University) I have seen some unbelievably 
screwed up union behavior I have also seen some of the most offensive 
management behavior towards employees for purely selfish personal 
reasons related to specific supervisors. You made me recall this because 
I have actually seen the tactic of setting someone up over a few months 
to build a case for firing them when the workers were as good as the 
rest of us. In those cases the union was a very good thing.

Of course I also know a worker in the same department I used to work in 
who has finally alienated even the union with his crackhead behavior, 
but only after 10 years of self destructive behavior. With all that the 
union was supposed to be there with and for the employee (EAP etc, etc, 
etc) both they and some of management ended up being enablers of very 
bad behavior in the long run mostly out of fear of the consequences one 
way or another of insisting on better employee conduct.

Besides the pay package/benefits status quo defense the union engages in 
the part I saw the most utility from the union was when someone ran into 
supervisor problems. The union could be used to deliver the message 
(which you can't do directly or you will get fired) that while the 
employees had duties to perform, the supervisors had something akin to a 
fiduciary responsibility to the work place and the employees to make it 
conducive to the employees performing their duties. When put that way 
and delivered through the union most supervisors stop making the 
workplace about some "personal"  get the employee venue.

I think the purpose of unions is today still valid (esp. in less tech 
skills areas) but they can't be measured against the value and function 
of unions as when they were getting established back in the days of 
people like Walter Reuther 
(http://www.reuther.wayne.edu/exhibits/wpr.html) and when Henry Ford had 
Bennett (http://www.freep.com/money/autonews/harry2_20030602.htm) 
breaking kneecaps... and worse.


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