Johnson gets it right for once, but doesn't stop the Chamber of Commerce from crying



24 comments ↓

#1 Ghost of Dude on 06.04.09 at 7:12 am

Unions are dinosaurs from an old era. Just like pensions, which many unions still cling to.

#2 l3wis on 06.04.09 at 7:14 am

I wish there would be a middle ground on the EFCA, but as usual the GOP isn’t offering their ideas, just another NO vote.

#3 Sy on 06.04.09 at 7:41 am

I can speak to this subject firsthand.

Our crew of 18 guys just voted their Union out last fall after being in for 37 years. We got tagged for nearly $400K due the the 1980 ERISA act stipulation that underfunded pension fund liabilities fall back the the employer at the time of withdrawl. We did nothing wrong, all we did was take the required amount out of their checks and mail it in each month, every month, on time and to the penny. We also got nothing in return from being Union. No training, no job-shop type arrangments, no worker pool to draw from or to feed into for large projects, nothing.

Even worse, the Union actually told us a few years back we were overpaying, so we reduced the monthly amount per their request. Our company cannot make any new investments in growing our business this year and probably next due to this quirk in the Law. Oh, and the Pension fund they were running was badly underfunded, as of the end of 2006, when the markets were still growing and the Economy was much better nationally than it is today. If that vote would’ve happened this year with how the markets have been, the liability would’ve forced us to shut down and 80 people (most non-union) would be unemployed.

Or it could’ve been even worse. Our attorney we used out of Omaha has a trucking company client with 150 Teamster drivers and when they went to withdraw, their fund was even more effed up than the one we paid into. That company has a $21 million liabilty and they have assets of about $5 million. The owner can’t simply close because the way the law is written they can come after your personal assets, even piercing LLC’s or Trusts. He can’t sell, and he can’t pay it off, so he simply is what they call a “dead company walking”. He can’t do squat.

Per the NY Times, Unions and their PAC’s dumped $450 million into the Obama and other top Democrats election campaigns last cycle. Money that came from where? The Pension Funds and member’s dues. They also had 250K “volunteers” reach out via phone or visit to 13 million voters in 24 states the last 4 days of the campaign. The Unions OWN the Democrats and that is why the Democrats are trying to prop up these otherwise dying and corrupt organizations. The only Union in the nation that isn’t shrinking naturally is the friggin’ Federal Employees Unions, what does that tell you?!!!

If you want Capitalism to continue to exist in any form, then you should ask your MOC to kill this bill.

Oh and BTW, you can’t get paid a higher wage to do the trade that we do in our market, we are and still are the top of the wage and benefit scale, plus our crew has a performance based profit sharing plan, which is unique to our crew. So your line about employee’s not getting a fair shake at negotiating is pure bull.

Unions are dying because of the unholy & corrupt alliance between them and the Democrat party. Money that should bne going to shore up pension funds is instead being used to grease Pols like Johnson.

#4 Sy on 06.04.09 at 7:49 am

and L3wis, the middle ground is to pass some laws that actually encourage small & medium business expansion, which is what always leads us out of recessions.

Remember that as China continues to grow and get stronger, the pressure on the mom & pops in this country increases at the same time. Like climate change they see Unions as a farce of our system that they will in no way ever emulate or participate in.

#5 l3wis on 06.04.09 at 7:49 am

“Unions are dying because of the unholy & corrupt alliance between them and the Democrat party.”

Yes, Sy, because Republicans have NO CORRUPT ALLIANCES in Washington.

Don’t make me laugh.

#6 Sy on 06.04.09 at 8:34 am

Never said they didn’t have them.

That doesn’t get around the fact that this one exists and is bent on dismantling the Capitalist system that has brought us a standard of living we enjoy today, the same one we all participate in one way or the other.

I’d challenege you to find the equivalent on the Republican side, as I posted about one that spent the kind of $$ and had a similar level of influence to one side.

#7 l3wis on 06.04.09 at 8:43 am

“Capitalist system that has brought us a standard of living we enjoy today”

You are really full of them today, aren’t you?

The only thing that has happened over the past 20 years is a ever widening wage gap between the ones who run the companies and the ones who work there. Not sure how this would destroy ‘Capitalism’. If business’ were so concerned about the costs that will incure due to unions forming they would be cheerleading for socialized medicine to keep there labor costs down.

Unions won’t destroy capitalism, that is just some bullshit talking point, if anything giving workers more buying power can actually boost our capitalistic economy.

#8 Sy on 06.04.09 at 9:07 am

L3wis,

“If business’ were so concerned about the costs that will incure due to unions forming they would be cheerleading for socialized medicine to keep there labor costs down.

Unions won’t destroy capitalism, that is just some bullshit talking point, if anything giving workers more buying power can actually boost our capitalistic economy.”

I’m full of them?

Please cite some actual, real world evidence that socialized medicine will indeed keep costs down. Seen the business tax rates in Canada lately?

Here’s where you simply don’t get it, it isn’t about costs, it’s about a level playing field = better competition = best cost structure for the end user.

If Unions could actually justify their existence with an increase in productity and/or quality, they wouldn’t be dying. But the sad fact is there’s been a correaltion between the decrease in Union membership and the increase in productivity, not only in our Economy, but globally. That not a talking point, it’s a verfiable Economic stat.

If you are forced to go Union via the EFCA, and just one of your competitors isn’t, than the window slams shut on you in a rather quick & decisive way. No politics, just good ‘ol supply and demand. No amount of legislation will disrupt that.

#9 Ghost of Dude on 06.04.09 at 9:13 am

The only thing that has happened over the past 20 years is a ever widening wage gap between the ones who run the companies and the ones who work there.

A huge part of that has been from the loss of our manufacturing sector. It’s cheaper to produce in another country and ship it in htan it is to maintain pay and benefits to union workers in the US.
Unions won’t destroy capitalism, but they sure as hell ain’t helping it anymore. If you want to bring our manufacturing back and get jobs repatriated, unions need to reform and get realistic.
You also seem to have ignored Sy’s perfect example of why unions aren’t really the best thing for workers.

#10 John2 on 06.04.09 at 12:21 pm

We don’t have a capitalist system; we have a crony-capitalist system, a quasi-fascist system. The bigger the industry or company, the more the system its in is crony-capitalist or quasi-fascist.

A true capitalist system scares the bejesus out of the big corporations, their banksters, and congresscritters. So they set up all sorts of barriers to preclude competition and further entrench the comfortable. Both parties are equally at fault.

#11 l3wis on 06.04.09 at 12:24 pm

Oh, I have said in the past on this topic that not ALL Unions are saints just like not all Corporations are. I understand that part. But what I don’t understand is why are we so against workers having more choices to organize? I’m just not buying this bullshit that it will destroy capitalism and our economy. I think the greedy execs at corporations have done a fine job of that themselves. Let’s give them more options, what’s the harm? It is simply a law, if it turns out to not work, it can be reversed, we are NOT changing the constitution here.

#12 l3wis on 06.04.09 at 12:25 pm

“Both parties are equally at fault.”

Definately. Dems get just as much money as the Repubs do.

#13 Sy on 06.04.09 at 12:52 pm

I’m in no way against workers having the right to organize, just do it the way it’s been done for years.

If 51% want to hold a vote, they can. Give managment a chance to tell their side (although we were extremly limited in what we could do, we couldn’t even promise the guys they would have a job after the vote). Schedule the election, have an observer there and let the chips fall. With the secret ballot, the employee can vote and not fear retaliation from either side or from their fellow employees.

If you are operating off signed cards everyone will know who signed their name and who didn’t.

#14 l3wis on 06.04.09 at 12:54 pm

First off, it just makes it so there is a choice, it does not eliminate the secret ballot.

“I’m in no way against workers having the right to organize, just do it the way it’s been done for years.”

You mean the way corporations have mandated? That what EFCA is trying to change, putting the powere of elections in the workers hands, not the corporations.

#15 Sy on 06.04.09 at 12:55 pm

L3wis:

“Definately. Dems get just as much money as the Repubs do.”

In most sectors sure, but Big Labor has always been tied to the Democrats. And again, I’ll point to the $450 mil the Dems got from the last cycle and that dwarfs anything the Reps got from any single group.

I’d doubt that Unions gave the Reps even .01% of that number.

#16 Sy on 06.04.09 at 1:03 pm

L3wis,

“You mean the way corporations have mandated? That what EFCA is trying to change, putting the powere of elections in the workers hands, not the corporations.”

Are you not comprehending what I’m saying? C’mom L3wis, I know you are smarter than this. The power of the election is ALREADY in the Employee’s hands. It was mandated that way by the Unions originally and US Law. I can’t call an election, the employee(s) have to.

What the EFCA is doing is trying to organize business’ WITHOUT the election, they want to simply get 51% of signed cards in. The Unions will know who signed and who didn’t, and they aren’t required to inform Management. So again, how is that in any way democratic and fair?

#17 l3wis on 06.04.09 at 1:19 pm

“So again, how is that in any way democratic and fair?”

If the workers prefer to sign cards over having an election and having a choice it sounds pretty fair to me.

Like I said Sy, I am having trouble swallowing that the Chamber of Commerce, big business and Republicans are looking out for the best interests of the workers by opposing this legislation.

When was the last time Republicans voted to give ANY benefit to the working stiff?s Seriously. And I agree, the Dems aren’t much better, but C’mon, they are not fooling anyone.

#18 Sy on 06.04.09 at 1:47 pm

L3wis,

You need to figure out how to seperate the message from the messenger. If our withdrawl liability had been tied to last years market performance we’d be bankrupt and would’ve closed down, even after a good year in a good industry in an excellent market. 80 people in 3 cities out on the goddamn street. Really tough to pay a wage or benefit when you’re insolvent, and I’m pretty certain there’d be no bailout money coming our way.

People like you would’ve danced on our grave assuming that had something to do with me or management looting the company or running it into the ground and you’d be dead fucking wrong. We pay our vendors, our taxes, our employees on time every time. We go out of out way to comply with an ever changing legal landscape. This community has been good to us and we like to give back to the tune of 50K or more a year. Some of that even goes to support your field of vocation, no less. We take the reponsibility of maintaining the lifestyles of our employees and their families deathly serious because we know we as a company can’t exist without their long term commitment and overall well-being. Like I said earlier, we had a Union crew with a profit sharing program, probably the only one of it’s kind in the country. If I’m all about getting rich on their backs why on earth would we have done something like that? That payment we had to make has caused us to cut everywhere we can, but we haven’t laid anyone off. They are bummed we won’t have Stampede/Canaries/Skyforce tix this year, but they are glad they have a job fo sho.

#19 Ghost of Dude on 06.04.09 at 2:38 pm

I trust the chamber of commerce over union bosses any day.
Union rank and file members get hosed by the guys in charge of their unions way more than they do by management.
Also, a secret ballot protects everyone from retaliation – including those who vote yes for a union.

#20 l3wis on 06.04.09 at 2:50 pm

Hey, Sy, I’m not attacking your business, so don’t take it personal. I’m more concerned about the Walmarts and Best Buy’s of the world then I am about family business owners like yourself. Comparing your business to Walmart is like comparing apples to oranges. I believe you when you saying your employees are better off w/o a Union. I just don’t beleive that goes for people who work at Walmart. Everyone deserves at least a living wage for an honest days work. Some people are lucky to get it without forming an union, some have to. There are two sides to both sides, you cannot deny that.

#21 Warren Phear on 06.04.09 at 5:39 pm

Ghost of Dude says:
June 4th, 2009 at 2:38 pm
I trust the chamber of commerce over union bosses any day.
Union rank and file members get hosed by the guys in charge of their unions way more than they do by management.
**********

I don’t think I’d go so far as to say that. I worked from 1972 to 2005 in Sioux Falls. Most of that time as a union member. There are good points and bad. I understand where management is coming from. I also understand where the worker is coming from. Like most issues there is a happy medium that both sides need to look at. All in all, seeing the good and bad from both sides for over 30 years, I’m certain of one thing. As unions get smaller and smaller, the working poor among us rises expotentially.

Look at Sioux Falls. Already known as one of the poorest paying cities in the country. Now take out the over 1,000 union city workers, the hundreds of federal union workers, the union craft workers, like plumbers and electricians, and the nearly 10,000 South Dakota Nurses Association members and what do you have?

A city of workers living from paycheck to paycheck. A city of workers needing two family incomes, sometimes three or four incomes, just to make ends meet.

My dad and mom raised a large family in this town on ONE income. We NEVER wanted for a decent meal. YOU CANNOT do that today.

So do I believe in the power of unions? I guess so. And the union dues question? A myth. My dues cost me 30 minutes wages a month. Small price to pay for insurance that I would get 8 hours of pay, a LIVING wage pay, for 8 hours of work.

#22 Warren Phear on 06.05.09 at 4:54 am

And Dude, in my necromancy role….

l3wis, I’ve said it before, this place would be much better than it already is if it would roll the latest post to the top of your page. Of course with Sy, the dude, and myself here now, an inadvertant sports topic you start might turn up with 500 comments.

Sat 3 Jan 2009
The Benefits of Unions
Posted by l3wis under Unions

Great letter about re-unionizing our country;

The real incomes of middle-class families are lower at the end of the Bush administration’s final term than they were when it started. In the past few years, $400 billion of pre-tax income flowed from the bottom 95 percent of wage earners to the top 5 percent, an average loss of $3,660 per household in the bottom 95 percent.

Bush’s tax cuts in 2008 had no effect on low-income families and lowered the tax liabilities of middle-income families by about $1,000, but they gave tax cuts of more than $50,000 to families in the top 1 percent. The top 1 percent of wage earners now earns 23 percent of the total income in this nation. By 2004 the wealthiest 1 percent of all households controlled a larger share of national wealth than the bottom 90 percent.

#23 l3wis on 06.05.09 at 6:40 am

Warren- I checked into your suggestion, can’t do it, sorry.

#24 Ghost of Dude on 06.05.09 at 6:43 am

WTF???

I had a response to Warren all typed up and the internet ate it!
Maybe I’ll type it again if I feel particularly motivated.