Congratulations on your move. Selfishly, I 'm glad to have you on our side, not only good for you and your family, but good for us/me and the union trade in general.
Your previous statements are dead nuts on and couldn't be closer to the truth. You seemed to have figured out on your own, what some guys will never get.
Welcome to the other side. Best of luck.
At one time being a union employee here are my biggest issues:
- Pension mishandling (buy a hotel)
- UNDERFUNDED Liabilities
- No mandatory skill training for journeymen
As being an owner my biggest issues were:
- Pension mishandling
- UNDERFUNDED Liabilities
- Not being able to get decent skilled guys when necessary
Some journeymen guys simply aren't worth half the money they are paid. The smaller union contractor gets these guys everytime they get a bigger job and they have no leverage like the bigger contractors for a better workforce. This is a FACT, not a supposition. Union leadership simply ignores this. I was a union fitter/owner, and I speak from experience. It's a FACT.
Underfunded Liabilities- Why the union membership allows the union to play fast and loose with benefits (as a negotiation tool) is simply beyond me. It got to the point where I wouldn't sign any contract unless there was 100% funding. This is ridiculous, but most of the union "sheep" don't care.
Being a smaller contractor, I see where non-union allows more freedom in pay scale for what a guy actually does. Quite frankly some guys are willing to DO less and get paid less (for whatever reasons) And, if you are a non-union employee I can see whereby you can be well taken care of also. What it really amounts to is what is the ownership like. For union companies that's the owners of the company and the union bosses, for non-union it's simply the owners of the company. For instance, I have a non-union company I know that had a decent year and paid out guys quite a few thousand dollars as a bonus. ($4,000+) They average about $2,000 a year. Another non-union company had the owner retire and he paid out enormous bonus money based on years served. Some guys getting 20-30k as a bonus.... what I'm driving at is that there are people that are decent and others not. I can see where unions can irritate the crap out of a company where they would never give perks out to the employees. That's a bad situation, and it happens more often than you think.
EDIT-- Another company I know- NON-union has full health coverage (better than the trade unions), matching 401K, and numerous perks for outside purchases. They run split shifts so that the employees end up getting alot of 3 and 4 days off in addition to vacation. Not so bad when you think about it.
Last edited by sysint; 05-29-2007 at 08:01 AM.
You make a good point.Is the union perfect?Nope.I do have to speak out on one part though.There is no mandatory training for journeymen.....but the training is available if they choose to take it.I know there are some great non union owner/companies out therebut you're less likely to have to deal with a shady owner on the union side.
what area are you in that these things are happening..
Originally Posted by sysint
where you REALLY in the union?
what is a union boss?
the owner of my company is running the show,if he is not happy with the people he is getting from the hall,he goes outside with a recruiter and gets other guys in,i worked non union and union,you must be a owner who got mad for having to pay your guys a fair days pay.an add goes in the paper when they need guys...a guy who wants to do less and get paid less??them guys should never get in the union.
and what is the deal with the mandatory training?it is up to the company like in any sector
Last edited by d_griff; 05-30-2007 at 06:20 PM.
union vs non union. either one can screw you. I worked for both many years.
A few years ago we had a union meeting and they told us we had to take a hit on insurance. I took a hit for 100.00 a week on top of what I was already paying and they said the deductable would remain the same. the following month they raised the deductable from 100.00 per person to 3,000.00 per person. 6,000.00 for family. the union would turn out journeymen who could not even put gauges on. the contractors would only use them for helpers, then they became journeyman and the bench they ended up.
I work for a manufacture now and I talk to alot of the techs out there both union and non union. I would say more than half that is non union has it better than the union folks. retirement is the biggest draw back for the non union. the insurance, vacation, holiday pay, bonuses, training and for the fact they are happier than the union techs. the company and techs are as one, the union shops is more of them verses us. in some areas union is the way to go and other areas it may not be.
back to the insurance when I left it was costing me over 900.00 a month with 3k deductable. Now I pay about 94.00 every 2 weeks with 100.00 deductable.
Local 601 -Fitter
Originally Posted by d_griff
Another point you make--- the union is supposed to HAVE the qualified workforce. (isn't that the point?) Yet you suggest getting a recruiter. Can't the union do it's job and make sure only qualified members are on staff? Shouldn't I get reimbursed from the union because I have to do their job?
I got mad because I had union guys that did the following:
When with a mech (before my business): Can't figure out why a guy wasn't getting things done. This guy would immediately put down the tools at a school project after I left him with his assignment. Walking down the hallway with his drill imaginary "shooting" into classrooms. Possibly a "star wars" re-inactment, not sure. Journeymen. Nice.
(as a union biz) I had two guys off the bench-(multiple times). They didn't know any service, and took so many "breaks" during the day that the customers didn't want them on the job. My good tech was upset daily at the crap he had to work with from the union.
....countless times with guys not lifting a finger until every detail was explained, written down and every possible tool was out whether needed or not. It was amazing to me what some guys will do NOT to work.
Also good to see you commented on the underfunded liability....
Here's another good one... we had contracts with Sheetmetal and Fitters. As our accountant at the time was going through our books I realized he was paying the travel the same. I reviewed the contract and showed him where travel for the fitters actually was different than Sheetmetal. So, the amount is about $560.00 (if I remember correctly). So, I make an adjustment and submit it. The union comes back and asks for $2,500.00 because they had to verify it. I sign their paperwork saying I'll pay and it's a done deal.
Then later they retract their own deal and sue, saying I must have lots of employees that are actually non-union. (apparently hiding out in my 2,000 sq. foot of rented space) To shorten this up- it ends up going to District court in Virginia and they lose their butt after putting a crack team of lawyers on it. That's working with your contractor. Must have cost them ALOT of money as by the time it got to District court their lawyers were claiming about $200/hour and they listed four of them... I think they tried it because they ran their pension and health into the ground and just wanted to see how much they could easily get because I rolled over on the first $2,500.00 not wanting trouble. I'm thankful for that District Judge. Real straight shooter. Saw exactly what was going on and wasn't going to put up with their crap.
Last edited by sysint; 05-30-2007 at 08:42 AM.
Originally Posted by d_griff
Sir .... don't have a Clue
oh...well if you say so,good argument
Originally Posted by slimwoodie
I personally don't like unions and will never work for one again. Good luck!
"Correct Installation is the Key"
.1 has killed more HX then Rush Limbaugh
What is your TESP?
I have heard you on this matter before. I have understood and still understand your issues. But.
The company I went back to that I currently work for from my own business. I can tell you straight up. They pull no bull $hit with anyone. Your screw up and you don't do your job, your done. Simple as that. My two bosses are 30 year union guys. Service guys. They know the drill and the games and they are on your a$$. They have more clout at the hall with our BA than anyone of us guys who work for them. I could not even attempt to win an arguement if I tried.
It's their way. Or it's the Highway. There are the "grey" areas of the rules. Like travel time, or weekend on call, or anything. Not one of our guys will even try to spell out and drill down our owners for not following the rules to the tee. You will simply be gone very conveniantly very soon.
Where I suspect a difference between you and them is, they simply could give a damn. They assert themselves. On top of that. They got the work. If the Hall wants the work, they also, which means me and my coworkers and our BA, have to kind of be diplomatic about it and not be so black and white.
But you know at the same time. I make a great living with a steady diet of great work. So. Who Gives a Fug about the rules. Lets just get the job done. Most of the guys who are at this shop are real tight with each other too and that I think helps a great deal.
I just can't put into words how to explain it but. My version of being a union employee is not that bad. And according to my owners, they wouldn't do it any other way. But I can assure you. There has been some head strong union "types" preaching this and that around our shop. They get put on a job, and start ranting and raving about this or that. You simply know in 2 minutes of meeting a guy. "he's done". Our bosses will come out and send em home. The guy will be shouting "wait till I get back to the hall". My bosses will say "good luck". "good riddance"
i see the same thing at my shop and others,regardless of size,if you dont do your job you go.if your name is recognized too many times on the bench you dont get hired,if they need more guys and they complain enough to the BA,you will se an add in the paper,they test new guys in,they place them,and they get hired over the deadweight sittin on the bench,ive seen it happen thats why people who dont know cant tell me i dont have a clue,ive seen it and it is the way I myself got in the union.certain guys get blackballed after they run through the other companies..
"union vs non union. either one can screw you."
This point is true. It is true wherever there are human beings, in whatever endeavor. I am also sure that there are "enlightened" non-union companies that treat their people with respect and decency and provide decent training and benefits.
However, my personal experience in the last fifteen years has been one of
adverse experience within the non-union realm. A man's handshake has been meaningless. Signatures on paper are as toilet tissue. What is agreed upon at he time of hire, is never followed through with.
My friends, at least with the union, there is a legal contract. In this litigation society of ours, that means something. For a set period of time, there is something that you can count on, something valid, not just another empty lie
designed to string you along until the busy season is over. You know, I spent a lot of years bad mouthing unions. I guess I just repeated the stuff that I was programmed with. And every time that there was a scandal it was like "See!" they are nothing but crooks." But I discounted my experience as a production maintenance/refrigeration technician in a non-union wholesale bakery. The company shut the plant down with little warning and somehow some of these poor folks who had worked on the production line for 40 and 50 years saw that their retirement fund established by the orignal owner (deceased) had disappeared in some shady business dealings by the owner's wayward son. Corruption can exist whererver there are human beings.
My argument is that at least with the union there is something that can be relied upon for a set period of time. Conversely, the employer with whom I am giving my two weeks notice seems to reduce a benefit every six months to a year without warning. There is absolutely no stability.
See, the human mind is kind of like... a piñata. When it breaks open, there's a lot of surprises inside. Once you get the piñata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience. ~Jane Wagner