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Thread: NON Union story

  1. #1
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    Mar 2004
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    305
    I worked for an OEM for OVER TWENTY YEARS. They'ra still in business. When I first started; we were basically Marketing support. When the company realized it could make money in service, things began to change. Everything went from quality to quantity. The work load got to be too much for me. All I ever heard from management was "if you don't like it there's the door." I opened that door and went union. Happier now then I can remember being with that other company.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2003
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    Hey Bob long time no talk. Hows life treatin you ? OK here we go I know the OEM that you worked for I know quite well myself. I know what you went through with with the OLD management.I can honestly say that after 2 years with the same company that they have never once told me that " there is the door". Actually it is quite the opposite. If I have a problem it gets solved. If I am unhappy about something, they do their best to resolve it. I have worked for a large union company (Giant Food) for almost 4 years and am a hell of alot happier now than ANY job that I have ever had. I guess it boils down to different strokes for different folks. I think you would be a whole lot happier now than you were 5 years ago when you left.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2004
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    305

    Smile

    Hey Refrtech,
    Just call me the "spoon". I really get tired of these pro/ anti union posts, so I thought I'd "stir" some stuff up. Your absolutely right, it does come down to upper management. Hopefully they will be "people" person's first and bean counters second. But, unfortunately in todays market you won't last long if you don't make the numbers. Sometimes I think these numbers are just so unrealistic. Kind of like well if you did 10% increase this year, you have to do 20% next year and on and on. I used to think greed was good, but I'm beginning to think differently.

    How's the tall one doing? Everything settle out over there?
    Have they filled the Supervisors job there, or are Mark and Bill still doing that? Andy still there? I wondered if he felt slighted.

    I won't be able to make it to the Convention (dang it) because of my schedule (we're in process of training a new shift tech.)
    Hope you all have fun, sounds like it will.

    In the end, it does depend on who you work for and with. We are lucky here to have a good foreman and project manager who will go to bat for us without feeling their jobs might be in jeopardy.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Orange County CA
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    1,084
    I've worked for both (Non-union/Union)

    I left the non-union deal to simply to change companys
    I didn't really care about getting into the union at all.

    I am at my second Union company(2nd OEM company).
    A little different position, same crap. I don't think that there is much of a diff in pay or benni's between the 2(Union/Non-union).

    As a matter of fact , the union is robbing us with dues...It's terrible.

    I love the new company (the people I should say) and they treat me well. The union has NOTHING to do with that at all. As a matter of fact , if they (Union) don't straighten out their taking , I 'll regretably have to leave the new gig

    I really don't think the union equals happiness . At least in my part of the country.
    My 2 $

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    In the 43 years now I have been in this business I can honesly say I have never had a pleasant, professional field experience with union member. And that is a shame.

    I don't care if you are union or non-union. I care about the work and our field.

    I have run across the same negative situations in the market place just as you have described in non-union atmospheres..has nothing to do with the unions or non-union; only company policies and individuals.

    The big difference is -- I don't care if your are union/non-uion but you sure care that I am not union. There in lies the difference.

    I've never had a field problem when working on a job site where a non-union guy started a problem of any sort. But I can't begin to count the number of times I have had to listen or get confronted bu a union member(s) because I am not union.

    Most here from what I read, including me, pretty much believe in live and let live. Most union people I know, including some close friends, think that I and all the others have no right to pratice our trade or any trade unless they belong to a union.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  6. #6
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    your right Its all in how the company is managed regardless if they are union or not. Its the people at the top whom set the tone for the company that will make the difference as to wether or not its a good place to work.

    I have worked union and non union and it still boils down to mgmt and the office
    www.vetopropac.com - The best tool bags on the market - The offical tool bag of choice by techs everywhere

    Arguing with some people is like wrestling a pig - eventually you realise the pig actually enjoys it

    Gonads serve a useful purpose but are no substitute for brains

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    875
    Originally posted by DeltaT
    In the 43 years now I have been in this business I can honesly say I have never had a pleasant, professional field experience with union member. And that is a shame.

    I don't care if you are union or non-union. I care about the work and our field.

    I have run across the same negative situations in the market place just as you have described in non-union atmospheres..has nothing to do with the unions or non-union; only company policies and individuals.

    The big difference is -- I don't care if your are union/non-uion but you sure care that I am not union. There in lies the difference.

    I've never had a field problem when working on a job site where a non-union guy started a problem of any sort. But I can't begin to count the number of times I have had to listen or get confronted bu a union member(s) because I am not union.

    Most here from what I read, including me, pretty much believe in live and let live. Most union people I know, including some close friends, think that I and all the others have no right to pratice our trade or any trade unless they belong to a union.
    My experience echos yours... why is it this way? Would a union member please explain it to us? I liken it to certain religions where members go out into the community and witness, their religion is the only religion...

  8. #8
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    Nov 2001
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    Seattle, WA
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    Due to some recent past experiences with the unions here I now consider them to be no better than another hate group such as the KKK although they haven't hung anyone yet but I believe they would if some of them could get away with it.

    For years I figured leave well enough alone then I worked side-by-side with a union tech trouble shooting a unit and replacing some parts a couple of years ago and in that time he told me that a portion of his pay checks and all his union "brothers" pay checks goes toward funding a system that is solely dedicated towards "putting non-union contractors out of business" end quote.

    Never knew that and that has been confirmed by a number of union people that I know.

    Point is they want us out of business period because we don't belong to their club. To me, this is a hate crime plain and simple.

    I have stopped supporting the union from that moment. Quit using a crane company that just turned union through a buy out, quit supporting union members in their strikes if I felt they had a just cause, quit purchasing most anything made from union companies and a whole bunch of other things.

    Some sort of organized labor force is necessary. I just wish these guys, as a whole, would grow up, get their acts together before they run themself out of business, which, by the way, they are in the process of doing all by themselves.

    Check out the 'Salting' article in this weeks NEWS as an example. I have also been successful in educating my customers in deciding if they want to continue to use union contractors in my area.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

  9. #9
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    Jun 2005
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    Near Chicago, IL
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    Originally posted by control_noob
    Originally posted by DeltaT
    In the 43 years now I have been in this business I can honesly say I have never had a pleasant, professional field experience with union member. And that is a shame.

    I don't care if you are union or non-union. I care about the work and our field.

    I have run across the same negative situations in the market place just as you have described in non-union atmospheres..has nothing to do with the unions or non-union; only company policies and individuals.

    The big difference is -- I don't care if your are union/non-uion but you sure care that I am not union. There in lies the difference.

    I've never had a field problem when working on a job site where a non-union guy started a problem of any sort. But I can't begin to count the number of times I have had to listen or get confronted bu a union member(s) because I am not union.

    Most here from what I read, including me, pretty much believe in live and let live. Most union people I know, including some close friends, think that I and all the others have no right to pratice our trade or any trade unless they belong to a union.
    My experience echos yours... why is it this way? Would a union member please explain it to us? I liken it to certain religions where members go out into the community and witness, their religion is the only religion...
    I do not harass non-union tradespeople. Makes no sense to me.

    As evidenced by replies here and elsewhere, union/non-union can be an explosive issue. No point in getting into a brawl over it.

    The Hall encourages their members to call whenever non-union related trades are encountered. Experience shows me that termination is the usual outcome. If they are too busy to check on their own jobs, it isn't my job, because my job is on the line if I make that call.

    Related trades for me would be siders, deckers, metal prefab fireplace installers, etc.

    I would never contact another trade union for carpenters, electricians, etc for the same reasons.

    Some might say that I am not a "true supporter", but until I hear the words "You will have another job waiting if you call" then no dice from me, sorry.

    I have worked with "true supporters", and they have a lot of non-working time when they start harassing other trades and the GC finds out about it.

    From what I have seen, union membership provides better wages and benefits that non-union contractors in my area. Yes, there are exceptions.

    Everything is not rosy, though. If the company management is crappy, well, then the whole company is crappy. Just because there are union rules and a big contract does not mean that all is on the up and up. Probably the same thing on the other side of the fence.

    I suspect that if the unionized trades went away, everyone's pay in the trades would go down. Labor rates for union/non-union are close, but the amount on the check is different... so where does it go? Of course, there would be exceptions, but on average, pay would go down.

    The desire for a union to put non-union shops out of business is no different than Wal*Mart coming in and shuttering the local establishments. It comes down to Market Share. How many shop there? Anyone calling around and explaining the evils of that empire?

    There is nothing worse than a Union Member that shops at Wal*Mart.

    Whether you are for or against the cause, the benefits you take for granted today were won by union members.

    Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

    "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too little.
    When you pay too much, you lose a little money -- that is all. When you pay too little, you may lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better."

    John Ruskin


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    12,077
    The union here, I was beginning to like. I was buying into the theory that the technicians being turned out were superior in knowledge, experience. Due to the training available. Now. I know some guys that are union that are awesome mechanics. They take every single advantage of offered training. They take every single hour of OT gven them. They love what they do. But these guys would do well either with or with out the union.

    However. Screw all the polotics for a second and look at the meat and potatoes of the issue. With me. And it will always be the case with me. I pay for value.

    The line of bull**** that the union says, that there men are better trained, better experienced, as to justify to me the contractor as to why I should pay the package, is absolutely bull****. I have worked with union guys that think a frosted suction line back to a rack, on an ice cream satellite, is flooding. While the owner and supervisor look on with a father son proudness. Made me sick.

    When I went back to work it was for a union shop. What a awesome experience for me. So I could know into my future that as a contractor I would never become union. There skill levels are not anywhere close to what they say they are. I was surprized in all honesty. Out of about 20 guys, maybe 3 mustered up to being a candidate I would pay them wages to. They just were the mirror image of the non union world. Some real talent, but alot of mediocre. And I am sorry. That money per hour for their package, you better be ****tin and gettin.

    Now. Here. The package is something like $51 per hour. Plus my matching, ect. I would be paying around $65 an hour. Rough estimate. With that package they get a health insurance which is decent but not great,a pension dependant upon years of fulltime, which BTW they continue to take more and more away due to market conditions and ****ty suspicious fund investments, voluntary 401k, inside the package the contractor is paying close to 2 bucks per hour for that 401k. Plus they got all these little funds that is distributed from that 51 bucks. Now the the guy sees, about 29 an hour on the check, unless he is paid more, some are.

    Gentleman. Thats a **** load of money. You better be worth it. That is a **** load of money.

    Now. Say I would pay a man as a non union shop 30 bucks an hour. Don't take anything from the guy for insurance, dues ect. My cost as a contractor, giving him everything the union has, minus training (remember the training), well my costs would be total 48 an hour and he would have the same stuff, except pension. First off the pension won't be there for younger guys. Don't bet on it. It's going to the grave. But I could give him a 401k which pays better making up for it.

    So, the union guys are gonna say, well you don't offer training. Well this is true. However. 3/4 of the membership here don't take advanatage of the training they get for free. The 25% that do, at the hall, would be kick ass guys whether union or not.

    Since I was a contractor prior to my going to this place, and having had employees. I was just a feild mechanic for this shop, and I would work with all these guys. I would see the laziness, the lack of "hop to it", all of em back stabbing each other, the owners lack of understanding, the supervisors ineptness, and on top of all this, the skill levels were not greater than non union. And I am sitting there, myself and I just can't help but think of how unprofitable it was. It would make my head spin. The get beat down for something not going correctly. It was incredible to me.

    No one in this trade, if your good enough needs a union standing behind them. Nobody.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Middle of Florida
    Posts
    2,159
    In my area there is a guy that has lived in the area for over twenty years. his job is to bust the Non Union companies. He gets hired then tells his employers that he will be organizing on his breaks and lunch! he is hoping to get fired so he can sue in Federal court and bankrupt the company, he could care less about unionizing the employees, its all about bankrupting the company.

    If they do not fire him he proceeds with a vote then claims that management has talked trash about the union, again he sues in Federal court, for the same evil disgusting reasons.

    He got one local company by organizing and allowing the rent a drunks from the local labor pool to vote, the outfit was using rent a bums for menial odd jobs. the vote passed and the company objected because the rent a drunks did not actually work for the company. the company had to go to Federal court and got the vote reversed, here is the rub the Union drug the case out for years and a lot of cash. end result the company had series lay offs and still to this day has never recovered, I think mostly because the Union scared them so bad, the owners almost had to close shop. which is what the Union wanted all along.

    I hate buying Union and never, never do unless I have no choice. Now that Toyota and Nissan have full size pick up's, I will be buying forthwith.

    I also have never met a pleasant Union member who did not hate me and think I was an untrained slob. which by the way I do have six years training in Sheet Metal and HVAC. The unions claim I am still untrained and useless. I know better.

    [Edited by secorp on 08-02-2005 at 06:06 PM]
    If common sense is so common how come so few of us have it!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    875
    Wow! Call me surprised... Thanks for the input from the other side. I recently worked a job where we were the only open shop on the job. A union plumber gave me "the talk" and said he thought all the guys on the crew would make "good union members" because we didn't dick around, fight amongst ourselves and did great work. When asked why he was working instead of picketing us, he said he needed to work to feed his kids. When we compared wages and bennies he was surprised to learn I had a better "package" than his. He was also really adamant that the young kids on our crew lumping pipe should have the same package... in the union they would, and I asked "Why should they?" They've got 20 years less experience than I, don't have the skills I do, and have to be told what to do constantly... All he could muster was "Don't you feel sorry for them"... frankly, I lumped pipe for way less then they are and it made me what I am today.

    The double standards within the union also stun me... we just lost a tech to a "union" shop. The techs buddy, who started a union shop, hired him away from us with the promise of higher wages. The owner was supposed to hire off the bench but didn't want anyone who was riding the pine because (in his words) they all suck. The tech is making union journeymans wages but doesn't even belong to the union... figure that one out. My boss tried to keep him but with little recent formal training and no state license the wage he wanted was not justified. How did the so-called union rules allow the hiring of this tech?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Baltimore area
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    1,818
    Working for an OEM I have to do new start ups on our units. There is no questions asked, we have to start them or no warrenty. With that being said I have been on a few new start ups where I was the only non union guy on the job site , even down to the labor's. I have not really recieved any death threats or the such but have been made to feel quite uncomfortable @ times. I have been told by site foremen that I should not even be allowed on the property , more less working on equiptment !! I just grin and politely say "You have NO choice" !!! DAMN I love it !! I have no problems with the union on a personal level but I also have NO need for them either !! As Dow said " Noone in this trade, if good enough , needs a union to stand behind them". Like I said in a previous post, I have worked on both sides of the fence and prefer the non union side. It never fails either that when working on a union job site I am told all day long how great the union is and how all others suck. They absolutely hate it when I tell them that the techs in our office are doing BETTER than union techs are. I do not heckle union guys about how bad the unions are , nor should they heckle me about it.
    Live and let live !!!!

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