Facism and Communism

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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby V » 30 Jul 2018, 20:50

mat.gopack wrote:Collectivism is a... loaded term. For example, the collectivizing of farms under the Soviets or the Great Leap Forward are markedly different than what the two of you are mostly discussing - collective bargaining.

But I'll also focus on it. For reference, I live in the southern US, in a right to work state, and have multiple family members who work in schools. In case you don't know, 'right to work' usually ends up as a death sentence to union representation - because it allows people to not participate in aiding the union (paying dues), while forcing the union to still represent them (negotiations, defending them if fired, etc). Basically, they get the benefits of the union while not contributing to it. In addition, my state does not allow public employees to collectively bargain. I am also part French - a very different work right environment.

Why is that important? It's very tempting to look at employment with rosy eyes. If I work harder, the boss will recognize it and I'll get promoted/rewarded - and conversely, if person X slacks off, he won't. But a meritocracy like that isn't what we see - because the power balance is always going to be tilted towards the side of the employer, if it's with a single worker. When you've got the choice to work or starve, you don't have much choice. If you're one person, kicking you away and finding someone new to fill the job is easy. That's why collective bargaining, unions, and strikes are important - because that is what allows the workers to be on an equal footing.

Historically, union militantism and strikes were vital in pushing for labor reforms. They're the reason we have the 40 hour work week, workplace safety laws, anti-child labor laws. They force employers to start giving healthcare coverage (during WWII), vacations, raises, and job safety (vs at will employment in the states).

It is naive to think that most companies & workplaces would be generous. Many employers already are happy to hide the pay of various workers - I've had friends who were shocked at realizing that they were getting paid substantially less than a colleague, despite being more qualified (more advanced degrees, more experience, more seniority, and better performance). Private, single employee negotiations will always favor the employer, and it is only through collective action that that power imbalance can be redressed.

There are certainly unions that have problems. Where the union leadership is a business in itself, that is disconnected from the workers, or chummy with management. Over the past few decades, that's become increasingly true - as they've become less militant and more focused on labor contracts. But that's a case where you want reform, where you want the local membership to put their stamp back on it. A union represents the workers, and should be made up of them. And in a country like the US, without much of a safety net or worker protection laws, they are sorely needed. (example: in France, there is universal healthcare, essentially free higher education, paid vacation (I believe 5 weeks minimum by law), due process to be fired, etc. In the US, we get none of that from the government - that tends to fall back on employers, or ignored.)


We look at life so differently it’s hard to see where to start, but I’ll give it a try. I start from the premise that life is competitive & control of one’s destiny is an imperative, not an option.

Assuming outperformance is achieved, recognition for that is to be demanded, or there is the threat someone else will receive that excellent performance. Excellent performers are not easily replaced & can require employers to treat them with respect, providing reasonable working conditions (not depend on a Union to negotiate them). When negotiating additional reward, single outstanding performers hold the cards (not a disadvantage as you suggest, just because they’re alone). I can promise that bit to be true. They also earn & deserve the respect of privacy as to what additional reward is agreed.

It’s about taking responsibility for the events & outcomes in one’s own life. I never saw the efforts of a Union to be potentially beneficial, merely another hindrance to my ability to make things happen. “Another Brick in the Wall”.
We are very unlikely to reach agreement on Union benefits & Collective bargaining, but I thank you for your response. You may be in the majority opinion :D
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby boldblade » 30 Jul 2018, 23:16

mat.gopack wrote:
But I'll also focus on it. For reference, I live in the southern US, in a right to work state, and have multiple family members who work in schools. In case you don't know, 'right to work' usually ends up as a death sentence to union representation - because it allows people to not participate in aiding the union (paying dues), while forcing the union to still represent them (negotiations, defending them if fired, etc). Basically, they get the benefits of the union while not contributing to it. In addition, my state does not allow public employees to collectively bargain. I am also part French - a very different work right environment.


I'm having trouble finding anything that supports your claim that unions are forced to represent the employees that do not join and pay dues. They may benefit from what the union negotiates for it employees but beyond that I don't see anything supporting that they get other benefits.
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Re: Facism and Communism

Postby mat.gopack » 31 Jul 2018, 00:00

boldblade wrote:
mat.gopack wrote:
But I'll also focus on it. For reference, I live in the southern US, in a right to work state, and have multiple family members who work in schools. In case you don't know, 'right to work' usually ends up as a death sentence to union representation - because it allows people to not participate in aiding the union (paying dues), while forcing the union to still represent them (negotiations, defending them if fired, etc). Basically, they get the benefits of the union while not contributing to it. In addition, my state does not allow public employees to collectively bargain. I am also part French - a very different work right environment.


I'm having trouble finding anything that supports your claim that unions are forced to represent the employees that do not join and pay dues. They may benefit from what the union negotiates for it employees but beyond that I don't see anything supporting that they get other benefits.

The way unions work in the US is on bargaining units. If 50%+1 (a majority) of a bargaining unit votes for a union, it becomes the sole negotiator for that unit (collective bargaining).

Typically, they include union dues for all members of the bargaining unit, because (whether or not they officially join the union) they are represented by the union. However, right to work legislation makes inclusion of such provisions illegal - but it doesn't supercede the federal labor law (eg Wagner act) that makes the union have to bargain for the whole of the unit.

I'm on my phone, so finding links is hard - but this site seems decent enough explanation. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/right-to-work-2071691

Relevant part:

Right to work employees who are part of a "bargaining unit" have the right to union representation that is equal to those in the same bargaining unit who've joined the union. A bargaining unit is a group of employees who have similar work duties, share a workplace, and presumably have similar interests when it comes to pay, hours, and other working conditions.

In other words, under the right to work principle, workers don't have to join unions or pay regular union dues to land or keep jobs. They may also cancel union membership at any time, without losing their jobs. But they are still entitled to fair and equal union representation while working in bargaining units of unionized workplaces. However, they might have to pay unions for the cost of such representation.
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