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slave
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15 Aug 2015, 12:49 pm

Disclaimer: I have experienced every side of unions(from within and without). Do not make any assumptions about whether I am for or against. Please.

Everyone knows that Unions charge union dues to their members, garnering large sums of $$$$.
Everyone knows that Unions lobby within all levels of .gov to promote their interest.
Everyone knows that Unions almost always remain in continuous conflict with the Owners/Capitalists relevant to their members.

Here is the question(inspired by this quote from the interwebz)...

"Unions spend a billion dollars every election cycle in an effort to control those who own the means of production politically but for some reason they never use that money to simply buy the means of production."

What would happen(and why don't they do this?) if Big Labor took the billions of dollars that they have at their disposal combine it with leverage and BUY the stock of the companies their members work for on the open market?

They would easily attain majority shareholder status and have a level of influence over the Corporation that they could only dream of as a Union.

Comments?



glebel
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15 Aug 2015, 12:55 pm

Because then they would have to not only keep an eye on the bottom line, but also would no longer be in an "industry" that doesn't produce. They have a sweet deal and they're not going to change that.


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15 Aug 2015, 1:00 pm

At the level you're talking about, a billion dollars doesn't do much of anything. Sure, if all unions across all industries banded together they could buy a handful of medium sized companies, but certainly not the whole industry that employs their members. And of course then they'd have to justify to the overwhelming majority of their members why they aren't working in their interest.


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Fnord
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15 Aug 2015, 4:49 pm

glebel wrote:
Because then they would have to not only keep an eye on the bottom line, but also would no longer be in an "industry" that doesn't produce. They have a sweet deal and they're not going to change that.
Also, if the union bought the business, then they would become the Owner/Capitalists that their workers have been brainwashed to hate.

When revolutionaries take over a government, there is often another uprising soon after, followed by a purge of those revolutionaries who are not in perfect alignment with the new leadership.

When a union takes over a company, expect to see the workers become disgruntled with the new regime and go on a wildcat strike. Then expect to see substantial layoffs as the new Owner/Capitalists seek to solidify their new positions.



Orwell
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15 Aug 2015, 6:11 pm

Also, there are co-ops and worker-owned businesses.


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Fnord
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15 Aug 2015, 7:25 pm

Orwell wrote:
Also, there are co-ops and worker-owned businesses.
Not to mention self-employed individuals who do just fine on their own.

If the employees (instead of their union) buy the business from the Owner/Capitalists, then what happens to the union?



MarketAndChurch
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15 Aug 2015, 7:46 pm

It's certainly a view of power that is both sustainable and lasting... one that focuses on influence. With influence, you can reshape the entire economic landscape in the mirror image of your values. So Unions aren't for their ends, but about a larger society who walks in solidarity with them, towards what they want to be a collectively "shared" end. Taking down a means of production here and there would be winning battles. But taking all of society with you would end the war and bring about paradise. A lasting paradise.

I think the greatest danger to their influence isn't necessarily non-unionized places of employment... but rather, where they can't impose that influence, such as in right-to-work states. And the reason that this is such a threat to them, is because an alternative way of being exists... and if people ever get fed up with Union control... well, another "context," "reality," or way of doing things, exists. That is a door that if opened, could quickly be the end of them. So it's far more about buying influence over what happens in Texas and Louisiana, then it is about buying Boeing and Nike. The fact that Toyota and Mercedes and Airbus can build cars in right-to-work states in the South, is far more dangerous to the existence of Unions, then the fact that they don't own the means of production in California... or even that there are non-Unionized places of employment in California. The only way to deal with this threat is to influence policy makers into legally ending all other possible realities.

And besides... once they have influence over policy, they won't need the accountability of running a company, or have to worry about other companies that aren't unionized. Which is a tad totalitarian, but whatevs.


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Meistersinger
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15 Aug 2015, 8:55 pm

The surest way, IMNSO, to have your employees form into a union is to treat said employees like sh!t.

The labor unions, at least in the U.S., never evolved to keep up with their respective industries. I blame them, as well as management, for moving jobs offshore.



Fnord
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15 Aug 2015, 9:51 pm

Meistersinger wrote:
... The labor unions, at least in the U.S., never evolved to keep up with their respective industries. I blame them, as well as management, for moving jobs offshore.
Labor unions priced the wages of their workers out of business. What with wages, benefits, and pension plans of such magnitude that the total would exceed the economies of most third-world countries; what with the excruciating process required to dismiss workers that are drunk on the job; and what with a ludicrous production quota system that allowed the average line-worker to finish his quota in two hours and play cards, sleep, or read porn for the remaining six; it's a wonder that the U.S. automobile industry didn't utterly collapse before 2008!

But it is no wonder at all that only 11% of U.S. workers in 2013 belonged to labor unions, down from 35% in 1954. Labor unions have seen their day.



cathylynn
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15 Aug 2015, 10:00 pm

i worked for seven years for a human services company that values its employees. we still benefited from a union which made sure we get a cost-of-living raise most years. don't let the fox guard the hen house.



Fnord
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15 Aug 2015, 10:24 pm

Don't let the rooster rule the farmer.



Meistersinger
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15 Aug 2015, 10:40 pm

Fnord wrote:
Meistersinger wrote:
... The labor unions, at least in the U.S., never evolved to keep up with their respective industries. I blame them, as well as management, for moving jobs offshore.
Labor unions priced the wages of their workers out of business. What with wages, benefits, and pension plans of such magnitude that the total would exceed the economies of most third-world countries; what with the excruciating process required to dismiss workers that are drunk on the job; and what with a ludicrous production quota system that allowed the average line-worker to finish his quota in two hours and play cards, sleep, or read porn for the remaining six; it's a wonder that the U.S. automobile industry didn't utterly collapse before 2008!

But it is no wonder at all that only 11% of U.S. workers in 2013 belonged to labor unions, down from 35% in 1954. Labor unions have seen their day.


Then why is most of the German industry unionized? From what I have seen, there seems to be more cooperation between labor and management there than it is in the U.S. Besides, German labor was better organized by the ancient guilds, where you went through a lengthy apprenticeship and journeyman stage before you could be considered a master.

Besides, American industry over the years I was working has become too top heavy with management. I'm not saying there were no abuses when it came to labor. I'm not THAT stupid! For example, my first job out of grad school was with a major library automation vendor. I worked both in support as well as data services at one time or another in the company. You know as well as I do, that for all practical purposes, Information Technology workers are considered to be part of management, although they should be considered to be professionals, like doctors and lawyers, and they frequently get treated like sh!t, both by senior management as well as by the rest of labor. What the hell am I supposed to do, when I have to answer to 5 different vice-presidents and they have conflicting agendas? The biggest problem with that company was communication, or the lack thereof. Sure, they had internal email, but email is only a tool. If you can't clearly convey what you want from an employee, no email system, intranet, web or instant messaging system will ever work.

I believe it was Tom Peters who made the comment many years ago that the Japanese could out-produce Americans because they stuck to very basic management principles, while American management got too top-heavy. In short, too many chiefs, and not enough red man braves. I also had a former supervisor that also told me pretty much the same thing: don't second guess the average American laborer, since, if given the opportunity, can out produce anyone.

Also, since the 1960's the U.S. has been moving away from manufacturing to becoming a service economy, with the resulting slave wages, lack of benefits, etc. Since I grew up in an industrialized town, (Caterpillar, Harley Davidson, Cole Steel, etc.) people repeatedly told me, go to college and get an education, because factory work is a dead-end career. I've long thought I made a mistake in doing so, since I could not hold a job for any longer than 2 years, no thanks to the slippery slope they call a global economy, the breakdown of the so-called unwritten social contract between management and labor, no thanks to the Reagan administration, and the generation of greedy bastards with MBA who consider labor to be nothing more than a side of beef expense that must be eliminated at all costs.



cathylynn
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15 Aug 2015, 10:47 pm

we have unions to thank for safe working conditions, sick days, vacation, the end of child labor, the 40-hr. work week to name a few.



Fnord
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15 Aug 2015, 11:10 pm

cathylynn wrote:
we have unions to thank for safe working conditions, sick days, vacation, the end of child labor, the 40-hr. work week to name a few.
We also have Louis Pasteur for inventing the process for making milk safe.

That was all in the past. What are unions doing today, besides raking in money from dues, and closing shops to non-Union workers?

Seriously, what have the unions done for us lately?



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15 Aug 2015, 11:27 pm

Fnord wrote:
cathylynn wrote:
we have unions to thank for safe working conditions, sick days, vacation, the end of child labor, the 40-hr. work week to name a few.
We also have Louis Pasteur for inventing the process for making milk safe.

That was all in the past. What are unions doing today, besides raking in money from dues, and closing shops to non-Union workers?

Seriously, what have the unions done for us lately?

Absolutely nothing!

All unions have succeeded in doing is moving American industry to China. Is it any wonder that the only competitive states in the country are right to work?


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15 Aug 2015, 11:28 pm

Fnord wrote:
cathylynn wrote:
we have unions to thank for safe working conditions, sick days, vacation, the end of child labor, the 40-hr. work week to name a few.
We also have Louis Pasteur for inventing the process for making milk safe.

That was all in the past. What are unions doing today, besides raking in money from dues, and closing shops to non-Union workers?

Seriously, what have the unions done for us lately?


Why they do wonderful things like protect slackers and sundry other ne'er do wells by protecting their jobs and making sure they're paid more than they're worth. In doing this they facilitate lower product quality but at a high cost therefor boosting Chinese industry, precipitating the downfall of US consumer manufacturing and consequently getting more Americans on meth and on the dole.
Don't that just make you feel all good inside? :)


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