What’s Wrong With Unions

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So I got a letter from my Union today (The illustrious United Food & Commercial Workers).  I owe them 91 dollars, and if I don't pay it I will lose my job (they underlined that for me).  The letter consists of probably thirty complete lines, and within those there are three typographical errors, one of them being a pathetic slaughter of my last name.  Not that they care; they have my Social Security number, which is enough to get me fired. 

 And while I'm paying this, they are doing what?  Well, for one thing just watching my holiday pay go from double time to time and a half.   By my calculations, this has to have cost the employees at my work a sum total in the thousands of dollars for the fourth of July alone.  Given that unemployment in Helena is at 1.9%, there is no way we should be accepting essentially a pay cut when all of us belong to a union.   But apparently this particular union has better things to do that look out for the interests of its members in Helena.  All the more reason to act local. 

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The Polish Wolf

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  • your blog has no substance. it is easy to take pot shots at the union – to call them lazy with cushy jobs who only care about protecting themselves. this demonstrates a real lack of knowledge.
    you complain about the change in overtime – were you on the negotiating committee; do you know why they did what they did? all that is reported is the end result and a criticism of it.
    you complain about having to pay $91 or you will lose your job. so you should not have to pay dues like everyone else? do you know what a union security clause is? would you rather live in a right to work state?
    you complain about how they misspelled your name, how vain.

  • Anonymous – I don’t know who you are, obviously, or why you are responding to a months old post. Perhaps you should respond to the more recent post by Pogie about Unions.

    I support the UFCW Union, I wrote about their labor issues on this blog, and I supported what at the time were pay negotiations. But I’m guessing you were never a part of the Union. I’m almost certain you were never injured working as part of the union and forced to wait months for any sort of aid from the Union, watching your paychecks slip away as two of my co-workers did.

    Unions are getting weaker. It’s not entirely their fault, but they can never be strong unless subjected to scrutiny. If they can’t help workers on an individual basis, if they don’t bother to learn the names of their workers (the Union reps at my job were often the least personable in the store), then they are no better than corporations in alleviating the basic problems of alienation and commodification of labor. Act locally, because the best Union is too large to look out for the needs of its individual members, much as you (who don’t even know what State I live in, despite it being pretty obvious if you read any of the rest of blog before you pronounced it ‘without substance’) should concern yourself with learning about specifics rather than defending every Union all the time despite its failings.

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