Jump to content

Sign in to follow this  
MB82x

When does it become worth it to try to unionize?

Recommended Posts

Without getting too political, everything I've been told over the years has indicated that unions are never the right answer, but sometimes you're better off having one formed to give the employees leverage and a voice, especially if the company starts getting heavy handed.

 

The company I work for - a retail chain - has been pulling some stuff I feel is extremely shady and underhanded. Some of it almost sounds illegal (not sure if it is, but it's very harsh).

 

- The state of Massachusetts had all public transportation systems shutdown at 3:30 pm on Friday. The announcement came on Thursday evening. When asked what inner-city stores should do, we were informed that all stores were required to stay open, and employees were required to take cabs or find a ride in the blizzard.

- That backfired when the Governor ordered all non-essential vehicles off the roads by 4pm. This announcement came around 1pm. When corporate was informed, they said they'd let us know what to do. Around 2:30, we were finally allowed to close at 3pm.

 

- Messages form corporate began to circulate Friday evening - basically saying, we sell healthcare items, thus our employees can be considered health care providers - all stores should be opened as usual tomorrow, we can ignore the traffic ban

 

Apparently they have zero regard for the well being of their employees.

There have also been changes to the insurance policy, taking effect both this year and next...

 

2013: Employees have a small window of time to get a physical and submit the results to corporate. Those who do so will save $600. Of course, they really mean those who DON'T will be charged $600 more than usual this year.

 

2014: Employees will be required, once again, to submit physical results to corporate, and this time they need to estimate their expected insurance costs. If they go over their estimation, it will all come out of the employee's pocket. Is that even legal?

 

They've implemented a system where it's next to impossible for anyone with more than ~5 years experience to get a raise. Some people are "red flagged" so they cannot get even a nickel an hour raise, no matter what.

 

Absurd policies in place where cashiers are rated by customers on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the best. If a cashier gets a 1, it counts as a zero. If a cashier gets a four, it counts as a zero. Only fives count. If you get rated a four out of five, you can be written up. You can be fired after being written up twice.

Every meeting held by management revolves around instituting ridiculous policies, and the solution to everything is threatening to fire everyone.

Seems like the only alternative (other than quitting - but I still need a paycheck til I finish my degree) is to hope someone unionizes us, because we're basically having what little benefits we have stripped away and our jobs collectively threatened as a whole.

Recently, a bunch of west coast stores were unionized, then this stuff happened. Seems like corporate is asking for the stores to revolt.

 

Thoughts/experiences with unions and their effectiveness?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a delicate balance ....

 

Situations like your are certainly a reason for unionization but the effort goes south when the union isn't policed by its members and prevent the flexibility a business needs to adapt and grow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, everything there looks legal (without knowing your state's laws). sucky, but legal.
I would strongly suggest that you look for alternative employment.
You could probably unionize, but I am afraid that you (collective "you") will be taken for a ride and end up with less in your pocket. (you might get a miniscule raise, but it will be eaten by union fees)

 

In a Utopian world, the company and selected employees will work together towards a collective agreement and standards. The "best" thing about a union is that standards are implimented to where all employees are treated equally. But this can also backfire on the employee if he/she is more qualified but due to the contract, everyone is started out at the same rate or raises are capped at a certain percent. The same thing can be accomplished by the employer and employees (or representative employees) creating a plan - sans union.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Complaints filed with the Labor Dept. are kept anonymous. I'd do that. What your problem is, is there are thousands of people wanting jobs. Supply and demand. They don't care if you quit or unionize or whatever - there is someone waiting to take your place, unless you have a unique skill and have somehow made yourself irreplaceable. Health insurance - it's going. Get ready. It hasn't really gotten started yet, but the employers will do much better if they pay the penalties for not offering health insurance. Some are cutting everyone to less that 30 hours, so they are not full time any more, some small companies are letting people go, so that they only have 49 employees and are not required to provide all the new stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is worth while to try and unionize when you are so angry at your employer that you no longer mind the fact that you will be fired about half a heart beat after you bring up the subject...or else be forced to quit by being made to work insane hours or have your work and pay cut to the extent that it isn't worth working there anymore..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything looks legal (albeit ishty).

 

Here's my take on the unionization effort. Keep in mind that I have been part of a union that I felt did more good than harm and I have had a family member that got screwed by his union so I am able to see both sides.

 

Unionizing isn't always bad, if it is done for the right reasons, policed heavily by the members and stays focused on what matters. Typically problems arise when they get too big for their britches and corruption seeps in. But that is true with any organization.

 

I am not sure unionizing would help in your case, but it might not hurt. I would, however, make complaints to the Labor Board. They are anonymous and can look into whether or not your company did violate the law (hard to say without knowing state laws).

 

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an experience I can add, having seen it happen myself...

 

Saw a bunch of service employees get duped into voting for a Union. They didn't even know they had voted. They went to a meeting and thought they were signing-in for attendance when they walked in the door. They didn't speak a lot of English.

 

The union swooped in and set wage rates for the entire region. The top rate for senior union workers was well below the average rate that my company and many other companies were already paying in order to attract the best employees and reduce turnover. New hires started at crazy-low wages that made no sense at all. The cut taken for dues made the lower wages even more painful. Their paid holidays were cut in half overnight. Money was being taken out of their checks to pay the union and after six months they still didn't even know who their union contact was. A year or two later many were outraged to learn that their paid dues were being contributed to political campaigns that supported policies which violated the strong religious beliefs held by many of the people paying the dues. And in all of it, there really wasn't anything they could do. They had absolutely no voice in the gigantic union that had swallowed them up.

 

So if you're thinking that bringing in a union is going to make your employer treat you better, pay you more, and consider those gentle and nice things like "gee, it's snowing out and we'd rather our employees stay home safe," I'd urge you to do a little more research. I've seen unions work well for some folks. And I've also seen some folks, especially those in service-related industries, get more than a little screwed by the whole process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, unions are a thing of the past. Also, if it's the kind of menial labor job, one that can be done by anyone, you probably won't have much to go on. American Crystal Sugar here locked out their unionized workers almost two years ago because of union greed (actually, they were given fair warning that if they didn't sign the final contract offer, they'd be locked out...so I guess in essence the union abandoned their jobs). You have to pick your battles. If you need the mortgage paid and food on the table, you should probably think twice about who, in fact, pays that mortgage and puts food on the table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO, unions are a thing of the past. Also, if it's the kind of menial labor job, one that can be done by anyone, you probably won't have much to go on. American Crystal Sugar here locked out their unionized workers almost two years ago because of union greed (actually, they were given fair warning that if they didn't sign the final contract offer, they'd be locked out...so I guess in essence the union abandoned their jobs). You have to pick your battles. If you need the mortgage paid and food on the table, you should probably think twice about who, in fact, pays that mortgage and puts food on the table.

If taking a unionized job can make the difference if I am going to starve or eat, I'll take it. Working for a union really isn't as bad as people make it out to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the insurance thing.. almost all the major companies around here are doing what's called "Wellness in numbers" We have to log 2 30 minute exercises from January to August. We also had to do our weight, bmi sugar, bp, cholesterol etc check. We have to log these numbers in to a Web MD site. I don't mind loosing weight, exercise is the issue I have. I can't do 30 minutes of strenuous exercise do to my back issues/arthritis and it's well documented through the years with chiropractor's visits, dr's visits and physical therapy etc.The only thing I'm allowed to do is walk, and if I lift any weights it has to be 5lbs or under. Thankfully my sugar/cholesterol is good and I'm already working on the bmi.. which is another thing I have issues with.. almost every doctor I know does not even go by BMI anymore. Ohh, and btw, we're unionized.. however we're not forced to join it if we don't want to.

Edited by beli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive been employed at two unionized shops both were well paid and skilled jobs. I never had major issues with the union however union or not theres always the "loophole" that management can find to get their desires. In todays labor market a union is pretty much thing of the past. One issue I always had is the same pay and rate for all. If I come in brand new no experience in the job I am making the same rate as a guy who's had 20 years experience and can easily out perform me. Wages are equal for everyone so the weakest link makes as much as the hardest working employee.

 

Unfortunatley from reading your post seems like your in a unskilled job just to pay the bills till college is done. and a chain retail outlet. Money talks in their eyes my friend and in unskilled labor I've been there worked for a retailer when I was in college and turnover was unbelievable but as my manager put it "theres an endless supplies of warm bodies that can put merchandise on the shelves here" your a number and they look at you as easily replaceable. Just use it for motivation to finish college and let them in the past :) The second most unfortunate thing is if you try to organize and it fails the hammer comes down, They cannot fire you for attempting to organize but they can make your shifts so displeasurable or look for minor mistakes to push you out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jobs like retail and fast food would be hard to unionize. Job turnover, the part time nature, etc., of such jobs would make such organizing difficult. Major union organizations wouldn't even bother.

 

It would be interesting to see a unionized Taco Bell or McDonald's (company owned stores) and how those corporations would handle it. Their corporate model of paying poverty wages with no benefits would be turned upside down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jobs like retail and fast food would be hard to unionize. Job turnover, the part time nature, etc., of such jobs would make such organizing difficult. Major union organizations wouldn't even bother.

 

It would be interesting to see a unionized Taco Bell or McDonald's (company owned stores) and how those corporations would handle it. Their corporate model of paying poverty wages with no benefits would be turned upside down.

Years ago when I worked in a regional grocery store the store I worked at was unionized. Honestly, not sure what they did because the wages seemed to be the going rate for the type of work I did at the time. They probably supported several stores not just the one I worked at.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 


Jobs like retail and fast food would be hard to unionize. Job turnover, the part time nature, etc., of such jobs would make such organizing difficult. Major union organizations wouldn't even bother.

It would be interesting to see a unionized Taco Bell or McDonald's (company owned stores) and how those corporations would handle it. Their corporate model of paying poverty wages with no benefits would be turned upside down.

Years ago when I worked in a regional grocery store the store I worked at was unionized. Honestly, not sure what they did because the wages seemed to be the going rate for the type of work I did at the time. They probably supported several stores not just the one I worked at. I have to say, that the job I had at the time, pretty much anyone could learn it it wasn't hard and would probably be classified as unskilled.
Edited by beli

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jobs like retail and fast food would be hard to unionize. Job turnover, the part time nature, etc., of such jobs would make such organizing difficult. Major union organizations wouldn't even bother.

 

It would be interesting to see a unionized Taco Bell or McDonald's (company owned stores) and how those corporations would handle it. Their corporate model of paying poverty wages with no benefits would be turned upside down.

McDonald's tends to start out making more money than many city govt jobs.

Sort of sad when you think about it.

 

I don't get your "poverty wages" comment. McD's and the like jobs were never intended to be career jobs (excepting those on the management track program). If flipping burgers is the best someone can do, then it is on their own head for not getting a better education or learning a trade. The vast majority of McD employees used to be high school and college students. They were getting job experience and making a few bucks. Then they had the push to hire retirement age employees.

Of course, it is neither now. Most of the jobs are taken by people who either can't find anything better (because the economy) or those who don't have skills to get another type job. That isn't the corporation's fault.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

About Us

Since 2003, creditboards.com has helped thousands of people repair their credit, force abusive collection agents to follow the law, ensure proper reporting by credit reporting agencies, and provided financial education to help avoid the pitfalls that can lead to negative tradelines.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Guidelines