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#1 Dec 11 2012 at 5:25 PM Rating: Good
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Here in Michigan it's the only thing you hear about on the News. Public and Private bills passed, Snyder signed them. Protesters in the capital. Crying, cheering, what ever.

While I voted largely Democratic, I can't help but support Right to Work. The Union folk down at the Capital seem to be crying about losing Collective Bargaining rights, Diminished Union powers, etc. I'm not exactly pro Union, and I don't work in a Union shop (never have). Seems to me like making Union dues optional will force Unions to act in the best interest of ALL it's members instead of just the powerful ones. If someone in a workplace doesn't feel like the Union is representing their best interest they can choose not the pay. If the Union sees that as a problem, then maybe they'd talk with their members and find out why, change for the better.

Edited, Dec 11th 2012 6:28pm by TirithRR
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#2 Dec 11 2012 at 8:54 PM Rating: Decent
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At the risk of playing Devil's Advocate, the reason unions and their members oppose right to work laws is that in any workplace that is unionized the pay and benefits that the union negotiates apply to all workers, whether they are members of the union or not. So if you can't force them to pay union dues, who would choose to on their own? Most people would not. The fear is that if enough workers choose not to, then the union will no longer have enough workers to unionize them, and the union will disappear at that workplace.

Now, if you're like me and think that workers are really better off without unions, then this is just peachy and fine. If you're someone who is sure that the only thing standing between workers and slavery from their employers is a union, then you'll fight tooth and nail against the so-called "right to work" laws. I happen to believe that any labor organization which has to essentially force people to join in order to survive probably shouldn't survive. But that's just me. I'm just an evil heartless conservative, after all.


Edited, Dec 11th 2012 6:55pm by gbaji
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#3 Dec 11 2012 at 11:21 PM Rating: Good
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Now, if you're like me and think that everything you hear on conservative radio is right, rate me down

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#4 Dec 12 2012 at 6:11 AM Rating: Excellent
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TirithRR wrote:
While I voted largely Democratic, I can't help but support Right to Work. The Union folk down at the Capital seem to be crying about losing Collective Bargaining rights, Diminished Union powers, etc. I'm not exactly pro Union, and I don't work in a Union shop (never have). Seems to me like making Union dues optional will force Unions to act in the best interest of ALL it's members instead of just the powerful ones. If someone in a workplace doesn't feel like the Union is representing their best interest they can choose not the pay. If the Union sees that as a problem, then maybe they'd talk with their members and find out why, change for the better.


Pretty much my feelings on the matter too.
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#5 Dec 12 2012 at 8:07 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
At the risk of playing Devil's Advocate,
A refreshing change of pace, I'm sure.
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#6 Dec 12 2012 at 9:45 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
But that's just me. I'm just an evil heartless conservative, after all.


Smiley: disappointed

Got nothing against getting a fair wage for the working man or whatever, but I've been much less pro-union lately. Probably because we're struggling to pay for many of these union-won perks at the moment. Nothing other people aren't having problems with; the usual retirement packages and healthcare costs. Not some place where there a lot of good answers. Still it's hard to have sympathy when someone games the system, retires early to cash in, then comes back to work 'just for extra income.' Smiley: rolleyes
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#7 Dec 12 2012 at 5:25 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
But that's just me. I'm just an evil heartless conservative, after all.


Smiley: disappointed

Got nothing against getting a fair wage for the working man or whatever, but I've been much less pro-union lately. Probably because we're struggling to pay for many of these union-won perks at the moment. Nothing other people aren't having problems with; the usual retirement packages and healthcare costs. Not some place where there a lot of good answers. Still it's hard to have sympathy when someone games the system, retires early to cash in, then comes back to work 'just for extra income.' Smiley: rolleyes


That's part of why I generally oppose unions. They create a work environment where gaming the system is the way you get ahead rather than being a more productive worker. This doesn't ensure bad results, but it sure does increase the odds of them. Add to that layers of contracts (and in some cases state laws) which give unions a ridiculously unfair advantage in negotiations and you've got a recipe for corruption and waste.


And as I stated earlier, I honestly don't believe that modern unions actually benefit their members in the long run.
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#8 Dec 12 2012 at 9:30 PM Rating: Default
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Years ago I on all sides of the Union situation from member and even organizer to the other side as management before, during and after workers filed to de-certify.

I believe there was a time and place in this country for unions. American steel mills near the turn of the century had an annual safety related death rate of 10%, OMG try to get tenure under those conditions. We had children operating industrial equipment, we had people working 80 hours a week for less than 40 hours of pay. The Unions put a stop to all of that and that was a good thing.
But now we have OSHA, EPA and federal work laws that don't allow any of that, so what purpose is left for the unions? To make sure Twinkie drivers don't deliver bread and bread drivers don't deliver Twinkies? Well, we see how that ended.

All along their credo has surrounded taking care of American workers and their families.
However based on the violence shown at Huffington Post(-0- network coverage save fox), I submit they are and have been just another business, just like any other with an income statement and balance sheet to protect. A fairly standard arrangement is 2 hours pay per month for union dues( very conservatively $720/yr.) x 381,000 just in the UAW makes it a $274mil/yr. business.

No one said the unions had to go, or that they couldn't collectively bargain on the behalf of their members, the law only allows that dues can not be made mandatory. Their members are free to continue to pay dues. The only difference is that they now have to earn the money they take in.

Personally, I'd like to see our government held to the same standard. The rest of us are.

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#9 Dec 12 2012 at 11:04 PM Rating: Decent
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At the risk of playing Devil's Advocate, the reason unions and their members oppose right to work laws is that in any workplace that is unionized the pay and benefits that the union negotiates apply to all workers, whether they are members of the union or not.


Does it ever get old being wrong?

Unions have no control over the wages or benefits that non-union employees make. At all. Those wages are entirely controlled by the company, not the union. The deal is between the Company and the union, not the company and itself. All payroll for company employees is determined by the company, all pay for the unionized employees determined by the union and the CBA.

However in the vast majority of cases, to be employed in a facility with a union, you must be part of the union. But that is an entirely different argument and one I personally oppose. I think joining a union should be a choice, not a requirement. But even still, the guys who are non-unionized are not under impression of union negotiated pay, or benefits.

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#10 Dec 13 2012 at 1:21 AM Rating: Excellent
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rdmcandie wrote:
Unions have no control over the wages or benefits that non-union employees make. At all.

That's not entirely true. Teachers unions for example (here in IL at least but I assume its the same in at least some other states) negotiate a pay scale that must be adhered to. You're not forced to join the teacher's union to teach in a public school and you'll still get paid at the same scale, you really just give up union representation if you're fired or have a grievance.

There's a bunch of different unions and union businesses so I won't make any blanket statements but I wouldn't be surprised if at least some of them operated in the same manner even if only for sake of expedience on the part of the business. Benefits such as pensions might be another matter.
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#11 Dec 13 2012 at 7:55 AM Rating: Good
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Holy MOLY a new thread! Smiley: clap

I listened to the Mich gov this morning on the radio. He sounded like a used car salesman. He had no numbers, no data, nothing to back up his claims that this 'right to work' law would brings jobs to Michigan. He kept telling me it worked in Indiana, but again had no proof of that.

I'm torn on the Union issue - and really have been for years. My agency started requiring all members to pay dues 10 years ago. It's a pretty trivial amount and is deducted right out of your paycheck - still the employee has no choice in about joining or not. Membership is mandatory for about 90% of the employees. While my position is by design 'confidential', I'm not allowed to actually join the union, however, my position is in a union bargaining unit - so I get pay raises or not along with everyone else - based on the bargaining success of the union.

My union had typically done a good job representing us, bargaining on our behalf and keeping our pay and benefits moving forward (though NEVER has our compensation been on an equal level with the private sector). The last 5 years however we've gotten no cost of living raises. Longevity pay was froze 3 years ago. We were on reduced hours for two years (but are not currently), and most recently under our new sugar daddy governor our Health Insurance was farmed out to a new company at a drastically reduced level of coverage (and cost - yay!). The union has been hiding in a corner somewhere.

I guess I'm pro-union. Clearly they were necessary. Our framework of interaction between the industry the worker and the regulator haven't really changed much since the days of industrialization, so I can't believe that they are no longer necessary. I'm just not sure how an organization that is expected to represent an entire group can stay viable if the group they represent doesn't support them.

Our union had to make the changes they did a decade ago because they had no money to do what they were supposed to do. Prior to mandatory dues, employees were encouraged to 'join' the union - this cost the employee real money, but provided little additional real value above and beyond the bargaining and representation that was provided to all whether you officially joined or not. I think you got a newsletter if paid dues. Anyways only about 15% of the employees being represented technically joined the union and paid dues.



Edited, Dec 13th 2012 2:59pm by Elinda
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#12 Dec 13 2012 at 8:01 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
rdmcandie wrote:
Unions have no control over the wages or benefits that non-union employees make. At all.

That's not entirely true.


I would make a wild guess that in more situations than not, it's untrue.






Edited, Dec 13th 2012 3:01pm by Elinda
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#13 Dec 13 2012 at 8:14 AM Rating: Excellent
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I would guess the same but, given how many private and public sector unions and businesses there are out there, I'd rather not argue along the fringes each time we find one where it's not the case.
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#14 Dec 13 2012 at 8:24 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
They create a work environment where gaming the system is the way you get ahead rather than being a more productive worker.
How long have you been detached from a work force to not realize that's pretty much the same in a nonunion setting as well?
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#15 Dec 13 2012 at 3:02 PM Rating: Default
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Elinda wrote:
Our union had to make the changes they did a decade ago because they had no money to do what they were supposed to do. Prior to mandatory dues, employees were encouraged to 'join' the union - this cost the employee real money, but provided little additional real value above and beyond the bargaining and representation that was provided to all whether you officially joined or not. I think you got a newsletter if paid dues. Anyways only about 15% of the employees being represented technically joined the union and paid dues.


Elinda wrote:
Jophiel wrote:
rdmcandie wrote:
Unions have no control over the wages or benefits that non-union employees make. At all.

That's not entirely true.


I would make a wild guess that in more situations than not, it's untrue.


Hrm... Smiley: rolleyes

I should clarify that I'm rolling my eyes at rdmcandie, not Elinda. And she's not the only person who made more or less the same statement. Is it possible that there are employers who pay union and non-union workers differently? Sure. But that's got to be the exception and not the rule, if for no other reason that having two separate sets of pay scales would be a nightmare to manage.

Edited, Dec 13th 2012 1:28pm by gbaji
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#16 Dec 13 2012 at 3:24 PM Rating: Default
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
They create a work environment where gaming the system is the way you get ahead rather than being a more productive worker.
How long have you been detached from a work force to not realize that's pretty much the same in a nonunion setting as well?


Well, first off, "gaming the system" in this case involves toadying up to the union rather than working hard for the employer. The union often has more influence on whether you get a promotion or are shifted laterally to a better and higher paying position. That's where the breads buttered, so that's who you aim to please. This creates a situation where the highest paid employees are often not the most productive or capable at their jobs, but are the most loyal to the union itself. This sort of thing can happen in a non-union workplace, but in that case the guy you're toadying up to and the guy whose livelihood is based on company profits are one and the same person, it's less likely to be done on a large scale and far less likely to be tolerated to the point of negatively impacting the bottom line. The adversarial condition that often exists between the union and the employer absolutely increases the odds of advancement being for non-productive reasons (and even absolutely counterproductive ones).

Even if we extend gaming to just include working the "rules" of the workplace to benefit you, there's a huge difference. The combination of union job protection and collective pay scales significantly reduces the incentive for each individual worker to be more productive and actually creates an incentive for each worker to be as unproductive as possible. I'm not saying that this is the case in every union workplace, but in sites where this can be a problem, it's going to be so more often and to a greater degree if the workforce is unionized than if it is not. In workplaces where work is contract or project driven, and wages are hourly, there's a huge incentive to work as slowly as possible so as to maximize the authorization of overtime when deadlines begin to loom. This become self enforced among the workers. If you work faster and harder to try to meet that deadline ahead of schedule, you're effectively taking money out of the pockets of your co-workers. That tends to not go over so well. While this can occur in a non-union workplace, it's less likely to be tolerated. Workers can more easily be fired if the employer suspects they're sandbagging, and workers pay is based on their individual performance, so there's a counter incentive for each individual to work harder. Basically, in a non-union workplace, the workers compete for higher pay by trying to stand out as the best worker, thus increasing productivity. In a union workplace, they all get the same raise whether they work harder or not. So very little incentive to work harder versus a strong incentive not to.


Those are just the most basic problems that unionization brings. Collective pay is really a terrible way to run any kind of business. It stifles individual effort. It reduces overall productivity (in most fields), and it creates opposition to changes in the workplace, which cause worker skills to atrophy relative to their non-union counterparts. Union membership often becomes a trap for the workers, where they realize that they can't compete in an open labor market, so the only way they can continue to earn a salary similar to what they're making is to support the union. The farther they get into this state, the stronger their need to do this. Which I suspect is precisely why the whole system is built that way. Unions are about power and control for the union. The workers are used to accomplish that. The romantic ideal of the union protecting the workers from evil bosses and unfair wages and working conditions is so far removed from the real world that it's laughable. In many ways the unions have become exactly that which they were originally formed to prevent. They took the power to oppress and unfairly control the workers from the employers and took it on themselves. And of course they use that power for their own ends.



Edited, Dec 13th 2012 1:25pm by gbaji
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#17 Dec 13 2012 at 3:29 PM Rating: Good
I work at a Starbucks inside a grocery store. A corporate grocery store, with other stores all over the country. Unions are in some departments in every store, although from what I've heard it varies. The store in my town only has a union in the seafood dept. Not meat, JUST seafood. There's a few stores up in Eugene and at least one of them has a grocery union as well. As frustrated as I get with asinine rules that I have to follow, I am so thankful I do not work for a corporation where there is no union representation at all, like Walmart.

I am just about two weeks shy of my 6 month anniversary at my store, and I am getting paperwork for health insurance. I also have the option of enrolling in a 401k, and management positions are always available if I wanted to move up in the store (I'd just have to move more than likely). I think corporations run better when there is a union presence. You guys have no idea how excited I am over the health insurance. My mom has been paying my health insurance to the tune of $155 a month for absolutely ****** coverage. Only the basics and a $3000 a year deductible. The insurance I'm getting through my work is only going to cost me about $91 a month, and I get an $800 deductible, plus vision and dental and a bunch of other stuff. So yeah, I'm pretty stoked. I actually feel like I'm going to be covered now.
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#18 Dec 13 2012 at 3:34 PM Rating: Default
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Ok. Maybe I'm missing something, but unless you serve seafood in the Starbucks kiosk, doesn't that mean that you aren't in a union? Yet you get those benefits and opportunities anyway, right? How does the seafood union help you? Seems like you'd get the same pay and benefits whether they were there or not. So kind of a great argument for why unions aren't really necessary IMO.
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#19 Dec 13 2012 at 4:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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"gaming the system"


In our case "gaming the system" is padding your retirement numbers.

If you're in a job that is part of the state retirement plan and offers overtime you can significantly increase your retirement payout. Your retirement benefits are based mostly on your highest 3 years of income. It's become rather popular for people in their last 3 years or so to do copious amounts of overtime; guaranteeing themselves a higher retirement income than they would normally see. It is one of those things that's rather controversial. You'll have people defending the idea that the higher amount of work should be rewarded, others point to excessive overtime hours that are of questionable value to the state.

Another policy guarantees an 8% return on money left invested in the retirement program once a person was no longer employed by the state. This was done away with several years ago, but those in the system before the change are still legally entitled to that return on their investment. As you can imagine getting an 8% return on an investment isn't an easy task. Especially in recent years, the state has been steadily falling behind here, and they have to make up the money somewhere. This shortfall has been made up through increased employer contributions to the plan (required contributions were projected to double over a 10 year period and are largely on track to do so). Unfortunately this is putting additional pressure on employers, such as the local school districts for example. Meaning nasty cuts or extra levees to break even.

In a sense we promised more to retirees than we could afford. Now making ends meet is a bit of a struggle, and we're all arguing over who should have to pay for it.

It just kind of sucks. Smiley: frown
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#20 Dec 13 2012 at 4:08 PM Rating: Excellent
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The insurance I'm getting through my work is only going to cost me about $91 a month, and I get an $800 deductible, plus vision and dental and a bunch of other stuff. So yeah, I'm pretty stoked. I actually feel like I'm going to be covered now.


Smiley: yippee
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#21 Dec 13 2012 at 4:42 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Ok. Maybe I'm missing something, but unless you serve seafood in the Starbucks kiosk, doesn't that mean that you aren't in a union? Yet you get those benefits and opportunities anyway, right? How does the seafood union help you? Seems like you'd get the same pay and benefits whether they were there or not. So kind of a great argument for why unions aren't really necessary IMO.


Because all jobs @ the location have to compete with the union, and therefore they get the wages/benefits by the union merely being there.
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#22 Dec 13 2012 at 4:51 PM Rating: Excellent
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I work freelance in the entertainment industry, in production for commercials. Production is in charge of the hiring, the books, the scheduling, renting equipment, making sure everyone and everything shows up on time, etc. Up until a few years ago, people in production were THE ONLY people on the set of a commercial that didn't get health insurance. We are also the only people not in a union, we don't get money towards a retirement plan, etc.

So a group started rumbling about unionizing production, which I thought was great! We talked about it and talked to the production companies. They said no way, even though they were charging the Ad Agencies for P&W in every budget for every employee, including those of us in production. (They were essentially stealing from the Ad Agencies) But it meant that we might have to do a walk out. Which was doomed to fail. So insted, we organizes some picketing of commercial shoots in downtown L.A. When a commercial is rolling sound, one guy with a whistle can cost a production company A LOT of money. More then they were making by charging for our insurance that they were not providing to us, that's for sure.

ONE weekend of picketing, and the production companies gave us insurance, AND we don't have to pay union dues.
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#23 Dec 13 2012 at 4:59 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Ok. Maybe I'm missing something, but unless you serve seafood in the Starbucks kiosk, doesn't that mean that you aren't in a union? Yet you get those benefits and opportunities anyway, right? How does the seafood union help you? Seems like you'd get the same pay and benefits whether they were there or not. So kind of a great argument for why unions aren't really necessary IMO.


Because all jobs @ the location have to compete with the union, and therefore they get the wages/benefits by the union merely being there.


Yup. Plus another cool thing I forgot to mention, is that the company I work for gives people pay raises based on how many hours you've worked for the company. Unfortunately, the ceiling for each department is different and once you reach it there are no more raises. But still. The cashiers top out around 13.50 an hour, people in the bakery top out at 15, us poor sad baristas top out at 11.35. I'd be sad about that, but I won't be working in this department long enough to see the ceiling anyways. Once I transfer back up to Eugene I'm going to try and move to a different department. Being beholden to the rules of two different companies sucks balls.
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#24 Dec 13 2012 at 5:21 PM Rating: Decent
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Technogeek wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Ok. Maybe I'm missing something, but unless you serve seafood in the Starbucks kiosk, doesn't that mean that you aren't in a union? Yet you get those benefits and opportunities anyway, right? How does the seafood union help you? Seems like you'd get the same pay and benefits whether they were there or not. So kind of a great argument for why unions aren't really necessary IMO.


Because all jobs @ the location have to compete with the union, and therefore they get the wages/benefits by the union merely being there.


Do they though? I assume that the reason the seafood folks are unionized but not anyone else in the store is because there's probably some requirement from their unionized source of fresh seafood in the area that the guys who handle the seafood in the store must be unionized as well (this sort of cross union support is not uncommon at all). I would not assume that this forces all the other jobs in the store to compete with the guys in the seafood section. I see no reason at all to assume that in the absence of that one unionized section that pay and benefits in the rest of the store would be any different.

There are lots of stores (grocery and otherwise) that have no unions yet pay wages and benefits comparable to those mentioned.
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#25 Dec 13 2012 at 5:26 PM Rating: Default
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PigtailsOfDoom wrote:
Plus another cool thing I forgot to mention, is that the company I work for gives people pay raises based on how many hours you've worked for the company.


This becomes dramatically less cool once you realize that this means that the guy who slacks off gets exactly the same pay after 1000 hours of slacking off as you do for 1000 hours of hard work. Just pointing that out in case you hadn't realized it. It's much much much better to work for a company that is free to pay you based on how valuable they think your labor is. The possibility that unfair favoritism could work against you is massively outweighed by the simple fact that it's possible (and common really) to get rewarded with higher pay for doing good work, something that can't happen if everyone earns the same pay raise after the same amount of time spent on the job.


It's not really cool at all.
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#26 Dec 13 2012 at 5:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Well, first off, "gaming the system" in this case involves toadying up to the union rather than working hard for the employer.
No. Really, just how far detached are you from a work force if you still believe that toadying up to an employer is less effective to the nonunion worker than it is to the unionized one?
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