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Robert Winner

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Michigans right to work law.

With all of the legislation having been voted on and passed Michigan becomes the 24th state to fall under the right to work law ... when signed.

Schools shut down as teachers played hooky. Teachers held signs shaped like a tombstone that read "here lies democracy" ... hope they did not teach government classes. Should teacher pay be docked for playing hookie? Should this be a issue in the next contract meeting for rehire?

After the vote union members chanted "No justice", "No peace", and "shut it down" ... they failed to explain the meaning.

The dock worker strike in California cost over a billion dollars a day, Hostess demands broke the company, etc .... and now over half of the states have a right to work law.

What do you think ... are union a thing of the past? Are they necessary? Should President Obama have lobbied for the unions against the will of the people of Michigan. Unions are big contributors and campaigners did he have to lobby as a political pay back? What influence does the union have in politics?

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  • Dec 16 2012: There has to be an entity that protects the rights of the middle and lower classes. If thers is no protection, there will be corruption from the top. People will get fired for no good reason. No pensions. No benefits.
    There has to be rights and due process for workers. If we go back to the way it was, people will have to work 12 hour days just to survive.
    How can companies that make billions want to keep the people from the middle to the bottom from earning a fair wage and having a 40 hour work week? I don't want to live in that world.
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      Dec 16 2012: Dan, NY is democratic, union, and very liberal and so it is natural for you to defend unions. Just for the sake of argument ... If what you say is true ... why would the corporations NOT have run to right to work states all along. Why is what you fear not occuring in right to work states.

      Corporations are about profits, agreed. However, you must also agree that when more taxes, regulations, and political manuevering occur then corporations must react or close the doors. Unions have helped and harmed the workers.

      I have worked in the military, industry, and state agency and retired from each. I have had very bad experiences with unions. I fired a drunk that was arrested and exceeded the limits who cost us a small fortune. The union said they wanted him back or they would strike. I recieved death threats and also references about me endangering my family by my actions. That was not the only incident. If you expect me to feel sorry for the union ... wrong man.

      Collective bargining has always been available and it works. No threats involved.

      If the government reduced in size, stopped the spending, and ceased back dooring regulations designed to close industries such as the power generation plants and the implementation of Cap and Trade laws ... it would go a long way to securing jobs and economic growth. No unions necessary under favorable conditions for a healthy industry. The new healthcare laws will cause loss of jobs and reduction in hours in order for the company to stay afloat. New hires will most likely be part time. This is the change that you hoped for. Argintina once was the third largest economy in the world ... America is following her demise.

      I appologize for the rant. Unions and politics are so closely joined that I address them as one.

      You have a right to your stand and I respect that. I happen to have a different point of view.

      Thank you for your reply. Bob.
      • Dec 16 2012: Should people work until 70? Should people be let go because they can hire younger people at a lower pay scale? Should pay be lower for longer hours? My wife has a cousin that has taught 30+ years in Michigan. She is 60 years old and has taught art in her school. She now has to teach phys ed for half the day which she is not qualified and has no interest in doing. What about the kids in her classes? They are getting teachers that aren't certified because the money has been taken from the schools. In theory, people should rise and fall on their own merits and unions wouldn't be needed. The truth is that without protection, the people on the low end of the pole will get raked over the coals and used and abused for the benefit of those at the top of the pole. CEO's and corpoate leaders aren't working until 70 for less pay and longer hours. It's the people who need the money most who will get the least and the ones on top will get more and more. We have government regulations now and the rich continue to get richer. If you take away the checks and balances. Those who have will take advantage of those who don't have. The only problem the rich will have is getting their shoes dirty stepping over the homeless in the streets. Most people who think that people make it solely on their own merits didn't start on the bottom.
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          Dec 16 2012: According to the Michigan web site ... Michigan is the fourth highest in teachers pay and is growing as there is a demand for teachers ... to apply you must have a degree, Michigan teachers certificate, and submit a resume, transcripts, and references to be considered. Money has been taken from all states and 28 are on the verge of state bankrupcy, however, the requirements (and as always a background check) have remained consistant as far as I can see. Unless the school is in violation of the law .. no student is being taught by a unqualified teacher.

          Perhaps your wifes cousin has, as many do, retired and was rehired as a pool teacher. That allows teachers to draw retirement pay and continue to work as a teacher drawing a salary .... what is called double dipping by some.

          Dan you have revisited your earlier points in favor of unions and we remain on diffrerent sides of the issue.

          Thank you for a good argument that was respectful.

          I wish you well. Bob.
    • Dec 20 2012: Unions also protect the useless, the uninspired, and the ones who do not work as hard as the rest. Unions aren't the greatest thing in the world, since often they are demanding unreasonable things (just look at the hockey lockout)
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    Dec 12 2012: "Hostess demands broke the company, etc"
    Why is it that CEO's can consistently take millions from the company despite its obvious road to failure if the money is not re-invested back into the company, yet the 'cause' is always the fault of the worker who wants the appropriate safety equiptment and a living wage...
    Anyway..

    "What do you think ... are union a thing of the past? Are they necessary?"
    Heres an example of a company without a union =
    Wallmart is the third highest grossing corporation in the world and the family who owns it have an excess of 100 Billion dollars.
    Despite this..
    -The average pay for a wallmart worker is $8.81 an hour. A 35 hour work week puts its workers at 70% below the poverty line for an average family of 4.
    -A 2005 study found that Walmart workers earn an estimated 12.4% less than retail workers as a whole, 14.5% less than workers in large retail in general.
    -As many as 80% of wallmart employees are on foodstamps
    -In 2005 in Arizona (for example), approximately 2,700 employees of Wallmart were on a state-funded healthcare plan.

    This is what happens when a major corporation is left to its own devices in deciding what is 'acceptable' for their staff members and the idea of removing unions for the sake of 'jobs' only perpetuates the inevitable $3 an hour, 90 hour work week direction that America is working itself towards.

    Its not to say that some unions dont go too far, but the reality is that if the heads of a company can take home million dollar paychecks each week and don't have any interest in making sure their staff can live on the wage they're being paid, then the company SHOULD collapse as the job wasn't worth having in the first place.
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      Dec 12 2012: So ... Xavier, Are you liberal or conservative and are you for or against the unions ....

      Your reply showed no favoritism ......

      Bob.
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    Dec 20 2012: I find unions for government workers (local, state, or federal) reprehensible. If you want to join a union, go work in the private sector. For me, it's simple.

    Should you be REQUIRED to join a union against your will? Absolutely NOT.

    What does this do to unions? It doesn't make them irrelevant. They serve a valuable purpose - but not the one that they think they serve. Are they necessary? If our world, it would seem so, but that's only because we, as a people, are aware enough of how our own actions contribute to the greater whole.

    If workers were more educated, thus articulate and capable as negotiators, they could serve an important role in our society - by pointing out the disparity of wealth (CEOs salaries are putting their companies out of business). Corporations are putting out shoddy products. Etc

    But when teachers or fire fighters choose to be government workers (like military do), but they then hold the citizens who pay them hostage to DEMANDS, something is amiss. What if the army were to go on-strike. Would we condone that?

    Unions have less power of influence than you might imagine. Yes, they can support a candidate or a party, and yes, I do imagine that there is payback. But most union workers vote Republican to the union's chagrin.
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      Dec 20 2012: TL, I have always been under the impression that unions were a direct result of the thoughts of Karl Marx and the socialist party ... further that the union has always been a strong supporter and contributor to the democratic party. Much has been said and written that union members vote as a block .. democratic.

      Based on these thoughts, it surprised me that you would state that .. "But most union workers vote Republican to the union's chagrin. " Is there proof of this? Please provide me some references.
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        Dec 20 2012: I think Bob you'll find the union movement predates Marx by a couple of hundred years. The earliest trade union I'm aware of is what turned into the freemasons. It was originally formed to control the knowledge of masonry to protect the working conditions of masons and apprentices.
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          Dec 21 2012: I thought that was an Order and I also thought that the master mason was often killed or blinded after the completion of the job by the emperior, sun god, or whatever .... If that was a union and they still killed you or blinded you then membership sucks.
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        Dec 21 2012: The freemasons as the name implies was a group of unendentured masons who carefully protected their knowledge so they could demand higher pay for masonary. They formed as at the time most masons were endentured to the king through some lord or other and could only do work for the crown. The freemasons worked for whoever paid them and used the membership agreement to protect their income much as modern trade unions do.
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        Dec 21 2012: Marx supported unions as a way to overthrow the bourgeois so that Marxism could follow. Once Marxism (as he offered it) was achieved, unions would no longer be necessary as labor would achieve equality and have a partnership rather than master/slave relationship. Communism is not Marxism. It is more like libertarian than communism. Marx said that if Communism is Marxist, then he is not a Marxist.
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        Dec 21 2012: I do apologize for my error. I mean that most PRIVATE SECTOR union people (hardhats and factory workers and the like) are Republican. Unfortunately, private sector unions are a dying idea. Public sector unions are majority Democrat. I find public sector unions so offensive that I often disregard them. I shouldn't have in my post.

        I have been unable to find the source, but I was listening to a radio conversation recently that gave all kinds of statistics that I have been unable to find this morning. I then heard the same thing on FOX. This was after the recent "right to work" legislation.
  • Dec 17 2012: Robert,
    My wife's cousin never was retired and rehired. She was re-assigned based on the fact that school districts are redifining what is and isn't a qualified teacher based on the funds that they have. Here in NY, students who used to have special ed. have now been found (through some miracle) to not need special ed. anymore. Classes are getting bigger and new contracts for teachers are getting smaller. We each gave back 3 days pay as a union to help a 3.5 million dollar gap in our budget. Now as teachers we make less money and give back money from the new lower salary. I know that if we didn't have a union and there were not state madates to protect the children, our district would be making deeper cuts that would affect the kids. Big business plays ball with the workers only when it has to. Without unions, their power goes unchecked and people's rights go out the door
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      Dec 17 2012: Dan, That is extremely unusual. In our state and others I have lived in it was impossiable for a district to define or redefine what is and isn't a qualified teacher. It was my belief that there were national accrediation boards that set these standards.

      That is so unusual I will check with Michigan tomarrow and see how this is possiable. I would like for our school board to be able to do this also as we are under funded as are most states.

      Thanks for the tip .... I'll get back to you.

      PS: We have a priortize list of what gets cut when funds are not available and the classes are non-required courses, which includes art (#2 at out school). Perhaps that is what occured. However at our school you must be certified in the course you instruct ... again maybe not in Michigan.

      Thanks. Bob.

      Bob.
      • Dec 18 2012: Certifications are determined by the states. however, School districts can choose waive (temporarily) the requirements and have teachers teach subjects that they are not certified to teach. Here in NY, the big cities waive certification because there are shortages of teachers. A local school district here is violating an existing contract to fire teachers halfway through the year because the are .5 million dollars short for this year. When that happens, they shift the remaining teachers around to fill in the gaps.
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    Dec 13 2012: Fair, safe, equitable rights for workers need protecting and enforcement. Labor unions are the absolute worst way to achieve that because they ALWAYS evolve into parasitic, self-promoting, anti-social, anti-business, corrupt entities. The best way is for government to set and enforce standards.
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    Dec 13 2012: Just to be clear there should be NO PUBLIC UNIONS.

    This is a sure fire way to destroy a country or a state.
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    Dec 12 2012: " First, public employees should never have the right to strike. Public unions can be used to negotiate, but never with the threat to strike. Employees of hospitals should not have the right to strike. Health workers have a higher duty"
    If they have a "higher duty" should they not then have higher pay?
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      Dec 13 2012: If that logioc is cortrect then ministers should be the highest paid of all.
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        Dec 13 2012: I'm an atheist.
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          Dec 13 2012: Sorry being an atheist does not equate to a "higher duty"
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        Dec 13 2012: No, I mean to an atheist a minister doesn't have a "higher duty" he has a delusion, nurses, doctors, paramedics, teachers, police, firefighters etc have a higher duty and a higher responsibility but in my country at least are not very well paid. Doctors can eventually make a fortune as a specialist but from the start of med school to the first time you get specialist rates is about 15 years in our system.
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          Dec 14 2012: Not to be argumentative .. but ... what if a doctor/nurse/etc... believes in God and that God is the highest authority .... could a atheist , in clear conscience, go to this person for assistance or help. By your defination would the Atheist be going to a delusional doctor or nurse. Would or could you trust your health to this delusional person.

          Since 2% of the world claims to be Atheist there is a lot of delusion going on out there.
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        Dec 14 2012: You ask a valid question. My point of view is, if my car needs a good mechanic I don't care if he's a schizophrenic transvestite as long as he's good at fixing cars. I accept that there is a certain level of opertunism in this philosophy.
  • Dec 12 2012: First, public employees should never have the right to strike. Public unions can be used to negotiate, but never with the threat to strike. Employees of hospitals should not have the right to strike. Health workers have a higher duty.

    Laws with respect to unions SHOULD have the objective of leveling the playing field. In the real world, this will probably never happen, but we can hope. Most right to work laws are a reaction to the perception that unions have too much power. How much is enough? Historically, unions have been shown to have value, particularly with respect to safety and working conditions. But a big problem is that the laws that provide unions with some power tend to give them monopoly power. When unions become too powerful, they can destroy whole industries. The beginning of the end of unions was the Teamsters strike that practically shut down the entire USA economy.

    This country and the world needs some balance.

    Leveling the playing field may take some out-of-the-box thinking. Some of the best run corporations are owned by the employees. That cannot possibly be a model for every corporation, but perhaps every large corporation should be partially owned by employees, with at least one member on the board of directors. Perhaps we can have laws that make unions more competitive and more responsive to the market. Unions that force employers to pay wages based on seniority or other non-performance related criteria impair the market and harm everyone. When unions become a tool to enhance the market rather than inhibit it, even employers will like unions and they will be everywhere.

    The current paradigm does not work. When the employer holds all the power, the employees are partially paid by the government. When the employees hold all the power, major competitive decisions depend on the cooperation of the uneducated and ill informed masses. We need a balance that provides a living wage while limiting the power of the employees
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    Dec 12 2012: I think for the most part they are a thing of the past. Even with a right to work state like Nevada it is still hard to work at some locations because of unions. The bottom line is that as long as they are not public unions, unions have to answer to the market place and as long as that is the case I'm fine with it.

    But under no circumstances ever should there be public unions.

    Democrats are elected by unions never more so than with Obama. I don't know the number but I have heard they are huge.

    The corollary is that Corporations do the same and lefties object to the SCOTUS ruling on this yet make no mention of the unions.