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President invokes Taft Hartley

Discussion in 'The OT' started by John Corn, Oct 9, 2002.

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  1. Oct 9, 2002 #1 of 18
    John Corn

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    For the first time in a quarter century a US President invokes Taft Hartley to force a labor union to return to work. Not even Ronald Reagan, widely regarded as the most anti-union President since Herbert Hoover did so.

    President Bush announced this afternoon that he would seek a court injunction to end the 11-day shutdown of 29 West Coast ports and halt the fast-growing damage it is doing to the nation's shaky economy.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/08/business/08CND-PORT.html
     
  2. Oct 9, 2002 #2 of 18
    RandyAB

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    About time he does this. Personally I think he should of did this a week ago. And remember he is actually forcing the Port Authority of opening the gates so the Union employees can work. All they have to do is actually work the way they are supposed to, and not have a work slow down.

    Funny things about unions, they are the only group of people that actually try to stop working to get more money. usually it is the other way around.

    Personally I think Unions were good years ago, now it is just not worth it with all of the Union dues you have to pay.

    Once again, this is just my opinion.
     
  3. Oct 9, 2002 #3 of 18
    bogi

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    You are too right. Unions have become Corrupt instituions that keep some people from laboring. I wish for congress to change it so that people have a choice wether or not they wish to join the union.
     
  4. John Corn

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    I'm a Union worker......

    Maybe instead of bashing the union you should ask yourself why you aren't in a union, maybe you would get good wages as well. Its true, unionized workers are usually better paid than non-unionized workers. Draw your conclusions from that.

    The problem is that neither you nor I can really say what the appropriate wages and bensfits would be, we dont know if the companies would really go broke if they met the union's demands..in those disputes it's extremely hard to see who's right and who's wrong and trust me Ive seen a lot of companies that ruthlessly lie about that type of stuff.
     
  5. Richard King

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    Mar 25, 2002
    The companies wouldn't go broke, they would simply raise the prices on everything that they sell to you and me. I am sure that the cost of shipping goods from Asia would be much less if not for the union thugs taking out their share and the dockworkers making over $100,000 per year PLUS about $40,000 in benies for many jobs that would be eliminated if technology were allowed in. Something as simple as barcoding is the cause of this mess. The unions don't want it because things coming in here could be inventoried by machine before leaving port and then simply scanned here rather than hand inventoried in both locations. It's a simple case of the union thugs wanting more people paying their dues each month so that they have a larger pot to play with. I would like to see non union ports set up just across the border in Mexico and goods brought across from there if things could be worked out. What you are seeing is the result of monopoly control over labor. If there were competition in labor this wouldn't be happening at all. To bring it back to dbs, maybe Dish and DTV shouldn't be allowed to merge.
     
  6. Ryan

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    Like many things, unions have both positives and negatives.

    Refusing to improve efficency is an obvious negative.

    Very few jobs come with an iron-clad guarantee that a position will perpetually available for every worker.
     
  7. Bogy

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    Mar 23, 2002
    This slowdown/lockout is not about money. It is about jobs. Even then, this is more complicated than the Port Authority seeking to eliminate jobs. They have offered job security for current workers. What they want to do is keep any new jobs created by technology non-union. The unions want new jobs to be unionized.

    The problem with unions today is that they have had their guts ripped out, going back to Reagan's administration. Unions have accepted tremendous givebacks over the past 10 or 20 years. Now they are understandably PO'd when they see that in a number of cases, while they suffered givebacks the CEO's were robbing the company blind. Funny how conservatives are all for initiative in creating wealth, unless it comes by way of workers organizing to protect themselves to earn a decent wage.
     
  8. Timco

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    Hope they resolve this dispute before the 80 days are up. After that, management can lock out the workers again.
     
  9. jonstad

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    Jun 27, 2002
    Labor is not the only cost of doing business on the docks anymore then most other industries. The real numbers of union workers at US ports is probably lower then any time in the last hundred years. And yes, this reduction in jobs is mainly due to automation and containerized freight. The union here is merely requesting that any new jobs created from the elimination of their present jobs remain union positions and that out of work stevedores be eligible to be retrained to fill the new positions. The shippers wish to be able to sub-contract these new jobs to whomever they wish.

    How would you react if a computer program was developed to do your job and your boss decided to let you go in favor of a pimple faced computer nerd without even offering you the chance to be retrained for the new position? And not because you are incapable of handling the assignment, but because the nerd will work for much less wages and benefits.

    I remember vaguely as a child the word "imported" usually meant higher cost and by extension higher quality. Except for a few rare commodities, luxury cars, wine and Sony Wega products, this paradigm does not hold any longer. It can hardly be argued that a few longshoremen are disproportionately jacking up the costs of "imports". As a patriot, I applaud the few Americans who have been able to becomes fabulously wealthy by taking advantage of slave wages, child labor and lack of environmental and worker safety standards overseas. Foreign flag cargo vessels keep the costs down at Wal-Mart and Costco too. Once these goods reach our borders however, I am also patriotic enough to sympathize with my fellow Americans who work hard every day to deliver these goods to Home Depot and Sears. And from what I can tell, at a cost not much more, and sometimes less, then what they would have cost 10-20 years back.

    As a sidelight, Hawaii is probably more dependent on west coast shipping then any other state. YOU may not be able to find that toaster or pair of pants you desire at the local mall, but we're looking at shortages of everything from food to vital repair parts. There are already empty shelves and higher prices for toilet paper and paper towels. The Governor has requested of both the shippers and the union to make an exception for us. The union has graciously accepted, the shippers have refused. The military has already deigned it necessary to contract and load their own cargo ships to supply the many bases here. Remember Pearl Harbor and Hickam AFB?

    And it should be remembered this is NOT a strike, YET! It is a lock-out. The shippers are causing this crisis. The union wants to to work while negotiations continue. Ironically in this case, Taft-Hartley is being employed more against management then the workers.
     
  10. Richard King

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    Ah, I hate to break this to you, but management has offered ALL those currently working there LIFETIME employment. If I could find a computer to replace me and still pay me over $100K a year plus benies of over $40K a year until I decide to retire for doing minimal work, I would jump at the chance. This has nothing to do with what the union is trying to achieve. They want to keep antiquated methods of shipping and receiving goods alive so that the number of jobs under their control are kept artificially high so that they can keep that dues money coming in. If the technology is allowed to be introduced it has been guaranteed that no one would lose (not loose) a job other than through normal attrition (which would only happen as current employees retire).

    By the way, the Taft Hartley Act is not being used by our president against the union as you would like us to believe. It is being used against management who locked out the union and now is forced to let them back to work. He is obviously the most "anti-management" president in the history of the Union (United States, that is). :D
     
  11. Bogy

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    I already stated earlier that management had offered all current workers job security. Rking401, I guess your attitude from your post is that if you are taken care of, you don't care if the person who comes after you has worse working conditions. The whole idea of unions is working together for the good of all workers. Even the ones who have not been hired yet.

    BTW, the president is trying to protect his own backside by keeping the economy from getting any worse, at least for 80 days, which will get him past the Nov. elections.
     
  12. Richard King

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    Yep, you stated it, but your comrade didn't read your statement. If I leave my job at retirement age, where I am basically doing nothing more than picking up a $100K a year paycheck + benies for doing minimal work, logically, there will be no one replacing me. The plan is to phase out jobs (which is a normal thing to do under the circumstances) when people retire as technology is worked in. What is wrong with that if the technology is readily available? Would you rather have people hired to replace the people who retire who aren't doing anything? There probably is no need for you to answer, I assume from your past comments that you probably would. If people are hired to sit on their hands to replace those who are retiring from sitting on their hands the company will then be paying another person $100K+ plus $40K in benies PLUS retirement payments to the retired person. Yea, that makes lots of sense.
     
  13. Bogy

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    Such hate and envy for a whole class of people. I am surprised at your attitude after your statements about CEO's. Are all people in unions thugs, or just the officers? Just what do you know about how hard dockworkers work? Are you assuming that with all this wonderful technology ports will operate with no human intervention at all? You seem to be assuming that there will never be a need to hire another person to work at a port if it weren't for the nasty unions making them hire people. I never stated that I supported hiring someone to replace everyone who retired, and neither has the union. What they want, and what I think is reasonable, is that when new workers are hired, to keep the technology running and to utilize that technology, they be union workers, making union wages and benefits. It really does bother you that people working on a dock are making a decent living, doesn't it? I am surprised at such class bigoty.
     
  14. Richard King

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    :lol:
    Wow, bitter aren't we? Actually, I have no hate, and CERTAINLY no envy for unionized workers. I believe in "right to work". I think a person should be able to apply for any job that he sees fit and I think an employer should not be forced to hire a union member, but should be able to hire the person he feels fits the job most, regardless of union membership. My feeling is that since about the mid '60's or so, unions, with a few exceptions, have turned into nothing less than extortion devices.
    Usually, just the officers :D, and they fit the stereotype a lot more closely than the stereotype that you attempted to paint all CEO's with a little while back. I give the benefit of the doubt to the dock workers and assume that they are aware of the great wages and benies that have been extorted for them for a hard day's work.
    The union doesn't have to say it, they don't want the technology because it would reduce the number of union jobs, so they are doing the same thing simply by keeping the technology (the same technology which has been used in such simple things as grocery stores for years) out. They would rather have more heads there (paying union dues) counting items and writing down contents of crates than have a person using a scanner similar to what is used in grocery stores around the world doing the same job.
    Wrong again. They simply don't want the technology PERIOD because it would eventually reduce their membership, even if those running the technology were union members.
    Not at all. More power to them. Having them making a large paycheck is great for the economy in general, which is good for everyone and keeps more people employed. BUT, it does bother me when extortion tactics are used to keep an industry in the dark ages simply to keep more people paying union dues.
     
  15. Bogy

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    All of a sudden you are very supportive of dockworkers making great wages, but just a little earlier you were bitterly complaining about how the money they make raises the price of the things you want to buy. Not very consistent are we? The bitterness every time you mention their pay and benefits comes through loud and clear every time you write it.
     
  16. Richard King

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    I think it is great that they make the high wages that they do. I would feel even better if they made these wages through their efforts rather than through the extortion of the union that represents them. Of course, if their labor were negotiated individually as a part of a competitive free market, where true values are determined by the marketplace, they would be making no where near what they are today and there would be fewer of them doing it because of the introduction of technological advances that were introduced in other markets decades ago. So, I guess unions do have their place in keeping more people employed through their efforts of locking out "modern" technology.

    I have done a few occasional location sound jobs here for ABC and NBC news. I was forced to sign up for the union to do these jobs as a condition of employment. I had no choice in the matter. I resent being forced to join a union to do a job that I am qualified to do. They had nothing to do with getting me the jobs, yet I am forced to join their "club". After doing a combined 10 jobs for these companies or other companies who have given in to the extortion of the union, I will be forced to join the union as a full member, at which time they will happily extort $2,000 from my checking account for the privilege to be associated with them. I intend to submit my retirement after job number nine and pass on future audio projects with forced union employers.
     
  17. jonstad

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    First, it's highly unlikely anyone will be sitting in their Stratolounger collecting an unearned check. They will find something for them to do until retirement age at which point they will eliminate the position entirely.

    Second, their stance would make it appear that the brothers, and especially the union leadership, are NOT the greedy bloodsuckers you imply them to be. They are apparently willing to forego their guaranteed salaries and perks at least temporarily in order to insure that others in the future(others that are yet to be even hired) might be eligible for the same benefits. This hardly seems like a selfish act, to me anyway.

    It appears management is attempting to buy off the current union members by guaranteeing lifetime employment in return for the ability to eliminate their positions on retirement. This will be possible because of new and future technologies. I think both sides concede that there will be other positions created by this technology, just as other positions are eliminated, albiet perhaps not one for one. I see the union's position as requiring new jobs created by the technology(that eliminates old ones) be created as union jobs, and not farmed out or sub-contracted to other non-union employers.

    Much as you'd like to deny it, the golden age of American unions coincides exactly with the golden age of American industry and also with the greatest gains in the real standard of living for all Americans, the forties, fifties and early sixties, not to mention the ascendance of America as the preeminent world power. Unions not only got higher wages and improved working conditions for their members but even pulled non-union workers along in their wake. And it's difficult to argue that industry during this period suffered greatly because of these gains.

    Since the power and influence of unions began to wane from the seventies to this day, real living standards for the average worker have stagnated and it is now the accepted status quo that to make any gains in this economy, the average working family must have at least two incomes, often two full-time incomes. Perhaps as the conservatives preach the decline in family values, they should consider creating more jobs that allow parents to spend more time together with their offspring(archaically refered to as "family life") instead of taking shifts minding the kids while the other parent is forced to work nights for a new Playstation, Nike sneakers or to insure health coverage.

    As for your network contract jobs, I assume that you didn't accept them with the assumption that you were going to lose(not loose;) ) money. And I assume you did make money or you would not have accepted further assignments. I further assume that you could make money even if you would accept the tenth job and be forced to permanently join the union in question. Should you opt to decline this option, you imply that others WILL accept the work and again, I assume, make money for themselves. So even if you make this statement of principle, the point is that the existence of unions does NOT prevent management, union-workers, or even non-union workers from prospering. And you are only fooling yourself if you believe you would enjoy your current level of prosperity if union workers had never organized, negotiated and sometimes struck for improved working conditions and wages that benefits all of US, union and non-, management and owner.

    It is ludicrious to hold the position that our economy would be better off, or even at the same level, without the concerted efforts of organized labor. Who exactly would industry be selling all their goods to? Do you really think trickle down economics would work without beating at that bag of money to force a trickle? Or would GM, Ford and shipping companies have willingly handed over excess profits to maintain our current standard of living out of a sense of noblesse oblige?
     
  18. Bogy

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    Jon makes a good point. Conservatives decry the decline of "traditional family values," husband bringing home the bacon, mom cooking the bacon and taking care of the kids. They also decry unions and increased wages. In the '50's and '60's one salary earned by the average guy could buy that house in the suburbs and two cars. Not today. It takes at least two incomes to do it. But you begrudge workers today earning a decent wage. In the first place you support workers in Asia working at below living wages, and then you also want to undercut American workers in the ports.
    I hope a patriot like you has his flag waving.
     
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