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Union Employers Must Speak Up

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SharynS
Post Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:58 am

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 3625
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By John Briley November 17, 2009

Over the past several months, many of us have been following Wal-Mart, as it bullies and buys its way into Salinas while pursuing its quest for two Supercenters. Unfortunately, during this time, our union retail food and drug store employers have remained on the sidelines in virtual silence.

I am a retiree with more than 38 years with the United Food Commercial Workers Union. Prior to my retirement on May 1, 2007, I was the president of UFCW Local 839 for more than 17 years and one of seven UFCW Bay Area unions who effectuated a merger, with membership approval, to create UFCW Local 5 effective Jan. 1, 2007.


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atuuschaaw
Post Posted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:25 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 781
Location: an ahwangan
John, do you know if all the signatory employers and walmart are members of the chamber of commerce? Just wondering if the reason for the unwillingness of the businesses to step up for the employees could partially lie within their loyalty to the chamber? Question

Workers have plenty of enemies...Wall Street, the big banks, the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation of America...and the list goes on and on! Then we can mention how so many of our unions have chosen to be complicit in supporting this business model that maintains a "workforce" which benefits a select few!

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John Briley
Post Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:21 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2157
atuuschaaw wrote:
Quote:
John, do you know if all the signatory employers and walmart are members of the chamber of commerce? Just wondering if the reason for the unwillingness of the businesses to step up for the employees could partially lie within their loyalty to the chamber?


atuuschaaw ..... I do not know the answer to your question.

Even more disturbing to me would be, "if" our Employer's loyalty would be directed at anyone else other than their employees and or our members!
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wm pasz
Post Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:35 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1219
Location: Toronto
The reality is that unionized employers are no different than any other corporations. They aren't going to object to a competitor setting up shop wherever because that would run contrary to the free marketeers' religion: you can set up shop anywhere and do anything to anybody to make a buck. Giving a shit about your employees is also a heretical kind of thing.

The presence of a competitor - regardless of who it is - in your neighborhood is expected and certainly doesn't mean that you're going to go our of business. It does though provide a great opportunity to squeeze concessions out of union leaders who haven't figured out the corporate religion yet.

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The Third Element
Post Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:53 pm

Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Posts: 368
wm pasz wrote:
Giving a shit about your employees is also a heretical kind of thing.


You are speaking only of unionized employers? <He says in his best passive aggressive voice.>

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SharynS
Post Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:29 am

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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Quote:
... speaking only of unionized employers?
Tim Hortons, Starbucks. wal marts, Shoppers Drug Marts....

It appears the heretical phobia may be far more pervasive than (3E) first thought. Very Happy

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wm pasz
Post Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:51 am

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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Location: Toronto
Quote:
You are speaking only of unionized employers


Oh no. I'm speaking of the whole corporatist lot of 'em (and, regrettably, an increasing number of public sector employers as well.)

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Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. You don't need anything else. - Malcolm X
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The Third Element
Post Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:03 pm

Joined: 22 Feb 2006
Posts: 368
Respectfully... and we do so try to remain respectful. I can't accept that even *many* employers don't give a shit about their employees.

Some, perhaps but I think that *many* employers care very much about their employees. I fact, I would be confident saying that *most* employers give a shit about their employees.

If an employer does not "give a shit" his employees leave, go to employment standards, get a union, go to Human Rights... or just plain do a shitty job.

I think most employees in Canada are happy with their jobs, as much as anyone *likes* to go to work.

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wm pasz
Post Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 9:47 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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Location: Toronto
I think we have to be clear about what we mean by "employers". I'm not talking about the managers and supervisors within the corporate hierarchy who need to interact with workers on a daily basis and so may have some measure of concern for them and their working conditions (although many that I've met do not, or have a condescending kind of concern). I'm talking about the CEO's, the corporate boards, the shareholders and the various financial interests that hold major stakes in the employers' businesses. They truly don't give a shit about the workers. The evidence of this is all around us.

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The Third Element
Post Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:59 pm

Joined: 22 Feb 2006
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I'm still not with you on this one. I can agree that a "shareholder" in a company does not think about the worker... until the company starts to fail, then they would give thought to it. That said, it's not the responsibility of the shareholder to give a shit.

The Shareholder expects a return on investment of operating capital that they provide. If the CEO or Management Team, whatever, fails to keep the operation successful the shares drop and the shareholder looses money.

If the cause is tainted secondary supply of raw materials (IAMS) or expensive labour, the cause is still the cause, and the shareholders react.

I was about to concede, prior to Wand's reply, the exact opposite of what she has suggested. Wanda all jokes aside, I respect few opinions as much as I respect yours, but...

It have found that *every* experience I have had with pissed off employees feeling that no one gives a shit about them... every single experience, has been the result of either peers (1st level), Supervisors (2nd level) or Managers (3rd level).
On one occasion the Owner (Shareholder) took responsibility for the culture problems at the facility. This was an opinion I did not share at the time, but if you can create buy in that high up you can change a lot. It was two Managers.

No, the most direct cause of employees feeling outside and not given a shit about, is caused by direct supervisors and managers of said direct supervisors.

Yes, you could argue that this can be followed up higher and higher but *most* employers have avenues for employees to talk up past their Supervisor or Manager and these things are resolved. In unions, you can't do that, it's not allowed.

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SharynS
Post Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:57 am

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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I think you all need to see The Story of Stuff. Oh yeah people first, caring bunch eh!

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atuuschaaw
Post Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:12 am

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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A wise plumber once said, "Shit flows downhill". From my personal experiences within the pyramids of power...he was correct...and it hasn't mattered one tiny iota whether it was the company flushing the toilet or the union.

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SharynS
Post Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:18 am

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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They are one and the same AT. Obviously it depends on one's definition of "gives a shit".

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John Briley
Post Posted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:25 pm

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2157
atuuschaaw wrote:
Quote:
A wise plumber once said, "Shit flows downhill". From my personal experiences within the pyramids of power...he was correct...and it hasn't mattered one tiny iota whether it was the company flushing the toilet or the union.


atuuschaaw..... I "ditto" that!

Right On Point!!

Thank You....
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wm pasz
Post Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:58 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 1219
Location: Toronto
In my own experience I've found that there are many factors in addition to relations with their supervisors that can cause workers to feel that their employer doesn't care about them. Among these -

- The gross disparity in CEO and executive pay when compared to that of the workers.
- Bad business decisions that enable senior managers to earn bonuses while workers end up with wage concessions or no jobs at all.
- No meaningful action on problems like harassment or workplace bullying.
- Arbitrary dismissals.
- Lack of access to training and promotional opportunities.
- Lack of communication from the top.
- Intransigent positions in collective bargaining.

I could go on. I also don't believe that open door policies resolve much. Small, insignificant problems, maybe. But nothing complicated or awkward gets remedied through an open door policy. I can honestly say that I've never heard of anyone taking a problem with his or her boss up through an open door policy and getting anywhere. Maybe in a family owned business there's some sense of compassion by the employer but in the corporate jungle there's no such thing. If anything, the first couple of levels above a worker is likely to be where he or she is likely to find some compassion or concern as these are people who actually see and interact with the worker. Once you move further up, there's no concern. The senior managers and executives at these high-levels rarely see or think about the lower ranks and tend to think of the people there as losers who deserve what they get.

I know this sounds a bit harsh, but it is what it is.

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Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it's against the oppressor. You don't need anything else. - Malcolm X
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