Monday, August 8, 2011

You. Have. To. Be. Joking.

I haven't blogged in awhile because work, kids, leprosy, alien abduction . But I have something to be schnarky about. I doubt anyone will really care about this either, but oh well, I gotta start somehow right?

I work for a company that has about 45,000 union employees. This weekend, that union decided to strike until the company bends to their demands. Hrm. Isn't this really just a 'legal' extortion technique? I mean really, I don't get it.

Let me explain a little background.

Our Union employees 1) make a shit ton of money 2) they get an incredible benefits package. ie: they don't pay a dime for medical. 3) They get much more paid sick time that we do. 4) A great pension plan. 5) they are almost un-fire able.

The union's contract was up and my company decided to use the collective bargaining time to renegotiate the contract. My company offered a benefits package to these 45,000 workers that MATCHES what the other 135,000 employees receive. Seems fair, right?

Apparently it's not okay. These union employees think they deserve much much much more than their COWORKERS get. I haven't heard the union workers try to get the company to agree to offer US a better benefits package. No. No I haven't.


My company is fighting back. It started a couple months ago when a strike was on the horizon. A huge group of IT employees were tagged to get trained so we could do their job. The training was 2 weeks. (FIOS installation, climbing poles, etc etc.) Am I wrong to assume then that their positions are completely replaceable with ~only~ two weeks of training? My company already has the next two groups ready to be deployed so we can work in rotations. It's hilarious. Software engineers are being taught how to do their jobs in a measly two week training session.

Today was the first day the temporary workers had to cross the picket lines. And it's not been peachy from what my friends are reporting.I want to make a t-shirt for all of us that says on the front "Guess what? You're replaceable" and on the back, which picketers will see after the lines were crossed, "See?". Beautiful.

I say "fuck em". You don't want to have the exact same benefits package the company gives to the other 75% of the company? Leave. We don't need you. Last time I looked, we have an employment shortage here in the Unites States. I'm ~sure~ we can find another 45,000 workers. And hell, after only 2 weeks of training, they'll be ready to take over your job.

You're replaceable. Period.

(btw, i get why unions were first developed. Working conditions needed to be regulated. But in today's day and age? Not so much. You don't like the hours? Quit. You don't like the benefits package, leave. This is all about pure and simple greed. Stop thinking you are entitled. You're not.)


Elana said...

I totally agree. If they want to fight, then at least fight for you guys to have the same rights. Otherwise, good riddance.

areyoukiddingme said...

While I understand your point regarding the difference in benefits, I have to say - how would you feel if your employer suddenly told you that your salary was about to be cut by 25%? Do you think you would find that fair?

I mean, it's a bit of a slippery slope. You say it's fair for the union workers to come into matching rates with the rest of the company. So, what if the company says to you "Well, you're making $15/hour and we're paying our guys in India $15/week, so that's what we're moving you to. It's only fair."

I'm not saying the unions shouldn't make concessions when the business unit is not profitable. But it seems a bit unreasonable to ask people to do the same job for significantly less pay.

And do you ~really~ think 2 weeks of training is enough to do the job well? Or is it just enough to get through until the negotiations are settled?

(No offense meant at all - I just have a differing viewpoint.)

fuentes said...

I agree completely. When things changed at work for me, employees had to pay more for insurance and the coverage was worse we had to deal or find another job, raise freeze because of a crapy econ deal or get another job. That's why when the a our main grocery store chain employees went on strike I didn't support it and kept shopping.

nancy said...

yes. I ~do~ think 2 weeks is enough to do their jobs. That's what I have gotten from the people I know who went for training.

As for offshore / onshore salaries, they are apples and oranges. Can't be compared at all.

The company saying they are going to make them pay for their benefits like 75% of the non union employees? You can think of that as a salary descrease, or you can think of it as leveling the playing field. They were getting WAY OVERPAID for years. It's time to see the economy for what it is and take a pay decrease if they still want a job here. Do you know how many employees i do know who took pay decreases just to keep their job? Many. I look at it kind of like this - say you went to the store everyday and they conistently gave you an extra $10 in change. When the store finds their error, should the person who was getting that extra $10/day be able to say "hey, i'm used to getting $10 more" and force the store to comply? These union workers should count their blessing they rode it out for so long with such finiancial benefits. It's time to get off the wave and take the economy for what it is.

Mareike said...

I'm assuming the union workers are making salaries comparable to or greater than those of the other 135,000 employees and the company is suffering and not making profits. If these things are true those folks need to take the hit of a benefits reduction or quit and go somewhere else.

nancy said...


The union employees are making far more for their talent, than the other 135,000 are making for their talent. (We receive a salary which is within the industry standard. The union employees are making far beyond the industry standard.)

Heather said...

I'm with you, Nancy. I'm an engineer with a Master's degree and have had a pay reduction followed by 4 years of no raise. Every union employee I know has better benefits with a higher salary and works less hours. Sometimes one has to appreciate the good deal while it lasted. We cannot continue to support these over the top union wages and pensions.

And yes, there is no comparison between US wages and offshore wages.

Mareike said...

I make a whopping 40K a year and contribute about $90 a month toward my health insurance. I certainly wouldn't be upset if I learned that people making 20K were contributing nothing for theirs. I know you are a fair person so I'm sure you are making valid points.
I'm assuming the union workers are achieving a better standard of living than the non-union workers or it wouldn't be bothering you.
If I hire someone to work in my yard or clean my house I'll pay them at the same rate I get paid. Sure they would do it for less but it hardly seems fair to me. I cringe when I hear people complain about the cost of childcare while the people caring for their children are making no where near their salaries (and the complainers often have no issue with spending on haircuts, clothing, spas etc.)