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Unions and Bureaucracy

What does your workplace look like?

  • We are not union, and have minimal bureaucracy

    Votes: 8 42.1%
  • We are union, but have minimal bureaucracy

    Votes: 4 21.1%
  • We are not union, but have a substantial bureaucracy

    Votes: 5 26.3%
  • We are union and have a substantial bureaucracy

    Votes: 2 10.5%

  • Total voters
    19
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Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
380,000 Americans lost their jobs last month (and nobody talks about the 100,000 or so reservists who also left the workplace). We have a bad economy. Is this the time to be striking? About 400 union workers near here went on strike last week and the company is in no hurry to return to the bargaining table. Broadway musicians are also on strike. Personally, I have to question the wisdom of walking off the job at this time.

All of this got me thinking. What is the government workplace like? Here, state government employee unions are bargaining for more money at the same time the politicians are talking about cutting jobs. We are speculating on what our own union workers in the city may do, but our management and professional employees are not part of any union. In general, we tend to have a tightly-knit, informally-organized workplace. This contrasts to some places I have seen that have multiple levels of bureaucracy for just about anything.

So I thought I'd do a little poll. What is your workplace like? Is it an informal structure or a cumbersome bureaucracy? Are you union or free?
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
My current job is a typical private sector company...no unions.

My last job with the govt was and it was a mess. Fighting with the county over 3% raises when management would get like 10% and political hacks were hired at $100K + salaries.

It turned out to really harm morale. Because in the real world, striking is a way of life. It is how collective bargaining units get fair wages and earn a decent living. But in a professional job the mentality is to just do a decent job, the desire to strike isn't there. Our management knew that they cold push the unions around and offer them s**t for raises and nobody would ever walk out.

Last I heard, they were still without a contract, almost 2 years after the previous one expired.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
We're pretty bureaucratic here...I feel like a public-sector version of Dilbert more often than not.

We're union, and went on strike last year. Lately, it seems that every time the contract is up, we go on strike.

I don't think we're as bad off as DeVuono's last place though - managers and politicians don't seem to be giving themselves huge raises. Though they are embroiled in several scandals relating to redevlopment of Toronto's Union Station, and computer leasing contracts.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
We are not union... but sometimes I wish we were. The unions in the City (Public Works, Fire, etc.) received a sweet benefits package and a 4% COLA this year in their negotiations. They don't offer those same deals to regular staff. They are now going to do a salary survey with the rest of us (based upon the 60% percentile of Alberta cities). The only problem with this is that we have the most expensive cost of living of any Alberta City (except *maybe* Calgary), but St. Albert is still factoring in little tiny burgs in the middle of nowhere. We will be lucky if we get anything at all... it's only leading the rest of us to start thinking about unionizing... which is kind of a bummer
 
Messages
3,690
Points
27
Our town has four unions that the road and water crews are in, along with police and ems. professional staff is not unionized, but *is* civil service - which is pretty close to a union. we're also pretty bureaucratic.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
We are not union and I am pretty happy that we are not.

I'm pretty flacky about vacation time and tiem off in general, I'll ask for more time then I need then show up back at work early. part of this is me and part of this is my flacky friends. If I had a union I think my time off requests would be held to the letter versus I should be back by.

The good news for us is that the Commission members I report to are all union and have no problems paying a relatively fair wage. The 2 things that bug me are the medical plan and education spending, I lose out on both, being single and already educated. While I make more then my coworkers, I cost my employer less, then when I ask for things I'm told about how much money I make.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Interestingly, Mike, we have had the opposite salary situation. In the past, management typically got a 3.5% annual increase. The unions, sometimes through arbitration, would get substantially more. This led to management staff sometimes earning less that general employees, especially in the police department. As a result we had a management study conducted that ended up raising management salaries. This did not make the unions happy.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Our professional staff is not union. Our secretaries are. Ironically that union was formed by a former secretary that rose to the ranks of Dept Head (can you say Peter Principle?) and now she doesnt like the union.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,904
Points
39
We're union, but have no-strike clauses in our contracts. I believe there are now 6 unions in town....the Department Heads just unionized, and are struggling through their initial contract negotiations now....the fact finders report is on the floor of Town Meeting....my union's contract is stalled in negotiations as well.
 

Jeff

Cyburbian
Messages
4,161
Points
27
NHPlanner said:
We're union, but have no-strike clauses in our contracts..
All contracts have a "no-strike clause" that is the whole reason behind a contract. It is essentially a contract to provide work for "x" amount of time. It is when the contract is expired that you walk out if management doesn't provide decent wages ;)

Life safety professions, such as police, fire, and air-traffic control have legally binding agreements that require them to work regardless of if they have a contract or not.

I come from a long-line of blue-collared union thugs. I'm the first one in my family not to be a business agent in the unions. I was the shop steward at my old job though.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
We have no union for professional staff. There are not too many of us anyways. Our public works department and the rank and file police officers also are unionized.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,904
Points
39
Mike D. said:


All contracts have a "no-strike clause" that is the whole reason behind a contract. It is essentially a contract to provide work for "x" amount of time. It is when the contract is expired that you walk out if management doesn't provide decent wages ;)
Actually Mike, it is not like that. Our no-strike clause means that if our contract expires, we cannot strike, and the town has to continue under the terms of the recently expired contract...which right now, would be better than the contract the town is offering.
 
Messages
5,353
Points
31
I'm in the private sector, so definitely no union, but the city was just establishing a union for the employees right around the time I left that job.
 
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