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Thread: Another Instance of Union Impropriety

  1. -41
    LouPhinFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWalrus View Post
    Unions have less power today than at any time in the last 60 years.
    It's still too much.
    Enjoy your burrito.

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  2. -42
    TheWalrus's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by LouPhinFan View Post
    It's still too much.
    If companies treated their workers as potential customers rather than merely disposable labor there would be no need for unions, and indeed one of the reasons unions are less prevalent now is that they have helped push for working standards that everyone has benefited from. Companies realized the concessions led generally to a better and more dedicated workforce and realized they could avoid costly strikes and other strife by simply creating a working environment good enough so that a union wouldn't form.

    So bash them all you want, but everyone in this country has benefited from unions whether they want to admit it or not.

    The move in the last two decades to a more globalized workforce (post WWII, the US was the only industrialized country whose infrastructure was still intact, which gave organized labor a lot of power) has, not coincidentally, led to a reduction in the power of unions, and therefore a reduction in working standards in the US as well. Wal-Mart has become the poster child for a new era in exploitative practices but they're hardly the worst offender. I don't know if anyone's read about the conditions at these big shipping warehouses (Amazon, et all) but it's on par with just about anything you'll read coming out of China these days.

    This is a great undercover-style article from a while back. It's worth reading in it's entirety but here's a quote.

    Then as quickly as we've come, we all run back. At the end of the 15 minutes, we're supposed to be back at whichever far-flung corner of the warehouse we came from, scanners in hand, working. We run to grab the wheeled carts we put the totes on. We run past each other and if we do say something, we say it as we keep moving. "How's the job market?" a supervisor says, laughing, as several of us newbies run by. "Just kidding!" Ha ha! "I know why you guys are here. That's why I'm here, too!" At another near collision between employees, one wants to know how complaining about not being able to get time off went and the other spits that he was told he was lucky to have a job. This is no way to have a conversation, but at least conversations are not forbidden, as they were in the Ohio warehouse I reported on—where I saw a guy get fired for talking, specifically for asking another employee, "Where are you from?" So I'm allowed the extravagance of smiling at a guy who is always so unhappy and saying, "How's it goin'?" And he can respond, "Terrible," as I'm running to the big industrial cage-lift that takes our carts up to the second or third floors, which involves walking under a big metal bar gating the front of it, and which I should really take my time around. Within the last month, three different people have needed stitches in the head after being clocked by these big metal bars, so it's dangerous. Especially the lift in the Dallas sector, whose bar has been installed wrong, so it is extra prone to falling, they tell us. Be careful. Seriously, though. We really need to meet our goals here.

    Amalgamated has estimated that we pickers speed-walk an average of 12 miles a day on cold concrete, and the twinge in my legs blurs into the heavy soreness in my feet that complements the pinch in my hips when I crouch to the floor—the pickers' shelving runs from the floor to seven feet high or so—to retrieve an iPad protective case. iPad anti-glare protector. iPad one-hand grip-holder device. Thing that looks like a landline phone handset that plugs into your iPad so you can pretend that rather than talking via iPad you are talking on a phone. And dildos. Really, a staggering number of dildos. At breaks, some of my coworkers complain that they have to handle so many dildos. But it's one of the few joys of my day. I've started cringing every time my scanner shows a code that means the item I need to pick is on the ground, which, in the course of a 10.5-hour shift—much less the mandatory 12-hour shifts everyone is slated to start working next week—is literally hundreds of times a day. "How has OSHA signed off on this?" I've taken to muttering to myself. "Has OSHA signed off on this?" ("The thing about ergonomics," OSHA says when I call them later to ask, "is that OSHA doesn't have a standard. Best practices. But no laws.") So it's a welcome distraction, really, to imagine all these sex toys being taken out from under a tree and unwrapped. Merry Christmas. I got you this giant black **** you wanted.

    Unfettered capitalism is not a goal unto itself. The goal is an efficient society where the system and the rules benefit the people. Where laizze faire accomplishes that goal, great. Where it doesn't, it should be regulated.
    Last edited by TheWalrus; 10-15-2012 at 03:55 PM.
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