Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
All USA west coast cargo ports closed until further notice

By aphrael in News
Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:40:34 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

While janitors in the Boston metropolitan area threaten to strike, many people living in the western US have noticed a sudden absence of mangos in the grocery store, and the entire regional economy teeters, as a result of a lockout action which has shut down every port on the western US coast.


The action comes in the midst of a labor dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (representing dock workers) and the Pacific Maritime Association (representing management). The two have been butting heads since before the contract for port workers expired on July 1 of this year.

The major issue in the ongoing dispute appears to be concerns over the introduction of new technology, including electronic cargo-tracking systems which will replace the jobs of 300-400 current employees. While the new technology will also create new jobs involving the application of technology to ports, the workers are concerned that these jobs will not be filled with the people who lose their jobs, and that the new jobs will not be union jobs.

The dispute escalated last week when the union sent letters to dockworkers instructing them to follow health and safety rules at ports to the letter; the demand was ostensibly intended to protect longshoremen from being injured while processing cargo without a contract, but was probably an attempt to put pressure on management to amend its negotiating position. Management claims that that instruction disrupted activity at the ports and resulted in a ninety percent decrease in cargo processing. [Interjection: if adhering to the letter of workplace safety rules results in a 90% decrease in productivity, something is very wrong with either the rules, with normal day-to-day operations, or, most probably, both]. Determined that this was intolerable, the PMA voted to close the ports in retaliation; the idea was that they would re-open on Sunday morning. Management was operating under the assumption that, after the short-term lockout, the union would cease engaging in what management viewed as "disruptive activities".

The ports opened for a few hours but were then closed again. The union, which controls day-to-day work assignments, required that they be randomized (thereby reducing efficiency by not guaranteeing that the most experienced person in a particular job would be doing it); the PMA responded by closing the ports and announcing that they will remain shut until the union agrees to a temporary extension of the expired contract, or a new contract.

The two sides are expected to resume negotiations today, but the outlook is far from sanguine: both sides have hard negotiating positions that have shown no signs of softening for months, and tempers have been getting shorter over the last several days (instead of cooling off).

Meanwhile, economists are concerned; the ports handle close to $1 billion in merchandise a day, and an analysis conducted by the PMA and an outside consulting firm indicates that a 10-day shutdown would cost the economy $19 billion. The rate of increase of the economic impact is expected to increase over time, as manufacturing companies which store only small inventories of parts are either unable to obtain them (forcing them to sit idle) or are forced to pay significantly more expensive air shipping costs, and as retail outlets find their supply of saleable commodities diminishing. The economic impact could spread throughout the Pacific Rim, as manufacturers will not be paid for parts that cannot be delivered, and producers of fresh produce and meat will have to absorb the cost of rotting, undeliverable food.

The Bush administration has the authority, under the Taft-Hartley Act, to declare a national emergency and end the lockout if it determines that it would cause adverse effects on an entire industry or would threaten national security. While spokesman Ari Fleischer has acknowledged the economic risk, the Bush administration is taking a hands-off approach.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Internatio nal Longshore and Warehouse Union
o Pacific Maritime Association
o 300-400
o decrease
o $19 billion
o Taft-Hartl ey Act
o Also by aphrael


Display: Sort:
All USA west coast cargo ports closed until further notice | 233 comments (222 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Bush and problem solving (1.42 / 47) (#3)
by spacegrass on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:18:35 PM EST

How Bush solves problems :

Plan A: Cut taxes.

If that doesn't solve the problem, go to Plan B.

Plan B: Bomb some brown people.

If that doesn't work, forget about it, the problem is unsolvable. Blame the Demmycrats.
--
We'll get us some spacegrass
Lay low watch the universe expand

How is this germane to the discussion? (4.83 / 6) (#5)
by Mr Incorrigible on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:28:38 PM EST

The only point in which Bush enters this debate is through the powers granted him under the Taft-Hartley Act. He had nothing to do with this lockout.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
Ironic [editorial comment] (2.50 / 4) (#22)
by gibichung on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 05:44:46 PM EST

Your refutation has been incorporated into the story through the edit queue, which now serves to legitimize the post above. This just one more reason to do away with the edit queue.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
objection. (5.00 / 2) (#33)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:19:46 PM EST

the reference to the taft-hartley act, and the link associated to it, were in the first draft of the story, *before* it was submitted to the edit queue. it was *not* "incorporated via the edit queue."

[ Parent ]
The lady's right. (none / 0) (#38)
by Mr Incorrigible on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:57:50 PM EST

At least, I think that Aphrael's a lady. Aphrael could be a guy who happens to enjoy David Eddings.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
*laugh* (none / 0) (#46)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:11:59 PM EST

I'm a guy. Aphrael, in this case, has nothing to do with david eddings; it was a name I used in an RPG oh, eleven years ago, when I simultaneously got my first shell account. :)

[ Parent ]
Oops. My mistake. Sorry about that. [n/t] (none / 0) (#54)
by Mr Incorrigible on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:18:48 PM EST


--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
Funny... Mr Incorrigible just got corrected. [n/t] (none / 0) (#157)
by egerlach on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:06:42 PM EST



"Free beer tends to lead to free speech"
[ Parent ]
The name wasn't my first choice. (none / 0) (#161)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:26:43 PM EST

But I doubted that K5's software would have let me choose U Cheeky Bastard as my handle, even though it's the alias I use when paying cash at Radio Shack.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#222)
by tech on Sun Oct 06, 2002 at 02:50:06 PM EST

- Tech @ RadioShack

[ Parent ]
Oops [nt] (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by gibichung on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:22:00 PM EST



-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]
The question (3.00 / 4) (#39)
by felixrayman on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:02:33 PM EST

The question is would Bush be involved if we were talking about a strike instead of a lockout. The answer: he'ld order them back to work in two seconds.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
that's my suspicion as well (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:04:33 PM EST

and, as someone who lives on the west coast and therefore is noticing the absence of normal everyday things from grovery stores, it leaves me seething with rage.

[ Parent ]
Either way, Bush should stay out of it. (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by Mr Incorrigible on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:07:37 PM EST

The Taft-Hartley Act aside, it really isn't the President's place to order around either management or labor just because their dispute is making life inconvenient for others. Nobody has a right to not be inconvenienced.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
i'm not sure I agree. (4.75 / 4) (#44)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:11:00 PM EST

We're not talking inconvenience here; we're talking significant economic disruption if it goes on for too long --- eg., immediate recession in all pacific rim countries. Which means Bush is probably taking the right course --- stay out of it for a while, then step in when things get serious.

[ Parent ]
If I read your article correctly... (4.00 / 1) (#52)
by Mr Incorrigible on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:17:47 PM EST

Assuming that I haven't misread your article (which was well-written, by the way), the management started the lockout in order to pressure the union to negotiate as the contract has expired and talks have stalled. Instead of simply ordering management to end the lockout, which would simply restore matters to a pre-lockout state but with resentment on both sides, I think that it would be more prudent for Bush to attempt to persuade both sides to accept arbitration.

PS: you never did answer my question re Eddings. That's not nice. =^..^=

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
it's not bad if a fragile system is exposed (4.50 / 2) (#77)
by ethereal on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 10:05:56 PM EST

Granted, there will be economic disruption, but I think the question is whether our economic systems should be able to weather such disruptions or not. Surely a dockworker's strike is a legitimate business risk if you run a just-in-time assembly plant using overseas-sourced parts. If a few days of a strike drive you out of business, then you were living too close to the edge, taking risks to make a buck, and it turned around and bit you. It's just like the post-September-11th economic problems that some industries had - they were living too close to the edge, and when things got a little squirrelly, they fell off. When you run a multibillion-dollar airline with essentially no safety net, you should expect to get burned every once in a while. No sane person would run their household expenses in the way that these companies have, or, to be more accurate, a person who organized their finances along similar lines would be excoriated by the business class if that person hit some bad luck and went on welfare, for instance.

The hope is that the government refuses to bail things out, and businessmen have to learn to plan a little bit. Unfortunately, that is unlikely to occur. When it's no longer just the little guy getting screwed, the government will step in.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

They divide and conquer (4.50 / 2) (#99)
by felixrayman on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:04:13 AM EST

We're not talking inconvenience here; we're talking significant economic disruption

But that's ridiculous, if the strike continues, US ports will just lose all their business to foreign competition, right? :P

A management shill actually made this argument regarding the unions supposed opposition to technology improvements to the ports ( the union claims they have no problems with better technology...as long as they get the jobs ).

Yep, the ports on the West Coast are too low tech....we're shipping goods to California by way of Bombay from now on. Yeah you could ship through Canada or Mexico, but the cost of offloading cargo is so tiny compared to the final cost to the consumer that it still wouldn't make sense.

Anyway, I think the comments in various threads here about the 'dolts' getting paid $29 an hour are hilarious and instructive. Ummm, so they're getting paid more than they are worth, you are not, and THEY are dolts?

Nice try.

It's called divide and conquer, it's why real wages for high school grads in the United States have gone down since 1973.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Thanks for saving me the time... (4.50 / 2) (#81)
by Scratch o matic on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 10:38:43 PM EST

When I saw this article I immediately decided I must post a "blame Bush" troll. Thanks for beating me to it. Pathetic.

[ Parent ]
Yuk Yuk Yuk! (1.62 / 8) (#116)
by mveloso on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 08:50:56 AM EST

The K5 approach to problem solving:

talk
talk
talk

and let the event pass by on its own!

[ Parent ]

I'm sure that SanSeveroPrince would agree ... (4.50 / 4) (#6)
by pyramid termite on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:29:38 PM EST

... that if a strike is a form of violence, then a lockout is also a form of violence, no?

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
If the job is so dangerous ... (4.00 / 5) (#7)
by sonovel on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:33:20 PM EST

If the job is so dangerous, shouldn't everyone be happy that it is being automated?

I mean, less people working the docks means fewer people in danger, right?

the jobs being eliminated (5.00 / 5) (#9)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:39:21 PM EST

the jobs being eliminated are mostly clerical jobs; they aren't the dangerous ones.

[ Parent ]
So ... (4.66 / 3) (#25)
by sonovel on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 05:55:07 PM EST

They are striking to prevent too much use of computers? Or is it merely a particular software package that they don't want used?

Seems odd to me. If I told my bosses that I want less automation on my job, they'd think me insane.

[ Parent ]

it's not clear (5.00 / 3) (#27)
by aphrael on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 06:39:57 PM EST

are they striking? management locked them out, after all :)

The idea is that the computers will eliminated hundreds of jobs, and they want guarantees that the new jobs that are created will go to the people whose jobs are being eliminated. Management won't guarantee that.

[ Parent ]

They got locked out because (4.33 / 3) (#167)
by ZanThrax on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 08:22:29 PM EST

they were fucking around with work slowage. If I poke you in the ribs until you get pissed off and deck me, I can't whine that you started the fight.

If Bush can attack Iraq because they might do something to Americans someday, can I attack Bush because he might invade Canada someday? I figure I'm as entit
[ Parent ]

on the other hand (5.00 / 1) (#168)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 08:25:14 PM EST

they've been working without an employment contract since June. I don't know about you, but I *never* work without a contractual relationship between me and my employer.

[ Parent ]
I saw an article about this linked on FARK (3.61 / 13) (#8)
by Mr Incorrigible on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:37:09 PM EST

the other day. Something about port closures on the West Coast cancelling Christmas. I said, "Good fucking deal," when I saw it; the whole pre-Christmas bullshit annoys me.

The only Christmas-related songs I want to hear before 15 December is are "No Presents for Christmas" by King Diamond, "Mistress for Christmas" by AC/DC, or "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" by Savatage (also performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra). The last thing I need is to walk into a shop the day after Halloween and hear fucking Bing Crosby crooning "White Christmas".

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


To the guys modding me down: BAH HUMBUG! [n\t] (3.00 / 2) (#43)
by Mr Incorrigible on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:08:43 PM EST


--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
christmas at ground zero (4.00 / 2) (#63)
by turmeric on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:29:50 PM EST

by weird al. also 'gun for christmas' by the vandals. also 'christmas in hollis' by run dmc

[ Parent ]
"Christmas by myself this year" (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by ethereal on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:47:30 PM EST

http://www.hardcafe.co.uk/waitresses/xmas_wrapping.htm

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

No MP3 (none / 0) (#114)
by Rasman on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:39:10 AM EST

They took the MP3 off that site. :-(

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
a pity - the lyrics don't do the tune justice (nt) (none / 0) (#143)
by ethereal on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:37:58 PM EST


--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Where it's Christmas 180 days a year (4.33 / 3) (#118)
by pyro9 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:26:12 AM EST

I don't mind SO much the day after Halloween, though late November (day after Thanksgiving in U.S.) would be better.

What I do mind is the way Christmas seems to start cropping up in August! Jack'o'lanterns and black cats hanging on Christmas trees, Witches and mummies being crowded out by Santa.....


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Santa is an anagram of Satan. (4.50 / 2) (#141)
by Mr Incorrigible on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:23:07 PM EST

Has anybody else noticed this? No wonder all the kids get scared when they sit on the guy's lap.

--
I know I'm a cheeky bastard. My lady tells me so.


[ Parent ]
It goes deeper than that... (5.00 / 2) (#142)
by Xeriar on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:17:27 PM EST

'Old Nick' was once another term for Satan.

Santa used to be an old Scandanavian boogeyman of a sort, and if you didn't leave gifts for him on your doorstep, he'd take your children away.

How times have changed, hmm?

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]

And neither one exists (n/t) (2.00 / 1) (#182)
by buck on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 12:38:42 AM EST


-----
“You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
[ Parent ]
Costs the US 19 Billion Dollars... (2.71 / 14) (#10)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:46:30 PM EST

How come nobody is concerned about where that 19 billion is coming from? This will be a hiccup to our economy, but some farmer in ecuador is gonna get fucked anally and have to go back to growing coca. Fuck unions, and fuck trade associations.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
How about (4.16 / 6) (#11)
by Miniluv on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:51:13 PM EST

Also noticing that $19B might be a "hiccup" as compared to the gross domestic product, however just as many small US and Canadian merchants will be fucked when they don't have crucial product to sell.


"Too much wasabi and you'll be crying like you did at the last ten minutes of The Terminator" - Alton Brown
[ Parent ]

Supply and Demand (4.85 / 7) (#31)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 06:51:50 PM EST

The small businesses can up pricing on their existing inventory to compensate for the 10 day hiccup. The supply end of that chain cannot absorb the interruption as well. The companies that actually produce these goods tend to be alot smaller than the labels slapped on them, and many are producing goods on net terms. That means the money they pay their workers with now is borrowed on credit against the money they will get paid when the goods are actually received by the importers.

Believe me, I am the most jingoistic motherfucker on this board, but that doesn't mean I'm oblivious to the plight of foreign producers who are scraping by compared to the domestic distributers and retailers who front their goods. Realize that the effects of this 10 day lockout will reverberate, and come back to bite us on the ass when/if the supply chain fails.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I didn't say (3.66 / 3) (#34)
by Miniluv on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:24:39 PM EST

I'm not disagreeing that the foreign farmers (especially), as well as other manufacturers won't get assraped by the union in this case. They most certainly will.

However, price hikes only work to offset supply shortages for a very short period of time. The price of bananas cannot exceed a certain limit, for example. Ultimately, when the supply runs out, the demand goes unsatisfied and merchants will lose, big time.

"Too much wasabi and you'll be crying like you did at the last ten minutes of The Terminator" - Alton Brown
[ Parent ]

you're worried about farmers in Ecuador (4.25 / 8) (#14)
by dr k on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 04:58:28 PM EST

but you don't give a fuck about the job security of American dockworkers. I can see where that makes sense... no, wait, I can't.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Dockworkers. (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by Secularist on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 05:03:41 PM EST

Who cares about the dockworkers? They're standing in the way of progress! Off with their heads!

[ Parent ]
The Difference Is (3.90 / 11) (#30)
by thelizman on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 06:51:27 PM EST

The Ecuadorian farmers aren't sitting on their fat asses at home watching Oprah or giving sound bites about how their worried about being outmoded by technology. They are working for a living.

Do you not understand this situation? These fuckers were trying to apply strong-arm tactics to force port operators to NOT install more productive production methods, because the dockworkers don't have the skills to operate the new systems - hence, they feared for their job security. Everyone else in the real word (aka, people not in unions) simply save a few bucks, get some job training, and then write a letter to their boss saying "hey, install the new equipment, and I'll operate it for you".

There is a concept that works. Instead of kissing ass to big brother to ensure the status quo, workers can actually adapt to changing job markets by getting job training. Shit, most companies actually offer that since it's cheaper to retrain and keep workers than hire new ones.

Note: This rant does not apply to those people who are in unions because it was the only way they could qualify for employment, and pay dues but do not politically support the actions of their unions.

So, back to the poor yahoo in Ecuador, yes...I'm more worried about him, since he doesn't have a union to give him a paycheck when production breaks down. These pampered pussies here in the US are out of work now because the trade associations they were trying to push around pushed back.

Job security does not mean job surety, especially when you don't have the skills I now need. Improvise, adapt, overcome, or get the hell out of my way.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Ecuadorian farmers (2.20 / 10) (#36)
by dr k on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:31:53 PM EST

The Ecuadorian farmers deserve to suffer if they bought into American Capitalism and thought it would actually give a fuck about their quality of life. Alas, the pointless accumulation of wealth continues, the farmers will become tenants, and we are one step closer to revolution.

"Everyone else in the real word [will] simply save a few bucks, get some job training..."

This is an interesting bit of fiction. Maybe you should go over the the screenwriting story and fix up the plot a little. Save a few bucks for job training, yeah I'm sure that's what you've been doing, living the American dream with a little help from your parent's pocketbook.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

One step closer to revolution (3.50 / 4) (#72)
by devon on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:38:39 PM EST

Every day after a revolution is one day closer to revolution.

--
Call yourself a computer professional? Congratulations. You are responsible for the imminent collapse of civilization.
[ Parent ]
Parents? (2.75 / 4) (#94)
by thelizman on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:16:51 AM EST

My parents? Newsflash: Not everyone on this board is a 15 year old pud pounding pasty-faced zit monkey like yourself. Those of us who have been in the real world for a few years know how to improve their job skills? Do you know where your local community college is?
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Interesting (1.00 / 4) (#105)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 03:04:36 AM EST

You're as clueless in matters of politics as you are in matters of composition.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
is it true that (2.60 / 5) (#107)
by dr k on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 03:59:49 AM EST

one line responses make you seem intelligent?


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

But of course! [n/t] :) (none / 0) (#229)
by haflinger on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:22:36 PM EST



Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
yep, fuck 'em all (4.00 / 12) (#29)
by Goatmaster on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 06:48:38 PM EST

First you fuck the unions and trade associations, then the companies are free to fuck the worker, just like the old days.

Ahh, back to the luxerious world of 18 hour days, extremely poor wages and zero benifits. And after that's reestablished, we can bring back slavery, and whippings in the workplace!


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
Wage Slave Mentality (1.00 / 6) (#95)
by thelizman on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:18:24 AM EST

Yep, that's you. I'd explain it all, but it'd be like teaching geometry to a kindergartener. Once you go past triangles and squares, the audience is lost.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
it's reality mentality (3.50 / 6) (#98)
by Goatmaster on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:52:06 AM EST

Up for some topology, or perhaps some number theory? I know the numbers game inside out, and that includes the pseudo-math/science called economics.


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
Yet You Can't Connect The Dots (1.00 / 7) (#132)
by thelizman on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:50:00 AM EST

The ones between job skills and income? You're pathetic, just give up now.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
What did he say that suggested that? (4.75 / 4) (#137)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:00:35 PM EST

It looked to me like he was asserting that the people who own the company are always out to give their workers the least they can get away with as compensation for their labor. Which is true, and perfectly as it should be: that's a good way to keep costs down, and make your company more competitive.

It is true that acquiring skills can usually enable you to improve your income. But that's (a) because the skill makes your labor more valuable, and (b) having the skill places you on a different supply/demand curve. But it doesn't change the general rule that the owners of physical capital will attempt to pay you the least they can get away with --- it merely gives you more bargaining power, and changes their perception of 'what they can get away with'.

[ Parent ]

Hmm (4.00 / 1) (#153)
by valeko on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:56:03 PM EST

But it doesn't change the general rule that the owners of physical capital will attempt to pay you the least they can get away with --- it merely gives you more bargaining power, and changes their perception of 'what they can get away with'.
I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with that part. Whatever bargaining power organised labour has acquired -- in the sense that they can defend their narrow, petty self-interest (wage) -- is nicely offset by the fact that nothing is manufactured in the US anymore. For that very reason, among others of similar kind.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

re-read what i said. (4.00 / 1) (#159)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:14:34 PM EST

I said that gaining new skills gives you more bargaining power, not that organizing labor does.

[ Parent ]
aaah lizard brain (4.20 / 5) (#151)
by Goatmaster on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:36:53 PM EST

You don't see that what skills are consitered valuable are completely subjective. So who decides what the work is worth, the employer or the employees? They're both in a position to do so, however, it just makes more sense for the multiple employees to demand a basic level that is satisfactory to them than having an employer decide what they feel is the minimum. This is merely the 'two heads are better than one' principle at work. Of course there's negotiation around the points and some give and take, that's fair, but there needs to be recourse other than losing your job or getting paid too little when an employer is being overly greedy. This is too often the case unfortunately. This is also why employee-owned companies tend to work very well.


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
Really (3.00 / 3) (#106)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 03:07:11 AM EST

Seems to me that as union membership has declined, real wages have increased.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
well somebody call the President (4.00 / 1) (#109)
by dr k on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 04:02:27 AM EST

We done got proof of some darn thing here that seems to be true.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

really? (5.00 / 2) (#117)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:07:01 AM EST

the average real wage for blue-collar work seems to have declined since 1973.

[ Parent ]
Not for blue collar workers... (4.00 / 1) (#130)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:32:47 AM EST

...but average real wages. A smaller percentage of the work force is blue collar.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
nope (4.66 / 3) (#133)
by Goatmaster on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:51:45 AM EST

Real average wages in the US peaked in the early 1980s. Of course, this is economics and statistics so you can make it look like anything is happening, but this one is simple. The average wage is not increasing fast enough to offset inflation and the amount of money spent on services, such as health insurence, and cost of living. There is a nearly linear correlation between this and declining union membership, so make of it what you will.

Oddly enough though, production workers real wages have increased slightly in the last few years, but still not near the 1973 levels.


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
Documentation please (3.50 / 2) (#138)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:01:58 PM EST

Preferably from multiple sources. What I've read indicates the exact opposite.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
maybe because it's spun to seem that way (5.00 / 2) (#156)
by Goatmaster on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:00:08 PM EST

You have to cut out the top and bottom 1% of the data to get realistic figures that aren't too highly swayed by the extreme rich and extremely poor, to give a more realistic picture. My statments are based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' hourly wage series. The sources are: U.S. Council of Economic Advisers (1981, 1999). I use 1998 as the basis because this is the last year that I've read that comparable household wealth data was available. The wages are converted to constant dollars on the basis of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). More information is available at U.S. Bureau of the Census, "Detailed historical income and poverty tables from the March Current Population Survey 1947-1998. You can also reqest data from the US Bureau of Labour on the subject.


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
It's not the spin... (4.00 / 1) (#162)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:43:19 PM EST

...that has confused me, but the lack of consensus among recognized experts in the field. For instance, you might want look up the re-calculation of the CPI for recent years done by Northwestern's Robert J. Gordon (sorry no link handy), which argues that the CPI is overstated by a significant margin. You also have to take into account the fact that an increasing amount of an employee's real wages come in the form of benefits (increasing ~20 since 1980 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

I don't think anybody is arguing that real wages have dropped since the early seventies for the lowest 10% - 15% and nobody is really arguing that real wages have increased for the top 40% - 50%, but a lot of honest disagreement exists on how to determine the state of real wages for the middle 50% - 30%.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
correction (none / 0) (#163)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:51:59 PM EST

and nobody is really arguing that real wages have increased for the top 40% - 50% --> and nobody is really arguing that real wages have not increased for the top 40% - 50%

sorry about that

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Damn, just can't get it right (4.00 / 1) (#164)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:59:12 PM EST

The second paragraph should read (and I should avail myself of the preview function):

I don't think anybody disputes that real wages have dropped since the early seventies for the lowest 10% - 15% and nobody is really disputing that real wages have increased for the top 40% - 50%, but a lot of honest disagreement exists on how to determine the state of real wages for the middle 50% - 30%.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
oh yeah (3.50 / 2) (#173)
by Goatmaster on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:59:17 PM EST

I know all about the CPI criticisms and related whatnots. It's statistics and economics, you can pretty much get it to say anything if you define a scope that's going to shape it to your advantage. I'm trying to look at things in as broad a scope as possible. Still never going to get everyone to agree. So it is.


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
Indeed [n/t] (none / 0) (#174)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:09:35 PM EST


---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
trade associations and unions (2.14 / 7) (#35)
by dvchaos on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:29:32 PM EST

are for pussies that can't handle reality.

[ Parent ]
+1 (FP?) (4.30 / 13) (#16)
by thefirelane on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 05:06:42 PM EST

Although the subject matter might not be FP worthy (although I'm sure I'll get replies about how it is) I think this is an excellent example of how to do a news article for K5. It has both depth and background information.

It is not just a MLP style "Event X happened" with a link to an explaining article.

it provides a concise insight to the event and explains both the situation and the history behind it.


---Lane

-
Prube.com: Like K5, but with less point.
OSHA regulations (4.82 / 17) (#17)
by senjiro on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 05:08:38 PM EST

I know this is a bit of a tangent, but:
if adhering to the letter of workplace safety rules results in a 90% decrease in productivity, something is very wrong with either the rules, with normal day-to-day operations, or, most probably, both]

This is not unusual at all in most labor positions. I worked on a road crew, laying asphalt highways one summer in the midwest. OSHA regulations stipulated that each worker wear steel toed boots and long sleeve flannel shirts. Asphalt is around 180 degrees when it is laid down, and the heat index most days in that area was about 105 degrees F. As you can already guess, if everyone followed the "letter of workplace safety rules" the entire crew would be dead of heatstroke inside of an hour.

My point is that what the union is doing is clever, and points out yet another example of regulation-related insanity.

it is by will alone that i set my mind in motion
Funky OSHA regs. (4.50 / 2) (#149)
by Kintanon on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 04:17:53 PM EST

Another interesting Osha Reg requires that a safety catch be on ALL crane hooks when they are in use. Frequently this would require that a worker ride the load up to where it is being delivered in order to open the safety catch. Not exactly what I would call safe...

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

By-the-book strikes an old tactic (4.66 / 15) (#18)
by GGardner on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 05:20:35 PM EST

Interjection: if adhering to the letter of workplace safety rules results in a 90% decrease in productivity, something is very wrong with either the rules, with normal day-to-day operations, or, most probably, both

By-the-book strikes, or following the official rules to the letter of the law, even if that causes unusual delays, have been around almost as long as unions -- here's a quote from a pamphlet printed in 1916 which describes it well http://www.iww.org/sabotage/sabotage3.shtml



thanks (2.50 / 6) (#61)
by turmeric on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:27:44 PM EST

fascinating

[ Parent ]
All your ports (3.08 / 34) (#28)
by Pistol on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 06:45:54 PM EST

Are belong to us.

-1 because of that comment (en t) (1.00 / 2) (#32)
by LilDebbie on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:18:41 PM EST



My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Dude.. (3.75 / 4) (#103)
by Quixato on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 02:44:45 AM EST

Don't worry man, that was funny.. ;)

"People are like smarties - all different colours on the outside, but exactly the same on the inside." - Me
"Learn to question, question to learn." - Sl8r
[ Parent ]

The bottom line? (4.60 / 5) (#37)
by LilDebbie on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 07:49:47 PM EST

I find it hard to believe that a union of that size would strike over 300-400 jobs. There has to be a larger issue at hand than a small handful of soon to be out of work union members. Any ideas?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

All the time, and for good reason (5.00 / 7) (#47)
by localroger on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:12:02 PM EST

If you don't want a whole camel in your tent, you had best start hitting it when the only part in your tent is the nose. Otherwise, you might not be able to get it out.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Bizarre metaphor (nt) (3.50 / 2) (#68)
by LilDebbie on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:00:53 PM EST



My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Don't get out much? (3.66 / 3) (#69)
by localroger on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:20:40 PM EST

The metaphor is that of a tent in the desert. A camel sticks his nose under the flap of the tent. If you don't do something about it, the camel works his way in until you have the whole camel in your tent -- basically wearing your tent -- and you are phux0r3d. The "camel's nose under the tent" is an old saw in debate going back at least to the 19th century.

In modern terms it is a bit bizarre, but understood by most people.

OTOH I have a coworker who has never heard of Machiavelli and doesn't know what triage is. Go figure.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Pardon me (2.80 / 5) (#71)
by LilDebbie on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:30:35 PM EST

I think you misinterpreted my use of "bizarre" to imply some sort of lack of comprehension on my part. Using references to problems that are only issues for Bedouins and maybe a few other obscure nomads is, in my humble estimation, bizarre. Notably, you are violating certain rules of conversational etiquette by using anachronistic metaphor.

At the moment, I am not a troll.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Naw (4.66 / 3) (#85)
by cpt kangarooski on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:30:22 PM EST

Not really. There are a lot of odd metaphors like that. Foxes in henhouses, making mountains out of molehills, etc.

In fact, I can think of at least two others that involve camels: 1) the straw that broke the camel's back, and 2) threading the eye of a needle with a camel.

The setting may be anachronistic (though not as bad as that of Xeno's Paradox) but the meaning is clear enough, and that's what matters.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]

I thought it was spelled "Zeno" (4.00 / 2) (#122)
by Wah on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:19:51 AM EST

unless this guy is correct, or I'm just mistaken.  All the letters past T tend to blur together anyway.
--
You didn't know we had cameras in your room, Parent ]
Zeno Xeno (4.50 / 2) (#204)
by cpt kangarooski on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 07:06:23 PM EST

They're all good paradoxes. ;)

(yes, it is Zeno, my bad)

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
[ Parent ]

With Unions, (4.28 / 7) (#50)
by madgeo on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:14:56 PM EST

NOTHING is ever as it seems. The way you can tell a Union Rep is lying is by the fact that their lips are moving.

I have heard Unions strike because the Union was not getting the money that a business was putting into a retirement plan. Nevermind the fact that the retirement plan would pay MORE than the Union's retirement plan. The fact that the retirement money was not in the hands of the Union was enough to cause the Union to bring in troops from all over (nevermind the fact that the workers in that company didn't want to strike, they just wanted the best benefits).

Unions are for Unions, not for the worker.

I have heard lies told by reps to workers that just made me furious. Another example, this rep told a worker that if he went Union he would get way more pay per hour. The fact the Rep didn't mention was that if he went Union, he would have way LESS hours at that rate and the worker would LOSE money. Again, they don't give a shit about the worker, they care about the union!

[ Parent ]

The ILWU (4.75 / 4) (#70)
by KnightStalker on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:28:01 PM EST

I'm an unwilling member of the ILWU in Portland. When I told the leadership of the local chapter that I thought it was inappropriate that they were spending union dues on frivolous non-union-related activities, I got a long, nasty letter back informing me that (a) several people enjoyed it (no doubt!) and (b) no one is forcing me to work here, anyway, so I should just get a different job.

Of course, I completely agree with point b, although I'd rather work where I do even with the union than somewhere else without a union. But if it's true, why does the union exist? (Answer: People are stupid, and think that their union fees are protecting them. Actually, they are. Now that the union is "representing" us, the fees protect us from the union.)

[ Parent ]

The answer.. (5.00 / 7) (#82)
by Kwil on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 10:52:15 PM EST

..is of course to go to where the Union derives its power from.

Take your case to the other workers. If they agree with you, union leadership will agree with you - or will very quickly cease to be union leadership.

The benefit of belonging to a union is that what the majority of members want, they are more likely to get.

The detriment of belonging to a union is that what the majority of members want, they are more likely to get.

Sometimes we're in the majority, sometimes we're not.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
OTOH (4.20 / 5) (#134)
by parliboy on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:51:54 AM EST

Then again, the last time we trusted a company for our retirement, we did get Enron.

----------
Eat at the Dissonance Diner.
[ Parent ]

I know non-union technicians..... (3.72 / 11) (#41)
by madgeo on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:06:51 PM EST

that are being paid more than salaried Engineers and Geologists thanks to this wonderful {gag, hack} thing brought about by the Unions called Prevailing Wage (PW).

City, county, and state of California jobs now require PW for various jobs including jobs that you literally could pull a dolt off the street and they too can make around $29 an hour.

I am just waiting for engineers to come and say "why are techs making $60,000 PLUS a year when I have a degree and X years of experience. Maybe I should quit designing buildings and do grunt work all day."

Great system.

The Unions fulfilled a function,

SOMETIME IN THE LAST CENTURY.

Their bumper sticker around here says "live better, work union".

It should say "Live Better, WORK"

Oh and anyone that thinks unions are for the worker is smoking weed. The workers get more screwed by the Unions nowadays than they do by their spouses!

Contradiction (4.00 / 4) (#48)
by SomeGuy on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:12:09 PM EST

[...]you literally could pull a dolt off the street and they too can make around $29 an hour. [...] Oh and anyone that thinks unions are for the worker is smoking weed.

Didn't you just say the union is the reason they can make $29 an hour? If so, it sounds like they are doing something for the worker. (Not that I have any love for unions, I've heard too many horror stories from reliable sources.)

[ Parent ]
Tell me, (3.40 / 5) (#56)
by madgeo on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:19:17 PM EST

How is it fair when a SKILLED worker (engineers/geologists) is making less than a dolt. And don't tell me that the skilled workers wages will rise too, cause they probably won't! And if they did, let me tell you what would happen, INFLATION. Cost of everything goes up because some arbitrary bunch of fuckwits decides what a "fair wage" is.



[ Parent ]

move to china buddy (3.20 / 5) (#58)
by turmeric on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:22:11 PM EST

in china there are no labor unions so the dolts make jack crap. they also get fired for no reason and have no way to fight against discrimination, unsafe working conditions, fighting for more money, reasonable hours, etc etc etc.

your argument is like telling someone we should get rid of the republicans because of how evil they are.... which would leave us only with democrats running things, which would be 100000% worse.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, (3.75 / 4) (#62)
by madgeo on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:29:21 PM EST

Contrast a totalitarian communist state, that always works as a fall back position.

That same state is "for the workers" remember?

[ Parent ]

I didn't (4.00 / 2) (#83)
by SomeGuy on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:17:00 PM EST

How is it fair when a SKILLED worker (engineers/geologists) is making less than a dolt.

I said nothing about it being fair, I said the union was benefiting the workers by forcing higher wages. Perhaps the problem is the skilled workers are being underpaid, and that's largely unrelated to the pay rates for laborers?

[ Parent ]
Speaking as a skilled worker.... (4.00 / 3) (#126)
by madgeo on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:50:13 AM EST

I and the skilled workers I work with are not underpaid.

On what planet should an unskilled, and when I say unskilled, I mean I could get a teenager and train them in a week to do the job perfectly, get paid $29 an hour to do ANYTHING. I mean we are talking work that is stupid simple here.

[ Parent ]

If the engineers are so smart (3.44 / 9) (#104)
by Biff Cool on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 02:54:39 AM EST

why don't they start a union?  It seems to be working pretty well for the dolts.

My ass. It's code, with pictures of fish attached. Get over it. --trhurler


[ Parent ]
Short-term Gains (4.00 / 2) (#195)
by dcheesi on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 01:29:55 PM EST

Didn't you just say the union is the reason they can make $29 an hour? If so, it sounds like they are doing something for the worker. (Not that I have any love for unions, I've heard too many horror stories from reliable sources.)
Yep, they make $29/hr, right until the plant closes (and moves to China). Artificially inflating wages only ensures that the facility/business won't be competitive, and will eventually become too expensive to operate. Of course dock workers suffer less from this due to the geographic monopoly the docks tend to have (building docks in India or Mexico isn't going to help you much). But even so, sooner or later the management will be unable to continue paying the unrealistic wages that most unions demand. Then you get problems like this one.

[ Parent ]
Nearly all the time (4.20 / 5) (#49)
by Celestial on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:13:55 PM EST

I do imagine there are Some exceptions, I've been told that the machinist's union from Boeing is one, but yeah, generally unions make things far far worse for the average worker. They also tend to be as disrespectful of their members, or more than the employers themselves. I'll do a dance when Teamsters dies, but I doubt it will.

[ Parent ]
You hit the key point ... (4.83 / 6) (#113)
by vrai on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:27:45 AM EST

Namely that unions used to be about getting a better deal for the working man. Basically they were against un/semi-skilled labour being treated like indentured servants and fought back by with holding their collective labour. All well and good.

Sadly unions today are about one thing: making the unions more powerful. They don't give a toss about their rank-and-file members, only about the career prospects of their senior members. Take London Underground drivers for example - they are heavily unionised and have managed to extort massive wages out of the public sector company that runs the Tube (they earn over $50,000 [1] a year and get 43 [2] days paid holiday). They have some of the best employment terms in the UK, but *still* go on strike for more money! Not because they are being treated badly, but because they can (by bringing Europe's biggest city to a standstill), and the law prevents their employers firing them and getting less lazy replacements.

Unions have a place, but it has to work both ways. A union has a right to withhold labour, and their employers should have a right to seek alternate sources of labour (within the realms of employment laws).

[1] - The average wage in London is about $37,000 - and that's including the city's financial bigshots
[2] - Most people get 20 - 25 days a year


[ Parent ]

well... damn (4.50 / 2) (#160)
by Celestial on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:15:40 PM EST

I want to work for them. My experience has been with one union, in the only union job I will ever have (with any luck). Among other things, my union was supposed to oversee the actual dispensation of my medical coverage, however upon qualifying for medical coverage I did not recieve any. My union claimed it was because my employers never gave them my information, my employers claimed that they did. Now, faced with this situation, I thought my union should do its job and defend my rights, but instead they basically told me to fuck off until my boss gave them my paper work. I quit my job, and have now gone 3 years without any kind of medical. Stupid America and stupid unions.

[ Parent ]
uhm, why dont the engineers demand more money (3.33 / 3) (#53)
by turmeric on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:18:48 PM EST

instead of whining about how 'dolts' are getting payed more than them.

[ Parent ]
They can..... (4.33 / 6) (#59)
by madgeo on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:25:25 PM EST

and inflation will eat us all alive. You see, when people that have no idea of economics start arbitrarily assigning what businesses can or cannot charge for labor, it can effect the whole economy.

For example, housing is bloody expensive. In my previous example, you are doubling the cost of a technician. Now as per your suggestion, double the cost of the Engineer, then the Construction guys, Roofers, etc. GUESS WHAT? Pretty soon your house costs double what it does now!!!!

Isn't THAT fun....

[ Parent ]

My house costs double? (none / 0) (#227)
by haflinger on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:03:50 PM EST

Great, I sell it. :P

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
Would you do it? (5.00 / 2) (#194)
by Kintanon on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 01:21:58 PM EST

The question is, how many people want to be longshoreman? Is there a huge flood of people waiting to enter the field?
From what I've seen of it being a longshoreman involves moving heavy boxes all day long. I would NOT do that job. Not eve for 100K a year. Because it would completely suck for me.
If no one wants to do a job then the salary is gonna go up.

Of course nowadays there are 5 million mexican migrant laborers who will gladly move those boxes anywhere you want for 10$ an hour. So the unions are pissed...

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Free Market. (3.00 / 1) (#225)
by vectro on Wed Oct 23, 2002 at 08:27:22 PM EST

The problem with your line of reasoning is that it implies the unions have no effect; people wouldn't take these kinds of jobs without the high pay in any case.

But it is obvious to anyone involved that the only reason such high wages prevail is because of unions. Unions distort market wages, such that jobs do end up paying more than the market would dictate.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Corporations distort market wages. (none / 0) (#226)
by haflinger on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:02:12 PM EST

Let's face it: a large corporation, say, IBM, has more bargaining power than some guy with a soldering iron and a bunch of circuit boards in his basement. IBM is going to be able to get a better deal for things, not because it's Holy or Nice or whatever, but because it's bigger.

Unions distort the market in precisely the same way. By banding together, unions increase the market power of workers.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is: if you really want a Truly Free Market, thoroughly undistorted, maybe you want to ban corporations in general.

Of course, I don't think that's a good idea. :)

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

What does distortion mean? (4.00 / 1) (#231)
by vectro on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 06:33:57 PM EST

See this other post, which addresses part of your point.

But the imbalance is not really one of corporations vs. individuals, but rather employers vs. employees. Even if the employer is a natural person, he or she still tends to have an advantage in negotiations. The reasons for this are twofold: First, the employer tends to have many employees, whereas the employee tends to only have one (or two) employers; thus the continuance of employment is of much greater importance to the employee. Second, the employer (if not a corporation) can generally survive without any employees at all, whereas the employee must have an employer to live.

You see similar systematic differences in negotiating power in the housing market - landlords tend to have multiple properties, and even in cases where they don't, the lessee is substantially more inconvienced by an eviction.

It's inappropriate to call these power imbalances distortions, because they do reflect to proper market rate for various services. The only contradiction is that this market rate is sometimes socially undesirable.

The general idea of unions, then, is that they allow workers to collude in order to gain some power over their employers. But this collusion is and should be limited, because unions are only useful insofar as they improve social conditions.

The idea, t

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Fallacy of the industrial age. (2.00 / 1) (#232)
by haflinger on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 06:45:17 PM EST

The industrial employer tends to have a lot of employees. This was not always the case.

The pre-factory industrial employer: the guy who gives artisans money in 18th century America. Here, we've got a situation where most production is conducted in private settings, people's homes, places like that. After they've made their widgets, they go wandering about looking for shopkeepers and so on to sell to. Your typical artisan will sell to several shopkeepers. And each shopkeeper will similarly buy from several artisans. This is the kind of economy that Adam Smith wrote about.

It's not the factory economy. Factories initially greatly strengthened the market power of the employers, for all the reasons you mention. Unions were a reaction to this.

But you might as well talk about banning unions just the same as banning factories. Factories allow employers to centralize their power. Unions allow employees to do the same. Both are going the way of the dodo right now, but I expect both to survive quite some time before completely disappearing.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

The difference... (none / 0) (#233)
by vectro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:08:36 AM EST

... between factories and unions is that while both tend to change the power equations, only one of them has such a change as its primary purpose.

Factories are a necessary byproduct of industrialization. Without manufacturing machinery, workers can do their labor on their own -- the so-called "putting-out" system. But large manufacturing machinery requires many workers at a centralizatized location. Hence factories.

Of course, manufacturing machinery is not an end unto itself. But it allows workers to produce more with less labor and resources, so if you measure quality of life in things the factory system is obviously preferable. Of course there are other more meaningful measures of quality of life, and one might argue that we should do away with factories and move towards a more Amish lifestyle.

Factories do increase the power of the employer. But such an increase is not the main purpose of factories. Unions, on the other hand, serve to counteract this imbalance -- unions exist to transfer power. This, it seems to be, is a clear reason why unions are in need of greater restrictions than factories. Factories do not attempt to institutionalize their own existance; if more efficient methods are developed, they will go away. Unions, on the other hand, tend to outlive their usefulness.

I'm curious why you suggest that either factories or unions are going extinct. Certainly the factories are moving elsewhere, and the unions thus losing their base. But unions are responding by moving into new fields, especially universities and local government. And the factories are merely moving elsewhere.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Send as much as you can... (3.80 / 5) (#45)
by psyconaut on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:11:32 PM EST

North to Port Vancouver.....and I'm sure Canadian truck drivers won't mind driving it down the West Cost either -)

I agree with the previous comments about how scary the fiscal loss of this is -- not just for U.S. companies, but other economies that rely on the U.S. as a foreign trade partner.

I also agree with the previous comment that striking like this over a few hundred jobs seems extreme.

-psyco

what if it were your job (2.75 / 4) (#51)
by turmeric on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:16:40 PM EST

or your wifes job or your parents job.

[ Parent ]
I would go out and get another, duh..... (4.83 / 6) (#57)
by madgeo on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:20:52 PM EST

and so would my wife and parent. That's why they call it WORK, it sometimes requires some.

[ Parent ]
The real problem here (4.50 / 2) (#147)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 02:12:06 PM EST

is that there isn't a particularly big market for the skills these guys have. Longshoreman work is basically unskilled labor, and the skills they acquire on the job are limited pretty much entirely to ports. Maybe they can get equivalent jobs on the east coast, but otherwise their options are:
  • look for work in the ground shipping industry or in airports, which is similar to what they've bene doing
  • move to some other country to work in their ports
  • take a job that pays less

The last is an issue because longshoremen are, in general, the best-paid unskilled workers in the country --- and to a certain extent rightly so, as a huge percentage of GNP passes through their hands every day. But that also carries with it a problem: if they go get some different job, it is almost guaranteed that their pay will be reduced.

So they fight for their jobs, because that is the single most economically rational thing for them to do.

[ Parent ]

my, you're right! (3.66 / 3) (#92)
by ShadowNode on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:01:57 AM EST

Them thar fancy knitting machines are stealing our jobs! Time for some smashy smashy!

[ Parent ]
Then.. (4.00 / 1) (#170)
by mindstrm on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 08:58:34 PM EST

I would encourage them to consider WHY they are currently not working, and what caused such a fuss that the ports acutally locked them out.

[ Parent ]
Just So Long... (5.00 / 2) (#97)
by Canar on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:39:26 AM EST

Just so long as it isn't lumber... Then again, maybe the US would learn how ludicrous their 25% (or is it higher?) levy on Canadian-origined lumber really is. Yet noone ever hears about it down there, despite the fact that it is damaging the British Columbian economy almost as badly as the NDP...

[ Parent ]
freight/railroad boxes (4.00 / 1) (#210)
by Barbarian on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 03:32:14 AM EST

Isn't a lot of the cargo intermodal containers like the type you can pull off the ship, stick on a train, and then attack to a truck later? Would make sense to process that all in Vancouver, the railroads and truckers could be really happy.

[ Parent ]
I live in Seattle (4.44 / 9) (#55)
by Celestial on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:18:53 PM EST

Yeah, so this is all rather annoying, and between this and a bunch of Boeing shit, it looks like my local economy is going to be dead now.  Oh, and I live in a state that decided that the hole in the budget should be filled by pulling funcing for Education, so yeah...
this all sucks

Thanks, no, really, I love you

Seattle (4.25 / 4) (#89)
by mikromouse on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:51:49 PM EST

I dutifully concur. Imagine being 19, thinking that your vote can change things, and still finding out that they're using the education money to finance this budget hole. ARGH. Oh, and yes. I'm thoroughly fed up with our local economy.
"Are you able to condense fact from the vapor of nuance?"
[ Parent ]
yep (1.33 / 3) (#158)
by Celestial on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 06:09:34 PM EST

Yeah, wonderful... simply wonderful

[ Parent ]
Too bad. (4.33 / 3) (#178)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:51:37 PM EST

The only thing that is sad about cuts to education funding is that the only victims are the teachers who actually do something and the students.

30-40% of a schools budget is sucked away by non-educational activity. Sports, administration, speech therapists, psycologists, rent-a-cops, bogus graduate education for teachers in "education" rather than english, science and mathematics.

The public school system is a unmitigated disaster. The educational trend of centralizing and consolidating students into 5,000 student mega-highschools and eliminating the concept of a neighborhood elementary school has transformed school from a hall of learning and knowledge to a training course to teach children how to become good sheep in a bueracracy.

[ Parent ]

The peculiar hatred of unions (3.92 / 13) (#60)
by dachshund on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:27:06 PM EST

What I love about unions is the particular hatred they inspire among certain "free market capitalists" (even those folks who don't believe in anti-trust regulation, or that businesses should be in any way regulated.) If the ILWU was a public company, say a labor contractor, pushing for a better deal, a lot of people'd just write this off as an unavoidable aspect of capitalism. But mention unions, and it's all different.

There's a difference between... (3.09 / 11) (#64)
by madgeo on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:38:27 PM EST

a contractor "pushing for a better deal" in a competitive bidding market, and

hijacking the deal with blackmale and duress.

Maybe Unions wouldn't suck so bad if they had to compete bid against other Unions for the same work, but they don't.

So they SUCK.

[ Parent ]

it is no fault of the unions (4.25 / 8) (#66)
by dr k on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:48:44 PM EST

if your free market keeps degenerating.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

imagine that (3.54 / 11) (#67)
by Goatmaster on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:54:38 PM EST

The people who PRODUCE the goods are dictating the terms by which they will produce the goods. And there are enough of them that they'll get what they want or nothing will be produced.

Seems fair to me. Sounds like someone is just jealous of the power truely being in the hands of the people.


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
Sure (2.85 / 7) (#75)
by dachshund on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:53:22 PM EST

Maybe Unions wouldn't suck so bad if they had to compete bid against other Unions for the same work, but they don't.

And maybe Microsoft products wouldn't suck so bad if they had to compete against other companies in the same area, but they don't. And yet the same people will come to Microsoft's defense as will slam unions.

hijacking the deal with blackmale and duress

If you're working without a contract, and the other party isn't offering reasonable terms, you can stop working.

[ Parent ]

Open your eyes... (4.00 / 2) (#87)
by SvnLyrBrto on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:33:24 PM EST

I read more than a few online discussion boards (even when I'm not bothering to comment)...

... and so far as *I* can see, microsoft is bashed just as much, if not more, than ANY union.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

That's not the point (4.20 / 5) (#120)
by greenrd on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:41:08 AM EST

The point is, many economically "libertarian" types will attack the antitrust case againt MS but bash unions - it seems inconsistent.

The fact that MS is based more than unions is irrelevant, because hard-core "libertarians" seem to be a minority (a vocal minority) on places like Slashdot, and also one can bash MS without approving of the antitrust case.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

competition (3.66 / 3) (#121)
by 5pectre on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:42:28 AM EST

NASUWT - National Union of Women Teachers (i think they dropped the women bit though)
NUT - National Union of Teachers
UNISON - Public Service Workers Union

the first two unions are specifically for teachers and the third union has a high number of teachers as members. the unions have to compete with each other for members. it's not as if any one union has a monopoly.

however, unions usually co-operate (in solidarity) with other unions on industrial action. this is a *good* thing. "united we stand, divided we fall".

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

Competing for members.... (4.66 / 3) (#124)
by madgeo on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:45:46 AM EST

is hardly competing for the contract. That's like the contractors having to compete for workers, but then all agreeing to submit the same high price as a bid. I beleive (although I am not postitive) that is illegal in bidding in most arenas.

[ Parent ]
everyone has blind spots (4.66 / 6) (#91)
by ShadowNode on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:58:33 PM EST

Unions are no better, or worse, than any other hierarchical power structure. This means they're pretty crappy, just like corporations and governments.

[ Parent ]
unions are to some extent democratic (4.00 / 4) (#115)
by 5pectre on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 08:39:50 AM EST

in the same way that governments are. you can't say that for corporations.

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]
Good thing (3.83 / 6) (#128)
by br284 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:12:47 AM EST

Because if all American corporations were democratic, things would be gawdawful expensive and nothing would get done. I for one am glad that not every stupid Tom, Dick, and Harry has a say in how people run their business -- oh wait, they do, they vote with their dollars! As it should be.

This "corporations are not democracies" whine that I hear is getting as old as the "Saddam is a saint, and the USA is Lucifer" one that is so often propogated around here. Despite all the warm fuzzy stuff that you've read about democracy and how great it is (and overused as a term to become essentially meaningless) -- it's not the cure for cancer and it won't fix everything. Personally, I think it sucks royally -- but in the spirit of Churchill, I don't know of anything that sucks less.

I miss k5 when it was more populated with people who actually thought about things and didn't use the board as a platform for showing their liberal credentials by overrepeating the party line. I'm wondering how much further this can go until k5 is little more than an inverse of the Free Republic. But I'm glutton for punishment...

-Chris


[ Parent ]

interesting viewpoint (3.50 / 2) (#154)
by 5pectre on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:57:46 PM EST

i'd have to disagree with you on some points however...

Because if all American corporations were democratic, things would be gawdawful expensive and nothing would get done.

indeed, and yes to some extent corporations are democratic (market research is finding out what people want and then acting on it, this could be construed as democratic). however this, like your 'voting with their dollars' is fundamentally uninclusive (not everyone gets a say (especially those without money)). i'm also not saying that corporations being undemocratic is a bad thing. democracy is very inefficient.

i don't think anyone believes that saddam is a saint. on the anti-war march in london last saturday, no one i spoke to had nice things to say about saddam, not even people from the SWP and CPGB. i can safely say that i have read a lot of unfuzzy stuff about democracy, in fact i have probably read more against it than for it. i'm sure we all understand the democracy is the 'tyranny of the majority over the minority'.

i don't belong to any party and i don't intend to (i had to explain this to the various political parties in operation at my university).

your reply really says more about you than it does about me. you made presumptions over one line that i wrote, although i can see now that it might have been ambiguous. what i basically meant was 'unions and governments are to some extent democratic' and that 'corporations are not as democratic as the above'.

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

St. Saddam (4.50 / 2) (#165)
by br284 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 07:40:41 PM EST

With regards to Saddam is a saint, I was just doing my typical right-wing rant. It wasn't aimed at you in particular -- it was the "verbal" manifestation of my frustration of another article. I hope that you realize that the rest of my reply was made in a similar rant.

I like your reply though -- it means that you're thinking more than the average left/progressive type. Kudos.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

thanks (3.50 / 2) (#166)
by 5pectre on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 08:19:38 PM EST

np, i thought it might have been. you do tend to get a lot of those types of rants around. i've probably even done one in the past :)

thanks, i spend hours trying to work out how a company (or organisation) can be both efficient and inclusive (i have two flatmates, one pro-capitalism and one anti-capitalism so this makes for interesting discussions).

i abhor nationalised industry monopolies (and so does anyone who has lived with british telecom), workers/unions who are against technology because it will put them out of 'jobs' and subsidies that provide an unfair market for producers in developing countries.

but i also oppose typical capitalist 'workers make stuff, capitalists profit from it' type business, migration of labour to poorer countries to increase profits at the expense of the local (typically non-union) workforce (otherwise how could it be possible to ship products accross the globe and still make a profit). i like the idea of profit sharing companies/co-operatives but think that too much democracy would hurt both the employees and the consumers.

to summarise, you could say that i hate both the bad sides of capitalism and the bad sides of socialism and that sticking to any one mantra is dangerous. perhaps i'm just being utopian, but as oscar wilde once said: "A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at."

anyway enough of that, perhaps i'll write a diary entry at some point :)

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

Comrade, I have a solution (4.50 / 2) (#171)
by br284 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:08:22 PM EST

Small business. Everything capitalism is supposed to be without all the problems that people run across today.

Of course, the trick is figuring a way to create incentives to keep the businesses small. If you can figure out an incentive structure that promotes small business over large business -- you'll be my eternal hero.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

indeed (4.50 / 2) (#172)
by 5pectre on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:42:18 PM EST

however there are projects which require more resources than most small businesses have at their disposal. such projects could be done by a co-operative of small businesses or a co-operative of workers and small businesses. also, i think that the type of business/organisation model should vary depending on the sector.

for example: in the primary sector mineral/natural resource extraction i am wary of the benefits that capitalism provides. (disclaimer: i haven't researched this, it is pure speculation) i would like to see mineral/natural resource extraction as a non-profit co-operative of workers supplied to consumers at cost (incl. wages etc.).

i'm dubious as to the rightness of people extracting something that should belong to all of us such as natural resources (e.g. water, oil etc) should profit from it (by this i mean profit after running costs/wages/r&d etc.)

i understand how competition can make a difference to manufacturing/service sector companies, but does it really make that much of a difference to mineral extraction? (not processing, just extraction).

i'm also interested in the informal economy and how free market capitalism works in the drugs trade.

i wonder if you could answer me a question: is there any non greed/selfish explanation for why people in the developing world get paid less than those in the developed world aside from the cost of living? (excuse me if this is a lame question, but i just can't figure it out without coming to a 'developed countries are pigs' type solution (one which i am not happy with)).

excuse me if i am incoherent, it's quite late :)

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

extraction (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by br284 on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 04:19:25 PM EST

I think that the coop-mineral extraction sounds interesting until you get to a certain point -- who determines the wages of the extractors. In a small business capitalist system, competition determines the cost of the goods, which in turn determines the wages people recieve. Without the competitive pressure, what's to stop the workers' coop for shafting the population because they feel that they should be paid more?

I respect your thoughts on who should profit from common natural resources, but I'm declining to address it because I really don't have anything to say on the topic. The factor that I am interested in is how this extraction can happen in the most efficient and just way possible. Obviously there is a balance to be struck -- efficient - competing dictators with slaves who are constantly locked in competition for the cash -- just - everyone gets a piece of the pie.

Now, on to the cost of living question. I've spent a signifcant amount of time in what could be categorized as a third world village, so I'll explain my perceptions. First of all, one reason that these people don't get paid as much is that the sum of their labor is not as valuable to the people doing the paying as some social activists would like to think. In some respects, they are not only competing against everyone else willing to work cheap, they are also competing to stay cheaper than automation. Secondly, the skillset of the typical third world villager is not that developed in the areas that matter to the people who are paying them. For instance, you can have three third world farmers with older methods producing X amount of crop. However, as soon as a more sophisticated farmer comes along and produces that X amount of crop, the three third worlders must be cheaper combined than the sophisticated farmer in order to still sell their crop. I only see this situation become more tense as we get better and better at automating things. I guess the short answer to the question is that people in the third world are competing with people in the developed world who can do the same thing as they, but with more speed, production, and less cost than those in the developed world. That might explain why you can have one developed-world farmer make more than X times than a typical developing-world farmer because he can produce X amount of crop (probably more) given the same amount of payment that would pay three developing farmers instead.

Did I answer it?

-Chris

[ Parent ]

some points (5.00 / 1) (#198)
by 5pectre on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 04:45:50 PM EST

on the point of who determines the wages of the extractors, the market does (until there becomes only one place where we can get 'x' natural resource from). each mineral extraction location would have an organisation mining it and these organisations would compete on the market. admittedly there is a chance of price fixing (all the organisations get together and decide a price). however this already happens in a supposedly capitalist system with price fixing agreements (De Beers and the Record Industry being examples). organisations that provide value added products (such as refined oil) could charge extra and those organisations would compete against other 'small business' oil refiners. i'm not saying there wouldn't be competition, just no profit made.

regarding the cost of living point i realise that the labour isn't as valuable to those that use it. but how did that work when there was mining in developed countries? the wages in the developing countries would have been much higher than those in the developing world.

regarding the developed world (US/EU) being cheaper/faster/better: why are there such huge subsidies and tariffs on agriculture if they are more competitive? and why does the US (and probably other countries) sell it's products at a loss on the global market?



"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

response (5.00 / 1) (#200)
by br284 on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 05:17:36 PM EST

on the point of who determines the wages of the extractors, the market does (until there becomes only one place where we can get 'x' natural resource from). each mineral extraction location would have an organisation mining it and these organisations would compete on the market. admittedly there is a chance of price fixing (all the organisations get together and decide a price). however this already happens in a supposedly capitalist system with price fixing agreements (De Beers and the Record Industry being examples). organisations that provide value added products (such as refined oil) could charge extra and those organisations would compete against other 'small business' oil refiners. i'm not saying there wouldn't be competition, just no profit made.

At which point in this scheme does a coop cease being one and just become a business? Another question -- so the market determines the cost of the raw materials... Ok, what happens if my mining coop can mine materials at a price cheaper than my competitors? Do I get to charge as much to the consumers as my less-efficient competition and pay my workers more? Or am I required to pay my workers the same and pass on the savings to the consumers? If it's the first option -- how is this different than profit? If it's the second option -- what incentive is there to do anything efficiently when the workers will be making as much as their inefficient competition? The first case starts a race that cumulates in what is a profit-driven free market, while the second spawns a race to the bottom as there is negative incentive to do something efficently.

regarding the cost of living point i realise that the labour isn't as valuable to those that use it. but how did that work when there was mining in developed countries? the wages in the developing countries would have been much higher than those in the developing world.

The wages in the developed world would be higher because with developed world technology, it takes less people to mine the same amount of ore. Granted, it hasn't always been this way -- tech had to be developed somewhere, but I suspect that what is happening (of course, assuming a free market) is that the wages of the miners will go up as less are needed, and the cost of the ore to the consumers will go down as the wages may not rise as much as the cost of production falls. Ideally, they would meet somewhere in the middle, with the miners earning more than in the past and the consumers able to obtain materials at cheaper costs in the past. Of course this is ignoring that there will be less miners, and some may have lost their jobs due to being replaced by machines. But when calculating wages, those who are earning nothing because they have been laid off don't figure into the wage studies, thus driving the wage figure even higher when there are less people mining.

regarding the developed world (US/EU) being cheaper/faster/better: why are there such huge subsidies and tariffs on agriculture if they are more competitive? and why does the US (and probably other countries) sell it's products at a loss on the global market?

Politics. When formerly closed markets open up, the domestic farmer may realize that he has a counterpart in Mexico who is willing to work for less and the domestic farmer may not be efficient enough to over come the foreigner's ability to work cheaper (remember cost of living is lower). So rather than accept a lower standard of living in order to compete with the foreigner, he lobbies with a bunch of similar folks and convinces the people in power that the small American farmer is in danger. Then you get all sorts of stupid stuff like subsidies and tariffs. It's not necessarily a flaw in the economic system, it's a people's unwillingness to trust the system completely.

-Chris

BTW -- I'm sorry for still using IPv4.



[ Parent ]
reply (5.00 / 1) (#203)
by 5pectre on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 06:39:02 PM EST

in a standard business the profits go to the people who own the business (capitalists), in a co-operative, the profits of the labour go to the workers.

take for example this situation: a UK company discovers copper on a small island. the indigenous people are employed to work in the mine that the company creates (it is allowed to create it by the local government which receives kickbacks). the employees receive a pittance as a wage. the vast majority of the profit goes to the people who set up the mine the people living in the UK and the government. this is how the current capitalist system works. in a co-operative system, instead of the profits going to the people in the UK the profits would be distributed between the workers.

you can charge your consumers less or give your workers more as with the current system. if you charged your consumers less, people would probably buy more from you, so the workers would benefit anyway. if you charged more, the workers would benefit immediately but you might not get as much business. the same problems of spiralling downwards already happen (except where there are price fixing cartels).

i think unions factor into this second point aswell. also, the cost of living is partially higher in the developed world because the standard of living is higher. why should workers in the developing world have a lower standard of living? also if the people of the developing countries (i deliberately don't say governments as the governments of developing countries are more likely to squander money rather than make life better for their people) received more of the profit from their labour they could use that to improve their standard of living instead of the improvement going to the people in the developed world. the problem of unemployment is another matter entirely.

i agree that politics is a problem for economic systems in that it effects it, the challenge is to come up with an economic system that is both fair and efficient and takes this into account and i don't think capitalism does and the same thing could be said for socialism/communism.

also, what do you mean by closed markets? would you say that the US is a good example of an open market? to me the markets of the US/EU don't seem exactly open. do you mean allowing foreign companies to own local businesses? all economic systems (that i can think of) suffer from that flaw. you could say the same thing about communism (which turned out to become a form of state capitalism).

no problem, but you really should ditch that reactionary ipv4 nonsense and join the ipv6 revolution. :)

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

resopnse (5.00 / 1) (#205)
by br284 on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 08:15:50 PM EST

"in a standard business the profits go to the people who own the business (capitalists), in a co-operative, the profits of the labour go to the workers."

I'm following you...

"take for example this situation: a UK company discovers copper on a small island. the indigenous people are employed to work in the mine that the company creates (it is allowed to create it by the local government which receives kickbacks). the employees receive a pittance as a wage. the vast majority of the profit goes to the people who set up the mine the people living in the UK and the government. this is how the current capitalist system works. in a co-operative system, instead of the profits going to the people in the UK the profits would be distributed between the workers."

I think you're overlooking something big though -- the means of production. While it would be nice for the people to share more in the profits, someone must provide the initial capital and equipment in order to start the operation. This is not a meager amount of money and I would wager that it is several times what the workers in a system would be able to contribute on their own. How in this cooperative world do the workers find the means of production to embark on their endeavor?

"also, what do you mean by closed markets? would you say that the US is a good example of an open market? to me the markets of the US/EU don't seem exactly open. do you mean allowing foreign companies to own local businesses? all economic systems (that i can think of) suffer from that flaw. you could say the same thing about communism (which turned out to become a form of state capitalism)."

What I mean by open markets is that I'm not constrained by political borders when it comes to doing business. If someone makes a better sprocket in New Zealand than in the native country, I can buy from there with a minimum of commercial friction. A good thing to illustrate this point is the transformation of the American beef industry when NAFTA was put into effect.

"no problem, but you really should ditch that reactionary ipv4 nonsense and join the ipv6 revolution. :)"

My NAT boxes work fine, thankyouverymuch. :-)

-Chris

PS. Apologies for the plain text -- Scoop is fubar at the moment.


[ Parent ]

ok (5.00 / 1) (#206)
by 5pectre on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 10:41:13 PM EST

"someone must provide the initial capital and equipment in order to start the operation."

the workers obviously wouldn't be able to supply the start up capital on their own. however there are several solutions to this problem: mutual credit funds (a la proudhon), standard bank loans and one of the more recent i have come across is the tobin tax. i'm sure the co-operative would be able to pay back any loan once it was in operation. my current preferred method is the mutual credit loan as this has either a very low (~1%) or no level of interest. the tobin tax is a tax on financial and currency speculation, this money could be loaned out (or given) to the co-operative as many people will benefit from more resources.

What I mean by open markets is that I'm not constrained by political borders when it comes to doing business. If someone makes a better sprocket in New Zealand than in the native country, I can buy from there with a minimum of commercial friction.

do open markets have to have a minimum of commercial friction when exporting as well as importing? can a market be open if it doesn't allow foreign businesses to own local companies? what about the labour market?

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

Credit and Loans (4.00 / 1) (#207)
by br284 on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 11:04:44 PM EST

I'm not familiar with the Tobin Tax so I'll refrain from comment there...

One thing that you've not provided me yet is an incentive for the banks to loan money or anyone else to provide the capital. At the very least, the banks have to make something back on their loans -- it's where they make *their* money. Furthermore, the interest rate would have to be higher than 1% in order to beat inflation. Any bank that lent out money at a rate less than inflation would not stay in business for long. Furthermore, I also think that for this hypothetical venture, you're underestimating the risk involved. If it were so straightforward and fullproof, why should the bank lend money to the coop to get started, when it could lend money to someone with a profit motive who is not as conatrained by a higher interest rate? I guess I'm missing why anyone would provide capital to a coop over a traditional business here, unless mandated by law.

Regarding your questions about the open markets, I don't know quite what you are asking. Could your rephrase that for me?

-Chris

[ Parent ]

right (5.00 / 1) (#208)
by 5pectre on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 11:22:23 PM EST

if a group of people is sitting on top of a huge mineral deposit and are asking for some money to exploit it i think the banks would oblige. e.g. if you found oil, do you think a bank would lend you money to start extracting it? its a pretty safe investment (if you want to talk about standard loans). there doesn't need to be a profit motive. there is a credit union in my county which lends money out at 1% interest to businesses and co-operatives. i'm not entirely sure how it works but i am going to look into it.

it is nearly impossible to explain the system within traditional capitalist economics. i'm not trying to defend traditional business but trying to create some sort of system where there is maximum efficiency with maximum fairness. currently capitalism doesn't take into account fairness so you can see where the problem comes from. i think taking into account fairness is a laudable aim and i'm sure many other people would agree. it is to balance competition and co-operation.

Regarding your questions about the open markets, I don't know quite what you are asking. Could your rephrase that for me?

does having an open market require the free movement of capital as well as the free movement of products? and does an open market mean that a US company is allowed to own all (or a large percentage) of a New Zealand business?

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

ok (5.00 / 1) (#209)
by br284 on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 01:08:00 AM EST

"if a group of people is sitting on top of a huge mineral deposit and are asking for some money to exploit it i think the banks would oblige. e.g. if you found oil, do you think a bank would lend you money to start extracting it? its a pretty safe investment (if you want to talk about standard loans). there doesn't need to be a profit motive. there is a credit union in my county which lends money out at 1% interest to businesses and co-operatives. i'm not entirely sure how it works but i am going to look into it."

I've intentionally left out land ownership issues in the discussion, but it now looks like it has slipped in of its own volition. If this is a situation where the group of people have exclusive control over the resource in question, I would then ask why they would chose to create a coop when they could all become owners themselves and reap more profit in a traditional capitalist structure than in the coop structure you've suggested thus far.

"i think taking into account fairness is a laudable aim and i'm sure many other people would agree. it is to balance competition and co-operation."

I think those who feel that they are getting the short end of the stick in these transactions would agree with you. However, those with the power in these transactions probably don't feel that they are being unfair or don't care. How do you propose to manage basic human nature so that when one from the poor camp joins the rich camp that the commitment to fairness is preserved? I guess what I'm trying to get at is that from the bottom, this looks like a good idea. However, from the top, this is not such a good idea. For any approach to be successful, there must be an incentive structure where both the top and bottom parts of the economic equation benefit. Your structure weighs too heavily on the bottom, and by doing so, it removes any incentive for the top segment of people to contribute the initial capital that is necessary for operations of this type.

"does having an open market require the free movement of capital as well as the free movement of products? and does an open market mean that a US company is allowed to own all (or a large percentage) of a New Zealand business?"

In my ideal open market, free movement of capital and the labor force is required. The current question is how long will it take for the world to be prepared for this type of scenario, and what will the policy be in the interim. So, yes, in my idealistic world, it would be entirely possible for an American company to own a New Zealand company and vice versa.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

reply (5.00 / 1) (#213)
by 5pectre on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 07:49:33 AM EST

I've intentionally left out land ownership issues in the discussion, but it now looks like it has slipped in of its own volition. If this is a situation where the group of people have exclusive control over the resource in question, I would then ask why they would chose to create a coop when they could all become owners themselves and reap more profit in a traditional capitalist structure than in the coop structure you've suggested thus far.

i don't think a small business would be able to take on a big project like starting up a mine or extraction facility. this discussion originally started because i was trying to work out a fair and efficient way that mineral extraction could be done in a system of small businesses. the land ownership issues are as follows: in my opinion, the mineral should be available to everyone. however the extraction should typically be left to the people who live on/near it. this system has the benefits of a small business whilst being able to cope with larger projects. the benefits are: profits are spent locally, it is more efficient than a nationalised system as you have people competing. there tends to be a lot of resources in the developing world, but all to often the vast majority of the profits seem to go to the (already rich) owners in the developed world. i think the cause of this is *partly* to do with multinational corporations.

the banks would contribute the initial capital if they knew they were going to get a return on it and in the mutual credit loan system, you don't have to worry about the banks because the money comes from anyone who joins the credit union.

i don't want to eliminate the really rich (unlike many people), i just want everyone in the world to have available to them the same standard of living that we enjoy in the developed world.

the ideal open market (with the current capitalist system) is (in my opinion) a recipe for disaster. i would love to be able to work anywhere in the world, to take my money with me and to own property. but i think that giving these rights to large powerful corporations has a lot of downsides. for one, there is less accountability, whose laws govern what the company does? what is the chain of accountability goes right up to the CEO and he is stationed in another country (as in the union carbide case). if it was just small businesses competing then there probably wouldn't be a problem, i can't name one small business i know that has enough capital to buy out a small country :)

this is one of the best k5 discussions i've had in a while btw. there has been none of the typical semantics 'point scoring' that you normally see.

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

this thread is getting long... (5.00 / 1) (#215)
by br284 on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 10:17:34 AM EST

I guess what I'm thinking at this point is that I like the direction your idea goes. I think that there are some parts that could be worked out a bit better, but the biggest problem that I see is that while the traditional capitalist system of initial investments and returns exists, there's no incentive for those with the resources other than land to participate. In the absence of this method of doing business, your idea is much more feasible.

However, one problem that I see and I don't know how you would get around this is the shift in the concentration of power. You seem to think that power is concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy individuals, but under your system the power is concentrated in the hands of fewer banks. I guess the question is who do you think will act more ethically -- traditional investors in the current economy, or the people in charge of the banks in your hypothetical economy? Since capital is a limited resource, these banks and credit unions will not be able to provide the significant capital outlays to every project that they are presented with. This brings up the immediate question of who decides which projects get funded, and also brings up the question of how should a bank decide who gets funded. One criteria that is probably the easiest to adopt (and this is ignoring issues of people using the bank as a platform for gaining power) is that the bank will fund a project that offers the highest return on investment so that the bank may provide more funding to other projects in the future.

So let's saay that we have two groups of people sitting on top of the same hill of gold. Both go to the bank in order to finance their extraction. Since funding both projects makes little sense because it's needless duplication of effort, the bank will fund the project that kicks back more money to the bank. Rinse and repeat enough times, and you're back to the profit model that traditional capitalism is criticised for. It's called something different and the bankers have taken the place of the investors, but it's the same thing.

I'm abstaining on the questions of local efficency and ability to do these operations cleanly due to a lack of specialization, as I'd like to hear your response to the points presented above. If you can address those, I'll pop the question of how do you expect a small group of local people to extract minerals as quickly, profitably, and cleanly as a non-local group that specializes in exclusively mineral extraction.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

ok (5.00 / 1) (#216)
by 5pectre on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 10:54:01 AM EST

admittedly there is a problem of the banks becoming too powerful. but then again, they are already too powerful and this is why i preferred the credit union or tobin tax approach.

credit unions, unlike banks are not governed by profit motives. also, in the current system, the power is *forever* in the hands of the few, whereas in this system as soon as the loan is repayed the power is in the hands of those who do the extraction.

i'd like to explain how i *think* a credit union might work. small businesses invest in the new extraction facility because they know that with more facilities on the market there is going to be more competition and prices will (probably) go down. this will be beneficial to them.

on your suggestion that economic capital is a limited resource, so is natural capital unfortunately economic capital at the moment is valued more highly than natural capital (raw materials, land etc.)

funding both projects makes a lot of sense as it increases competition in the market. which will improve efficiency.

in the tobin tax approach the money is loaned/given on the merit of the project (how much it will increase the standard of living for the local community).

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

Disagree (5.00 / 1) (#218)
by br284 on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 01:18:18 PM EST

"credit unions, unlike banks are not governed by profit motives. also, in the current system, the power is *forever* in the hands of the few, whereas in this system as soon as the loan is repayed the power is in the hands of those who do the extraction."

I disagree with your assessment that the current power is in the hands of a rank of elites that never can lose members nor gain members. If anything, the system you're advocating is more like this than the current scenario. It is true that now the wealth is concentrated in the hands of the few. This, I don't agree with. However, if I wish to improve my situation and join these ranks, as an individual investor I can invest my money in hopes of greater returns and build upon that. Furthermore, it is also possible that I can lose my investments and become poorer. So the concentrated wealth crowd is not as static as you seem to think. It is possible (though difficult) for a low to middle class person to join the upper class through smart investments and good timing and a bit of luck. Furthermore, the lack of those is also able to take those from the upper class to the lower classes.

In the situation you are advocating, one would have to be a credit union to invest their own money. There would be no concept of individual investors, and I think that this would lead to a more static class situation than the present one. Furthermore, just because a credit union is operated without a profit motive does not mean that the people running it are also without profit motives. One only needs to take a look at some of the sketchier "charities" (and the people benefiting at the top) now that operate without the profit motive to see that the presence or absence of a profit motive does not guarantee justice.

Furthermore, I do question your assumption that funding more projects in the same industry and space will increase competition and thus efficiency. By that logic, rather than dealing with coops, the banks would be better off funding each individual to mine their piece of the hill. This obviously has a huge amount of wasted and duplicated effort, and by introducing too many competitors, the entire operation will be endangered (and the quality of life of the workers) as everyone engages in destructive competition (assuming no price controls, which I gather you abhor). What will happen is that there are so many suppliers of material that they have to undercut each other so severely that they don't end up making anything after the cost of doing business is factored in. The weaker players will go under, and the stronger players will increase their strength and power by virtue of less competitors and taking over the business that the weaker ones did. One only need to look at the current state of the telecommunication industry to see what this is like. Consolidations will become mandatory and the power will be concentrated in those strongest enough to weather the competition. By the way, this entire process is so chaotic and inefficient and the same outcome is achieved (naturally arising at the number competitors that can survive on a certain resource). Furthermore, the destructive competition will put those who fail out of employment and until the optimal consolidation level is reached, everyone in that space will have a much lower standard of living than had the bank financed fewer and larger competitors. I do agree that competition is necessary in order to prevent abusive monopolies, but it is not the magic cure to everything.

The trick to these situations is finding the proper balances.

One last thing -- I should have worked this in the bit above, but only caught this at the last preview:

"small businesses invest in the new extraction facility because they know that with more facilities on the market there is going to be more competition and prices will (probably) go down."

Here, you're assuming that investment is only done in order to lower prices. However, most of the time, an investment is made in order to increase the rate of return for a bit of capital. You may find that it's more in the investing business's interest to have the invested business make more money and thus return higher rates that outweigh the lower prices. If a business is an investor in another, it wants the other to succeed against the competition. This implies that there is less competition and thus the investee business can raise prices in order to kickback the surplus to the investor business. Or were you not talking about investing and meant something else?

-Chris

[ Parent ]

hmm (5.00 / 1) (#219)
by 5pectre on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 06:08:45 PM EST

However, if I wish to improve my situation and join these ranks, as an individual investor I can invest my money in hopes of greater returns and build upon that.

If you have no money you can't invest. This is what i'm trying to get away from.

In the situation you are advocating, one would have to be a credit union to invest their own money.

I'm not saying that at all, i was just mentioning credit unions as a form of investment along with standard bank loans and the tobin tax. i would never assume to put controls on what most individuals can invest (businesses might be controlled).

One only needs to take a look at some of the sketchier "charities" (and the people benefiting at the top) now that operate without the profit motive to see that the presence or absence of a profit motive does not guarantee justice.

I would say that these are in the very small majority. Unless you have some figures.

Or were you not talking about investing and meant something else?

When I talk about investing I mean putting money into an individual/organisation. I make no assumptions on making a profit out of an investment. For instance if a person pays for (or for part of) a school to the local community then i would call that 'investing in the local community'.

It would be beneficial to invest in a company knowing you are going to get your money back and your costs lowered.

By that logic, rather than dealing with coops, the banks would be better off funding each individual to mine their piece of the hill.

I have stated previously the assumption that small businesses (let alone individuals) would not be able to be able to have the resources to set up an extraction facility and that instead of large corporations taking over (with the money going abroad) it would be better to have a co-operative of workers.

I have also previously stated that there would be one co-operative per deposit.

One only need to look at the current state of the telecommunication industry to see what this is like.

i'm sure there was government interference in the current state of the telecoms industry, for instance bt used to be a nationalised industry recently it has been forced to open up to competition, but is still a virtual monopoly.

also, if current industry is already like that with the profits not going to the workers then wouldn't a system where the profits go to the workers be better?

I contest your point about prices racing down. If this is bound to happen in a capitalist system then why is it not happening now? as efficiency is increased, you can produce more, which you can sell for cheaper and sell more because it is cheaper. admittedly this can't happen forever but the alternative is price fixing structures (an extreme example being like in the ex-USSR), is that what you are advocating?

I too agree that competition isn't the panacea (there is a lot to say for co-operation) but how can there be benefit in a lot of small companies without competition?

I think we may be talking at cross-purposes. Are you advocating the current system?

Also, another question I have been wondering about: why is land worth more in some countries and less in others?

"Let us kill the English, their concept of individual rights might undermine the power of our beloved tyrants!!" - Lisa Simpson [ -1.50 / -7.74]

[ Parent ]

most corporations... (1.66 / 3) (#188)
by werner on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 07:36:43 AM EST

...or at least the more successful ones, are more of a meritocracy, where the cream rises to the top.

Is this not a much fairer system? I think this country would be in better shape, if I had more votes than Mr. Career Unemployed Alcoholic sitting on the bench by the carpark opposite my flat. As it is, I can't vote at all, because I'm a foreigner, but you can bet Mr. Career Unemployed Alcoholic briefly left his bench on polling day, to vote for his benefit-happy socialists, who will gratefully continue to shovel my taxes into his pockets so he can further keep himself in the inebriated manner to which he is accustomed.

[ Parent ]

Perhaps... (none / 0) (#228)
by haflinger on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:17:20 PM EST

Mr. Career Unemployed Alcoholic votes Republican, because he needs somebody to protect the trustfund he has set up to avoid paying taxes.

After all, he's gotta keep topped up on the ol' rum & other supplies somehow.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

You forget... (4.85 / 7) (#96)
by Bartab on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:29:58 AM EST

You're forgetting all the laws in place that basically force any company to kiss the ass of unions in their company.  You can't permanently replace workers, you can't keep them off your property, you can't do all sorts of things that a legitimate business transaction would allow.

Unions are, at their base, fine. Workers banding together to increase their voice is fine. However, at home point the cost becomes too much to the company in question and the company should have every right to replace those people entirely.

Being able to replaced keeps union demands realistic. Since such things are restricted, unions go overboard.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

Laws (4.00 / 3) (#123)
by dachshund on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:40:25 AM EST

Nor am I forgetting the laws in place that allow the government to step in and force workers to go back to work. There are a lot of unfair laws, both for and against unions. It'd be better if those laws weren't in place, but I doubt that it'd prevent unions from operating (and being hated).

[ Parent ]
you're proving his point (4.00 / 3) (#131)
by gauntlet on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:35:02 AM EST

the reason there are laws that allow the government to step in and force unions back to work is because the laws give too much power to the unions. The balance is off.

Into Canadian Politics?
[ Parent ]

Bullshit (3.50 / 2) (#140)
by dachshund on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:21:24 PM EST

There would be such laws whether or not the unions have legal power. Union-busting laws are designed to get an industry out of a jam-- whether that jam is purely labor related, or whether there are laws assisting the union, is irrelevant.

[ Parent ]
Taft-Hartley (4.66 / 3) (#146)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:51:47 PM EST

was passed during the Korean War, during which President Truman at one point had the government seize coal mines which were undergoing a strike. The law explicitly allows the government to force workers to go back to work both when they are on strike and when management has locked them out --- but only for 80 days, during which time it is assumed that an agreement will be reached.

It's hard for me to portray the intent as being particularly disfavorable to labor, although the implementation probably has been. But the law itself is about as neutral a law as you could find on the subject.

[ Parent ]

What I find disturbing about this situation (4.40 / 10) (#65)
by Perianwyr on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 08:46:58 PM EST

Why doesn't the union promote training to operate the new equipment? I bet the companies involved would happily take on everyone that qualified to handle the new gear... I think a reasonable compromise here would be that the port agrees to hire previous union workers to handle the new equipment, if they can train and test to use it. If they can't qualify, tough doo doo. The union should pay for the training- seems a fine use for the union dues.

A great solution but... (4.20 / 5) (#78)
by doormat on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 10:14:30 PM EST

the idea that someone has to get recertified to keep their job is just as bad as having to reinterview for the positition to most of these people. And what happens if they arent that smart? There was a case recently on the news (local news I believe), people were getting reinterviewed for their positions after a merger or buyout or something, and they had a basic skills test. But it was administered on the computer, and this lady had never touched a computer in her life. She subsequently failed the exam and lost her job. Regardless of whether or not her job required the computer, the exam was computer based. You can see what little quirks that can happen in a recertificatiton process.
|\
|/oormat

[ Parent ]
not the same thing... (4.50 / 6) (#90)
by ShadowNode on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:54:36 PM EST

There's nothing, short of ludism, that can save these jobs; they're gone. Should we continue to employ stagecoach drivers? Is it unfair to make them learn how to drive a cab?

As to what happens if they aren't that smart, well exactly what should happen: evolution.



[ Parent ]
Two Completely Different Things (4.50 / 4) (#100)
by DarkZero on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:08:09 AM EST

And what happens if they arent that smart? There was a case recently on the news (local news I believe), people were getting reinterviewed for their positions after a merger or buyout or something, and they had a basic skills test. But it was administered on the computer, and this lady had never touched a computer in her life. She subsequently failed the exam and lost her job.

That is a COMPLETELY different thing than what Perianwyr is proposing. Perianwyr is proposing that the union, the company, or both train these people to do new jobs. Your example is of a company specifically choosing not to train their employees for changes in their job description and instead just test them them to see if they're qualified for the changes and throw them out if they're not. Basically, your example is exactly the same as the situation in this article and thus is just as far away as it is from Perianwyr's solution.

And if the company does very generously decide to pay for the workers to be retrained and the workers view it as being reinterviewed for their jobs and refuse it, then fuck the workers. If it turns out that all they really want is corporate welfare for luddites that want to sit on their ass and pretend that it's still 1980, which seems like a big possibility right now, then they should be thrown out on their asses.

[ Parent ]

No doubt, recertification is tricky and political (4.50 / 2) (#179)
by Perianwyr on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 12:02:01 AM EST

No kidding. Very, very silly things can happen during "recertification". In fact, if the folks involved want to be malicious, certification can be as bad as an Old South poll exam. Neither the union nor the company should be responsible for the certification process- the union should train the workers, then outsource the qualifying process to another organization (WHICH SHOULD NOT BE THE EMPLOYER. You can't be too emphatic about that in this situation.) Figuring out exactly what is a good certifying organization is what arbitration is for- both sides agree, and if anyone gets cold feet after the fact (the employer expecting the certification to be a firing gambit, or the union being disappointed at how many people passed,) Consequences Ensue.

[ Parent ]
That's kinda what the fight's about... (4.75 / 4) (#201)
by opendna on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 05:50:44 PM EST

The Union wants the jobs created by new technology to be union, the shipper's association doesn't.

Yes, it really is that simple.



[ Parent ]

Wonder what it's like to be a dinosaur (1.00 / 11) (#74)
by Fen on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 09:51:33 PM EST

Maybe the RIAA can get together with these guys and celebrate the past. Luckily, libertarians have guns and can kill the dinosaurs when the time comes.
--Self.
Libertarians... (3.55 / 9) (#112)
by PenguinWrangler on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:51:37 AM EST

...the American party who believe that all Yanks could have rocketships tomorrow if they could just stop paying taxes today, and that highways and water distribution are things that, y'know, just happen.
"Information wants to be paid"
[ Parent ]
So what are you, a communist? (2.20 / 5) (#127)
by madgeo on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:54:14 AM EST

Highways and water distribution could be funded by business just as easily as government. Ever hear of tollroads and private water companies??

[ Parent ]
Oh, brilliant. (3.60 / 5) (#144)
by DanTheCat on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:44:38 PM EST

You must have thought a long time about that one. 'Let's let corporations focused on maximizing profits control the water supply!' Great. What happens when the water corporation decides they want more profits, and start raising the price? Or maybe they decide that those pesky health regulations are costing them too much money, so they decide to cut back on the purification process a bit...

Dan :)

<--->
I was in need of help
Heading to black out
'Til someone told me 'run on in honey
Before someone blows your god damn brains out'<
[ Parent ]

Ah, (1.00 / 3) (#150)
by madgeo on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:04:25 PM EST

a socialist communist. Let me give you a reality break. Government is no panacea either. Did you not hear of the $30,000 toilets, etc. I don't know about your government, but mine can't keep potholes out of the street, much less something real important.

You can have business be accountable under some government regulation (i.e. Health Regulations). In addition, there are plenty of satisfied customers of privately held water companies and lots of toll roads that work just fine.

Government is the WORST way to get anything done.

[ Parent ]

Anything? (4.50 / 2) (#187)
by Kwil on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 04:32:52 AM EST

So I take it you feel that a national defence force could be better served by using independant contractors like the guys at [sandline www.sandline.com] rather than a publically funded military?

Y'know.. I suppose you're right - so long as we manage to outbid everybody else. Hey, there's a fun game to play, survival to the highest bidder. How much you wanna bet that the average joe gets squat out of that, unless we set up some system whereby we all contribute to a pot for it, and then some way to make sure that the few concerned citizens don't wind up having to pay for everybody, maybe some sort of group that goes through and enforces contributions.. uh.. no wait.. then we're right back to government, well damn.

Of course, since you seem to think government is the worst way to do anything, you must think it's the worst way to enforce laws too, right? After all, what could be better than a corporation that was forced to follow the bottom line serving as our arbiters of justice. Why, I'm sure the poor could count on better service from profit oriented officers than they receive from our public system.  Of course, right now, even poor people have a vote that politicians have to pay some attention to.

Of course, goverment is naturally the worst to operate a monetary system - you know, set those finicky things like interest rates. Far better to let profit oriented companies like the banks worry about those things entirely. Let'em print their own money. I'm sure they'll see the value in spending money analysing the trends so that they can all get together and make sure to stem inflation.. after all, if they don't they'll have to raise their inter.. uh.. now why won't they just keep raising their intrest rates again?

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
libertarianism!=anarchy (4.00 / 1) (#217)
by Fen on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 12:12:54 PM EST

How many times does this have to be explained...
--Self.
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, (3.33 / 3) (#199)
by madgeo on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 05:14:25 PM EST

government is the WORST way to get anything done. What I did not mention (and baited you with) is that sometimes it is the ONLY way to get things done. I baited you to see what examples you would use. Let's try them shall we?

Survival to the highest bidder, hmmm, works almost everywhere else in the business world, Union jobs are the exception not the rule. I guess those non-union employees are always just getting screwed. B.S.

You know, living where I live sometimes I wonder if a private police force might be better for minorities. They don't seem to enjoy the government police force at all. And maybe if the private police force were monitary punishments they might have better trained officers that could control themselves (I doubt it, but hey its a theory).

I am not a financier, so I'll mostly dodge the money thing. But I will say this, private banks I would wager would do just fine.

Let me give you some really good government programs:

Social In-Security

Welfare - You too can sit on your ass!

Post Office - We deliver (late) for you!

State Transportation Systems - Potholes, unreasonably priced repairs, late!

Housing Authorities - Let us move ex-convicts into your nice neighborhood!

Yeah government can really make things happen.. Sure.

[ Parent ]

Thank You (2.00 / 1) (#169)
by nsgnfcnt1 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 08:35:17 PM EST

I was just going over the California election info for Nov. 5th. That little diatribe just let me mark an entire party out of consideration.

[ Parent ]
marking candidates out of consideration (4.00 / 1) (#185)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 02:54:20 AM EST

you know that the libertarian party expelled the libertarian candidate and are suing to get his name removed from the ballot, after he spit on a radio interviewer, right?

[ Parent ]
Not that it makes any difference (1.50 / 2) (#186)
by Delirium on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 03:25:30 AM EST

Do you really think a Libertarian would stand a chance of getting elected in the People's Republic of California of all places?

[ Parent ]
A libertarian could get elected (4.00 / 1) (#192)
by aphrael on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 12:10:46 PM EST

to city council or some other local government position. a statewide elected position is more difficult. but this year would be a good one for third party candidates, as everyone hates davis and almost nobody *likes* Simon. but the libertarian party is feuding with its candidate --- well, ex-candidate, although he's still on the ballot, the party leadership is urging its members not to vote for him and instead vote for a write-in they've approved.

typical third party petty stupidity, sadly.

[ Parent ]

YES! (4.00 / 1) (#212)
by opendna on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 06:07:57 AM EST

I mean, if they party leadership weren't a punch of hardline fuckwits...

Bend a little here, bend a little there, nominate someone reasonable and suddenly you get voted in by the 70% which dislikes the other two choices for governor.

Libertarians frequently get voted into office in the lower ranks of California government. (...Not that the Anti-California Brigades out east give a shit.) School board, city council, board of supervisors...

I live just south of San Francisco and they're about to sweep the municipal heath board because they're running on a reasonable platform (the board sold the hospital so it has no reason to collect taxes for the hospital). The Congressional candidate is such a brilliant choice he'd probably win - if someone would give him enough money to run a campaign...

But your post wasn't about the truth. It was about how much you hate California's permissive attitudes, diversity and vital economy. Comfortable in the knowledge that we WON'T sink into the ocean so you can continue to suck down our tax dollars in subsidies to your welfare farmers. It's ok... We understand. It's good to hate the people who make you relevant.



[ Parent ]

odd (4.00 / 1) (#220)
by Delirium on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 08:28:18 PM EST

Perhaps my view of California politics is biased by my residence on a college campus, as I've yet to see anything significant from the Libertarians, and they've yet to win anything around here (L.A. area). I see tons of stuff from the "wacko left" (Green Party being the least "wacko" of the bunch), but nothing much to the right of that, except for the occasional (but grudging) support for Democrats and the even more occasional support for very liberal Republicans.

[ Parent ]
It's the West Coast. (none / 0) (#230)
by haflinger on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:30:57 PM EST

All you have to be is somewhat insane, and you've got a shot at winning the election.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]
Afraid of whats to come (4.57 / 19) (#76)
by doormat on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 10:05:46 PM EST

I really think the union wants to draw the line. They are afraid of technology and the future. I nearly got in trouble with the union that represented me because I wrote a program for my department that did in 1 minute what my co-workers took 1-2 hours to do (redraw data that existing in the computer in a different format, I just merely wrote the translator). Management could have went and eliminated 5-6 people (instead they just expanded what our division did in terms of work), but I had written a program that could have put people out of work (and saved the company money since the program paid for itself within the first 3 months). And people didnt like that at all. They're still scared that I could pull another rabbit out of my hat.

This union is scared in the same way. What happens when everything is automated and there is only 10% of the staff there used to be. Not only has 90% of the people had to find new jobs, but the people running the union have less political clout. They become less relavant to society. Thats what they dont like.

|\
|/oormat

Two ways to look at it. (4.71 / 14) (#108)
by ajduk on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 04:01:20 AM EST

In the continental European economies, laying people off as a result of efficiency improvements is difficult - as your situation shows. However, this has usually meant that companies have been forced to upskill workers through investment in training and better equipment. Nokia is a prime example, but the enduring strength of the German and French economies is also due to this.

This contrasts with the Anglo-Saxon model (UK and US) of hire-and-fire, basically going for short term cost cutting. It's worth pointing out that when you take away externialities, it's very hard to say which economic model actually performs better. The apparent US 'productivity miracle' of the 90s seems more to do with low oil prices and cooporate misaccounting than anything solid, despite what the right says.

So you can present the same - positive - case to both union and management; as your group becomes more productive, skill levels should be increased as well as the amount of work done per person. And wages. Everyone *can* win here.

[ Parent ]

Thankfully.. (3.14 / 7) (#79)
by mindstrm on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 10:21:41 PM EST

I have 2 mango trees in my back yard, and so many mangos I have to pay someone to clean them up or they rot and attract flies.

The upside is, there are always fresh mangos.

mangos are also good green, slice them thin and eat them with some salt, or put them in a salad.


This Sucks! (4.08 / 12) (#80)
by ROBOKATZ on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 10:22:38 PM EST

I feel for all my west coast brothers and sisters who have '03 BMWs in transit.

Break that union to pieces (2.23 / 13) (#86)
by undermyne on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:33:21 PM EST

Bunch of thankless bastards deserve to be locked out. Perhaps the lack of reliability of the workers will drive them to automate even more of the docks.

"You're an asshole. You are the greatest troll on this site." Some nullo

not the workers (4.00 / 1) (#111)
by zordon on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:43:06 AM EST

I feel sorry for many union guys. Because once a company goes union, that's it. You can only work for them (doing a union job) if you are union. So then you have the union making your decisions for you, and they are rarely in your best interests. The workers cannot leave the union, because they would be out of a job. The company cannot go non union, as all the union people would be picketing and protesting.
zordon
[ Parent ]
Management and Union Are Probably both Culprits (4.53 / 15) (#88)
by HidingMyName on Mon Sep 30, 2002 at 11:36:47 PM EST

I don't trust the managers, but the union bosses are usually pretty bad too. Let me tell a few anecdotes about why I feel this way.

I grew up where they used to make Mack Trucks and near Bethlehem, home of Bethlehem Steel. Management and labor in both these companies eventually screwed up royally.

Mack trucks is still a large company, in the late 70's early 80's they hit hard times. The economy sucked, and the management had been less than stellar, but better than Bethlehem Steel. Mack had a reputation for quality, ruggedness and reliabiliity, due to good design and manufacturing, "Built like a Mack Truck." is still slang for something well designed and rugged. The management had decided that they needed to reduce labor costs. The workers at Mack belonged to the UAW. A large plant in Allentown was to be relocated to South Carolina, or the workers could give the employers concessions (including a pay cut), back when inflation was extremely high in the U.S. Even so, the workers preferred their jobs and many wanted to take the concessions. The UAW refused to let them vote on it, but the union bosses got a sweet heart deal for themselves in South Carolina.

Bethlehem steel managers had a reputation for lining their pockets and funding self serving projects. The unions made very strict labor rules and insisted on high wages, after all it was a rich company, so what is a few more dollars. In the 1970s and 1980s steel production was failing in the U.S., since labor and management just sniped at each other and never really pulled together. Large labor costs were offset by deferred renovations and maintenance. Just as the big decline was getting into full swing, the retiring President of Bethlehem steel decided that a large edifice was just what the company needed, Martin's towers (often called Martin's last erection). This building is largely underutilized and was a very expensive white elephant.

And don't even get me started on my current employer and union.

Adhering to the letter of the rules... (4.66 / 6) (#93)
by seebs on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:06:18 AM EST

Almost any complicated set of rules will be totally unusable if you try to adhere to its letter - especially if you go out of your way to do so in the least efficient ways possible.  This doesn't necessarily mean the rules are really broken - it may just mean that they have a lot of clauses ripe for willful misinterpretation.


so.... is a nuke heading to the US? (2.92 / 13) (#101)
by yoyo209 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 02:23:52 AM EST

  1. Washington wants to secure all the oil in the gulf. Secondary to this, they might actually want to deal with the islamic terrorist threat, on some level.
  2. They want instantaneous support (or at least lack of opposition) from the rest of the world, to start a war with Iraq.
  3. A nuclear bomb on a freighter, presently on its way to the west coast of the US in the hands of terrorists but known to US intelligence, could easily be diverted to a non-US port, say, Vancouver, by ensuring that all ports on the US west coast were closed. This would make a nice mess of downtown Vancouver, reduce real economic damage to the US, and still provide automatic license from the UN to wage war. The world might then even forgive them for testing out some of those shiny new bunker-busting micronukes they've been itching to let off.


lol ! (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by IriseLenoir on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 04:09:54 AM EST

+5, Funny! Now that's some real conspiracy theory! Hey, it could be true...
"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
[ Parent ]
aw, come on. (2.80 / 5) (#152)
by VThawkeye on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:47:07 PM EST

He forgot to work the Illuminati, Kennedy's assassin, and OJ's Real Killer(tm) into it. How can you have a good conspiracy theory without those?

1.0 rating on the initial comment, for STUPIDITY.

[ Parent ]

Remember... (1.00 / 10) (#145)
by faustus on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 01:44:40 PM EST

...when planes ran into the World Trade Towers? That was a funny day.

[ Parent ]
Wait a sec.... (4.00 / 1) (#155)
by egerlach on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 05:58:24 PM EST

I'm living in Vancouver right now... maybe I should book a flight back home to Ontario :)

"Free beer tends to lead to free speech"
[ Parent ]
Remember... (1.06 / 15) (#181)
by faustus on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 12:31:43 AM EST

...when terrorists crashed into the World Trade Towers? That was a funny day.

[ Parent ]
and the Queen is there (3.00 / 1) (#223)
by yoyo209 on Mon Oct 07, 2002 at 01:37:44 AM EST

...presently on tour in British Columbia.

[ Parent ]
Rich vs. the Rich (4.75 / 12) (#102)
by slow poke on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 02:27:39 AM EST

Anyone see a parallel between this nonsense and the baseball strike that never happened?

"...full-time union dockworkers earn an average of $80,000 a year while shippers say they earn an average of $106,883."link

Haves and have-nots?

Re: Rich vs. the Rich (4.00 / 3) (#119)
by ortholattice on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 09:31:06 AM EST

Perhaps the average includes foremen? According to this article, "The average full-time longshoreman earned 80-thousand dollars last year and a full-time foreman averaged 167-thousand dollars. That's according to maritime association records."

[ Parent ]
It's still 80,000!! (4.60 / 5) (#125)
by baberg on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:48:46 AM EST

But the average longshoreman STILL made more than $80,000. That's about three times the amount of a starting public teacher's salary. I'm thinking about becoming a longshoreman, for that amount of money.

[ Parent ]
Sadly (4.40 / 5) (#136)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:54:46 AM EST

if you live in the bay area (eg., near the port of oakland), $80,000 is probably insufficient to allow you to buy a house that is closer than an hour's drive away.

[ Parent ]
Unlike similarly-compensated white-collar jobs... (4.00 / 3) (#176)
by Otto Surly on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:37:14 PM EST

...longshoremen actually, you know, assume personal risk. Hence the whole "productivity drops 90% when safety rules are strictly obeyed" thing.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Longshoreman.... (5.00 / 3) (#177)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:59:54 PM EST

Longshoremen have always been a racket.

In most ports they sit around all day and do nothing for $50/hour. When they have work to do, they get their hands on "damaged" or "destroyed" cargo and net themselves between 50-250% of their salary.

My family comes from a maritime background, and I have an uncle who is a harbor pilot in a major eastern port. There are notorious stories of longshoremen with lovely "damaged" italian marble floors, counters and patios. Sometimes auto parts get "damaged" and electronic equipment, especially popular consumer electronics is likely to spill into the water and become "lost"

The only problem is, alot of their take has to be given to the local organized crime racket. Still, it's a great job if you can get in the union.

[ Parent ]

sounds like the teachers should strike (4.50 / 2) (#221)
by Ford Prefect on Sat Oct 05, 2002 at 12:51:20 AM EST

That's about three times the amount of a starting public teacher's salary

Most teachers are unionized...what's stopping them?

[ Parent ]

job deathrate (5.00 / 3) (#190)
by akb on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 10:02:46 AM EST

One important difference is that none of the members of the groups baseball players, baseball owners, or PMA management are likely to see a difference in the rate of workplace injury or death due to the outcome of negiotations.

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

According to the LA Times, (3.00 / 5) (#129)
by madgeo on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:32:46 AM EST

which is useless to link to due to their moronic sign-up policies, this is a choice opportunity for Bush to invoke the Taft-Hartley act and look presidential.

Evidently the ILWU Union is one of the most powerful unions remaining and one of the most highly paid blue collar jobs.

Bush will score if he invokes Taft-Hartley because he will stop an economic crisis caused by pro-labor democrats in an annoyingly democrat state. Bush wins all around. The Times also pointed out, President Bush has 65% approval rating versus California Pro-Union Governor Gray Davis has 42%. But then Davis is a complete moron, just look at his record on the power crisis.

California politics (4.66 / 3) (#135)
by aphrael on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 11:53:30 AM EST

first off, it's not clear that this will be successfully spun as being caused by pro-labor democrats --- it's a lockout action, which means management told the workers to go home and not come back, and it would be the first time that the taft-hartley act had been invoked for a lockout.

But that's a side issue. What I really wanted to talk about was your perception of California politics: Davis has a 42% approval rating not because he's a democrat but because he's percieved as a corrupt scumbag. His Republican opponent in the gubernatorial election is a complete moron (as judged by the inefficacy of his campaign), with lower approval ratings.

The fact that California is an annoyingly Democratic state is actually, as far as I can tell, entirely do to misguided actions by the Republicans in the early- to mid-90s; Pete Wilson was remarkably good at alienating both the Latino population and the mass of centrist voters who aren't registered with either party and who usually control electoral outcomes in California. That group seems to like Bush but dislike the California Republicans.

[ Parent ]

Most of what I said was paraphrased from.... (5.00 / 2) (#139)
by madgeo on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 12:08:17 PM EST

LA Times. My opinion was limited to the annoyingly democrat state and moron statements about Davis and LA Times. Davis is a moron and a piss-poor leader, I do not know if he is corrupt any more than any other politician. Simon is also a moron and I have no idea about his leadership. Nor do I care.

Anyone but Davis, he proved his inefficacy during the power crisis, what a fuckwit.

Pete Wilson is also a fuckwit.

I guess my take on it after this careful analysis of political morons is that the people of CA are unable to elect anyone worth a damn for as long as I have been paying close attention. I suspect that has to do with the fact that the state is annoyingly democratic. Not that annoyingly republican is necessarily better.

I'm a big fan of gridlock in government. I figure if the bastard politicians can't agree on it, it probably isn't that important.

[ Parent ]

Traffic is great (4.20 / 5) (#148)
by lhand on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 02:38:22 PM EST

At least here in LA on the 710 freeway. I can get to work ten minutes faster!

The $1B/day kinda sucks though.

Who are the PMA? (5.00 / 3) (#175)
by Blarney on Tue Oct 01, 2002 at 10:35:04 PM EST

If this is such a vital part of our economy, why is this shadowy Pacific Maritime Association given the power to shut down all the West Coast ports? They're not a big shipping company that just happens to own all the West Coast ports - they're a union of their own, a union for the management of all West Coast ports. And I quote from their webpage:

The principal business of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) is to negotiate and administer maritime labor agreements with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

So what the hell is the PMA? A cartel of port operators? Perhaps so. What we need here isn't scab longshoremen - we need scab port operators. The temptation for any individual shipper to open HIS port at a time like this is incredible - the profits would be enormous. We're talking about full capacity for the duration of the strike, and some nice fat marked up margins into the bargain. It's hard to believe that ONE port won't break this cartel, given the rewards.

Besides, isn't this an illegal monopoly? How is the PMA not a trust?

There must be something else going on here that we aren't being told. If the PMA has been installed by governmental backing, and I don't see how it would be legal and stable otherwise, then it is not time to blame the longshoremen.

No. (4.50 / 2) (#180)
by mideast on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 12:18:29 AM EST

If you're going to abolish the PMA you better abolish the ILWU too. They're both equivalent cartels.

If the workers want to unionize, they can do it on a per port basis. That way, these labor disputes won't spill over and shut down an entire coast to commercial shipping, fucking over millions in the process.

then it is not time to blame the longshoremen.

The longshoremen were staging a work slowdown before the shutout, which, according to the numbers I've seen, brought productivity down 90%. The PMA just took it the rest of the way.

[ Parent ]

ILWU rule! (2.00 / 4) (#183)
by slow poke on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 02:27:04 AM EST

From Workers World

"In April 1999 the ILWU shut down all major ports on the West Coast for a day in support of death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. "

ILWU are the good guys. (2.00 / 4) (#184)
by slow poke on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 02:28:30 AM EST

From Workers World

"In April 1999 the ILWU shut down all major ports on the West Coast for a day in support of death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. "

I'm part of the works council at work (4.66 / 3) (#189)
by werner on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 08:01:04 AM EST

Let me tell you, they're fucking crazy. The only reason I'm in it is because the old one was trying to get me fired. Now I'm in it, I can't be fired. Like all the other members, one of whom spent nearly a year working about 10% of her contracted hours, basically because clients always complain about her. Due to her lack of work, other, better staff were fired to take up the slack. Business was in really bad shape, and it looked like a lot of jobs could go. Management sorted it out, that we could work the extra hours at one of the other schools. What did the works council do? They blocked it, led by the stupid cow with no hours, but a protected job. They have no interest in helping the workers, nor in helping management run the company well, merely in grabbing as much power for themselves as they can. If they can do something, they will, merely because they can.

I know this is only one instance, but the tales we hear from other schools show that they're all as crazy.

On a less personal, much larger, scale, Infineon recently fired many many thousands of workers, particulary in the US, where it is easier and cheaper. Within a couple of months, the union responsible for most of Infineon's workers in Germany was threatening a strike if they didn't receive a 6% pay increase. Hello? What planet are these guys living on?

Hmmm Transportation Union Striking (4.00 / 2) (#191)
by n8f8 on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 11:51:12 AM EST

Near Congressional elections. Gee, that never happens.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
lock out was first (4.00 / 2) (#193)
by Rhodes on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 12:41:19 PM EST

The workers were locked out before a strike- but a "slow-down" (following the letter of the law regarding safety regulations). Listened to the radio today; armed guards were brought to the meeting (by managment) between mediators, management, and the union.

What kind of crap is that?

[ Parent ]

"Slow-Down" (4.00 / 1) (#214)
by n8f8 on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 08:04:22 AM EST

So what exactly is the difference between a slowdown and a strike? And when does asking employees to comply with 29CFR cause a slowdown. The reulations have been on the books for quite some time.

A more realistic assumtion would be political motivation.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]

yay for unions! (4.66 / 3) (#196)
by guyjin on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 01:34:30 PM EST

if you live in CA, call the PMA and tell them you want your mangoes NOW. Do not let them shift the blame onto the union: it is management's fault for not conceeding to their demands.
-- 散弾銃でおうがいして ください
i'm hoping you were using lots of sarcasm (nt) (3.50 / 2) (#202)
by eht on Wed Oct 02, 2002 at 06:11:32 PM EST



[ Parent ]
The Bush Solution: (5.00 / 1) (#211)
by opendna on Thu Oct 03, 2002 at 05:54:31 AM EST

Before the lock-out, President Bush threatened to replace the ILWU workers with national guardsmen if there was a strike.

Apparently somebody explained to him that national guardsmen wouldn't be able to do the job, because he's since shut up.



Not about workers, about union size (4.00 / 2) (#224)
by Quila on Wed Oct 09, 2002 at 05:36:03 AM EST

Further reading around the news sites has shown me that yes, this is an argument over future jobs. Hundreds of positions will be rendered unnecessary due to automation, but those positions will be emptied through attrition. In other words, no one's going to lose his job.

The companies want the new automation jobs created to not be automatically forced under the union contract, but the union demands that they be union-only by default.

So the real contention is the power and size of the union, which directly decides the income of the untion fat cats at top.

All USA west coast cargo ports closed until further notice | 233 comments (222 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!