Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

24 April 2011

The Union that did not Represent its Members

Unions that do not represent the interests of their members are common.  This is fundamentally why union membership in the private sector has fallen to only 6.9% in 2010 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The many grossly underfunded union pension funds are another clear proof that the unions pay little attention to the best interests of their members.  The International Association of Machinists (IAM) is involved with the recent Boeing altercation in which they and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) claim Boeing built a production line in the Right to Work state of South Carolina in retaliation for a strike in Washington state by the IAM.  It used to represent the employees at the facility in South Carolina, as well as those in Washington.  It is interesting to see why the South Carolina machinists decertified the IAM.

In 2007, when Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc. owned the facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, the IAM narrowly won an election to represent 200 employees there.  Vought was a Boeing parts supplier and the IAM strike against Boeing forced Vought to close the South Carolina plant temporarily.  The new IAM members were laid off.  Meanwhile, the IAM and Vought spent a year discussing the new labor contract.  The employees were grumbling and there was indication that a decertification attempt was underway.  The IAM quickly put an offer of Vought to a vote, though this surprised Vought which was working up better offers.  Apparently, the IAM wanted some contract to lock in the new members in South Carolina no matter what.  Some employees were unaware of the emergency vote on 7 November 2008 set up by the IAM just as Vought was.  The IAM announced that an overwhelming 92% of membership had approved the new contract.  After some investigation, it was found that of the 200 affected employees, only 13 had voted.  Twelve members out of 200 had committed everyone to a new labor contract.  Many of the relatively new labor union members complained that the 1.5% wage increases would not cover the increased union dues and inflation.

In July 2009, Boeing announced it was buying the South Carolina facility from Vought and completed the purchase that month.  The employees filed to decertify the IAM that month also.  The IAM was thrown out because the workers had concluded that it was not interested in their best interest.  Subsequently, the IAM is furious that Boeing is building a second 787 Dreamliner production line in this South Carolina facility using the now 1000 employees there who are no longer union members.  The Obama-packed NLRB is backing the union vendetta both against Boeing and these dissatisfied former union members.


objectivist said...

Unions are nothing more than collectivist organizations that seek to strangle the individual- normally it's management, but it can also be the workers themselves. After all, in Atlas Shrugged Rearden is great friends with the head of the union at his plant. Unfortunately, so many of modern unions are the negative type...

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Present day unions are so dominated by the otherworldly socialist viewpoint that they miss the fact that their job should be aimed at making employees more productive, so they can earn a greater share of the company revenues. They should help more experienced workers train younger workers, bring in experts from the outside to offer training, provide a means for employees to make suggestions for improving productivity and safety in a constructive way, help the employees to understand how much they have really contributed to the company bottom line, and they could marshal votes to help protect their industry and company from government predation. Unions could have a valid role, but they all too often reject such a rational role.