Sunday, February 28, 2016

How The Union Failed Me.

I’ve been Pro Union my entire life, my dad, grandfather, great grandfather were all Teamsters. For many years, I have heard “Union is the way to go” or “Unions are for the working people” this is not quite as true as it used to be. When Unions began they were great collective bargaining, safety, and fairness for all workers. Today it is as corrupt as our Government. The Union leaders all have their hands out but when it comes to the workers they don’t seem to care. The Mafia did a better job at running the Unions, they actually gave a shit about the working people. These “suit” fucks give a shit about their pay, bottom line. Police and firemen, some with their wives and children, assemble on Philadelphia’s Rayburn Plaza, Nov. 13, 1956 to carry their wages and hours demand to City Council. The police and firemen are demanding an increase of $1,000 a year and a 40-hour week. (AP Photo/Sam Myers)
I won’t deny The Union has done great things for this country, but I see all come to an end for the most part. Not only are most states getting rid of Unions, many people are fed up.  Below is a list of great things the Union has done. I know it can go back to being just as great as it once was.

  1. Weekends without work
  2. All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks
  3. Paid vacation
  4. Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  5. Sick leave
  6. Social Security
  7. Minimum wage
  8. Civil Rights Act/Title VII – prohibits employer discrimination
  9. 8-hour work day
  10. Overtime pay
  11. Child labor laws
  12. Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
  13. 40-hour work week
  14. Workers’ compensation (workers’ comp)
  15. Unemployment insurance
  16. Pensions
  17. Workplace safety standards and regulations
  18. Employer health care insurance
  19. Collective bargaining rights for employees
  20. Wrongful termination laws
  21. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
  22. Whistleblower protection laws
  23. Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) – prohibits employers from using a lie detector test on an employee
  24. Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
  25. Compensation increases and evaluations (i.e. raises)
  26. Sexual harassment laws
  27. Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
  28. Holiday pay
  29. Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
  30. Privacy rights
  31. Pregnancy and parental leave
  32. Military leave
  33. The right to strike
  34. Public education for children
  35. Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 – requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work
  36. Laws ending sweatshops in the United States
Like I said, the Unions can be awesome and great at times. The corruption is what killed the Unions for me, if it weren’t for corruption everything would be perfect. Seeing as how everything is not this is what we get.
construction roofer
My husband joined the Union right out of High School, he was a Carpenter in Chicago. He went to the Chicago District Council of Carpenters school and was eventually vested in the Union. The only good thing about the Carpenters Union was the pay. His hourly pay was great! The benefits were laughable, no sick time, no vacation pay or time, health insurance sucked (as I will explain), dental & vision minimal.
The insurance was absolutely terrible, the plan covered $300.00 per person per year. I had two of my three children when my husband was in the Union. They literally covered nothing, everything was out of pocket because of this terrible coverage. When my daughters were infants and needed immunization or a well-check, I paid out of pocket, oh I’m sorry the Union paid $300.00. The joke here is the union dues cost more per year than we were getting for our health care. That’s not really a joke, it was disgusting.  In 2007, my husband was laid off after 7 years with the same company. Although he was one of the last employees laid off by this particular company, it  hurt. We became a statistic during the financial crisis in 2007-2008.
The Carpenters Union in Chicago is a joke! After 9 years of service they have done nothing at all to help my family. Getting a Union carpenter job is not like getting any other job. You can’t submit your resume, you have to do leg work and lots of it. They told my husband when you’re looking for a job to sit at your local office and see if any jobs come along. When you go to the Union office and tell them you’re looking for work, they not only tell you there is no work but give you an attitude. To get a job in the industry you need to go to multiple job sites, beg for work, and hope some poor asshole called in sick so you can take his job.
The Union was quick to collect our dues, but not so quick to help you in any real way. The employees that work at the local office looks at the members as a pain in the ass. They’ll do anything they can to get you out of there quickly, being pleasant is not usually a part of it. So now he’s laid off The Union isn’t helping in fact, they still want money to do absolutely nothing. My husband did what any normal person would do,  did sidework (carpentry) and got a job in a completely different industry. Sure, he had no benefits but it worked and was something to pay the bills until the economy improved. Unfortunately, the economy did not improve enough to get him steady Union work. Which eventually brought my family to Texas many years later. We still have the pleasure of dealing with the Union after all these years.
Periodically we will get mail from the Union, it never seems to be good news.  Every few years we receive a letter from The Union saying how much the pension fund decreased and how much less of a pension he will get. Basically they “lost” our money and fuck you for caring. We are taking a trip back home sometime to move the pension into our 401k. Either way, it’s ridiculousand has me losing faith in everything. CorruptionNew2-275mgg0
Anything that is good and helps the people seems to become corrupt. If they want Unions to work they need to get rid of some of the excess and cut or eliminate these salaries all together. They may need a few people full time and a handful of people part-time. Their salaries are way too high for what they’re doing. Seems the worker is getting screwed and the asshole behind the desk is making all the money.  You can see for yourself, this link will show you all salaries from top to bottom of the Chicago Carpenters Union. Employee Salary Union
As much as I believe in a workers union I can not get behind the corruption it represents. I have seen it with my own eyes. I will back Union workers. I will not back the Union “executives” and anyone just in it for the money and power. That is what it has become, we need to get rid of those in power and get back to what a Union is supposed to be.
I do want to point out that we do no belong to a Union any longer. We are in Texas, it’s a right to work state. Our income is signifigantly higher, paid time off, paid sick time, insurance is 100% covered and paid by employer, full dental and vision, we have stocks, and a 401k.  It just goes to show what corruption will do to anything.

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