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Top five union work controversies...

MaggieD

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1) Firefighters Not Allowed to Save Drowning Man On Memorial Day -- A man drowned himself in shallow water in ​the San Francisco Bay in front of dozens of onlookers -- including on-duty police and firemen. They could do nothing but watch the drowning, because their department's work rules forbade them to attempt water rescues without specific training that was no longer provided. The firefighters say they wish they had been allowed to enter the water. “Every one of our members who was on that scene wishes that the policy would have allowed them to do something,” the union President said at the time. After the man was dead, a young woman -- not a city employee -- swam out and pulled him back to shore. Fire officials said that they have already repealed the policy in response, which had been created by both management and the union in March 2009 in response to budget cuts.
2) A $2,500 Fine for Reporting a Safety Violation -- Are you in a union? Watch out before you report a safety hazard at work.
Mark Overton, a construction foreman working on the Taum Sauk reservoir in Missouri, noticed a safety issue: A concrete-pouring machine was not properly stabilized – and was at risk of falling over. Following the company’s policy, he notified management. The problem was corrected, and the worker who was found responsible was given a three day suspension from the company. But the punished worker was also a union member. So the union accused Overton of “gross disloyalty” and “conduct unbecoming a union member” and fined him $2,500. Overton either had to pay, they said, or stop working at the company. This April, a judge said that the union’s fine was perfectly legal. The union that issued the fine -- IUOE Local 513 -- did not respond to e-mails and calls from FoxNews.com. But some labor lawyers defended the concept of “disloyalty” fines. “The union wants solidarity among employees and supervisors,” Boston University Professor and labor law expert Michael Harper told FoxNews.com.


3) $388,860 to Fire a Teacher -- Wisconsin teacher Bob Zellner was caught viewing pornography on a school computer, and the school board voted 6-0 to fire him. “This issue boiled down to the basic requirement and the expectation we have that people will not access pornography sites from our school computers. Period.” Cedarburg school board member Kevin Kennedy told FoxNews.com. But before a union member can be fired, the case must go before an arbitration panel. The arbitrator acknowledged that computer logs proved the teacher had viewed porn on the computer – but ruled that it did not give “just cause” to fire the teacher. The panel ordered the school “to re-instate the [teacher,] … to reduce the [teacher’s] discipline to a written reprimand and … to make the [teacher] whole for all lost wages.” The school appealed, and got the right to fire Zellner – but only after three years of legal battles that cost the district $388,860, school superintendent Daryl Herrick told FoxNews.com. “The Union legal team went out of their collective way to seemingly try to cost the District as much money as possible in legal fees, depositions, etc,” Kennedy said.

4) Don’t defend students -- In Dallas, a math teacher simply looked on as one of his pupils was repeatedly punched in the face by another boy in his classroom. The union defended the teacher's inaction, saying he was following protocol and staying safe.
“In today’s society, which is a violent society, you do not touch the student,” Rena Honea, the President of the teachers’ union Alliance-AFT, told Fox News 4 in Dallas. “I believe that that is for the safety of, number one, the students -- but [also] for the individual teacher as well.” See video here.



5) No volunteers allowed -- Many towns around America rely entirely on volunteer firefighters. However, in some California cities, firefighters’ unions have completely driven out volunteers. “300 homes burned down [in my area] in a 2003 wildfire. After the fire, I tried to volunteer to help,” Richard Rider, who runs the group “San Diego Tax Watchers,” told FoxNews.com. “But they will not allow volunteers to fight fires.” San Diego Firefighters Union spokesman confirmed that, but said it was for safety reasons. “We're a professional organization that has specially trained and certified people. It costs more -- but what is a life worth?”


Read more: Top 5 Union Work Controversies | Fox News
When unions start working with management instead of against it, the general public will have a more favorable view of them.

Your thoughts?
 

Manc Skipper

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They already do. In the partial examples above all of the interpretations are anti-union.
#1 This wasn't union policy, it was management's. Would you put your career as well as your life on the line?
#2 is frankly bizarre. In 30 years as a union rep, I never heard of such a thing.
#3 A union is there to protect its members from unfair treatment. The arbitrator said it was unfair, the school chose to renege on the process. Should the employee and his defender just roll over?
#4 A teacher isn't a bodyguard, nor are they paid to be one. How old/big was the "boy"?
#5 Without a lot more detail on the circumstances, I agree with the fireman. I suspect the tax-saver might be seeking to replace trained professionals with unpaid volunteers.
 

MaggieD

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They already do. In the partial examples above all of the interpretations are anti-union.
#1 This wasn't union policy, it was management's. Would you put your career as well as your life on the line?
#2 is frankly bizarre. In 30 years as a union rep, I never heard of such a thing.
#3 A union is there to protect its members from unfair treatment. The arbitrator said it was unfair, the school chose to renege on the process. Should the employee and his defender just roll over?
#4 A teacher isn't a bodyguard, nor are they paid to be one. How old/big was the "boy"?
#5 Without a lot more detail on the circumstances, I agree with the fireman. I suspect the tax-saver might be seeking to replace trained professionals with unpaid volunteers.
#1: Fire officials said that they have already repealed the policy in response, which had been created by both management and the union in March 2009 in response to budget cuts. (You're going to cut our budget?? Take this!)
#2: And yet, there it is.
#3: The union should most definitely, as you put it, roll over. In fact, they should never have stood in the way.
#4: Really, not enough information here.
#5: Of course you agree with the firemen. Volunteer fire departments are heroes all over this country. Well, except in California.
 

Fisher

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The fire department thing I understand. Look at what recently happened with all the trained firefighters who got killed. It sometimes creates a stink, but there is at least one volunteer fire department in my area that only has a handful of people who are trained and qualified to enter a burning structure. Most of the volunteers are only trained to fight fires from the outside. Since they arrive often on scene sporadically, people get mighty upset when the volunteers let the house get completely gutted rather than enter a structure to stop small blazes before they become infernos.
 

spud_meister

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80% of the worlds mining accidents occur in China, which produces 35% of the worlds coal. China has no unions to ensure workers rights.

I think I'd prefer unions.
 

sawyerloggingon

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80% of the worlds mining accidents occur in China, which produces 35% of the worlds coal. China has no unions to ensure workers rights.

I think I'd prefer unions.
Everyone know putting bread and pastry on the same truck is hazardous, I'm so glad the unions stopped that at Hostess. Saved a lot of drivers lives I'll bet.
 

Manc Skipper

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Only in America do unions have these magical powers.
 

paddymcdougall

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#5: Of course you agree with the firemen. Volunteer fire departments are heroes all over this country. Well, except in California.
My town has volunteers; they work well for first responders. But any major wildfires, we have to call in the professionals.

Used to be the state paid the volunteers if they participated in fighting a wildfire; state has stopped doing that, so they've asked the local county to pay them during those major incidents. Not sure what the outcome will be; county doesn't have all that much money. Seems weird to pay volunteers; on the other hand, during a major incident they're helping drive trucks and whatnot for several days in a row.

Even a volunteer organization needs training and equipment; San Diego has professionals, the professionals should be fighting the fires. A volunteer who hasn't trained with them may just muck things up.
 

MaggieD

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My town has volunteers; they work well for first responders. But any major wildfires, we have to call in the professionals.

Used to be the state paid the volunteers if they participated in fighting a wildfire; state has stopped doing that, so they've asked the local county to pay them during those major incidents. Not sure what the outcome will be; county doesn't have all that much money. Seems weird to pay volunteers; on the other hand, during a major incident they're helping drive trucks and whatnot for several days in a row.

Even a volunteer organization needs training and equipment; San Diego has professionals, the professionals should be fighting the fires. A volunteer who hasn't trained with them may just muck things up.
Being a volunteer hardly precludes training. Towns with 200 people can't operate any other way if they want any kind of rapid life-saving response. Miles Away translates to turning firefighters into foundation savers.
 

Hard Truth

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When unions start working with management instead of against it, the general public will have a more favorable view of them.

Your thoughts?
Government employees throughout California agreed to unpaid furloughs and no pay increases for several years during the lean years that only recently ended,

However, in general, management and unions should be adversarial since they have many differing interests, as well as some common interests.
 

MaggieD

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Government employees throughout California agreed to unpaid furloughs and no pay increases for several years during the lean years that only recently ended,

However, in general, management and unions should be adversarial since they have many differing interests, as well as some common interests.
There are adversarial positions and there are kill-the-golden-goose positions. Just ask the Bakers' Union re Hostess.
 

paddymcdougall

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There are adversarial positions and there are kill-the-golden-goose positions. Just ask the Bakers' Union re Hostess.
Unions had already done concessions at Hostess. Hostess was killed by its horrible management more than by the unions.
 

Sisyphus

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When unions start working with management instead of against it, the general public will have a more favorable view of them.

Your thoughts?
Yeah; unions siding with management is stupid. They're there to provide balance in a competing interest environment and not be lapdogs.
 

MaggieD

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Unions had already done concessions at Hostess. Hostess was killed by its horrible management more than by the unions.
I'm not arguing that here. The company was sold. It was re-structured, and union members were not rehired. (You may have the last word, as I'm not going there.) ;)
 

MaggieD

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Yeah; unions siding with management is stupid. They're there to provide balance in a competing interest environment and not be lapdogs.
Yes. God forbid the goal would be a healthy company paying fair wages and benefits. Let's make sure they have to bend over and take it.
 

The Man

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Yeah; unions siding with management is stupid. They're there to provide balance in a competing interest environment and not be lapdogs.
Why the competing interest? Don't unions and their managers work for the same company? Shouldn't they both be concerned with the health of the company, and not concerned about getting one up on the other?
 

Hard Truth

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Why the competing interest? Don't unions and their managers work for the same company? Shouldn't they both be concerned with the health of the company, and not concerned about getting one up on the other?
Management will nearly always have an interest in reducing labor costs, which is usually done by taking back from workers. This is especially true with corporations, which are often more interested in the health of their shares on the stock market rather than whether the company is meeting their customer's needs or keeping people employed.
 

iliveonramen

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Unions had already done concessions at Hostess. Hostess was killed by its horrible management more than by the unions.
I know right? Everytime a company dies that has a union it's because of the union. At the same time non-union companies die freaking daily yet we're suppose to believe it's unions that's bad for business.
 

Unitedwestand13

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#1: Fire officials said that they have already repealed the policy in response, which had been created by both management and the union in March 2009 in response to budget cuts. (You're going to cut our budget?? Take this!)
what part of the budget was cut? and aren't you admiting that the budget cuts started the chain of actions that led to the problem, not just the actions of the unions?
 
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