Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,
Spacefem
spacefem

unions

I read about the UAW strike at GM... I hate union strikes. The whole thing is just a mess. I try to be a good progressive-minded liberal, fighting for the little guy, pro-labor, you know, that sort of thing. I realize that there was a time in this country where, if it hadn't been for unions, workers wouldn't even have safe jobs or fair hours. There are good things about unions.

So I'm really conflicted when it comes to strikes. Where I work, a lot of our factory workers are unionized, and it's annoying. If they ever go on strike (and every 2-3 years, contracts go up and they threaten) I'll be forced to cross their picket line to go to work or else be fired. I hear stories about how it takes three hours to get into the plant, and on the way in you have to listen to picketers yelling horrible things at you, keying your car and slashing your tires, not feeling any empathy whatsoever that people like me are totally stuck in the middle of this mess. I complained about this once to someone and they were like, "Well you can just start an engineers union." Yeah, technically, I could, but I don't want to for the following reasons:

1) Union dues are $40-$60 a month, and from what I've seen, they basically pay for the union reps to have cadillacs.

2) I don't mind talking to my managers, and don't want to create the super-nasty "us vs. them" deal that the union people feel all the time.

3) I might want to be a manager someday, then where would I be?

4) I don't really think my job is so bad. the only bad thing about it, really, is that they threaten to make me cross union picket lines every three years. Is that worth unionizing? I think not.

Finally, and here's the big thing, I think it's ridiculous that unions use their power and strike over things I consider total bullshit. Health care is a NATIONAL CRISIS, not some mean manager trying to ruin your life. I think it's flat out immoral for people who make good money to feel like they should feel no effects of an issue that's really destroying America right now. If anything I think employee health care craziness has helped the system destroy America. Everyone just thinks it should be free. Companies don't pay your car or home insurance... in fact, I pay over $100 a month in car insurance premiums and it wasn't until this year that our company asked people to pay that amount to insure their FAMILIES. I'm not kidding. Now, things are tougher for us in the office, premiums have gone up and the plans have gone more consumer-driven, forcing us to actually think about the health care we use and how much it costs. But not for anyone in the union. They've still got the cushy plans, where you can have major surgery for free, get all the name-brand drugs, go to any doctor in town, never worry about premiums.

UAW is striking, from what I've read, over health insurance and job security. Who gets guaranteed job security in this world? Granted, I know they're trying to look out for retirees and there they might be asking for something just, because those guys might be sort of stuck. But in my experience, unions tell workers that they're not valuable by themselves and should rally together to bully their managers, which I think is bad for The System, and eventually, the workers. I hate that this conflicts with my normally sorta progressive self, but it's where I'm at. Frustrated.
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