Originally Posted by hvance If unions come to Apple you can kiss the retail business goodbye. I for one will never enter another Apple store. I will mail order my Apple products. No union has EVER made a company more productive, competitive or innovative.
Well, let me be the first to enlighten you...
Their called trade unions
and this is how they make companies more competitive:
First, let me put things in perspective. Construction is an industry where companies are limited by their own capacity to man work and get bonding for the financial part. The second part isn't what I'm focusing on, but the first is. You see, if a job comes up that will require 100 men to man the work, and you only have 30 on staff, where are you going to get the extra men? You can do one of two things: Either you don't bid on the work, or you hire help. Hiring help takes time and resources. First, there is putting out ads, partnering with someone like Monster.com, or whatever. Then, there is the hiring process. For every person you hire, you see many applicants that don't qualify. That leads us to the second problem. Companies are usually responsible for training, certification, and licensing of apprentices. That level of training and competency varies. For instance, I live in an area the borders 3 states. If the company is an electrical company that only does work in one state, they'll pay for training only for the state they do work in. So, if my company is looking to hire people licensed in all 3 states, it's a crap shoot as to who is applying and what background they come from. Next is the issue of human resources. Every person hired has different demands. This person wants X amount to work, this person wants Y. This person requires 3 weeks vacation, that one requires 2. It goes on and on. This requires good record keeping and must be kept on top of by the payroll department, as well. Then, when times get lean, it's often hard to let go employees, knowing well you probably will never see them again, and it'll be difficult to get people with their qualifications and work ethic. Many employers even keep them on in lean times, despite losing money, because they simply don't want to lose their core guys.
Enter trade unions. They're multi-employer. They're a pool of qualified tradesman. If I needed 70 men to man a job, I'd have to make one single call to the union hall and tell them the qualifications I need. They maintain a list of qualifications of each member. The members that meet the qualifications will report to work on the day they are requested. If they can't meet the demand, they pull from neighboring union halls to meet the demand. Also, the union handles all fringe benefits. Healthcare, retirement, and everything. There is no paid vacation. The union is also responsible for training, certification, and licensing. Since the union is a business, itself - of providing labor, it's in its best interest to train and certify its members as much as possible to make them as employable as possible. So, with one phone call, I can have 70 new qualified and licensed employees report to work with little paperwork. I've just eliminated a sizable pool of employees who would otherwise handle human resources and benefits and made it the job of just one person, instead. I also eliminated the cost of training those employees. I pay a flat rate that pays all benefits and on the check pay and everyone makes the same. I now have a known cost that I can use to estimate my labor costs. Sounds improbable? I was on a job that manned up more than 900 people of my trade, alone. There were 2000 people for a maintenance shutdown at a chemical plant that lasted 6 weeks, the vast majority brought in by simply placing a call to each necessary union hall, with a few that were company regulars, as well. Then, when the job is over, they get cut loose, that quickly. No regrets, no animosity, nothing. A company can shrink and grow in manpower that easily and have confidence that when they need competent skilled labor again, it just takes a phone call.
Now comes the kicker... The unions employ people whose jobs are to go out and secure work for the union contractors! They're out lobbying for the success of MY business! They're called business agents.
Personally, I think unionization is a personal matter. I don't hate people who aren't union workers, even though I'm a union member. Some companies take care of their employees, some don't, and others are flat out abusive. I do know that companies aren't looking out for my best interest. If you've been injured on a job, you'd know what I mean. My brother works for a company where it's an unspoken thing that filing a worker's comp claim is something you wouldn't dare do. That's pretty sad, and probably pretty typical of companies that do work where employees might get injured. I'm glad I have the backing of my union. I wouldn't have it any other way in the dangerous construction career I'm in.