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  • pennsy
    replied
    Originally posted by Aussiegunner View Post
    $80 Billion? Are those Liberian Dollars because the entire New Zealand economy was only worth about $110 Billion US in 2009 ... ;)
    Maybe dollars were confused with sheep numbers?;)

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  • Aussiegunner
    replied
    Originally posted by Parihaka View Post
    There is heavy irony in this given the recent Wall Street debacle where even the dear old NZ Reserve Bank needed to pump in over $80vbillion to help stabilise international markets....
    $80 Billion? Are those Liberian Dollars because the entire New Zealand economy was only worth about $110 Billion US in 2009 ... ;)

    Leave a comment:


  • gunnut
    replied
    Originally posted by Roosveltrepub View Post
    Unions are contract workers aren't they? Do they have obligations beyond their contract? If so doesn't the company as well? In your scenario binding arbitration would be the only reasonable recourse.
    You mean people don't have an obligation beyond what the contract states? If so, then why do we expect corporations to have a "social responsibility?" What is this "social contract" that liberals always talk about? Where is it? I have never signed it. I disagree with it. Yet I'm still forced to pay for it.

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  • Roosveltrepub
    replied
    Originally posted by BenRoethig View Post
    Anyone else along the food chain. Suppliers, business that depends on services produced by unions labor, patients who had their health care provider walk out on them, etc. If someone gets laid off because of actions by union or if a business has no product to sell, they should have recourse again said union.
    Unions are contract workers aren't they? Do they have obligations beyond their contract? If so doesn't the company as well? In your scenario binding arbitration would be the only reasonable recourse.

    Leave a comment:


  • BenRoethig
    replied
    Originally posted by Roosveltrepub View Post
    Outside parties would be who?
    Anyone else along the food chain. Suppliers, business that depends on services produced by unions labor, patients who had their health care provider walk out on them, etc. If someone gets laid off because of actions by union or if a business has no product to sell, they should have recourse again said union.
    Last edited by BenRoethig; 11 May 10,, 23:43.

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  • Roosveltrepub
    replied
    Originally posted by gunnut View Post
    It's a catch-22 for the EU right now. Let Greece default will sink the euro in the short term. Rescue Greece will prop up the euro in the short term, but then what happens when Spain and Italy believe there will be a bail out for them in the future?

    Rescuing Greece is probably the worst thing for the euro in the long term. No one will bother reforming their unsustainable welfare state in the euro zone to cure the root of the problem. They will rely on generous handouts from those who actually worked on solving the problem. Doesn't that breed resentment? Why should I work my ass off and save just so you can get a free ride?
    I heard someone from Bloomberg explaining a restructure was probably in the future even with this so, for Greece default is best but for the rest of the world it would be catastrophe. This allows it to be put off till the world is on a better economic footing. Greece defaults the European banks, Portugal, Spain and Italy probably follow.

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  • Monash
    replied
    Originally posted by tphuang View Post
    hmm, if they think that they have high level of skills and can find better jobs, these guys could always move to the private sectors. Instead of working in public school, you could work in private school. Instead of working for the police department, you can work in private security firms. ....etc
    Tphuang,
    Just a few quick points re: your post. Firstly, while many public servants do have skill sets that are readily transferable to private enterprise not all are. As a detective with experience in financial crime I can (and probably will) move to the finance sector when I decide to leave "public service". A colleague with a background in drug or homicide crime may not be so fortunate. There are other skill sets e.g. in public health administration, legislative drafting, Customs and Excise etc that are not so easily transferred.

    Secondly even in most western countries like the U.S. (Greece is a possible exception) the cost of public sector salaries make up only a small proportion of total expenditure. Far more is spent via the programs they administer e.g., Medicare, agricultural subsides and financial bailouts etc than on the staff running them. In other cases i.e. emergency services, the armed forces etc the labour of the labour a "public good" and not easily transferable to the private sector. In any case when it comes to reducing a government deficit reducing public sector wages and expenditure is only half the equation. The other side is increasing revenue. The root of the problem is that everyone (both in business and private citizens) like the things governments spend money on, they just think someone else (not them) should pay for it.

    You also make the comment that there "no collective effort by all employers to keep salary down around the world (which there isn't)" With regards to private industry this is incorrect.

    By definition employers ALWAYS seek to minimize costs (like wages) and maximise profits. In this they march in lock step, be they multinational corporations or sole proprietors, be they in India, England or Peru the aim of the employer is ALWAYS to maximise profit and minimise costs. By the same token employees ALWAYS seek to maximise their personal income. This is simply human nature. If employers could dictate the wages they paid employees they would (see slavery) if employees could dictate their hourly rate of pay them would (see communism). Since neither situation is practicable in the end wages are negotiated via the market place. Historically workers tended to organise because of the disparity in power between poorly educated labourers and early capitalists especially in an environment where employees didn't have access to the level of legal representation that is available to them in modern societies nor the protection provided by modern I.R. legislation.

    Also the more educated/skilled you are the less you need to rely on organised labour organisations. You mentioned Hedge Funds. If I am earning $500,000 a year plus on Wall Street I am likely to be well educated and can afford to defend my legal rights. Not so less well paid labour. (Although even well paid professionals can and do join unions or "professional associations" e.g. lawyers and pilots to name a few and these organisations seek to represent the interests of their members.

    Finally I must apologise for any confusion but the "economies of scale" I referred to are not extracted from employers by unions. In Australia unions often approach finance providers, insurance companies and other industries to negotiate discount deals on products i.e. we have 10,000 members if we bring them to you how much of discount can you give us on car insurance or white goods etc. There are also industry based “not for profit” super funds that are linked to the unions and at least one "bank" operated on behalf of union members that seek .
    As I noted while I am a member of a professional association (union) because I believe that (at least in my case) it provides a useful service. I also believe that union membership in general is neither bad” or “good”. While a “good” union can provide protection from a “bad” employer, militant unionism can be destructive to the industry in which it operates.

    Cheers :)

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  • gunnut
    replied
    Originally posted by Roosveltrepub View Post
    About Greece, Are they going to sink the Euro and will that drag us into a double dip recession? The end of the week was a bit unsettling.
    It's a catch-22 for the EU right now. Let Greece default will sink the euro in the short term. Rescue Greece will prop up the euro in the short term, but then what happens when Spain and Italy believe there will be a bail out for them in the future?

    Rescuing Greece is probably the worst thing for the euro in the long term. No one will bother reforming their unsustainable welfare state in the euro zone to cure the root of the problem. They will rely on generous handouts from those who actually worked on solving the problem. Doesn't that breed resentment? Why should I work my ass off and save just so you can get a free ride?

    Leave a comment:


  • Roosveltrepub
    replied
    About Greece, Are they going to sink the Euro and will that drag us into a double dip recession? The end of the week was a bit unsettling.

    Leave a comment:


  • Roosveltrepub
    replied
    Originally posted by BenRoethig View Post
    That's because they don't grasp the ideas of limited resources. Most labor unions subscribe to various degrees of communist theory.




    Adequate, inadequate, or whatnot they still have a legal right to organize and seek representation. That being said, their should be regulations like there is on business. That being said, if doing anything illegal they should be accountable to RICO laws and there should be a strike limit and the organizers of a strike/rally should be accountable for anything that happens. For example, if union rally gets violent the organizers should be able to be charged as an accessory and if a patient dies because of inadequate care during a nurses strike those who organized the strike should be facing manslaughter charges. Likewise outside parties effected by the strike should be able to sue the union for damages.
    Outside parties would be who? No strike limit is needed. People either cross, they reach agreement or there are replacement workers brought in and the Union looses. During my strike we were all told if we do anything violent or threaten anyone or attempt to destroy company property we will be arrested, we will loose our jobs and the union would not contest it. Violence is mostly a thing of the past. We had one knucklehead throw nails and get arrested and we had one salaried person ignore the police and almost run people over and get arrested. Both Management and Unions in the USA have endorsed violence in the past neither does now. There is nothing communist about wanting to be paid equal to a fair portion of the value added or a fair wage for a service performed that adds value. The problem with the public sector is they give more than they needed to retain workers and avoid a sense of resentment. The benefits imo are too generous. No one gets what the public sector gets now.
    Last edited by Roosveltrepub; 08 May 10,, 20:03.

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  • tphuang
    replied
    Originally posted by Monash View Post
    Sorry to disagree but as a member of a public service association here in Australia I am reasonably certain that in Australia at least the number of unions (and unionists) that actively subscribe to communist economic theory is extremely small (think meeting in a mini-bus small).

    In terms of public service there are a number of practical reasons for having some form of organised representation for labour. Broadly speaking these are:

    Firstly, Governments are by nature monopoly employers hence the ability of public employees to transfer their skills to another employer is somewhat more limited than in private enterprise. They can also provide a degree of protection to individuals who may end up in conflict with their employer.
    hmm, if they think that they have high level of skills and can find better jobs, these guys could always move to the private sectors. Instead of working in public school, you could work in private school. Instead of working for the police department, you can work in private security firms. I'm probably over generalizing things here, but just because the gov't hire a lot of people, doesn't mean the employees are being squeezed. In actual fact, they are overpaid, because gov't at least in America are always running up debts. That means they are paying too much. So, they should either reduce the # of employees or cut salary or whatever. If these people feel squeezed, they are not prevented from working in another state's gov't or federal gov't or local gov't or private firm.
    Secondly there are economies of scale that can be achieved by governments in dealing with a unionised workforce. Government usually insist on negotiating individual contracts with senior managers but below the executive service it is usually quicker, cheaper and easier to negotiate collectively.
    it's like that everywhere. For all the major companies out there. They have entry level salary levels for different types of employees and also what their yearly increases should be. If people like the salary, they go there. If they don't, they find other companies that pay more. And if gov't can hire enough talented individuals, they'd have to their compensation.

    As long as there is no collective effort by all employers to keep salary down around the world (which there isn't), you shouldn't need to negotiate a contract level with the union.

    For example, if you are a trader and you think Goldman Sachs in New York is not paying you enough. You can go work for a hedge fund or another bank or in the Treasury department or a bank in Europe or a bank in Asia. Nobody can shut you out.
    Thirdly unions in Australia can and do achieve economies for members when it comes to financial services, insurance and superannuation etc.
    that maybe so, but if they bargain for more than what their employers can realistically afford, then their companies will go under, because they become uncompetitive vs companies without unions. That's what happened to the big 3 here in North America. You notice how all the major corporations are resisting against unions?
    Finally there are "militant" unions in Australia (for example in the building industry) and unionism outside the public sector over here is in decline largely due to higher education levels, low unemployment and easier job mobility. In any event few if any members of the public service sector unions have radical or “left wing" agendas - that bird flew the coup in Australia decades ago. I am also reminded of a maxim an Industrial Relations Lawyer once told me "industries tend to get the unions they deserve".

    P.S. I am not a union official and my view of unions in predicated on my view of them as "service providers" not as organisations for social or political change.
    in my opinion, if you have enough skill in capitalistic world, you have no need for unions. If you think one company is paying too little, just jump ship. Unions kill competitiveness.

    Leave a comment:


  • gunnut
    replied
    Originally posted by crooks View Post
    How so? All workers work for a wage, and should be entitled to negotiate their contracts collectively if they wish, it's their choice, not yours or mine.
    The problem is they directly exert a tremendous amount of influence on the entity that they negotiate with. UAW does not elect the members on the board of GM. Government employees unions contribute to, and influence their membership to elect those who are sympathetic to them, to the political office that affect and sometimes negotiate directly with them. That's conflict of interest.

    Originally posted by crooks View Post
    No, it means the government is the employer, that's the only difference, and that doesn't change the premise that workers are entitled to negotiate collectively if they choose to.

    The government is meant to negotiate on behalf of the public in such talks, but a tax-payer forum on value for money in the public services is actually a pretty neat idea, though on the last part I must say I didn't have you down as a Teabagger.
    You missed my point. Please re-read my previous paragraph, and probably my previous posts in this thread.

    Government employee unions DIRECTLY influence those with whom they negotiate contracts.

    I would like to have a say in my boss's continued employment the next time I ask for a raise. Does that seem fair?

    Originally posted by crooks View Post
    Corporations can and do form collective organisations and interest groups, check out your local Chamber of Commerce or a website like IBEC for example (IBEC - Irish business and employers confederation).

    There's nothing wrong with this, industrial relations is a two-way street, and Business deserves a voice too, they have a right to assembly, same as unions, and indeed negotiations sometimes go better for everyone if such groups are present.
    They cannot set an industry standard price on the goods and services they offer. At least not legally. That's called "price fixing" and is explicitly illegal here. Airlines don't get together and set a standard air fare on a round trip ticket from LA to NY. Labors get together and set a standard wage on government paper shuffling.

    Originally posted by crooks View Post
    Corporations also withhold services and fix prices, quite regularly, partially because of weakened regulation laws Unions faught against and Business opined in favour of.
    And they get taken to the courts regularly. I think Infineon (computer memory maker) and maybe Samsung were sued by the government for fixing prices on their memory chips. Microsoft was sued by EU for including IE in their operating system because the consumers were too dumb to find another free product.

    Originally posted by crooks View Post
    This in my view is the great worth of Unions - not the grabby negotiations, but the defence of conditions, existing contracts and democrat negotiation of new ones.

    Unions today, despite what you would imagine, are on the defensive, as it's becoming harder to attract new members and deregulation introduces weaker structures for long-term employment, the kind of worker more likely to be Union - I'm glad to have them out there, despite the fact I now work in the Private sector and am no longer a Union-member.
    I am talking about government employee unions, not private. Government employee unions directly affect those whom they negotiate with. I know I sound like a broken record here but you don't seem to understand my point. Government employee unions push to expand the government to get more employees, thus resulting in a larger union, which gives them more money and votes, which exert more influence on the politicians running for the government office, whom they will negotiate with in the future.

    Originally posted by crooks View Post
    No political donations, no affiliation to political parties, but beyond that, I disagree.
    It's more effective and fair to ban government employee unions.

    Leave a comment:


  • highsea
    replied
    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    not just the profit motive but when there's a budget involved-- there will always be pressure to rob peter to pay paul. a lot of the complaints re: NSPS, for instance, was that it was a cost-slashing device dressed up as pay-for-performance.
    First of all, there is a need to cut costs, and there is a need to improve the return on the taxpayer's dollar.

    The real complaint is that it makes people earn their keep, and that is gets rid of the GS system whereby people get automatic grade increases forever, whether they actually earn it or not.

    So of course the unions are against it, they cater to the lowest common denominator.
    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    in any case, even the GAO hasn't been altogether free of race issues:

    GAO to launch employee diversity reforms in response to job performance report (5/2/08) -- GovExec.com
    So the crux of your argument is that the US Government is racist, and workers need to unionize to protect themselves from the racist government.

    There is already a plethora of laws on the books that protect workers from discrimination, and paths of recourse if they feel they have been discriminated against.

    I say gunnut has the better argument so far. Public employee unions do more harm than good, there is no profit motive in the gov't like the private sector, so there is no validity to the argument that the unions are necessary to protect workers from exploitation by capitalists.

    Leave a comment:


  • crooks
    replied
    Originally posted by gunnut View Post
    There's a thing call freedom of speech too, but we draw the line at yelling fire in a crowded theater or inciting violence. There should also be a line in freedom of assembly in that government employees cannot form a labor union due to conflict of interest.
    How so? All workers work for a wage, and should be entitled to negotiate their contracts collectively if they wish, it's their choice, not yours or mine.

    Originally posted by gunnut View Post
    Labor unions were originally formed to give workers a fighting chance against oppressive businesses for which they work. What does a "government employee" union mean? That the government is an oppressive one? In that case, the tax payers should also be allowed to form a union and refuse to pay oppressive taxes as a mean of negotiation.
    No, it means the government is the employer, that's the only difference, and that doesn't change the premise that workers are entitled to negotiate collectively if they choose to.

    The government is meant to negotiate on behalf of the public in such talks, but a tax-payer forum on value for money in the public services is actually a pretty neat idea, though on the last part I must say I didn't have you down as a Teabagger.

    Originally posted by gunnut View Post
    We don't allow corporations to form unions. What about their right of assembly? They should be allowed to get together and fix prices just like labor unions do. They should be allowed to withhold their products and services as a mean of negotiating a higher margin. Why don't we have those?
    Corporations can and do form collective organisations and interest groups, check out your local Chamber of Commerce or a website like IBEC for example (IBEC - Irish business and employers confederation).

    There's nothing wrong with this, industrial relations is a two-way street, and Business deserves a voice too, they have a right to assembly, same as unions, and indeed negotiations sometimes go better for everyone if such groups are present.

    Corporations also withhold services and fix prices, quite regularly, partially because of weakened regulation laws Unions faught against and Business opined in favour of.
    This in my view is the great worth of Unions - not the grabby negotiations, but the defence of conditions, existing contracts and democrat negotiation of new ones.

    Unions today, despite what you would imagine, are on the defensive, as it's becoming harder to attract new members and deregulation introduces weaker structures for long-term employment, the kind of worker more likely to be Union - I'm glad to have them out there, despite the fact I now work in the Private sector and am no longer a Union-member.

    Originally posted by gunnut View Post
    There should be a line in labor unions and I draw it at government employees.
    No political donations, no affiliation to political parties, but beyond that, I disagree.

    Leave a comment:


  • Monash
    replied
    Originally posted by BenRoethig View Post
    That's because they don't grasp the ideas of limited resources. Most labour unions subscribe to various degrees of communist theory. A
    Sorry to disagree but as a member of a public service association here in Australia I am reasonably certain that in Australia at least the number of unions (and unionists) that actively subscribe to communist economic theory is extremely small (think meeting in a mini-bus small).

    In terms of public service there are a number of practical reasons for having some form of organised representation for labour. Broadly speaking these are:

    Firstly, Governments are by nature monopoly employers hence the ability of public employees to transfer their skills to another employer is somewhat more limited than in private enterprise. They can also provide a degree of protection to individuals who may end up in conflict with their employer.

    Secondly there are economies of scale that can be achieved by governments in dealing with a unionised workforce. Government usually insist on negotiating individual contracts with senior managers but below the executive service it is usually quicker, cheaper and easier to negotiate collectively.

    Thirdly unions in Australia can and do achieve economies for members when it comes to financial services, insurance and superannuation etc.

    Finally there are "militant" unions in Australia (for example in the building industry) and unionism outside the public sector over here is in decline largely due to higher education levels, low unemployment and easier job mobility. In any event few if any members of the public service sector unions have radical or “left wing" agendas - that bird flew the coup in Australia decades ago. I am also reminded of a maxim an Industrial Relations Lawyer once told me "industries tend to get the unions they deserve".

    P.S. I am not a union official and my view of unions in predicated on my view of them as "service providers" not as organisations for social or political change.

    Leave a comment:

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