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    Default Union machinists......Seattle...

    Interesting story in today's Seattle Times newspaper.

    Machinists Inc, a 135 man shop, bought their neighbor the 61 man Gear Works. Machinists Inc terminated all employees of Gear Works. Gear Works is a union shop and Machinists Inc is not. The terminated workers are welcome to apply for their old jobs, although Machinists will only be hiring 40.

    Gear Works apparently was not in financial trouble. The reason given for the sale was the advanced age of the owners who are sons of the founder. The company will be negotiating a severance package with the union.

    In thirty some years I only had two former union machinists apply for work. They came together, about mid-fifties in age, also claiming to be journeymen machinists. What they had in mind for wages, benefits was way beyond my idea of reasonable. But the deal killer was I needed CNC experience. When I mentioned CNC, one of them said "we ain't got no use for computers".

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    I never did business with Machinists Inc, but I did with Gear Works and they were good folks.

    I give them 6 months- those 40 guys from Gear Works will be organizing the minute they get in the door.

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    So what was the gain of the buyout? I am perplexed. I doubt a union machine shop with an aging workforce would have had the most up to date gear hobbing equipment and knowledge base...then they "fire" the employees who now will be pissed and wont pass on any trade secrets.

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    I've worked at the Boeing plant there on 3 separate occasions. Spent a whole lot of time working with the union machinists there. A few words come to mind, lazy, self entitled, arrogant...

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    Quote Originally Posted by davehud View Post
    I've worked at the Boeing plant there on 3 separate occasions. Spent a whole lot of time working with the union machinists there. A few words come to mind, lazy, self entitled, arrogant...
    Union workers are the best...just ask them. A lot of talk and not a whole lot of substance. I would NEVER hire a union worker. I would go as far to say that unions are one of the major flaws in America.
    Too strong?

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    I work in a lot of shops. Some union facilities are fine. Some are horrible. It's always harder to get my work done in a union shop.

    I'd like to work in Europe and see how unions operate over there. It has to be better, it can't be worse.

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    I have bought from Gear Works. And they were great. Not cheap.
    But up here in Seattle, you dont have much choice.
    There might be one, possibly two, gear shops in Portland, a 10 hour round trip. Probably not much left in the Bay Area. A few shops left in LA, 1300 miles away.

    So a local gear shop stays busy. And when your crane goes down in the middle of fishing season on your boat in Alaska, you pay what they ask.

    Union, or Non-Union, if properly managed, Gear Works will do fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post
    I work in a lot of shops. Some union facilities are fine. Some are horrible. It's always harder to get my work done in a union shop.

    I'd like to work in Europe and see how unions operate over there. It has to be better, it can't be worse.
    ’Round here there is no distinction between union shops or not. You can work in a union shop without being union member and vice versa. Maybe 30 years ago or so there was more push from the union side, but it was never quite the same as in US.
    Union benefits(salary rises, working hours) usually include also non-union workers in the same field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post


    I'd like to work in Europe and see how unions operate over there. It has to be better, it can't be worse.
    Young man you have just opened a whole new can of worms. I wait with unbaited breath for the inevitable reply.

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    Most of my career machining I have been non-union. I spent less than 5 years working for a defense contractor that was union. I didn't like it.......seemed dealing with the union sucked.....but dealing with that company sucked an equal amount. Not gonna go into any detail in this thread.....however....I will say that I agree with the old saying that is something to the effect...."A company usually gets the exact sort of union that it deserves".......the company I worked for had zero respect for anyone who wasnt sitting at a desk all day, they would have had everyone working for free if they could have gotten away with it. As much as I disliked the union atmosphere I say good to the union boys who take absolutely every cent they can from that company.......because the asshole sitting in his big leather chair is doing the exact same thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiJ View Post
    ’Round here there is no distinction between union shops or not. You can work in a union shop without being union member and vice versa. Maybe 30 years ago or so there was more push from the union side, but it was never quite the same as in US.
    Union benefits(salary rises, working hours) usually include also non-union workers in the same field.

    My shop is union, but they went to right-to-work in Michigan a while back. I think the guys on the floor have something like a 98% participation rate for the union - UAW. A welder here recently became frustrated with some aspect of the union and decided he was going to withdraw his participation and save on his union dues (2.5 hour a month here at something around $24 an hour wage).

    Union says: We paid for your journeyman's card, so you are no longer entitled to that. What ends up going out with that was a pretty substantial deduction in pay, something around .75/hr.

    Welder ends up getting a lawyer to fight them taking his journeyman's card, he wins in short order, retains his pay and receives the compensation he didn't get with his lack of journeyman pay for the prior weeks.

    Anyways, I don't know much about being a non-union employee in a union shop. Seems to me they get the same treatment as any regular, dues paying union member.

    Our shop is pretty lax as far as the union stuff goes though, and there's a marginal amount of worthless employees that are well protected. Nothing on the level of GM though...I've seen some stuff that that nearly made me sick to my stomach.

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    When you say 61 man shop does that mean 61 macinists, or 61 total people? If they are next door I wouldn't be surprised if they have some things that are duplicated. You often don't need two people doing payroll, reception, or a variety of other office positions.

    Will be interesting to see how the union thing goes. There is a difference being in house vs. next door, but I'm sure these guys have already been exposed to the union viewpoint.

    The place I work is (mostly) union on the production floor, although it isn't an issue. I have no idea what the percentage is. Interestingly our sister location up in west Michigan opted not to unionize because they didn't want someone taking more of their money (dues) and the guys there figure they are faster than the average bear/don't want new lazy folks to come in getting the same pay and making them work harder.

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    Not every dues paying, closed shop, union member is happy with the actions of their
    union.

    And some even go out of their way to be helpfull & productive employees,
    in spite of the bloated carcass's laying all around them.

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    On the subject of union bashing....
    As a dues paying member for over 40 years now I can say not often was I happy with decisions made back in the 80's and 90's by my union...

    The one point my employers made over the years we are paying you more so you have to make us more money...
    And we must have.... those companies are still going and still union.

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    Sort of a curious question! I'm retired and can screw off on the computer, read drivel online and post to my hearts content. I see many of the same PM members post quite often throughout the day. Are they retired, self employed or are they goofing off at work when they should be earning their wages?

    I've driven past construction sites and absolutely every worker in sight was on his cell phone..not a shovel or pick in hand. How does this work?

    Stuart

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    I read PM on my breaks.

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    I have two thoughts about companies and unions.

    A unionized company gets exactly the type of union it deserves.

    A union has an obligation to help and protect its members, but it also has a responsibility to discipline laggard and troublesome members.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by ewlsey View Post

    I'd like to work in Europe and see how unions operate over there. It has to be better, it can't be worse.
    I was just taking to a salesman yesterday, and he was telling me about one of his big customers, a German manufacturer of industrial mixing equipment. They are in the process of moving all manufacturing to the United States.

    Why?

    Well it seems the German unionized workers were not satisfied with a 36-hour work week with 6 weeks of paid vacation a year. They had been demanding a 32-hour work week with 10-weeks of paid vacation every year.

    Sounds like German workers are forgetting we are all in a global economy, and no matter how big and prosperous the company may seem, they still have to compete tooth-and-nail for business.

    You did know all BMW SUV's sold worldwide are made in Greenville/Spartanburg, SC. And BMW is constantly adding on and building more and more here.

    Coincidence???

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    I am not sure its a good thing that we are becoming the cheap place to make things which are then sold for full price in Europe and Asia by foreign companies.
    I mean, isnt that why they build factories in Mexico and Cambodia?

    I know that Ikea pays its US workers half what its Swedish ones get to do the same job, and BMW, Mercedes, and VW all pay much less to North American workers than to German ones, sure- but they pay their Chinese workers even less- and it seems like once all we have is to brag about how little we will work for- well, theres always somebody who will work for less.
    Hard to win at that game.

    BMW and Mercedes have big factories in China, and they are building more.
    How low will our wages, and our State tax giveaways, have to be, to beat the Chinese?
    Race to the bottom, anyone?

    BMW pays half the hourly wage in the US it does in Germany.
    But it pays even LESS in China.

    Subscribe to read

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    So we are winning the race to the bottom ?

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