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Reply #73: What you hear [View All]

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myopic4141 Donating Member (309 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-03-04 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #46
73. What you hear
is what you want to hear and what you see is what you want to see. The fact that all you see when workers strike (regardless of employment) is wages, pensions, and benefits speaks volumes to a limited vision of reality. While those items are included, they are but a part of why workers go out on strike. There are other issues such as safety issues, working environment issues, training issues, hiring/firing issues, and job requirement issues to name a few. These not only help the worker; but, help to produce a better product by creating a better environment to work in.
During the 40's and 50's, the auto unions were accused of fighting against industrial automation when the reality was that the driving force against automation was cheap manual labor. What the unions were fighting for was retraining to use the automation when it was installed.
When the ATC controllers when on strike in the early 80's, it was not to get a pay increase; but, , it was because a law existed that made it illegal for a government employee to be paid more than a Senator in a single year. Because of the shortage of ATC controllers due to budgetary shenanigans, the controllers would hit the cap in September with overtime pay; therefore, worked for free Oct, Nov, and Dec. This went on for three years until a strike shut down the ATC system and the law was repealed. It cost many of them their jobs; but, as long as the controllers did not go on strike, the repeal legislation remained stuck in Congress.
Do not get the wrong impression that I feel that labor unions are a paragon of good for they are not. There are examples of union abuses which is why I say that they are a necessary evil.
I know of two teacher strikes that were for smaller class sizes which not only benefitted the teacher; but, the student as well by allowing for more individual attention where needed.
As to unionized private school teachers, I really do not know. An interesting question that may be worth looking into. If not why not for it would seem that the NEA would wish to include these teachers as well unless the NEA is only a public employee's union. There may be a different one for private schools depending on contract agreements.
I remember talking to a Northwest pilot who just came off strike complaining about not being able to fly because the machinists being on strike. I remember that salary was the big issue in the headlines and a less noted secondary issue about the number of crew in the flight cabin. Wage was the headlines for the machinist strike as well and I know there were other less noted issues regarding working conditions. The pilot had the attitude that he was better than the machinist and when I disputed that, he said "would you like just anyone off the street flying the aircraft?" to which I replied, "and would you like just anyone off the street maintaining the aircraft?". Conversation was over.
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