3/11/11

Modernization Crimps Union Bigs

All states take note as antiquated WI collective bargaining statutes receive much-needed update

Cartoon:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin may be a state away, but employees everywhere suffered a huge blow today! Without unions to guarantee employee rights, we are now at the mercy of power hungry employers who gain satisfaction in treating employees like whipping boys.
I worked for an employer where there was a staff union but my position was not covered. I had been an exemplary employee for 13 years. One morning, shortly after returning from a major medical problem, I was asked to report to my boss at a certain time. When the time approached, I went to the door and was taken slightly aback by the look on his face as he told me he wasn’t ready for me yet. I had the feeling he was furious about something. While I was back in my office, the bank representative called and immediately asked “what is going on?” I didn’t know what she meant so she went on to explain that the bank president had just told her that my boss had called him the prior week and said she was to have nothing to do with our accounts anymore. While I was on the phone with her, the office manager slipped me a note that said my boss would see me now.
As soon as I sat down in his office, he requested the office manager close the door. Immediately fearful, I said I didn’t want the door closed. I talked with the Executive Director regarding my objection to having the door closed, but he refused my request to leave it open. He stated the purpose of the meeting was not disciplinary, he would not allow me to tape record the meeting and he did not feel I needed a witness at the meeting because he understood the office manager would be there. When I refused to attend the closed door meeting, the Executive Director claims he made the decision to terminate me. His exact words were, “We have a right to have them sit down and talk to employees. Nobody was going to bring any harm to her, and there was no reason for her not to do it. She was capable of doing it. Sometimes you are asked to do something you can’t do. This was not the case here. This was a simple request where as an employer we have a right when we ask someone to come in for a meeting to come to a meeting and to close the door.”
In the days following my termination, other non-union employees submitted white cards and were allowed representation by the union.
It may be true that employees in a union workplace receive better pay and benefits. At the time I was fired, I made $42,961.92 per year; I was in a defined pension plan, earned four weeks of paid vacation each year and had family health, vision, and dental coverage. It is now almost eight years later and I earn $43,180.80 per year, I am in a 401K retirement plan, I earn three weeks’ vacation per year, I do not have vision or dental coverage and pay the first $10,000 per year for medical claims out of pocket. However, I feel either salary is still peanuts compared to the salary and benefits of upper management and unjust CEO's.
Taking everything into consideration, I would not dream of searching for another job. The people I work for are all full time union employees who treat me like gold. I thank God daily for having found this job. You cannot put a price on being treated with respect but rest assured employees will be paying a huge price for the loss of collective bargaining.

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