Posts Tagged ‘unions’

Truth About Teamsters Union And Hostess Delivery Trucks

Friday, January 11th, 2013

In my constant quest to piss off die-hard union workers that sap our city, county, state and federal budgets with their lifetime paycheck entitlement mentality, I applaud the state of Michigan for their right-to-work stance.

The Wall Street Journal had a brief editorial on the matter, that I would love to share:

“Unions can extract monopoly wages and benefits for a time from a profitable industry, but often at the cost of making that industry less competitive and eventually at the cost of union jobs. Thus did Teamster work rules — cake and bread had to be delivered in separate trucks — cost the bakery workers their jobs at Hostess.”

I had touched on the union costing Americans and fans around the world Twinkies, but when the truth comes out that cake and bread could not reside on the same delivery truck, good riddance.  The brands will resurface from another company in the next year and workers will find work, and the unions will have another nail in the collective coffins.

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Silicon Valley Start-Up Companies Thrive Without Unions

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

The State of California is broke. Santa Clara County is broke, and so is the City of San Jose.  Most cities and counties in California have nothing in their coffers, and that can be said for most cities and counties regardless of their state.  We all know the reason(s) and we all know that next to nothing can be done, since most politicians bow to the unions that get them elected. A few, like San Jose mayor, Chuck Reed, have the guts to say enough is enough, and threaten the unions that fill city hall with pay cuts or layoffs.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed Fought City Hall Unions

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed Fought City Hall Unions

Despite this mess that we all live in, start up companies all around us are thriving. It’s not Google or eBay that I am talking about, but new companies that are making huge splashes, such as Facebook, Twitter, Groupon and FourSquare.  These companies, if they were children would be in Elementary School, but are taking the Internet by storm.

Facebook is now the 2nd most trafficked website in the world, according to Alexa.com, and Twitter helped Barack Obama “tweet” his way into the White House.

These companies all hire bunches of really smart engineers and developers to create cool concepts and interfaces. They work crazy hours and get gobs of low-priced stock options that may or may not ever pay off.  It’s a gamble, certainly, but with so many companies having hit the proverbial jackpot of an IPO or an acquisition, the chance of becoming stupid-rich is pretty compelling.

Did I mention that none of these jobs are unionized, and none of these people have a pension? There is no shop steward and no hall meetings and dues to pay. Nope. These really smart engineers and developers are paid based on their level of experience and what they produce. If they are no good, they don’t get the job in the first place, and if they suck after they get hired, they will be let go.  If the company folds, which so many start-ups do, they lose their job and need to look for the next opportunity.  There is no place to hide.

And this is why Silicon Valley has created 95% of the technology we use in our daily life, union-free. If you disagree with this statement, just think what brought you to this page in the first place and read through this list of companies located within a 50-mile radius of where I currently sit: Apple, Adobe, Intel, AMD, HP, Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Oracle, eBay, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Friendster, HiFive, Cisco, Symantec, Tivo, Netflix, Seagate, NVIDIA, Tesla, and hundreds more.

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Omni Berkshire Hotel in New York, Unions and the Mafia

Friday, April 16th, 2010

Is organized crime involved with union affairs in New York City?  Is the mob involved with their daily operations, work stoppages and protests?

I was in Manhattan last week, and while on my way to a meeting there was a big commotion with banging drums and a group chanting, “union…union…” across the street from the Omni Berkshire Hotel on 52nd and Madison.  There was a 10-foot tall inflatable rat placed in the street directly in front of the hotel’s main entrance to imply the hotel’s management is rodent-like in their dealings with their particular union.

Omni Berkshire Hotel New York Union Protests and The Mafia

Omni Berkshire Hotel New York Union Protests and The Mafia

It was a small gathering, maybe 20 guys who looked like rugged dudes from Hollywood Central Casting, if there indeed was a call for longshoreman and construction workers.  The guys were mostly standing around looking like rugged union members tend to look, while a couple of loud-mouths did the screaming into a distorted bullhorn.

And then I saw him, in the sea of ruggedness, there he was.  We made eye contact, and I made him.  He wasn’t rugged, and he wasn’t a loudmouth.  He was standing behind the barricade next to the HVAC guys, looking like a leftover from a Soprano’s episode.  He didn’t wear a well-worn paint-stained t-shirt like the rest of the guys, calloused hands or a weathered leathery skin from decades of working in the elements.  No, he had perfectly combed, slicked-back hair, a designer sweater and gold chain around his neck.  It wasn’t a Sir Mix-A-Lot rope chain, but it wasn’t purchased at Zale’s for $99.00 either.

He looked how “muscle” is supposed to look, or at least how it’s portrayed in the movies.

Could he have been there to protect the “interests” of someone or some group, or protect the union workers from being harassed by hotel security or a local beat cop?  Maybe.

Could he have simply been the well-dressed son of one of the protesters hanging out in the middle of the afternoon showing solidarity and support for his dad’s union?  Maybe.

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Exporting American Products and Intellectual Property

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Whenever there is a loss of jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector, the cries begin from union leaders and pro-union politicians that we need to protect “our” jobs.  What they really mean is we Americans need to keep the status-quo, not deal with the progress of technology, the global economy, and reality.

Cars are made by robots and machines with an assist from humans, automated attendants help callers navigate through phone systems at companies large and small, but there are still jobs here at home – just maybe not the same job your grandfather held decades ago.  It is called progress.

Because of the perceived loss of jobs, the word “import” has negative connotations in some areas, but we have to realize it is a balance and that American-made exports are nothing to sneeze at.

Exporting American Intellectual Property

Hollywood movies are played around the world to audiences in hundreds of countries, and Justin Timberlake doesn’t just sell CDs and iTunes downloads in Ohio.  Yes, many software development and tennis shoe manufacturing jobs are now in Sri Lanka and Vietnam, but Boeing still builds jets in Washington, not in Bulgaria.  In fact, Boeing’s revenue in 2008 included $23.8 billion from outside the United States.

But looking closer to home, Toyota has built trucks in Texas since 2006, Mercedes builds SUVs in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Hyundai’s factory is in Montgomery, Alabama.

Hyundai Factory in Montgomery, Alabama

Hyundai Factory in Montgomery, Alabama

Nebraska Exported $5 Billion of Products in 2008

Soybeans are exported around the world to the tune of 15 million metric tons, and the state of Nebraska – yes Nebraska, exported over $5 billion in goods in 2008.

Workers become more specialized as technology advances, and this is the reason why horses are no longer used to plow fields, and why toll takers on bridges are being replaced with electronic devices such as FasTrak which sticks to your windshield and is read by a scanning device.

One sector shrinks and another expands – always has and always will.

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Made In China Is A Good Thing

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I had a discussion recently with my Aunt Vera, a wonderful lady in her 80’s who still lives in the house she and my father grew up in San Francisco.  She, like many of her era were raised to believe that unions and union jobs were the way to achieve middle-class lifestyles, and that companies owed lifetime employment to their workers.

As my kids were running around and making more noise in the house than she is used to, she mentioned to me between sips of tea just how horrible it is that all the jobs are being outsourced to India and Mexico, and that there are no good jobs left for hard working Americans.

I asked her what she meant, and she went on to say that all the factory jobs and the jobs that made the Bay Area and our country strong were being sent to places where labor was so cheap.  I knew where she was going but I wanted to hear it from her, since if I were in her shoes I’d likely feel the same way.  My goodness, MADE IN THE U.S.A. used to mean something is what she was trying to say.

Levi’s 501 Jeans Are Made in Haiti

My dad used to drive cool Thunderbirds and even had a 1965 Firebird.  I had an RCA TV in the house growing up, and my Levi’s 501 jeans were made in America, now they are made in Haiti.  American cars were cool, pre-Pinto, Vega and Pacer, then the 1970’s happened when Detroit got lazy and Toyota and Datsun took their lunch money.

Levis 501 Jeans Made in Haiti

Levis 501 Jeans Made in Haiti

I started talking a bit about progress, and how technology moves things along for the betterment of not only our society, but also the global economy by allowing workers in countries that do manufacturing to earn good livings so they can buy our Nike sneakers, watch Disney movies and have a Coke with a smile.

Then I asked her how, when she was a kid, she made a phone call.  “Didn’t you pick up the ear piece and crank the handle on the side of the box to alert the operator who then asked for the number?”  She nodded and I jokingly said, “But those poor operators – they’re all out of work!”  She chuckled.

Then I commented on her new TV in the living room, a nice model that was about 32”.  I then mentioned the number of TV’s manufactured in the United States was right around zero, and hers’ was likely made in China.  (Vizio, a company headquartered in Irvine, California, led by Taiwan-born William (not his given name) Wang, claims to be America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company.  Their televisions are made in China.)

She winced.

Then I quickly jumped in and said, “Just think, 20 years ago a 19” Sony TV cost about $500, and today you are getting a 32” TV for the same price that gives you a better picture.”

Made In China Is A Good Thing

As the chat progressed, she got the fact that because some things are made in places like China where the cost of living and the corresponding wages are significantly less, more American people can enjoy things that used to be considered luxury items – like an LCD TV.  To really put the matter of TV prices into perspective and why “Made in China” is not a bad thing, chomp on this: A Sony 42” Plasma TV had a MSRP of $7999.00 in 2002.  Yes, EIGHT  THOUSAND DOLLARS for a 42” TV, seven short years ago.  Today I can buy a 52” Sony TV with a free Blu-Ray DVD Player for about $1500.00, and Costco is selling an off-brand ProScan 40” LCD set for a ridiculously low $499.00!

I would love to buy American-made products, but I am not willing to support the unions that seemingly ruin a good thing whenever they can, in the “best interests” of their rank and file.  In other words, I am not willing to pay a large premium to buy goods made in this country, when I know the Sony TV made across the Pacific Ocean is of better quality and price than any comparable set that could be made here.

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