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Discussion Starter · #81 · (Edited by Moderator)
Hi Bob, Just an analysis from a distance.
No idea what your exit plan is, but you might want to bring it to the forefront. You have certainly put in enough time to build your business.
Check w/ a sound business broker as to how the scenario would play out given the union threats.
Jim
Copymutt, you do come up with some good ones. I did have a great offer on the table last year. We would have been a part of a global multi billion dollar conglomerate. Their due diligence was done by no other than Earnest and Young, one of the three leading auditors in the country if not the world. What I liked about them was of course the amount they were offering, but most of all was they had no intention of laying any my employees or moving my company to one of their global locations. They liked our potential, our location, and our infrastructure. What they didn't like was the benefits we paid, such as full medical coverage for the employee and others that may have clashed with what some of the benefits that some of their other companies were offering. They wanted to lower their offer which I turned down. Se we both decided to take a breather. Fortunately for us we are expecting a minimum 35% growth this year as you can tell with our growth with additional people. We began talking again before I was broadsided and they liked the idea of us expanding to AZ. This is all fact. Adding more would be considered as conjecture. The future is promised to no one. One of my best friends in high school just passed away. :(
 

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I'm not in a trade usually unionized, but I still avoid contracts at union employers since they often don't keep their best people, but usually the ones with the most seniority, regardless of skill or attitude and I frankly don't like dealing with people who only keep their job because they've had it the longest, and I could share a page full of stories on dealing with union stupidity. I have flat out told an employer I will quit before working under a union. I'm perfectly capable of negotiating my own rate, airing my own grievances, and packing my bag if I don't like the deal I'm getting.

That said, I think there is a place for some unions. In fields where the employees are practically fungible and treated like a commodity, huge employers that make a business out of mistreating staff, and industries where there is only one employer in your local area (like teaching, police, fire, nursing in Canada) and you'd be practically unable to just go work for the employer next door if you weren't getting a fair shake. In industries where employees can come and go at will though with plenty of options, I see them as parasitic.

@Trifecta I'm not pro-union at all, but was just wondering what has been happening with hourly rates for similar jobs (or lesser skilled jobs) in your area that your employees might be able to move to? I know here outside of San Diego, our local McDonalds is starting people at $17/hr, and the ripple effect is moving up the ladder. Even in my field, we've got an insane amount of turnover as people are leaving for huge salary jumps, sometimes $50k+. I'm all for you holding your ground as a non-union shop as I would be inclined to do the same, I'd just want to know what my employees options were before digging my heels in.
And17 bucks an hour for someone to say would you like fries with that? Fast food joints should be high school or college jobs, not a career unless a managerial position
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
I'm not in a trade usually unionized, but I still avoid contracts at union employers since they often don't keep their best people, but usually the ones with the most seniority, regardless of skill or attitude and I frankly don't like dealing with people who only keep their job because they've had it the longest, and I could share a page full of stories on dealing with union stupidity. I have flat out told an employer I will quit before working under a union. I'm perfectly capable of negotiating my own rate, airing my own grievances, and packing my bag if I don't like the deal I'm getting.

That said, I think there is a place for some unions. In fields where the employees are practically fungible and treated like a commodity, huge employers that make a business out of mistreating staff, and industries where there is only one employer in your local area (like teaching, police, fire, nursing in Canada) and you'd be practically unable to just go work for the employer next door if you weren't getting a fair shake. In industries where employees can come and go at will though with plenty of options, I see them as parasitic.

@Trifecta I'm not pro-union at all, but was just wondering what has been happening with hourly rates for similar jobs (or lesser skilled jobs) in your area that your employees might be able to move to? I know here outside of San Diego, our local McDonalds is starting people at $17/hr, and the ripple effect is moving up the ladder. Even in my field, we've got an insane amount of turnover as people are leaving for huge salary jumps, sometimes $50k+. I'm all for you holding your ground as a non-union shop as I would be inclined to do the same, I'd just want to know what my employees options were before digging my heels in.
Thanks Carson. I'm not familiar with fast food wages, but what I've heard is that they only offer enough hours (30?) to keep from paying any benefits. Just this week I asked my payroll accountant to give me a complete wage estimate that besides hourly pay would also include all benefits such as medical insurance, holidays, vacation, sick leave and any other benefits we provide..
California minimum wage is $15. McDonalds is probably offering that is because they can't find people to work for them under the conditions they are put under. I doubt any McDonald employee is raising a family on their weekly earnings.
 

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You aren't gonna get an bonuses or raises with a union agreement either. Never got a bonus in many decades I worked union. And only raises were whatever the contract negotiated for. And all the deadbeats got the same raise the great employees got.
not quite true... but to some degree..
also depends what trade union you belong to and company you work for..
electricians and sprinkler fitters are some of the highest payed trades on job sites..
with pay scale and pension packages almost triple compared to other trades..
so i can see it being hard justifying paying bonuses...

me personally been on both sides ,
worked 15 years for non union painting contractor
and the last 25 years for a union painting contractor in the sf bayarea..
i get $2 over scale also get bonuses.. our pay rate drops $3 an hour when working outside of San Francisco city line..
my company pays me sf rate regardless where they send me to work..and i get foremans pay even if i work by my self or run a crew.. and im not the only one in the company getting that..
company i work for reward you for hard work and good work ethic
 

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And17 bucks an hour for someone to say would you like fries with that? Fast food joints should be high school or college jobs, not a career unless a managerial position
That's the way I see it, but the point is the "trickle-up" effect. The guy that was working a back breaking labor job at $20 an hour and was happy when McD's was paying $9 (before the CA min. wage hike of course), now that they're at $17 to start, his $20 for back breaking labor doesn't look so good, so he either gets that raise to $35-40 or goes elsewhere. His manager that was happy with $30 still wants to make more than the guys on the floor, so he pushes for more.. and so on.

And, everything has gotten more expensive so employees at the bottom of the labor pool are having to look hard at other opportunities. I'm fortunate that while I actually got less than my usual rate increase this year, I'm more than comfortable and somewhat insulated from the rising costs. It's annoying, but I can make it work. I look at people on fixed income or minimum wage though and routinely ask the wife "how do people afford this?".

Let's look at cost increases where I'm at in the San Diego area (west of Trifecta, a higher cost of living area for sure) just in the last year

Rents on average are up 18-20%, a two bedroom apartment is up to $2450 a month (source).
Fuel is $5.87, up from $4.11 last year (source)
Utilities are up 7.8% on average, but some families are seeing much more drastic changes (source) People with fairly modest houses are seeing $500-600/mo bills, 2 bedroom condos about half.
Groceries are up 7% on average, with beef being 18% more expensive (source)
And all the little stuff adds up, dog food is now $65 a bag instead of $45 etc. Mild steel was 0.89/lb last year, now it's $1.99/lb. Guess what that does to the price of anything metal?

So I can understand if labor employees around here anyways are stressed out about money and it's probably a hot time for unions to take advantage of this and promise people more money.


Thanks Carson. I'm not familiar with fast food wages, but what I've heard is that they only offer enough hours (30?) to keep from paying any benefits.
I don't think your employees are going to leave for McDonalds, my point is between the raised minimum wage and the current situation, wages that looked really good a few years ago have people wondering about making a move (the trickle-up effect I call it, mentioned above). And also with the inflation, I have no doubt your shop is not the only one that unions are sniffing around. What laborer with a family trying to figure out how to make things work with these kind of cost-of-living increases isn't going to at least listen to what the union guy has to say if he's promising higher rates?
 

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I'm not in a trade usually unionized, but I still avoid contracts at union employers since they often don't keep their best people, but usually the ones with the most seniority, regardless of skill or attitude
not true in my trade..
if you have no skills and dont perform you will be the first guy layed off..
you referring to federal and city workers where seniority comes in to play, not performing or flat out lazy dont matter..
 

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not quite true... but to some degree..
also depends what trade union you belong to and company you work for..
electricians and sprinkler fitters are some of the highest payed trades on job sites..
with pay scale and pension packages almost triple compared to other trades..
so i can see it being hard justifying paying bonuses...

me personally been on both sides ,
worked 15 years for non union painting contractor
and the last 25 years for a union painting contractor in the sf bayarea..
i get $2 over scale also get bonuses.. our pay rate drops $3 an hour when working outside of San Francisco city line..
my company pays me sf rate regardless where they send me to work..and i get foremans pay even if i work by my self or run a crew.. and im not the only one in the company getting that..
That's certainly not the norm for union contractors. As a lifelong union electrician I never got bonuses, and never knew anyone at our 1500 electrician company who did. We got Christmas presents and had dinner meetings for those of us making foreman's pay.
I too got foreman's pay whether I was running crews or not, but that wasn't what I'd call a "bonus". It was because I had my own customers and bid all my own work, plus arranged for crews if I needed help. So I always figured I worked harder and was being compensated for what I saved the company in resources.
We do indeed have one of the finest retirements in the skilled trades. Most make more retired than they did working, and we got health coverage paid fully, even after I retired, up to age 65 when I went on Medicare. My wife is younger, and she too got covered even after I wasn't at 65, until she reached 65.
But I paid plenty of dues for the bennies I get once I retired. And the union made a good chunk of change for every hour I worked also. So I don't get anything I didn't earn, while they got plenty for very little effort.
And like you, seniority means nothing in the electrical union. A guy could have 50 years at one company and if they thought you weren't cutting it anymore they could simply lay you off and send you back to the hall.
 

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[/QUOTE]promising higher rates? [/QUOTE]
they'll promise anything to get folks signed up to pay dues. Basically that PROMISE of higher wages in order to fulfill means essentially to bully a company to comply or we strike. I've seen the results of several strikes through the yrs with family members. Having to live off food stamps, almost losing their homes while the only thing they got from their dues paid in all the years was a pittance IF they walked the picket line.
 

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Sounds like you've done very well and would not wonder where your next steak is coming from if you decided to sell out now. What is keeping you?
Yeah, I wonder if the employees so eager to bring in a union would be eager enough instead to get together and offer a buy out and put some risk in it for themselves? NONE
 

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Yeah, I wonder if the employees so eager to bring in a union would be eager enough instead to get together and offer a buy out and put some risk in it for themselves? NONE
I ask myself questions like that all the time, they can lose a $5000 choker bell, wipe out the side of a brand new $60000 pick up, only get 2 loads of logs in A-day when we need 7, you name it and it wouldn't matter if I gave them all a $20 an hour raise because they would still want more. Bottom line is most are not loyal and are extremely ungrateful.
 

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Yeah, I wonder if the employees so eager to bring in a union would be eager enough instead to get together and offer a buy out and put some risk in it for themselves? NONE
for the last 26 years before I retired I ran a 1 man show in my auto repair. I got tired of the commission jobs I had before and decided I wanted to keep that bigger chunk for myself. I opened a 2 bay shop, bought the equipment and never looked back. I had customers that followed me from the 2 different dealerships I had worked at and in the later yrs I had their kids and some of their grand kids business. I got the phone company, USPS, sheriffs department and the city business. The way I see it is if you're willing to work for anything you can be successful. You don't need anyone in a position to tell you what you can make. I had No employees, no headaches. I put in a lot of hours and put away some money. In that 26 years I raised 3 children and paid for 2 homes. Now, with what I put away for retirement and my SS I make almost as much as when I was working.
 

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Interesting discussion I worked for others for about 20 years and never appreciated the paycheck more than when I bought my own business and was responsible for payroll. Many times we struggled to meet payroll for everyone but ourselves. Payroll and the bills got paid first, if anything was left, we took a check. Over 32 years later, we retired. No where near rich, but not destitute either.

About the cost of living in California, WOW! I don't know how you people pay 2500 a month rent for a 2 bdrm apartment, I don't understand a 2 bedroom one bath home in the bay area selling for 1.2 mill. What I see over here in Arizona is people bailing on California, selling their million dollar bungalow and coming over here, and getting in bidding wars on houses much, much bigger and better than what they left. Most of them cashed in on equity and are paying cash, so appraisals don't matter. Sure has raised the value of homes here. I don't think this will survive for long. I'm glad I'm retired, my home is paid for, and I don't have to sweat that stuff any more.

Bob, I hope you do get a foothold in AZ. I believe the stress would be less than what you see over there. In addition to Yuma, you might take a look at the Casa Grande area. From what I'm hearing, that area is booming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
To union members, is the money you retire on, money that you put into it plus interest, or does the union kick in a share, and is that share the union pays made up from members still paying their dues? Can you still collect SS from what you earned on union pay? Just curious.
 

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I don't know how you people pay 2500 a month rent for a 2 bdrm apartment
20 minutes East of Seattle, in a reasonably nice area, 2 BR 1 bath apartment is $2285 plus utilities.
That's not much different from many places in California, from which I escaped in the early 80s.
Bought a house in Pittsburg, CA (30 miles from Oakland) for $30k in 1975, sold it for $87k in 1988. Zillow says it's worth $556k today. Guess I missed that boat!
 

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To union members, is the money you retire on, money that you put into it plus interest, or does the union kick in a share, and is that share the union pays made up from members still paying their dues? Can you still collect SS from what you earned on union pay? Just curious.
my benefits are funded through money contributed by hours worked with a separate fund for unreimbursed medical also from hours worked along with an annuity,
We can still collect SS and we also have a full survivor ship so spouse or whoever is alocated will continue when I fade away. All members pay for each other….. we pay our 15 officials through the same funding and then the international gets their kick as well . My pay was 33.50 with a total cost of employer around 135 give our take . I’m happy and it allowed me to raise a family. I still pay dues as an active member but on wife’s insurance and can use my funds to offset out of pocket . Much happier with the pay cut to less than minimum wage having my own thumb in my back😎 and making enough to pay the bills 💵.
 

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That's just not true. If you work for a union employer you can definitely talk to your employer if you have an issue. And most unions would encourage you to talk it out first. You only go to your union if the employer is breaking the agreement and after you've talked with them they refuse to change what they're doing.
If you can talk yo your employer, why fo you need a union,

Hint...you don't. They are corrupt and outdated.
 

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Here's my Union story...or lack thereof

About a year before September 11th, I was working with a fiber optics and telemetry equipment company that serviced medical companies.
We were Florida based, and paid by the job, which usually involved out of state work.

Anyway, we had a job to install equipment, telemetry systems up at Long Island Jewish Memorial...which was already under renovation by Union workers.

When we arrived, we were told by the GE rep to not wear our company shirts and take the scheduled union breaks with the other guys so they wouldn't figure out we were non-union.

So we did, then at 4pm, we would go hide in our rental van and wait for everyone to leave,go back in and work another 4 hours. We finished the job in 4 days, it would've taken a union team 3 weeks with their "gotta pay me" rules.

We moved on to the next job in another state and I made another few thousand. It's called getting work done and getting paid. We also had benefits because the company could afford to provide them as we weren't gouging them with stupid demands.

How'd all that Union stuff work out for American car companies by the way? Quality, profit, innovation....yeah...I remember those bail outs.

Nope...no thanks.
 
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