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Old 09-24-2010, 05:21 PM   #16
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Yes, I think most are unionized which is probably a big reason they have it so good. This is another question worth looking at...Should public sector unions be legal? In the private sector they provide a good balance because private sector employers are always trying to cut costs and to do so will squeeze as much out of employees as possible for as little pay as possible - This is a strong force and unions help to balance it by giving the workers some power which counteracts / balances it. The public sector is very different. Unions still provide the strong force acting on behalf of the workers but there isn't an equal and opposing force working as hard on the other side trying to cut costs and keep their demands within reason. Government employers easily cave in because they can just pass this expense on to a third party (the tax payer). While tax payers don't like high taxes most of us don't really think about where every dime of our taxes is going so the added cost from this one issue isn't really noticed. So everything is the opposite of what it should be. Jobs in the private sector that should be unionized aren't while those in the public sector that probably shouldn't be unionized are.
That's an interesting point about the lack of a counterbalancing force to public-sector unions.

Many of the people that I have known who are unionized and in the public sector have a spouse or significant other who work in the private sector. The spouse is generally more free to change jobs and make what could be considered risky career or financial decisions because they have the stability of their partner's public job. So, there is some private-sector benefit to public sector employees.

The people that drive me crazy are those where both members of the couple work in the public sector. Often they will be preachy and judgmental without realizing how truly good they have it.
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:13 PM   #17
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That's an interesting point about the lack of a counterbalancing force to public-sector unions.

Many of the people that I have known who are unionized and in the public sector have a spouse or significant other who work in the private sector. The spouse is generally more free to change jobs and make what could be considered risky career or financial decisions because they have the stability of their partner's public job. So, there is some private-sector benefit to public sector employees.

The people that drive me crazy are those where both members of the couple work in the public sector. Often they will be preachy and judgmental without realizing how truly good they have it.
Yes, its generally best when forces are in balance though. Overall, most forces are pushing things waayy to the right economically. Due to globalization and changing technology the days of oligopolistic welfare capitilism are over. This is one of the reasons I am liberal on most economic issues because I think liberalism is a good balance to the forces in play driving things to the right. But on this issue there really isn't a strong force acting to the right, only one acting to the left.
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:27 PM   #18
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We can solve this problem in one of two ways: negotiation or revolution.
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:28 PM   #19
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Overall, most forces are pushing things waayy to the right economically. Due to globalization and changing technology the days of oligopolistic welfare capitilism are over.
I really hope you are right.
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:05 PM   #20
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I really hope you are right.
1) I am right 2) Why is this a good thing? Are you happy being less secure in your future than people were 30 years ago? I don't think enough people appreciate how vulnerable most of us are to what can be best described as "economic storms". The number of jobs vulnerable to 1) automation 2) globalization 3) changing technology, etc.. will continue to increase leaving us less secure and more vulnerable. Change is inevitable and I don't think we should turn back the clock and you can't protect jobs that are obsolete. But what is needed in this day in age is a strong social safetely net. Do you think that victims of natural disasters deserve help or should they have just learned to build a better home or known better than to live somewhere vulnerable? (most places are vulnerable to at least one type of natural disaster) Sweeping economic changes can be just as devistating and are equally beyonds one control in many cases. If your skill is in something that ships all its jobs overseas or automates you're out of luck. There will always be a growing number of jobs in the service sector though. Maybe you'll see my points 50 years from now when 75% of us have "mcjobs" and don't make enough to even have much savings.
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Old 09-25-2010, 01:04 PM   #21
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1) I am right 2) Why is this a good thing? Are you happy being less secure in your future than people were 30 years ago? I don't think enough people appreciate how vulnerable most of us are to what can be best described as "economic storms". The number of jobs vulnerable to 1) automation 2) globalization 3) changing technology, etc.. will continue to increase leaving us less secure and more vulnerable. Change is inevitable and I don't think we should turn back the clock and you can't protect jobs that are obsolete. But what is needed in this day in age is a strong social safetely net. Do you think that victims of natural disasters deserve help or should they have just learned to build a better home or known better than to live somewhere vulnerable? (most places are vulnerable to at least one type of natural disaster) Sweeping economic changes can be just as devistating and are equally beyonds one control in many cases. If your skill is in something that ships all its jobs overseas or automates you're out of luck. There will always be a growing number of jobs in the service sector though. Maybe you'll see my points 50 years from now when 75% of us have "mcjobs" and don't make enough to even have much savings.
Well, swings and roundabouts.

I work with people who have done the same job for twenty years or more (close to thirty, in some cases), never advanced or tried anything different, and I just can't understand that mentality.
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:54 PM   #22
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Well, swings and roundabouts.

I work with people who have done the same job for twenty years or more (close to thirty, in some cases), never advanced or tried anything different, and I just can't understand that mentality.
Maybe they were happy with their jobs. Maybe they felt lucky they weren´t fired. They maybe had a family and wanted some sense of security. Maybe they didn´t want to be flexible workhorses, chased around by neoliberal or libertarian right wing assholes who cashed off bonusses while kicking people out of their happy meal happy car homes.

How difficult to understand that mentality.
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:40 PM   #23
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Maybe they were happy with their jobs. Maybe they felt lucky they weren´t fired. They maybe had a family and wanted some sense of security. Maybe they didn´t want to be flexible workhorses, chased around by neoliberal or libertarian right wing assholes who cashed off bonusses while kicking people out of their happy meal happy car homes.

How difficult to understand that mentality.
Recently some of these guys refused to use a new technology which actually made their job easier if anything. Why: union rules. They also refuse to learn even the basics of Excel and similar packages - which, again, would make their jobs easier. It's not as those they'd have to pay for the training themselves, the company would pay. So I or one of my colleagues prints down a few hundred pages of reports every month because they refuse to open a simple email and open a spreadsheet. It's extremely waseful of paper, for a start. Now, unions are important and it may surprise you to know I am a union member myself, but come on.
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:46 PM   #24
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Recently some of these guys refused to use a new technology which actually made their job easier if anything. Why: union rules. They also refuse to learn even the basics of Excel and similar packages - which, again, would make their jobs easier. It's not as those they'd have to pay for the training themselves, the company would pay. So I or one of my colleagues prints down a few hundred pages of reports every month because they refuse to open a simple email and open a spreadsheet. It's extremely waseful of paper, for a start. Now, unions are important and it may surprise you to know I am a union member myself, but come on.
You didn´t tell about the refusal part. I thought with "trying anything different" you meant you couldn´t understand someone who doesn´t hop from one job to another. I agree that people who can´t be bothered to learn the basics of Excel must be a pain in the ass. Personally I think we should be ready to learn something new for all our life, and that´s not just a phrase.
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:01 PM   #25
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Instead of eliminating public sector pensions its private sector pensions that should have never disappeared and should be brought back. But is this realistic?
I basically agree. Whether it´s realistic or not depends on what taxpayers´ money is spent for. When trillions are used to bail out banks and buy/maintain expensive bloated military/weapons, while everyone (including the army) fears his pension will be gone sooner or later..

It´s the same with all finance. Politicians say there is no money for education. No money for healthcare. No money for this, for that, tit tat. 2008: big bang on the markets and all of a sudden the trillions are there, seemingly appearing from seventh heaven or something?

However, our rotten education system prevents me from understanding it all. I didn´t go to a posh Uni where they teach Adam Smith and David Ricardo in a fucking loop, I just got introduced to simple international development studies way back when. So I just understand it´s called betrayal.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:07 PM   #26
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Recently some of these guys refused to use a new technology which actually made their job easier if anything. Why: union rules. They also refuse to learn even the basics of Excel and similar packages - which, again, would make their jobs easier. It's not as those they'd have to pay for the training themselves, the company would pay. So I or one of my colleagues prints down a few hundred pages of reports every month because they refuse to open a simple email and open a spreadsheet. It's extremely waseful of paper, for a start. Now, unions are important and it may surprise you to know I am a union member myself, but come on.
That sounds really ridiculous. How can a union have rules like that? It is probably because they think that while new technology will make the job easier this will eventually lead to less people being needed to get the same amount of work done and then people will get laid off. I bet you thats why. But you just can't stop progress. You may be suprised to hear me say this but keeping people employed at any expense can't be the number one priority of a good economy. Creating wealth is. It we all had the mentality of that union we'd have janitors cleaning the floors with toothbrushes. The tradeoff, however, is that we need a strong social safety net to help people who are displaced through no fault of their own. But until enough people are affected by this better safety nets won't happen because their is too much of the conservative mentality that says if you loose your job and can't get back on your feet its your fault! So because people think like that maybe that's why you have unions protecting jobs at any cost. one extreme begats the other! The bottom line is that either extreme is wrong: People who loose their jobs shouldn't be left out in the cold but obsolete jobs shouldn't be protected at any cost.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:32 PM   #27
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That sounds really ridiculous. How can a union have rules like that? It is probably because they think that while new technology will make the job easier this will eventually lead to less people being needed to get the same amount of work done and then people will get laid off. I bet you thats why.
That explanation would be in some way justifiable and rational and would sort of make sense, but the real reason was a lot sillier. The technology was basically Palm Treos (a line of smartphone) for the sales reps in my organisation, so that they could log in to use the network while on the road. They refused to adopt because they feared management would use the devices as a sort of surreptitious back-door tracking device to keep tracks on what times they commenced work at. But, frankly, management is entitled to keep tabs on what times people commence work at, surely?

You seem surprised, but assuming you're American, some of the crap the Teamsters (for example) have got up to over the years is a lot worse than that. Plus look at the auto industry bailouts and and the ridiculous overstaffing and hard to defend pay packages and benefits in some unionised industries in the US. Everyone hates the bankers and Wall Street but if you go criticising the auto industry unions, you're attacking the workin' man and that's not on.

As I said, I am genuinely not anti-union on principle, but an awful lot of what they do in practice is hard to defend at times.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:39 PM   #28
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The tradeoff, however, is that we need a strong social safety net to help people who are displaced through no fault of their own. But until enough people are affected by this better safety nets won't happen because their is too much of the conservative mentality that says if you loose your job and can't get back on your feet its your fault! So because people think like that maybe that's why you have unions protecting jobs at any cost. one extreme begats the other! The bottom line is that either extreme is wrong: People who loose their jobs shouldn't be left out in the cold but obsolete jobs shouldn't be protected at any cost.
I agree with you here. But, see, this is the gripe I had with Hiphop in the other thread. He thinks the Western capitalists are solely to blame for the Third World receiving a raw deal in global trade, but really, it's also due to the workers and their unions (farmer unions in this case). They lobby successfully for CAP and the similar arrangement in the US, I forget what it's called, in order to protect their livelihoods.
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:57 AM   #29
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I agree with you here. But, see, this is the gripe I had with Hiphop in the other thread. He thinks the Western capitalists are solely to blame for the Third World receiving a raw deal in global trade, but really, it's also due to the workers and their unions (farmer unions in this case). They lobby successfully for CAP and the similar arrangement in the US, I forget what it's called, in order to protect their livelihoods.
Now that´s going too far. The creation of CAP was proposed by the European Commission, not by farmer´s unions. CAP was born in the late 1950s and early 1960s when the founding members of the EC had just emerged from over a decade of severe food shortages during and after the Second World War. As part of building a common market, tariffs on agricultural products would have to be removed. However, due to the political clout of farmers, and the sensitivity of the issue, it would take many years before the CAP was fully implemented.

The CAP has always been a difficult area of EU policy to reform; this is a problem that began in the 1960s and one that continues to the present day, albeit less severely. The Agricultural Council is the main decision-making body for CAP affairs. Above all, however, unanimity is needed for most serious CAP reform votes, resulting in rare and gradual change. Outside Brussels proper, the farming lobby's power has been a factor determining EU agricultural policy since the earliest days of integration. This lobby's power has decreased markedly since the 1980s.

In recent times change has been more forthcoming, due to external trade demands and intrusion in common agricultural policy affairs by other parts of the EU policy framework, such as consumer advocate working groups and the environmental departments of the Union. In addition Euroscepticism in states such as the UK and Denmark is fed in part by the CAP, which Eurosceptics consider detrimental to their economies.

Proponents claim that the CAP is an exceptional economic sector as protects the "rural way of life", although it is recognised that this has an impact on world poverty.

CAP on wiki

Excuse the excursion, pcfitz80. Back to the topic public sector pensions.
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