Union and Company Need a Culture Change

     I work at a place where the relationship between management and the union members is strained, but tolerable, barely. The company is not centered in one place, it is scattered over a large area. OK, across the state.

     There are dozens of little offices where people are assigned to work from and report to daily. At these buildings is where the union members and the company people gather and mingle. Mingle is used loosely because all the union get along with the supervisors and field leaders, but only because everyone wants peace. But deep down, seated inside every single person, is a distrust for the other side.

     The union members do not trust the company people because the union feels the company is out to get them. There is a feeling that someone may get fired for doing the wrong thing, having an accident of some kind, or saying the wrong thing to someone.

     The union members are also irritated with their own union leadership because the members feel the leaders are “in bed” with the company.

     When members want to file grievances, the union stewards either blow off the request, forget to file it, or won’t fight hard enough, which all results in victories for the company and gives the company an even stronger grip on the union.

     The company has the union, at many locals, by the balls. These local unions can’t move, are intimidated and just simply give in. Some members are talking of finding out if they can stop paying their dues and fight their own battles against the company or grievances because the members feel the results would be the same.

     The supervisors at this company deal with each individual person on different levels. They do not treat the members the same when it comes to discipline or problems that are brought by the workers to the supervisors. The supervisors have their favorites and their non-favorites when it comes to their workers. So when things happen, there is not a blanket way of dealing with them.

     When this happens, problems form, there is a trust issue that is installed in the workforce, and then more problems rise from this. Union members feel that some members are treated like royalty while others are treated like paupers.

     Union members feel the company has a secret list of members, the ‘A’ list and the ‘shit’ list, in which the supervision goes by when it comes to dealing with fixing problems, giving daily assignments, or handing out discipline.

     Something has happened to this company that will cost it’s workers and union members millions of dollars in the court of law. I just wonder if the company is smart enough to learn from this, or if they are going to fight it. If they win, will everything go back to how it is? Or will there finally be some kind of culture change in the entire workforce?

     I realize it has to be a two-sided effort with the company and the union, and even the old timers need to try, but will they?


2 Responses to “Union and Company Need a Culture Change”

  1. 1 Michael October 17, 2008 at 2:58 am

    I am happy to say I have not worked in a union shop for many years. I am sad to read that nothing appears to have changed over the years.

    When I was in a union shop, it seemed all I did was pay dues, get a raise, pay higher dues, get another raise… Each and every dues raise was about the amount of the paycheck raise.

    It is too bad that some companies can not join the modern world and understand that everyone is on the same ship. Management does not arrive while the per hour help sinks outside the harbor. It is all or nothing.

    As for the old timers, good luck….

  2. 2 headslammer October 17, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Your right about that paycheck/union dues raise. We just got a pay increase due to COLA and now we are expecting the dues to go up here pretty soon.

    And you are also correct about the ship and harbor. Management uses and abuses and throws you to the side when they done with you. Then wonder why we complain when it comes to being short-handed, yet they can’t figure out why things are not getting done. Thus, the dreaded contractor!!

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October 2008
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