Five Dumb Things People Believe About Unions

1. Unions are no longer necessary
Wage stagnation and a decline in real incomes for middle class families has become one of the biggest problems facing the country. The middle class is shrinking and college graduates are putting off buying homes and cars because of low salaries. Meanwhile productivity is higher than ever and corporate profits are through the roof. So where is the money going? Instead of to the worker, more and more of it is going to corporate execs and CEOs, leading to increasing income inequality.

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2. Unions are undemocratic
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, one could argue that unions are among the most democratic organizations. Unlike a corporation, for example, unions are bottom up organizations where the members elect their officers, approve bylaws, and vote on contracts. Each union has member committees, member meetings, member-driven elections, and so forth that help to ensure that the opportunity for member participation is available to all.

3. Unions pay their officers and staff obscene amounts
Union salaries are determined democratically, often with the salaries approved by delegates and set forth in the bylaws or constitutions.

The reality is that most union officers are local officers. They get paid very little especially when you take into account the hours that they put in when it comes to negotiations, union administration, and contract administration. And many don’t get paid at all.

Some officers and staff at the national level get paid more but it is far from obscene. They often work long hours in cities with very high costs of living, such as DC and New York, where many unions are headquartered. And when compared to their peers in corporations, and some non-profits, their pay is often low.

4. Unions increase labor costs, leading companies to send jobs overseas
This allegation is completely refuted by recent history. If a highly unionized workplace was, as the argument goes, the cause of companies sending jobs overseas, then the absence of high union density should lead to very few jobs going overseas, right?

Well, union density in the private sector has been declining for decades and is currently less than 10%. Yet for the last few decades, American businesses have shifted millions of good paying jobs overseas, despite the huge increases in productivity at home and the stagnating wages.

It’s not unions that lead to job loss. It’s greedy corporate executives who simply don’t want to share the fruits of higher productivity and profits with American workers – unionized or not.

5. Unions lead to lower productivity and worker laziness
No. Not even close. Studies show that productivity in unionized American workplaces is actually higher, with a meta-analysis noting that “”a positive [association between unions and productivity] exists for the United States in general and for U.S. manufacturing in particular.”

Your Turn

Sound off in Comments, on the Union Built PC Facebook Page and #UnionStrong Facebook Group, and on our Twitter or LinkedIn Pages… And don’t forget to subscribe to the Union Built PC monthly eNewsletter for topics like this delivered straight to your inbox.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Union Built PC and Collective Bargaining International Announce Strategic Alliance

Press Contact:
Pete Marchese
Union Built PC Inc.
877-728-6466
pete.marchese@unionbuiltpc.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Technology, Labor and Unions:

Union Built PC and Collective Bargaining International Announce Strategic Alliance

Agreement will empower Labor Unions with Digital Tools for Collective Bargaining and Real Time Grievance Tracking

VANCOUVER, BC / NEW YORK, NY (PHANTOM POWER MARKETING) March 2, 2016 – Union Built PC Inc. and Collective Bargaining International Inc. are the leading experts in Collective Bargaining and Grievance Tracking Labor Software. Combining the skill-sets of their respective teams and product offerings, both the companies and the Labor Industry stand to benefit.

“It just makes sense to make the Collective Bargaining process a digital one. We’ve literally tried to think of everything a union might need at the bargaining table and put it into Negotiator’s Advantage™,” says Fred Romanuk, CEO of Collective Bargaining Inc.

Union-Grievance-Arbitration-Negotiation-union-software-d2-DOWNLOAD-DTA“Negotiating the Collective Bargaining Agreement is the most important job of the Union. It is critical to the success of the Union and the representation of their membership. Our mission is the improvement of the collective bargaining process,” he adds.

This partnership also provides an opportunity for Union Built PC Inc. and Collective Bargaining International Inc. to work collaboratively on product development, marketing and software sales.

“We quickly recognized these opportunities beyond just our mutual teams. For example, the integration of Union Built PC’s Grievance Manager Application and Collective Bargaining International’s Negotiator’s Advantage Software creates an extremely powerful tool at bargaining and arbitration,” says Barry Diederich, VP Software Development of Union Built PC.

Collective Bargaining International Inc. has developed Negotiator’s Advantage™, a real-time, cloud-based, complete set of digitally automated collective agreement tools. A powerful Application that builds and tracks proposals and counter proposals, dramatically speeds up proposal research, development and automatically builds the MOA and Final Contract.

union-grievance-arbitration-management-brochure-downloadUnion Built PC Inc. developed their Grievance Manager™ Software in 2006, enabling the Labor Industry to track their Grievance, Arbitration and related documents in Real Time. Since then consistent updates and upgrades have been made to the software to keep the system current with evolving technology trends and customized to the needs of the Labor Industry.

The immediate result of this alliance means Union Built PC can resell Collective Bargaining International’s Negotiator’s Advantage™ and integrate it with Union Built PC’s Grievance Manager™.

“We are thrilled to be integrating Negotiator’s Advantage™ into our robust Grievance Manager software so we can offer our Union clients a totally integrated and comprehensive bargaining tool,” says Pete Marchese, CEO at Union Built PC, Inc.

“Our Mission has always been to help Unions excel, and this strategic alliance will give Labor a leg up during the critical collective bargaining and grievance and arbitration management process,” adds Marchese.

# # #

About Collective Bargaining International Inc.
Founded in 2014, Collective Bargaining International Inc. are the developers behind ‘Negotiators Advantage™’, Collective Bargaining Software.

The development of Negotiators Advantage™ represents the culmination of over 20 years’ experience in consulting with Unions to improve the Collective Bargaining process.

Negotiators Advantage™ offers a complete set of digitally automated collective agreement tools that dramatically reduces time needed on research and proposals. It is a “Quickbooks” for collective bargaining, automatic compilation of memorandum of agreements, and more.

Now, Negotiators Advantage™ is integrated with Grievance Manager™ from Union built PC Inc. Grievance data entered into Grievance Manager can be imported into Negotiators Advantage with a just a keystroke.

Negotiator’s Advantage Online 
Download the Negotiatior’s Advantage Brochure 
View the Negotiator’s Advantage Demo Video 
Collective Bargaining International on LinkedIn 
Fred Romanuk on LinkedIn

About Union Built PC Inc.
Founded in 2001, after dozens of years working in the labor field as members, officers, and activists, Union Built PC Inc. offers cutting edge IT innovations for Labor which allow Unions to bargain and represent their membership more efficiently.

Union Built PC’s Grievance Manager™ offers unions web-based software to manage grievance processes from start through arbitration. Each application is custom designed and coded to fit the client’s specific processes and requirements, allowing for both optimal practice and efficiency. Applications feature contract-specific input requirements, worker and other role-specific input screens, calendar-based email notifications of deadlines, online document storage and fine-grained advanced search.

Union Built PC also offers and services VOIP systems, network servers, desktop PCs, laptops, and Android-based touch tablets. Its clients include the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (NJATC), JATC training centers nationwide, as well as a variety of local unions across the USA and Canada such as IBEW, AFSCME, SEIU, CWA, USW, IAM, ILWU, AFT, CUPE, APOC and more.

Union Built PC is a completely unionized company.

The Union Built PC Website 
Download the Grievance Manager Brochure 
View the Grievance Manager Demo Video 
Union Built PC on Facebook
Union Built PC on Twitter
Union Built PC on LinkedIn
Pete Marchese on LinkedIn

CASE STUDY: Union Built PC Equips New Training Center for IBEW Local 351

Recently, IBEW Local 351 contacted Union Built PC for assistance in building a network and equipping their classrooms for the new training center being built in Folsom New Jersey. Pete Marchese, Director of Operations and Glenn Joseph, Network Technician traveled to New Jersey and met with John Biondi (Training Director), Ed Gant ( Business Manager), and Dennis Kleiner (Business Agent ) to survey the new construction and discuss Network and Equipment needs. On the basis of Union Built PC’s recommendations, we were charged with designing and implementing the network and integrating the classroom equipment into the network and providing secure email.

IBEW-Union Built PC Equips New Training Center for IBEW Local 351

Working with Joseph Knecht (Project Manager), John Biondi (Training Director), Lou Jiacopello (Assistant Training Director), and Dennis Kleiner (Business Agent), Union Built PC designed a State of the Art Network, custom designed for the Training Center’s needs with complete Classroom equipment integration. The Equipment provided included our new UB-7322 Workstations and UB-9743P Notebooks as well as NEC 300W projectors and dual Cisco WAP-321 access points for wireless internet access for the Classrooms. The Network backbone consisted of our newest UB-300 Server running ClearOS Professional Operating System with Cisco 500 POE Switches, QNAP NAS Drives and advanced KVM Switch with LCD Monitor.

RELATED: The UB-300 Server with ClearOS

The Installation commenced in late December 2013 and was accomplished, thanks to the efforts of our Network Technicians Glenn Joseph and Rudy Koch, and with the support of Dennis Kleiner B.A. IBEW 351. The “State of the Art” Network, with Union Built PC’s UB-300 Server as the core, was able to configure the network with “Hot Lans” on separate IPs which enabled classrooms to access the internet isolating them from the main data network for security purposes. Secure email was provided on the UB-300 server via Zarafa Email Service with Outlook plugin and smart phone and tablet access.

Union Built PC was able to accomplish this Training Center installation on budget and on time. We are honored to have been chosen by IBEW Local 351 to accomplish this task. At the present time we are working with IBEW Local 351 to develop a document storage and tracking system for the training center that will be hosted on our UB-300 Server. It will allow secure and instant access to their documents via web browser.

Testimonials

“As the new assistant training Director I was fortunate to be involved with every aspect of this project including helping to explain our online and multimedia training needs at the new JATC. The Computers and components engineered for us by Union Built PC were spot on! We spoke at length about the needs for our instructors and students to be on the web due to the new LMS and Blended learning programs being launched this year by the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, and wanted to ensure we had enough in the way of bandwidth and networking flexibility to make it all happen.

“The system they designed was set up to be user friendly for students, instructors and the administration. We are pleased with the product, and the technical assistance we received from Union Built PC on this new building. As for training so far there have been no problems with staff picking up and using hardware and software supplied to us, and we expect to launch the new curriculum this Fall with no issues.”

– Lou Jiacopello, Assistant Training Director

“Local 351 along with our partners at NECA wanted our new JATC to be technologically advanced enough to maintain the new web based JATC curriculum today, and be prepared any future advancement that may come down the road. We had our new JATC cabled with 10gig, CAT 6A which is the best product we could obtain by today’s standards, but we knew the components at the end of those cables going to make the difference in the reliability of the network, but we needed an expert to listen to our needs and build us a network we could depend on; This is where Union Built PC came in.

“My business manager, Ed Gant was adamant we went with a company that we could not only rely for issues with hardware or software, but also someone who took the security of the JATC’s information and network as seriously as he did, Union Built PC has provided us with security, reliability, and peace of mind knowing they listened to our concerns and delivered what we expected. We are pleased with the service and product we have received to date and our JATC is up and running with both cabled and wireless networks, email for all instructors, and a server with Cloud backup, and Union Built PC designed it all based on what we verbally told them we wanted to achieve for the future of this JATC, and thanks to them we are ready for the future.”

– Dennis Kleiner, Business Agent IBEW Local 351

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Rush Limbaugh Defends The Koch Brothers: They “Haven’t Done Diddly Squat”

During the February 12 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh – in speaking of, uhem, denying the Koch Brothers influence over Government, specifically the GOP – proclaims; “The Koch Brothers Haven’t Done Diddly Squat Because They Can’t, They’re Not In Government”

rush-limbaugh-show-idiot

LISTEN TO HIS RANT

RUSH LIMBAUGH: That’s exactly how this country was portrayed last night, and the previous debate, and every other Democrat debate or every Democrat campaign appearance. This place is portrayed as Hell on earth, brought to you by George W. Bush, the Republicans and the Iraq War, in the modern incarnation. The America they want to save us from, the America from which they want to liberate us, is not George W. Bush’s. It’s Barack Obama’s. But they don’t ever say that. They blame the Koch brothers. Nobody knows who the Koch Brothers are. The Koch Brothers can’t do, don’t do diddly — the Koch brothers never enforced a regulation on anyone, the Koch brothers never raised anybody’s taxes. The Koch brothers never sent anybody’s kids off to war. The Koch brothers haven’t done diddly squat because they can’t, they’re not in government. Government does all of this.

Have Democrats Rediscovered Unions Too Late?

In early 2016, a remarkable thing happened. Mainstream liberal opinion makers suddenly decided that labor unions do good things, and that they are worthy of the public’s support. Last February, the Editorial Board of The New York Times sadly described America as “a nation where the long decline in unions has led to a pervasive slump in wages,” and they worried about the ongoing struggle between “pro- and anti-union forces,” noting that “Republicans’ support for anti-union legislation is at odds with their professed commitments to helping the middle class.”

The previous week, the Times op-ed contributor Nicholas Kristof had operatically outed himself as a born-again supporter of labor unions. Saying that, “[l]ike many Americans, I’ve been wary of labor unions,” Kristof first repeated some carefully distorted anti-union anecdotes, but then he announced: “I was wrong. . . . [A]s unions wane in American life, it’s also increasingly clear that they were doing a lot of good in sustaining middle class life.”

This new theme has now become prominent in the Times and elsewhere, with (among many examples) another Editorial Board piece in October extolling the role of union power in raising the wages of automotive workers and in pushing for a higher minimum wage, as well as occasional guest op-eds making similar points. Suddenly, it is acceptable for mainstream liberals to say that they support unions.

The Question of Unions’ Role in American Life

The question of unions’ role in American life found its way into the Supreme Court earlier this month, in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, in which the justices will decide whether public-employee labor unions can continue to collect dues from non-members to help pay for the union’s efforts that raise pay and benefits for members and non-members alike, while leaving in place the prohibition on using non-members’ money to support political activities. The current system prevents the classic “free rider” problem, in which people will sensibly choose not to pay for something when they know that they will be able to benefit from it in any event.

The oral argument in the case was rather astonishing. Chief Justice Roberts blithely offered the unsupported claim that the financial costs to unions resulting from losing the case would be “really insignificant,” evidently believing that people will pay for things that they like, even when they are not required to do so.

But the Chief Justice’s rationalizations were the least of the problem. Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, calling a comment by Justice Kennedy at oral argument “as unconstrained and revealing a rant as I’ve heard from the Supreme Court bench,” noted that Justices Kennedy and Scalia are now arguing that there simply is no distinction between political and non-political activities by a public-sector union. Justice Kennedy even described as “almost axiomatic” the idea that government agencies deal with matters of public concern, so that if a non-member thinks that the union should not be taking one position or another in negotiations, that position is per se political, with the union “making these teachers ‘compelled riders’ for issues on which they strongly disagree.”

The justices in the majority thus apparently believe that there can be no real distinction between a union’s workplace activities and its political activities. One might impertinently suggest that this would also be true of private-sector unions, many of whose members would also surely be willing to say that they disagree with their representatives’ activities. But whether the Roberts majority ultimately decides to selectively look past the public/private distinction in this area is as yet unknown.

In any event, the outcome of the Friedrichs case seems certain. And with union membership having dropped to ten percent of American workers, and with the vast majority of those who do belong to unions being in public-sector jobs, this could be a further blow to the ability of unions to do the good things that the editors of The New York Times and other liberals now proudly support.

If this outcome is not the death blow to unions, therefore, it will certainly be a major event. And if mainstream liberals are worried about this case, they need to think seriously about how we reached the point where unions are in such a precarious state.

The New Political Case for Unions

At the top of the Democratic Party, there is continued discomfort with pro-union activity. When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker aggressively attacked his state’s public-employee unions, as part of a broader national strategy to weaken labor unions even further, President Obama was notably absent from that debate. Wisconsin’s progressive activists were disappointed but not surprised, because Obama had been tepid at best in his support of labor’s interests.

Even so, people who used to disparage or discount the importance of unions are now apparently seeing the light. It is easy to see why. With inequality having become a matter of concern even among some Republicans, we can no longer ignore the clear connection between declining unionization and the expanding gap between the wealthy and everyone else. These recent decades in which Democrats have been pulling away from unions, after all, are exactly when we have seen workers’ incomes essentially stagnate even while workers’ productivity has multiplied impressively.

More generally, the decline of the middle class is unambiguously related to the decline of unions, simply because it is labor unions that are best able to preserve mechanisms that allow workers to share some of the gains of a growing economy. Most obviously, it is unions, as noted above, that have led the fight to increase the minimum wage across the country.

Neil H. Buchanan, an economist and legal scholar, a Professor of Law at George Washington University, and a Senior Fellow at the Taxation Law and Policy Research Institute asks and answers;

“Is still time to prevent further declines in the role that unions play in America? And can the decline of unions be reversed?

“Liberals who once recoiled from unions have suddenly seen that unions must play an important role going forward. If it is too late to stop the anti-union momentum in this country, however, the killing of the labor movement – and of widely shared American prosperity – will have been aided and abetted by far too many people who should have known better.”

Your Turn

Is still time to prevent further declines in the role that unions play in America? And can the decline of unions be reversed? Sound off in Comments, on the Union Built PC Facebook Page in the #UnionStrong Facebook Group or on Twitter. And don’t forget to sign up for our monthly eNewsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

The Poisoning of a City: Flint Water Crisis

Despite the severity of contamination and the many, many warnings, it would take years before officials did anything. The lack of response was so egregious that The New York Times editorial board described it as “depraved indifference,” suggesting there was “little doubt” that a richer, whiter community would ever have to face such negligence.

“If I was a parent up there, I would be beside myself,” President Barack Obama said during a visit to Michigan earlier this month.

But amidst all the hand-wringing, two questions are still largely unanswered by officials: How could this go on for so long? And who was ultimately responsible?

Jim Chase of Work in Progress and Retiree of Teamsters Local 406 joins Charles Showalter of The Union Edge – Labor’s Talk Radio – to discuss the new details emerging surrounding the Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan and the latest developments as more information is becoming available to the public.

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Since 2008, The Union Edge has led robust but respectful discussions on issues that affect working and middle class families – education, voting, healthcare, employment rights, community activism and more. Host Charles Showalter and co-hosts Angela Baughman and Brittany Sheets interview citizen group leaders, international union presidents, labor historians, environmental experts, activists and reporters of all kinds, discussing breaking news and top issues that impact day to day life.