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Cutting the Union Cord: A Cautionary Tale
Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | 12/22/2012 | Anne Schieber

Posted on 12/27/2012 1:44:04 PM PST by MichCapCon

Michigan’s right-to-work law is expected to take effect April 1, but in that time unions could resort to at least two ploys to maintain the cash stream they get from dues.

"You're probably going to see the union giving up the moon to get an extension of their union security clause," said F. Vincent Vernuccio, labor policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. "They will put their own interests above the workers.”

Under the state's new right-to-work law, workers must wait for a union contract to expire before opting out of paying dues or fees. In that time, unions may try to extend contracts before the right-to-work law takes effect. To get employers to agree, unions may offer any number of contract concessions to get employers to accept the deal. Workers also would have to approve a contract extension, but may agree to concessions fearing their dues will increase if others drop out.

Unions may also try to intimidate their members into staying put. Unions could have huge leverage over non-members in handling grievance and disciplinary procedures.

Former Teamster John Davey learned firsthand how unions can exploit that process when he lost his job as a trucker.

"The union didn't like me because I wouldn't bend to its every whim," he said. "I was a union committee man and if I saw something wrong, I'd say something."

Davey drove a truck for USF Holland for 13 years. He said he had no accidents until several years ago when his truck rolled over because of a shifting load. Davey was the only one injured in the crash. He did not receive a ticket and there was no damage to the freight.

Still, the union contract required Davey to undergo a disciplinary hearing before members of the union and the company.

The hearing is like a court proceeding and participants comments are entered into the record. Workers cannot record the proceeding nor can they bring an attorney.

During the hearing, Davey said the manager of his Teamster Local walked in, shook the hand of the company's labor representative and left. No announcement of the visit was entered into the record. At the end of the hearing, Davey said the panel reached a unanimous decision to fire him.

"The decision was made before I walked in the door," he said. "My union failed me. It was supposed to represent my interests and didn't, and so I lost my job."

Davey said he was shocked by the decision because other truckers kept their jobs after more serious crashes.

Davey tried to file an appeal, but said he was unable to get a transcript of the hearing.

"It disappeared. Nobody could find it," he said.

The union local manager, Kevin Moore, did not return calls for comment. A spokesperson for USF Holland said the company does not comment on personnel issues.

Davey’s co-worker, Jeff Murphy said he was so troubled by the incident that he plans to opt out of the union as soon as he can. He is aware of the possibility of union retribution, but is confident in his decision.

"I've made it known and I'm surprised by the response I've gotten by others. A lot of workers say they are opting out because they don't feel like they're getting anything for the money," Murphy siad.

Davey calculates he paid his local more than $8,600 in his 13 years with the company.

"Workers can do more with that money for their families than the union has done for them," Murphy said.

Davey now works part-time in another industry, and says he got a valuable lesson in union politics.

"I have had non-union jobs that paid better and were far less hassle," he said. "A right-to-work [law] is the only way to hold unions accountable."

TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: righttowork; union

1 posted on 12/27/2012 1:44:13 PM PST by MichCapCon
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To: MichCapCon

The unions were started by a group of card carrying communists, they believe in dictatorial powers, and will not go away easily.

2 posted on 12/27/2012 1:48:13 PM PST by exnavy (Got ammo, Godspeed!)
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To: MichCapCon

I grew up in a union family. The unions had to work hard to do it, but I despise them now. They’re just parasites.

3 posted on 12/27/2012 1:50:24 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: MichCapCon

April Fools!!!

4 posted on 12/27/2012 2:06:12 PM PST by political1 (Love your neighbors)
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To: Springman; Sioux-san; 70th Division; JPG; PGalt; DuncanWaring; taildragger; epluribus_2; Chuck54; ..
I'm sure the unions will throw every trick in the book at members to hang on to them.

If anyone wants to be added to the Michigan Cap Con ping list, let me know.
5 posted on 12/27/2012 2:58:15 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: blueunicorn6

Same here. I worked with plenty of good people but the union preferred the worst kind of worker because they were easiest to hold hostage.

6 posted on 12/27/2012 3:02:12 PM PST by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: MichCapCon
Unions only work when you can get everyone who works at a certain workplace to join.

People being what they are you will always find a few that will wish you a trip to a place of great heat when you tell them they must join.

As long as these people hold out, the union can not hold the power it wishes.

So they must be forced to join or be driven out.

That is the story of every union.

No matter what noble ideal and lofty goal they started with they end up using force against the very people they say they want to protect.

This is why unions are inherently evil.

7 posted on 12/27/2012 3:26:54 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Fate plays chess and you don't find out until too late that he's been using two queens all along)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

Owe them some dues see if you get a job from the hall!
Been there done that! One weeks pay would pay their dues but no job unless paid up!

8 posted on 12/27/2012 3:56:18 PM PST by Conserev1
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To: exnavy
The unions were started by a group of card carrying communists

And they have no place in this country. They should be illegal. But voluntary dues might take care of the situation without going through that politically-impossible process.

9 posted on 12/27/2012 4:14:30 PM PST by BfloGuy (Workers and consumers are, of course, identical.)
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To: MichCapCon

Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes

10 posted on 12/27/2012 9:58:33 PM PST by CIDKauf (No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.)
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