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Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:23 am
by Brekkie
To me, the difference is this:

Unions are by and large a group of peers. They are a bunch of workers. While no doubt there's a good bit of echo-chamber group-think when it comes to politics (which naturally happens everywhere that you get a tight-knit group of fairly homogenous people), there's really no way dissent can be punished.

Say a union member says "no, I'm not volunteering for that campaign, and no I'm not going to vote for him/her", what is the union going to do?
-They can't expel people from the union in backlash, like an employer could conduct massive layoffs.
-They can't get pay or benefits cut, because that affects everyone in the union, whereas an employer could cut pay or benefits in backlash and justify it through hand-wavey "operating costs due to the results of the election", and it wouldn't affect the employer.

It's even hard to complain about unions contributing funds to campaigns, when CEOs contribute VASTLY larger sums of COMPANY MONEY in campaign contributions and lobbying.

Ultimately, both systems are vaguely unethical, and it can only be to the detriment of our democracy to start some kind of arms race in that regard, justifying each new escalation with "well, the other side is doing it".

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:34 am
by Shoju
There was a similar situation (though not quite the same) that happened in Ohio.

Ohio Miners forced to attend Romney Rally unpaid

CEO of Mining Company wrote:"Our managers communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend,"


And on the whole "Money Spent in the Military" discussion that happened a few pages ago, I can tell you stories that would make you facepalm for eternity about how terrible the spending is allocated.

I will just say, that if the Military only bought and paid for an item once, we could more than likely reduce spending by a more than negligible amount. Part of what my company does is purchasing military surplus, from the government at auction. More often than you would ever believe, this surplus ends up back int he governments hand. So they bought it. Took a loss when they sold it to me, and then bought it back from someone else that I sold it to. It's mind numbingly stupid.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:39 am
by Malthrax
Shoju wrote:I will just say, that if the Military only bought and paid for an item once, we could more than likely reduce spending by a more than negligible amount. Part of what my company does is purchasing military surplus, from the government at auction. More often than you would ever believe, this surplus ends up back int he governments hand. So they bought it. Took a loss when they sold it to me, and then bought it back from someone else that I sold it to. It's mind numbingly stupid.


And we want to cede control over health care to this same group of yahoos. :lol:

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:44 am
by Shoju
Malthrax wrote:
Shoju wrote:I will just say, that if the Military only bought and paid for an item once, we could more than likely reduce spending by a more than negligible amount. Part of what my company does is purchasing military surplus, from the government at auction. More often than you would ever believe, this surplus ends up back int he governments hand. So they bought it. Took a loss when they sold it to me, and then bought it back from someone else that I sold it to. It's mind numbingly stupid.


And we want to cede control over health care to this same group of yahoos. :lol:


Better than leaving it to the vultures IMO.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:44 am
by Klaudandus
I had told Shoju before, no one has ever accused a bureaucrat of being competent...

Doesn't mean it cannot be done.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:56 am
by Fridmarr
That's not correct Brekkie. Various trade unions (longshoreman being among the more notorious) often work as a mandatory third party contractor, and often times work comes in to the union hall and they dole it out. They can have every bit as much influence as a boss, and technically the workers have a direct relationship only with the union not the vendors. Other unions have ranks and certification levels that they control, they can absolutely blackball someone or kick them out of the union. Typically that's reserved for bad workers, but it is a power at their disposal. There's also a balance issue, unless there is a declared state of emergency in WA, all gov't work must go through a union shop if one exists for that trade, so if you've been kicked out...have fun finding work.

That's not how it works everywhere, but then we aren't talking about more than a handful of bosses here either.

I think the complaint about money is more than fair. A corporation donating money is donating their profits. They earned it and it's theirs to do with what they want. Unions in non right to work states force employees to pay dues whether the employee joins the union or not. That money is confiscated and used for whatever the union wants, even though the employees don't want to join. It is often a laborious exercise just to opt out of joining (denying access argument anyone?) and folks have been continually harrassed when they do. Then there was the whole "card check" legislation attempt. In any event, considering that as merely a group of peers, is a bit misleading.

I remember when the state employees here unionized many didn't want to join, but they were compelled too when they found out that they would actually get raises faster than their "at will" brethern. There is plenty of undo influence potential there.


EDIT: Also interesting reading on that spending... it's not so cut and dry between unions and corporations and on top of that corporate money is much more equally spread across parties. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 50026.html

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:16 am
by aureon
The main thing is: et tu quoque is a logical fallacy.
"Dems do it too" \ "Reps do it too" are not valid arguments.
Also, boasting 400k volunteers from 11M is not really that bad, if you take the usual 50% nonvoters 25% left 25% right split. It's about one dem in 10 deciding to do that. In addition, was probably statistical noise. Not to mention that Unions are democratic environments, with elected officials (at least they are in Europe?), while companies are not. Elected official endorsing is different from authoritarian endorsing.

dems do not have absolute high ground, but have some moral high ground.

The absurd thing there, is that unions should not endorse Obama (since he's not pro-labor, but neutral at best), and companies should not endorse Romney (since he's not pro-business, but pro-bosses)

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:25 am
by Fridmarr
My comments have been quite clear. I'm not claiming the republicans are less guilty, but we had post after post railing against this practice by the republicans, and I'm just pointing out that that is a terribly unfair argument because the democrats have a very long and rich history of doing this too. My posts are an attempt to stop the hypocrisy, that is all.

Also, Dems have zero moral high ground On this issue, zero.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:49 am
by aureon
Fridmarr wrote:My comments have been quite clear. I'm not claiming the republicans are less guilty, but we had post after post railing against this practice by the republicans, and I'm just pointing out that that is a terribly unfair argument because the democrats have a very long and rich history of doing this too. My posts are an attempt to stop the hypocrisy, that is all.

Also, Dems have zero moral high ground On this issue, zero.

You're more than right to point this out, because context is everything: But the two things shouldn't be equalized.
This is not a general trend of Republicans being criticized, but the single action of the single bosses somehow claiming that Obama is in any way or shape a problem for their business. If this is the case, and their definition of "problem" is not "Those pesky environmental laws, it's not like we're the most polluting nation in the world! (No, but excluding ridiculously small states, per head you are)" (And i doubt software companies have problems with that) they're making false claims for political gain.
In ignorance or not, that's hardly criticism-proof.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:59 am
by Fridmarr
Well you'll get no argument from me that their claim is probably full of shit but again that's true on both sides.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:26 am
by Klaudandus

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:43 pm
by Paxen
You haven't got unions in the US. You have guilds.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:00 pm
by Aubade
I don't understand that statement Paxen.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:01 pm
by Brekkie
Fridmarr wrote:I think the complaint about money is more than fair. A corporation donating money is donating their profits. They earned it and it's theirs to do with what they want. Unions in non right to work states force employees to pay dues whether the employee joins the union or not. That money is confiscated and used for whatever the union wants, even though the employees don't want to join.


I don't think this distinction is fair.

A company spending it's profits on political contributions is no different from unions spending union dues. The opportunity cost of those profits being spent on campaign contributions means that they are sacrificing, say, raising employee salaries.

Remember that most of the biggest offenders here have been simultaneously cutting wages. Is that really any different from a union extracting union dues? The effect is the same. The workers receive less money than they could have, and that money flows to political causes the workers did not choose.


I also think you are exaggerating how monolithic unions are. Union members do not actually vote as a rigid bloc, and they tend not to be single-issue voters. Look at Massachusetts, a heavyweight unionized state that is deep, deep blue. Republican Senator Scott Brown is just as popular as Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren among unions.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:02 pm
by Brekkie
Aubade wrote:I don't understand that statement Paxen.


They are full of drama, nobody is happy with the way loot is distributed, and some are more hardcore than others.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:38 pm
by Aubade
Right, I forget people still play MMO's sometimes >.< I was thinking guild's like the Carpenter guild or something haha

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:13 pm
by Skye1013
Moar debatez!

Here's hoping they're interesting. (I'm beyond hoping for any actual information about the issues.)

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:15 pm
by Aubade
Skye1013 wrote:Moar debatez!

Here's hoping they're interesting. (I'm beyond hoping for any actual information about the issues.)


I thought it was funny when Romney said "don't keep attacking me and ignoring the question"

When it's all Romney does.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:18 pm
by Fridmarr
Brekkie wrote:I don't think this distinction is fair.

A company spending it's profits on political contributions is no different from unions spending union dues. The opportunity cost of those profits being spent on campaign contributions means that they are sacrificing, say, raising employee salaries.

Remember that most of the biggest offenders here have been simultaneously cutting wages. Is that really any different from a union extracting union dues? The effect is the same. The workers receive less money than they could have, and that money flows to political causes the workers did not choose.
To be clear, my primary concern is with those employees that are forced to pay union dues, even when they are not in a union. Folks doing this by choice, well that's their choice so enough said.

However, what you say about corporate money is not accurate, if it were, that would be extremely problematic. Corps pay their employees prevailing wage, and that's really about it. They don't give big bonuses as their Profit/Expense ratio rises, and even when they aren't profitable (which is really really common) they still have to pay their employees. Sure there are bonuses and what not, and the occasional industry that's primarily bonus oriented, but by and large people get paid their prevailing wage for their trade. If a corporation is going to invest in personnel as profits soar, they don't give out raises, they hire more workers and grow their corp. Layoffs are on the flip side rather massive pay cuts when companies lose money. The truth is, paying too much or too little for employees just simply doesn't work, increasing their pay to a point doesn't increase production, and reducing it too little means they'll leave.

Overall though, we are really splitting hairs here and likely agree on the topic as a whole more than we disagree, if you want to equate the corporate and union side as roughly equally distasteful, fair enough. As long as we recognize this is a two way street is the only reason I re-entered this thread.

Brekkie wrote:I also think you are exaggerating how monolithic unions are. Union members do not actually vote as a rigid bloc, and they tend not to be single-issue voters. Look at Massachusetts, a heavyweight unionized state that is deep, deep blue. Republican Senator Scott Brown is just as popular as Democrat challenger Elizabeth Warren among unions.

I'm not sure any of my primary points are affected by how monolithic unions are. That said, they are pretty consistently democratic. They've been locked in at 59% in the last few elections. For a group of that size, that's nearly as big as it gets. For consistency dating back to 1976, they routinely turn a double digit difference compared to the general public. The only time it wasn't double digits (2008) was because Obama got a higher percentage of the popular vote as opposed to any real change at all in the union vote. The only thing that consistently beats them is race.

Good stats on that can be found here: http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/electi ... ction.html

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:27 pm
by Skye1013
Romney wrote:I wish I could predict the future.

I actually agree with him about something...

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:51 pm
by Skye1013
So... Romney pushed for crippling sanctions on Iran 5 years ago... when Bush was in office. If he had been the nominee for 2008 (and subsequently elected), does he think he'd have been able to get them in place sooner than Obama managed to?

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:59 pm
by Klaudandus
Obama to Romney: “Sounds like you would say the same things we said, but say them louder.”
Image

"I'm pleased you are now endorsing our policy of increasing diplomatic pressure"

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:55 pm
by Skye1013
I don't know, but I think Obama won this one. Romney didn't seem to voice his own views, he just agreed that most of what Obama is doing is the correct path.

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:06 pm
by Klaudandus
Skye1013 wrote:I don't know, but I think Obama won this one. Romney didn't seem to voice his own views, he just agreed that most of what Obama is doing is the correct path.


Yeah, he agreed with Obama a lot, or would repeat what Obama said but louder... but then he goes “I just don’t want to go back to the same policies of the past four years.”

Re: Election 2012

PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:49 pm
by Brekkie
Fridmarr wrote:Overall though, we are really splitting hairs here and likely agree on the topic as a whole more than we disagree, if you want to equate the corporate and union side as roughly equally distasteful, fair enough. As long as we recognize this is a two way street is the only reason I re-entered this thread.


Agreed.

Fridmarr wrote:I'm not sure any of my primary points are affected by how monolithic unions are. That said, they are pretty consistently democratic. They've been locked in at 59% in the last few elections. For a group of that size, that's nearly as big as it gets.


So are, say, Scientists.
Doesn't mean there is some coercive spanish inquisition in the National Academy of Sciences that is enforcing orthodoxy. It just means that certain demographics tends towards certain political philosophies because of their perspective.

I don't consider that a bad thing. Any relatively homogenous socio-economic-cultural group is going to be somewhat of a circlejerk.