Should union membership be optional?

Discussion in 'UPS Union Issues' started by chopstic, May 29, 2009.

  1. chopstic

    chopstic New Member

    We all pay union dues. We pay for a service provided by the teamsters. They are suppose to represent us in our workplace. But what happens when the union fails to make good on those services? I believe that if we are not getting are due services, it should not be mandatory to pay for those services. Would you pay your auto mechanic after finding out he did nothing to fix your car? Would you continue to pay for a magazine subscription if you never recieve any magazines?

    Maybe if the teamsters had some motivation to represent us, they would do a better job. Fact is... they are getting paid union dues whether they represent us or dont represent us. And most sates dont have "right to work" laws to give us that choice.

    So what do you think? While gaining employment with UPS, should teamsters membership be optional?
  2. Hangingon

    Hangingon New Member

    It is in right to work states. I think in Va they have something like 10% membership, and that might even be a high estimate. Of course their BA only comes by about once every couple of months, and at least in the Metro DC area their grievances always seem to be on the bottom of the pile.
  3. dilligaf

    dilligaf IN VINO VERITAS

    Az is a 'right to work' state. Membership is optional.
  4. Jones

    Jones fILE A GRIEVE! Staff Member

    It's not quite that bad :rolleyes:. Most of the drivers in my building are in the union, and the BA shows up pretty regular. I think we have a pretty good relationship with the local. But yes, it is a right to work state, no one has to join the union.
  5. Hangingon

    Hangingon New Member

    Our old building had 6 union members out of about 60 drivers and something like 100 PTers. Guess we may have been an aberration.
  6. Solidarity413

    Solidarity413 New Member

    Another one of these threads, really?
  7. JonFrum

    JonFrum Member

    Union membership is optional in every state.

    However, in states without Right-To-Work laws, you may be forced to pay an Agency Fee to cover the Union's cost of representing you and negotiiating your Contract. The Agency Fee is usually somewhat less than the dues rate. It's also the right of the members to vote out even the Agency Fee, thus making the particular unionized workplace a Right-To-Work island within a non Right-To-Work state.

    See this link . . .
  8. soberups

    soberups Pees in the brown Koolaid

    Union membership is always optional; if you dont want to be a union member, dont take a union job.

    Wal-mart, Taco Bell, McDonalds and Burger King are just a few of the places that allow their employees to reap the benefits of a union-free workplace.
  9. Ghost in the Darkness

    Ghost in the Darkness Active Member

    The union isn't perfect by any means but the alternative is a whole lot worse. Without it you lose bargaining leverage for everything including your raises and benefits.
  10. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    My center is a closed shop and to opt out of the union you have to pay just over 99% of your dues each month.
  11. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    Even though I chose to be in the union I don't agree with your post. I know when I first approached UPS is was because I was in college ad needed a part-time job. Their fliers around campus advertised "Weekends Off!" and that's what brought me into HR. Being in a union had nothing to do with it. It was just supposed to be a college job. Still here after 11 years though LOL! I eventually joined. I'm glad I had a choice. That's how it should be. The union should have to sell itself and prove it's worth in order to gain membership and not be forced on anyone. It took about a year before I was convinced to join. I'm glad I did but I'd never want anyone to forced in.

    Also.....McDonalds might be the better pick nowadays as far as part-timers are concerned.
  12. chopstic

    chopstic New Member

    Maybe if Teamsters actually had to fight for our business, we would see some results.
  13. tourists24

    tourists24 Well-Known Member

    And dont forget FedEx.... if you are against unionism, then this is a good option
  14. soberups

    soberups Pees in the brown Koolaid

    I think its fine to criticize the union if you are a dues-paying member. The union is like any other institution; its imperfect and will never make everyone happy. The question to ask yourself is...."would I be making better wages and benefits if UPS were a non-union workplace?" Only an idiot would answer "yes" to that question.

    If, on the other hand, you choose to criticize the union and refuse to join it....while at the same time enjoying the industry-best wages and benefits that it has negotiated on your behalf...then you are a hypocrite.

    The best analogy I can think of is that the union is like a Homeowners Association in a new residential subdivision. Many people choose to buy houses in such areas because the neighborhoods are nicer and the property values are higher....yet after moving in they complain about the dues and the rules they must follow even though they knew beforehand what the expectations were when they chose to buy a house there.

    It has also been my experience that the people who bitch the loudest about "the union" are also the people who cant be bothered to attend meetings, vote for stewards or officers, or otherwise get off of their asses and get involved to make any changes.
  15. soberups

    soberups Pees in the brown Koolaid

    The Teamsters already "won" your business when you made a choice to accept a job for which they had negotiated a labor agreement.

    You voted with your feet, and you are free to change that vote at any time.

    Our contract isnt perfect. Our union isnt perfect. Very few things in life are perfect....but consider the alternatives.

    I am a shop steward, and I attend the union meetings. When I am not happy with something, I excercise my right as a dues-paying member to speak out about it. I also excercised my right as a dues-paying member to vote "no" on the last contract offer. But, since the majority who voted on the offer did not agree with me, the offer was accepted. Thats life. At least when I complain, I can say that I am involved and trying to do something about the problem instead of just pointing fingers and whining.
  16. bigblu 2 you

    bigblu 2 you Active Member

    do you really think you could make a career at ups without union rep/contract? most drivers i know will tell you as much as we try you cant please and without the union we wouldnt last long.
  17. chopstic

    chopstic New Member

    While I appreciate that previous teamster members payed their union dues a LONG time ago to negotiate the benefits I enjoy today. Those negotiations are long since payed for. If I am paying union dues now, then I should have (1) a union that is ACTIVELY negotiating for me in the present, or at the very least (2) representing me when there is a contract violation. But I can tell you that as a part-timer, I see absolutely none of #1. And I would be one lucky SOB if the union would actually deal with a grievance in a timely manner.
  18. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    Good post. That is exactly why so many people don't join. The die hard union members always fire back by saying that if everyone would join then the locals would have enough dues coming in to be able to afford better representation. Well, a few years ago someone posted a link to a site where we could look up the expenditures for all of the locals. A bunch of guys in my centers logged on and were furious with what they saw. So, I logged on and check it out. They were right. The locals weren't hurting for cash. I'm not sure about whether or not our representation is that bad here. I haven't experienced anything like that yet. But when I looked at those expenditures reports I could kinda of see their point.

    Most of the part-timers in my building aren't in the union. It hasn't hasn't always been this way. As far as I can tell they get the same representation that us full-timers get. I do think that part-timers get screwed in the contracts. If it were up to me their starting pay would be at least $10/hr.
  19. The Other Side

    The Other Side Well-Known Troll Troll


    First, I will have to point out that your understanding of why you pay union dues is way off base. You clearly dont understand the Union concept or what the union does for you and every other member.

    While its understandable for me to know why you dont understand, you must take the time to learn what the Union does for everyone. Rather than just simplify dues to you personally, you must understand WHAT the dues pay for.

    First, let me be clear, if your position is an anti-union one, then I feel no respect for you. I have NO PROBLEM with a person coming to UPS, walking into human resources and asking for a job and making it clear that they dont want to belong in the union. That being said, I will also add that the person who does this would need to negotiate there own starting salary and benefit package and SHOULD NOT benefit from the others who contributed to the dues paying process which negotiated a current contract.

    The individual should negotiate directly with UPS and establish starting pay, rasise schedules, vacations, sick time, paid for time, hours, pensions, health care and job security.

    NO INDIVIDUAL who would enter a union shop and negotiate on their own behalf should ever benefit from the benefit of seniority. So, these individuals would be the first to be layed off.

    If a person actually "walked the walk" instead of "talking the talk", they would find out that they would make alot less, work less hours, have literally no vacation time or sick pay, have no guarateed hours and would never see a raise with buying a new set of kneepads every 16 months.

    It amazes me how many people believe they can walk into a union shop that has a current contract, refuse to be a member, but believe they deserve to benefit from the negotiated contract.

    Those dues pay for many things. At each local level, the dues are separated and some goes to the local and some to the international.

    At the local, there are many things that need to be payed for monthly.

    One of the most important things the local pays for is legal representation monthly. This can range anywhere from 10k a month to 20k depending on the size of the local and the industries it represents. There is also staffing and office management that has to be payed for.

    Your dues do alot more than pay for your specific problems.

    When the time comes, all the other members who pay dues may end up paying for your defense so you can get your job back. What if they refuse to pay for that? Would you just leave the company?

    Your dues ARE what represent you, that little book called the contract that provides you guaranteed hours, vacation time, sick pay, scheduled raises and the ability to promote are what your dues pay for.

    In 2013, your dues will pay for an armada of TEAMSTER personnel to negotiate the next contract, or maybe you would like to negotiate it for yourself?

    Get over the anti-union rhetoric. You sound silly.

    Both of your posts clearly demonstrate your lack of understanding and I hope I've cleared it up for you.

    Its a bitter pill, but I dont have any other way of explaining it to you.

    You are in a brotherhood, and that cost money.

  20. soberups

    soberups Pees in the brown Koolaid

    I will agree that the part-timers are not benefitting as they should from the contract. I have spoken out about this issue at union meetings, and at the contract-proposal meetings we have always had when a new agreement was being negotiated. I have also voted "no" on every offer in the last 20 years.

    The flip side to this coin, however, is that I almost never see part-timers at union meetings, and very few part-timers even take the time to vote on the contract itself.

    Those who refuse to participate in a process have no right to complain about the outcome of that process.

    I honestly cant blame the part-timers who dont join the union in right-to-fire states, but once someone is promoted to the FT driving ranks and begins enjoying the best union-negotiated wages and benefits in the industry, they are a hypocrite and a freeloader if they receive those wages without supporting the union that made them possible. They are no different from the person who buys a nice home in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association, and then decides that they will enjoy the same higher property values and ameneties as everyone else while refusing to pay the same dues and follow the same rules as their neighbors.