The Problems Of A Legacy Business: Verizon's Union Freaks Out That Verizon Wants To Look Forward

from the what-a-shame dept

It's really sad to see some of the struggles that legacy businesses go through in trying to adapt to a more modern world, but not all of it is the fault of those businesses themselves. Look, for example, at what's happening with Verizon. Subsidiary Verizon Wireless -- which is 55% owned by Verizon -- began a marketing campaign pushing people to ditch their landline phone and go completely wireless. That's not a bad marketing campaign (and, in fact, might be a very good marketing campaign these days). So what happens? The union that represents Verizon's landline telco workers flips out and accuses the company of trying to undermine the union by helping Verizon get out of the landline business, so it can get rid of those workers. Seriously. First of all, there's little evidence to suggest that's true. Like most traditional telcos, Verizon still sees its basic landline business as a useful cash cow that I'm sure it intends to milk for as long as possible. Chances are, since VZW is a separate company, the marketing plan had nothing to do with the parent's marketing efforts. But, either way, at some point the company should be pushing customers to ditch landlines and other older technologies and embrace better solutions. Not because it puts old union guys out of work, but because it's where the market is headed.


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  1.  
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    Ryan Z, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 1:22pm

    Sigh...

    This is why I really detest unions with a passion.

    Even if Verizon were doing it merely to cannibalize their groundline division for the benefit of their less-unionized wireless division...so what? That is completely their prerogative, and probably a good business decision even if the market wasn't headed that way given the dead weight that most unions are. Unions act like a petulant child with a supreme entitlement complex; I can see why the union bosses would prefer to continue counting their money at the expense of others, but why is the general public even remotely supportive of retarded crap like this? In the article, Verizon actually sounds defensive, as if they somehow may have wronged the union...

     

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    VzB Employee, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 2:28pm

    I say go for it!

    Unions are the reason progress gets delayed. I am an employee for Verizon Business, another subsidiary of Verizon. I think it would be great to get rid of the land line business all together. Dissolve the unions and get in workers that want to work and work hard! Not carry around a Union book in their back pocket and pull it out when someone asks them to do something!

    Unions artificially drive up wages, thus increasing product and services costs. They do not ensure better quality of work!! That is a big lie.

     

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    kirillian (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Union - Company struggles

    As much as I hate mature unions, unions, especially in their immature, rather young stages provide good benefits for the workers they represent. Eventually, however, as Ryan Z suggests, unions do become deadweights that only drag a company down with them. It's a rather vicious downward spiral.

    That being said, I can't completely condemn unions (I think Wal-mart needs to become unionized...someone's got to help those poor people deal with the corporate bull that goes on there).

     

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    Floyd, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 2:45pm

    Walmart unions

    If WalMart is so bad to work for w/o a union, why do millions of people do it anyway? Unions at any stage are purely co-ercive in nature, using evil government power to force their lazy will upon the employer and the final cost upon the hapless consumer. Unions do not raise wages overall in the economy anyways, so if one group does gain a wage/benefits increase, it comes at the expense of other workers in different areas of the economy. That's just short-sighted selfishness, the kind that our politicians used when inflating bubbles of titanic proportions.

     

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    kirillian (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Walmart unions

    Agreed...the same short-sighted selfishness is apparent in the bonus checks that the big wigs are signing for themselves as they cut corners to increase profits. I understand that Unions are selfish. But they are also a protective measure for people who can't work elsewhere also.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Walmart unions

    Stipulation: Not a big union fan, just a big understanding fan...

    "If WalMart is so bad to work for w/o a union, why do millions of people do it anyway?"

    Are you from a relatively large city? Because what are YOU going to do when Walmart comes into your town of 5000 people and puts the small businesses that employ half the town out of business? Starve?

    "Unions at any stage are purely co-ercive in nature, using evil government power to force their lazy will upon the employer and the final cost upon the hapless consumer."

    This is what some unions become, especially the larger ones. But to indicate that ALL unions are purely co-ercive and use evil govt. blah blah blah is just a total misunderstanding of why they came about to begin with. EMPLOYERS started this whole mess by acting like goons. Pretending otherwise is a joke.

    "Unions do not raise wages overall in the economy anyways, so if one group does gain a wage/benefits increase, it comes at the expense of other workers in different areas of the economy."

    Agreed, but that's usually the fault of fatcat execs that simply refuse to take a paycut, so instead they take it out another blue collar workers check.

     

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    Haywood, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 3:00pm

    As a retired union man.......

    I'm quite divided about this. I had decent wages and a degree of job security that made raising my family a bit easier. On the other hand the constant games between management and the union leaders, with the workers as the pawns made for a hostile environment. I'd gladly have given up a little money and protection for better working conditions and better relations with management, we were, at least in my case after the same thing; making the customers happy and getting the tasks accomplished while making a decent living at the same time.

     

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    Ryan Z, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Walmart unions

    I worked at Wal-Mart for two years, liked it a lot. For a retail job anyway, I'd go crazy if I had to do that kind of monotonous thing for much longer. They do switch up employee assignments to avoid that, however.

    cut corners to increase profits

    Precisely what they should be doing. Businesses exist to create a profit for their owners/investors, not to provide a living to random job applicants. Incentally, profit margins are positively correlated with consumer satisfaction and job availability, as it means that people are voluntarily going there to shop and more employees are needed to handle the additional load, respectively. I believe non-unionized Wal-Mart is the largest non-governmental U.S. employer.

    they are also a protective measure for people who can't work elsewhere also.

    I think unions can provide a measure of protection for employees against large businesses by allowing workers to better set their market value when they might otherwise be deceived as individuals. However, pro-union laws allow them to raise the wages of employees above market rate, as well as interfering with corporate autonomy to the detriment of business. They are certainly not there to protect a person who "can't work elsewhere" if he/she is not valuable to the business.

     

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    Another anonymous poster, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Walmart unions

    The reason "millions of people do it anyway" covers many topics. Lack of education, lack of open jobs in a given area, limited transportation to actually get to work, etc... Some people are "satisfied" working for Walmart. I agree with a few of the posts on here in that Unions are definitely a 2 edged sword. Having worked for Union shops such as ATT Wireless, formerly Cingular and including the old ATT Wireless(hope that one doesn't confuse anyone), I found that the benefits overall to the base employees were good. At the level I was part of, we were pretty isolated. On the other hand one could point to Union derived contracts for part of the American auto industry woes. Yes GM, Chrysler and Ford made poor decisions overall, but how much R&D funds would have been available for better products sooner had the Unions not wrung ridiculous retirement plans out of the Auto makers. This could lead on another tangent...Sorry for that. In regards to Walmart, they need Union to clean up the mess executive management has made. As for the issue here with Verizon? Let them fight this one out internally.

     

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re: Walmart unions

    @ Dark Helmet -

    "But to indicate that ALL unions are purely co-ercive and use evil govt. blah blah blah is just a total misunderstanding of why they came about to begin with."

    You're absolutely right. Sometimes they don't use the evil government. They're perfectly happy being evil and coercive on their own.

    Case it point, a coworker of mine worked for a small steel company. They were the low bidder on the job but a few days after they began work, the local union steel company (who did not win the contract) showed up and began shutting down their equipment, stranding my coworker thirty feet up in the air while the two crews negotiated.

    The union kicked the steel company out, despite their contract, erected an 8-foot chainlink fence around the jobsite and made some understated threats. The existing electrical work was damaged (conduit filled with cement, etc.) to prime the pump for the local electrical union to move in and charge for removal and new installations.

    So, it's not always the Wal-Marts of the world that beat the hell out of smaller companies. And even if they do, they've never really stooped to criminal activity and coercion to do it.

    The Union - friend of OUR working men. Not yours.

     

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    robin, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    shedding legacy businesses

    "First of all, there's little evidence to suggest that's true. Like most traditional telcos, Verizon still sees its basic landline business as a useful cash cow that I'm sure it intends to milk for as long as possible."

    my localized experience is the opposite: verizon showed no hesitation in selling off its landline business up here in vermont to something called fairpoint communications.

    service and performance since the (contested) sale have been abysmal (shock, horror!! :) )

    which just goes to show that the landline business is now limited to trailer park operators! (at least in non-major-metropolitan areas of the country)

     

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    Steven Leach, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:42pm

    How Can I Ditch LandLine When Cell Does Not Work ?

    I am a software engineer with nearly 25 years of experience living 1 hour's drive from Sacramento, CA, and I still have no cell phone reception in or around my house. I have to walk at least 200 yds up a hill before my son has even 2 bars of service for ANY wireless provider. This community of nearly 15K people still has only spotty DSL for the last several years, and many individuals can only get51K baud on their MODEMS !!! What is happening by the telco's to wean me off my landline. NOTHING AT&T, Verizon, Sprint none work in this area, except in the downtown area, and have no plans to work. So in the mean time it is quite a common site to see people sitting in their cars on the highways, or roads just talking on their cell phones, because they have no service in their homes, or anywhere else they are willing to walk.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 4:53pm

    The Telephone Company's Landlines Will Get Taken Over By the Sewer District.

    Sewage is the primal public utility. Sewage is one of the two oldest utilities, going back to Roman times, the other being water supply. Sewage has undergone the least technological change over its history (the Romans used pressurized pipes for water supply occasionally, when they had to, but they mostly relied on gravity feed, as in the famous aqueduct viaducts). Sewage is necessarily the public utility most attuned to the landscape (being gravity-fed, it runs downhill). Finally, sewage has the strongest character of a public good, with its emphasis on nuisance abatement. Water and sewage are overwhelmingly undertaken by public boards, rather than private corporations. In some places, notably Tennessee Valley Authority territory, and Bonneville Power Administration territory (Washington, Oregon), these boards also supply electricity, because, at the time of organization, the electricity ultimately came from federal power dams.

    A general reform of the public utility system, conducted along whole-system lines, with a view to greater reliability and lesser environmental impact, will tend to become more focused on sewage. Publicly owned telecommunications networks would fit neatly into this system.

    The first thing we are going to have to do to prevent global warming is to install large numbers of geothermal heat pumps for space heating and cooling, and solar water heaters, with sufficiently large underground hot water storage tanks. This should nearly eliminate domestic consumption of natural gas and fuel oil, and it should radically reduce the household market for electricity. Electricity will be restricted to the things electricity really is good for, such as lighting and electronics. My best estimate is that this will reduce household electricity consumption by a factor of five or ten. In many places, people will add solar-electric panels or windmills as well.

    This will be very disorganizing to privately owned electric and gas utilities. The richest people will be the first to buy all the latest new toys for their houses ("the difference between men and boys is the price of their toys"). This means that the utility companies will be increasingly stuck with customers who cannot pay very much. The gas and electric companies will get to a point where they cannot afford to maintain their distribution networks, and then these will have to be municipalized. They will be merged into the local water districts. The surviving electric companies will sell wholesale electricity to local governments.

    It has been pointed out that one can run optical fibers through sewers without interfering with their primary use, and that this is often the cheapest way of routing fibers. Certainly, when the street eventually has to be dug up, and the sewers replaced, it is trivial to add an excess of cable ducts.

    The kind of person who puts an abundance of solar cells on his roof will also be disposed to buy a 20 Ghz Phased Array Wireless transceiver, and put that up on the roof. Such a device, which might cost a thousand dollars or so, can reach out for half a mile or more, and obtain competitive high-speed internet access at web-hosting rates, typically about a hundredth of what the telephone company and the cable company charge. The effect, like the geothermal heat pumps and the solar water heaters, will be to siphon off the cable and telephone companies' most affluent customers. There will come a point at which the landlines simply don't pay for their own maintenance.

    The unionized telephone company employees will presumably go with the landlines they service, and become civil servants. They will be cross-trained, military fashion, so that they can work on the full range of equipment the sewer district comes to own: sewers, water, gas, electric, telephone and cable, traffic lights...

    By contrast, what is happening with cellphones is that the frequency is not moving upwards, it is moving downwards. The old cellphones operate in about the same frequency range as Wi-Fi, that is, about 2 Ghz-2.4Ghz. The new territory opening up is the 700 Mhz band, freed up by the digitalization of television. A signal in the neighborhood of, say 500 Mhz, can do a better job of punching through building walls, so a cellphone on this band is more likely to work well, both indoors and out. Of course, the traditional prime voice frequencies are around 100 Mhz, eg. FM radio, and the various police, fire, taxicab (*), and aircraft radio bands. There are a lot of people down in this region with "dumb" radios and reserved frequencies. What will happen, of course, is that the users will eventually be asked to show cause why they could not use cellphones instead. The characteristic of an upscale premium cellphone will be that if it cannot get through on, say, 2.2 Ghz, it will drop down to 700 Mhz, and then to 100 Mhz. A cheap cellphone will try to get through on 2.2 Ghz, and if it can't, it will just give up.
    The scarce resource is the comparatively low frequency omni-directional signal, and that is what it makes sense to monetize.

    (*) Sidenote: A taxicab driver has his official radio, built into the cab, which is in the 100 Mhz range, just like the radio in a police cruiser, but he also has his cellphone, which he uses to make side-deals with his regular customers, side-deals which his dispatcher doesn't have to know about.

     

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    Jimmy the Geek, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:13pm

    Say it with me.

    Unions are good.

    Yes, they are.

    I know that the media has programmed you all to reflexively hate Unions for the past 4 decades, but the media is lying to you.

    Companies don't have the right to just dump people when they are no longer useful to the bottom line. I know that sucks, but unions are the only group that actually cares about the worker and sticks up for them.

    And because they don't let the workers get stomped on at the whim of some corporate exec you all get your panties all in a bunch.

    So sad and pathetic.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:27pm

    One thing not mentioned above in the union discussion is that union's organize workers. That is probably the most important feature of unions - providing an organized voice, front, etc, especially when negotiating with management.

    I think that one of the reasons that unions have fallen out of favor among many in the US is the disappearance of the worker and the working class in the US. Since we don't really make anything anymore...workers aren't all that important.

     

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    sonicmerlin (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 5:56pm

    Wow

    I can't believe the Union hate I'm hearing.

    "On the other hand one could point to Union derived contracts for part of the American auto industry woes. Yes GM, Chrysler and Ford made poor decisions overall, but how much R&D funds would have been available for better products sooner had the Unions not wrung ridiculous retirement plans out of the Auto makers."

    Are you NUTS? Seriously, ARE YOU EVEN SANE? Do you comprehend HOW MUCH MONEY GM, Chrysler, and Ford made over the last several decades AND NEVER INVESTED INTO R&D???

    Do you HONESTLY BELIEVE those idiotically managed companies taken down by foreign competitors would have invested in R&D if they made EVEN MORE profit??!! You're blaming UNIONS for the executives' mismanagement?! Really?!!


    "Precisely what they should be doing. Businesses exist to create a profit for their owners/investors, not to provide a living to random job applicants. Incentally, profit margins are positively correlated with consumer satisfaction and job availability"

    What kind of a horrible shill ARE YOU??? Profit margins are correlated with consumer satisfaction?! Are you an idiot??? Since when does correlation equal causation??? In ANY COMPETITIVE MARKET profits tend towards zero as the company spends all their money to be as innovative and efficiently run as possible. THAT is what leads to consumer satisfaction you blatant liar.

    The kind of "cutting corners" you're thinking of IS NOT THE KIND THAT BENEFITS CONSUMERS. Giant, profitable corporations with little competition cut corners by DEGRADING THEIR SERVICES AND INNOVATION first, because their customers have nowhere to go. Hence the whole Time Warner debacle with UBB and caps.


    "You're absolutely right. Sometimes they don't use the evil government. They're perfectly happy being evil and coercive on their own."

    I seriously wish I could slap you. A basic course on US history will demonstrate HOW FREAKING EVIL AND GREEDY CORPORATIONS ARE!!! Unions and the "evil government" have been the ONLY THING preventing businesses from forcing 16 hour workdays with no benefits or insurance on their employees, LIKE BACK BEFORE UNIONS EXISTED.

    Ugh...the stupidity on this topic is so overwhelming. Honestly I have a headache. Go home and watch your Fox News programs and scream at your TV about how "GUB'MINT IS BAD!" over and over.

     

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    ricky berlin (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:40pm

    It's not about unions

    Verizon just sold it's land lines in 14 states to an outfit called Frontier Communications for 8.6 billion. It's just the future. I'm sure the unions will get screwed by the new owners, so all you haters out there should be happy.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124221398580814777.html

     

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    dkmarkins, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 6:58pm

    Re: shedding legacy businesses

    The backlash of the sell of this Verizon territory is not commonly known. Not only has the service for the New England suffered, but Fairpoint is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. The recent track record of Verizon sell offs has resulted in 2 companies filing bankruptcy and 1 teetering. Verizon is currently trying to get approval for another sell off ( or sell out - take your choice) of it's landlines to another smaller company. What this accomplishes for Verizon is a tax free cash influx of approx 3 billion dollars. Good for VZ's stockholders but what about Frontier's stockholders. The smaller company's debt leverage more than doubles. This is at a time when Frontier is forcing management to take 2 days a month off without pay. This does not sound like a company that is financial viable to purchase a territory that nearly triples it's current size. The consumer in this Verizon territory will experience even worse service and the commitments made to local governments by Verizon will not have to be honored. Where will the new company get the resources to meet these commitments? Incentive money from the government. That means from the taxpayers. Which does not mean Verizon because the money for this sale is tax free. There is no way we are ready to depend on unreliable cell sevice. The technology is not there yet, especially in rural areas. Maybe legacy businesses still serve a purpose. RE: unions. They are necessary. If the history of the union is studied, business has demonstrated the abuse they are willing to inflict upon the common worker. The threat of unionization keeps some non-union companies offering competitve wages and benefits. The strength of the unions may have become excessive but the environment has changed and companies are taking advantage of the change. As for the Verizon Business person who commented. I have had some interaction with MCI employees. Maybe you should find a union job somewhere. I as treated rudely, the knowledge base low, and the processes so parced out it took forever to accomplish simple tasks. Everyone had their own little piece of the pie and process had to be followed exactly or everything broke down. The process does work at if the service is not exactly what you have decided the customer should be getting. Verizon Business employees are responsible for a good portion of your own benfits and work at a lower pay in comparable jobs of union companies. You get what you pay for and maybe that explains the rudeness I encountered.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

    Re: Walmart unions

    If WalMart is so bad to work for w/o a union, why do millions of people do it anyway?

    Because they need the money. Are you really that stupid or are you just pretending?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Walmart unions

    Case it point,...

    What a nice, little made up story.

     

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    Rekrul, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 7:48pm

    But, either way, at some point the company should be pushing customers to ditch landlines and other older technologies and embrace better solutions.

    I'll ditch my landline when a wireless provider offers me unlimited usage for under $50 a month, with no contract.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 15th, 2009 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Walmart unions

    Ok, if you or your "friend" can't pull up one mention of what is clearly an egregious and illegal practice by this union in your story, I'm going to go ahead and say that that was a wonderful piece of fiction...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:05pm

    UNION = Legal Mafia

    There time is UP!

     

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    number_one, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:42pm

    Re: Say it with me.

    What an idiot you are.

    If I have a business and hire someone to help me I should have absolutely no duty to continue to give them a job if I don't think they are doing their job well enough. Likewise, they have no duty to keep working for me if they want to go somewhere else. This is America, folks. We are supposed to have something called Freedom.

    Unions may have had a place a long time ago before we had laws to protect people from truly being exploited by companies, but those times are long gone. Today we have reams of laws, regulations, and oversight without even taking into account unions. Why the hell would we need another nanny organization on top of the government we already have today?

    Suffice it to say that there is still a hell of a lot of exploitation going on today, but it sure as hell isn't by businesses. Today it's the businesses that are being exploited by fat cat union organizations with the full blessing of socialist idiots in Congress and the White House. And all the while these dirt bags have the audacity to call business executives criminals for paying themselves money from their OWN businesses.

    By the way, how many blue collar workers do you think will have jobs when all the execs are railroaded out of their jobs (just for being execs)? We have different positions, pay grades, and skill levels for a reason. If you think putting the blue collar workers "in charge" is going to help a company then you better get ready to apply for a job real soon at another company that hasn't gone insane.

    Oh, and you think the media has been programming people to hate unions? What planet are you living on? The media can't get enough of demonizing the likes of Wal-mart and other non-union businesses. Sounds like you need to go back to school and get an education, son.

     

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    number_one, Jul 15th, 2009 @ 10:58pm

    Re: Wow

    You have no perspective, like a typical liberal.

    No one is claiming that business are angels, but as I mentioned earlier there are reams of laws and regulations that govern what businesses can and can't do already.

    Where you seem to lose your mind is when you pretend that unions and government can't possibly be just as bad as a business could be. It's the PEOPLE that do bad things, not the business. Bad people in charge are going to do bad things WHEREVER they are.

    What you need to do is pull your head out of the year 1900 and realize that the world we live in today is dominated by corrupt unions, NOT businesses. The reform we need today is to get rid of, or at least severely change, unions. If we don't then we may not have a future in the business world in this global marketplace. Unions simply aren't needed anymore.

    It just simply isn't right to go spouting off nonsense about evil corporations. Sure, there are plenty of bad execs in businesses that make bad decisions. Likewise, there are plenty of bad union execs and unionized workers who will also do bad things. No one side is the saint in this system, but in America today the union always seems to be the heavy the vast majority of the time.

     

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    bubba fatt, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 12:22am

    Of course, the union flips out.

    "flips out and accuses the company of trying to undermine the union"

    Of course the union flipped out... they'd be useless to their members if they didn't. It's part of why they exist, why members pay dues. What are they supposed to do? Keep quiet? That would be dereliction of duty. Does it mean the union has a leg to stand on? Perhaps, perhaps not.

    The article's headline has it right, though... unions can certainly be a problem for legacy businesses. However, while there's a bit of incredulity about the union's claim in the story, I don't see an overall indictment of unions in general. It's people here injecting their hatred or love of unions that make this story out to be more than it is.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 4:43am

    Just Like The Penn Central Railroad

    Well, folks, here's how it worked with the railroad:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn_Central_Transportation_Company

    The holding company loaded the railroad up with debt, and set it up to go bankrupt. The federal government took the railroad over, and bailed it out, and held it for a few years as Conrail. The federal government wound up paying for labor buy-outs. In fifteen years of government operation, of course, a lot of people reached normal retirement age. The parts of the railroad which operated primarily for the public good went to Amtrak and a bunch of municipal commuter agencies. Most of the long-distance components, eg. the tracks from Boston, New York and Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago, eventually got sold to commercial railroads, CSX and the Norfolk Southern, and merged into their systems. A lot of branch lines which were neither for the public good, nor profitable were simply scrapped, or "abandoned." The factories they led to typically moved to the Deep South, and eventually to Mexico and China. Likewise, the coal mines in places like Pennsylvania closed down because they could not compete with Wyoming coal, and the railroad lines leading to them went, too.

    Presumably the telephone reorganization will work much the same way.

     

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    James Riley (profile), Jul 16th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re: Walmart unions

    Point by point, brother. That's how we're gonna do this.

    1) If those small businesses go out of business because Walmart shows up, then they probably deserved to go out of business. Have YOU come from a town like that? Walmart offers cheaper prices and better selection (and 9 times out of 10 far nicer employees - no surly attitudes!) for consumers, so if the small businesses can't compete with them, it means they're doing it wrong. Survival of the fittest - it's how capitalism works. Oh, and those 5,000 employees who lose their jobs at those small businesses? They go over to Walmart and get a job there, with better benefits and rewards for doing their job well, whereas their previous job had nowhere to go but down.

    2) "Some" unions? Do you even understand what the point of a union is? Unions exist to force employers to do what they want, and to use the government to back them up. Look up the Wagner Act next time you get a minute and you'll see what I mean. The problem with unions is that they tie the hands of people actually running a company and force their will on them, while taking money from both the company and the workers. They are a leech on the economy and the best companies out there right now are ones that are disassociated with the unions. No company owes their workers ANYTHING - they all simply recognize that workers have a choice as to where they'll work and benefits (which are things someone offers you as thanks for the job you do) are used to try and sway workers to that company's staff. The better job you do, the more benefits you get. That's how things work in a free market. You do a good job, you get rewarded for it.

    3) Those fatcats got where they are by working their butts off and doing their level best. Yes, every so often you'll see cases of nepotism but by and large if someone's in an executive-level position, they fought like a dog to get there. You're basically saying that these people who've jumped at every opportunity to get ahead and proved their worth to the company need to take a pay cut so that the unions can take that money and toss it into another bloated benefits package that the company is saddled with for workers who have specific and rudimentary job functions, and who refuse to go outside those job functions even if it means goodwill towards the employer and the possibility of higher pay for doing extra work.

    I really have to wonder - did you think "The Grapes of Wrath" was historically accurate? Does your concept of unions come from Hollywood's various portrayals of them? Because it doesn't sound like you're a very informed person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 16th, 2009 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Walmart unions

    Fine, let's go point by point, and further, since you're points are kinda long:

    1."1) If those small businesses go out of business because Walmart shows up, then they probably deserved to go out of business."

    That's an absolutely ridiculous, big-box piece of propoganda, and it's a lie.

    "Walmart offers cheaper prices and better selection (and 9 times out of 10 far nicer employees - no surly attitudes!) for consumers, so if the small businesses can't compete with them, it means they're doing it wrong."

    That's certainly a possibility, but more often it means that they're too small to afford lobbying efforts which result in the sweetheart real estate deals, government subsidies, and tax loopholes that lead to Walmart being able to offer cheaper prices etc. etc. This idea that Walmart is able to do what it does ONLY because it is more efficient is simply a misunderstanding of how big box companies operate on a national and local level.

    "Survival of the fittest - it's how capitalism works."

    Fine, when we actually bring free market capitalism back to America, your viewpoint will make more sense. Until then, no go.

    "Oh, and those 5,000 employees who lose their jobs at those small businesses? They go over to Walmart and get a job there, with better benefits and rewards for doing their job well, whereas their previous job had nowhere to go but down"

    Do you have even a single shred of evidence to back that statement up?

    2. "Some" unions? Do you even understand what the point of a union is? Unions exist to force employers to do what they want, and to use the government to back them up"

    Another ridiculous statement. That is what some unions do, namely the larger ones. But unions were created not to force employers to do what they want using the government, but to keep employers from abusing their workforce (often with the aid of the government). There's a balance somewhere in the middle, but pretending that employers didn't start this whole thing to begin with is a lie.

    "The problem with unions is that they tie the hands of people actually running a company and force their will on them, while taking money from both the company and the workers. They are a leech on the economy and the best companies out there right now are ones that are disassociated with the unions."

    The best for whom, exactly? And btw, the companies on Forbes' list of best companies to work for largely are NOT unionized. You may see this is as proof of your point, but I actually think it's proof of mine: if firms treated their employees fairly to begin with, no unions are necessary. I think that's why you see a larger union presence in older industries, and industries like tech tend not to have them.

    "The better job you do, the more benefits you get. That's how things work in a free market. You do a good job, you get rewarded for it."

    That's the way it SHOULD be; it isn't now, not in unions OR non-unionized firms. And again, we don't have a free market. Pretending otherwise is silly.

    "Those fatcats got where they are by working their butts off and doing their level best. Yes, every so often you'll see cases of nepotism but by and large if someone's in an executive-level position, they fought like a dog to get there."

    Where the hell are you getting THAT idea? According to the study below, over half the GDP is generated by family-run companies, and only somewhere between 10-40% of firms actually HAVE an anti-nepotism policy. So....nice try. Inherited wealth in this country is ridiculously high. The worst part of all this is that these business criminal assholes THEN get placed into government power, having never worked for a day in their life, and given the power of sending our servicemen all over the globe in order to line their pockets serving their former corporate masters.

    http://www.entrepreneur.com/tradejournals/article/128206301.html


    "I really have to wonder - did you think "The Grapes of Wrath" was historically accurate? Does your concept of unions come from Hollywood's various portrayals of them? Because it doesn't sound like you're a very informed person."

    Yay, my thoughtful analysis backed up with statistical data vs. your fantasy and insults. Nice job, fucktard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 6:19pm

    Re: Re: Say it with me.

    If I have a business and hire someone to help me I should have absolutely no duty to continue to give them a job if I don't think they are doing their job well enough.

    I'd say that if you've signed a contract with them then you should be required to honor the terms of that contract. Just deciding that you don't want to anymore doesn't cut it.

    Likewise, they have no duty to keep working for me if they want to go somewhere else.

    Again, not if they've signed a contract that says otherwise.

    Suffice it to say that there is still a hell of a lot of exploitation going on today, but it sure as hell isn't by businesses. Today it's the businesses that are being exploited by fat cat union organizations with the full blessing of socialist idiots in Congress and the White House. And all the while these dirt bags have the audacity to call business executives criminals for paying themselves money from their OWN businesses.

    ...blah blah blah...


    Now you're starting to just make up a bunch of crap. I'm not even going to bother to respond to that kind of stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Wow

    No one is claiming that business are angels, but as I mentioned earlier there are reams of laws and regulations that govern what businesses can and can't do already.

    Yeah, and part of those laws are what make contracts enforceable. But you, for some yet-to-be-explained reason, seem to think that businesses should not have to honor their contracts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Walmart unions

    2) "Some" unions? Do you even understand what the point of a union is? Unions exist to force employers to do what they want, and to use the government to back them up.

    The gov't sometimes (not always) forces employers who have signed contracts with their workers to honor those contracts. And no, unions cannot use "force" to make employers sign contracts. That would be illegal and an absurd claim to make.

    However, there have been many times that the gov't has ordered out-of-contract workers back to work even if they didn't want to go and didn't agree to the wages to be paid. How often does the gov't order employers to employ workers at whatever rate the workers set? So I'd say that if anything, the gov't actually favors the owners over the workers (for a while, it even allowed slave ownership). And the truth is, the US gov't has a long history of "union busting".

    So just about everything you wrote is 100% wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jul 17th, 2009 @ 3:42am

    Union Violence

    I'll take that as a valid point, Dark H. and (of course) AC. I don't have any valid proof for that particular story. But there are several stories like it out there.

    http://www.unionfacts.com/articles/crimeViolence.cfm - lists murder, harassment, beatings, intimidation and threats and the best part is, this is all just union-on-union violence.

    Or try nilrr.org, nrtwc.org or just Google "union violence" if you want more.

    I can hear you bitching already about how these sites are anti-union and not indicative of unions as a whole. As if a visit to the AFL-CIO's site or the United Brotherhood of Sandwich Artists' blog would suddenly present me with an even-handed portrayal.

    But this is all academic. You, and your compatriots, have convinced me that unions are good based on these two powerful arguments:

    1. Wal-Mart has low wages and inadequate benefits.
    2. Your (the unions) best work was done nearly 100 years ago.

    The union's reputation for violence, intimidation and corruption was earned. Like any reputation. Wal-Mart has low wages. So does every other entry level job in the retail field, not to mention food service and hospitality.

    A shoutout to sonicmerlin:

    "Ugh...the stupidity on this topic is so overwhelming. Honestly I have a headache. Go home and watch your Fox News programs and scream at your TV about how "GUB'MINT IS BAD!" over and over."

    I hope you don't use this Fox TV reference as a can of "Instant Superiority" in every argument. Just because I oppose unions doesn't mean I get my news delivered to me by the shouting mouthbreathers at Fox News, whose motto must be "Work Louder. Not Smarter."

    I'd just as soon try to broaden my cultural horizon by perusing the comment threads at Youtube.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Oct 8th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    In the End the Local Sewer District Will Prevail.

    I discussed this a few years ago. In the long run, with competition driving telecommunications prices down, everything in the public utility business (telephone, cable television, gas, electricity, and electric power for transportation) will get take over by the local water and sewer district, and operated for the public good.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090713/1916365532.shtml#c105

    I should add, incidentally, that we would restore the traditional separation between ISP's and subscriber loops, similar to what existed in the dial-up era, and still exist in the remaining areas of dial-up connection. In the heyday of dial-up, Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Juno, and I don't know how many others were all national ISP's, with local servers supporting dial-up numbers in each free-calling-area. Five hundred servers might have been enough to institute national coverage while avoiding long-distance charges. The subscriber loop was firmly covered by the common-carrier and wiretapping laws, and changing one's ISP was simply a matter of typing new bits of text into one's computer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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