The Other Side
An Unofficial Supplement to the Union Jots
Issue 2 November 1999
Throughout history at will employee’s have been taken advantage of by management.They have always received lower pay and less benefits despite doing equally demanding work work of their union counterparts.Let me ask you,does your job require less skill than that of a mailman or your local trash collector.Do you have less responsibility than a carpenter or a plumber or the construction flagman down on rt 51.Are your working conditions less stressful than that of a teacher. I believe the answer would be a resounding NO.
How did the employees of these professions achieve the wages, benefits and respect that they deserve ? They organized. Study your history, ask your grandfather what life was like in the coal mines and steel mills before unionization. How were teachers treated 25 years ago? It is time that Heath care employees demanded recognition for their skills and dedication to their profession.
The response Bob Horn got at the employee meeting much covers the feelings of the employees at SHHS. The fact is the cost of health insurance at SHHS has increased dramatically for those who need it most. Those with families will pay more and get less. There is no need for me to go into any more detail on this subject. Just read the summary of the employee meeting. Is it worrisome that Bob is overseeing the human resources dept. ? Is anybody listening to you? Join the PSEA.These are things that could have been negotiated.
Why the PSEA
PSEA Health Care is the fastest growing union of staff nurses and other health care professionals in Pennsylvania. Staff nurses comprise the Board of Directors and advance the development of the collective bargaining program. PSEA Health Care was created to ensure effective representation for staff nurses.
PSEA Health Care is an affiliate of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. A formal affiliation agreement defines the relationship between the Health Care division and PSEA. The agreement provides for equal services for PSEA Health Care members and the traditional teacher members.
In the years since the advent of collective bargaining, PSEA has tremendously improved working conditions for its members. Since 1970, PSEA has negotiated more than 6,000 master contracts for locals in 96 percent of the state's 501 school districts. PSEA has represented health care professionals in non-school settings since the early 1980s. In early 1993, PSEA renewed efforts to extend its services to health care professionals by redefining the organizing priorities.
Now 1500 nurses strong !!!!!
A rebuttal in advance
In the coming weeks you will see much misinformation coming from Management. These are a few of the issues they will address.
A major concern to all employees when considering union representation is the possibility of going out on strike. Strikes are actually very rare. The chances that you'll go on strike over any given contract is about the same as the chances of the space shuttle blowing up at any given launch. (1 to 2%) The chances are much, much greater that you will end up with a fair contract. The only reason strikes leap to mind is that business' stress the fact that they could happen in order to scare employees, the media loves to cover them, and the labor movement glorifies them. (Understandable, I guess. Signing contracts lacks the drama. I can see my grandfather now: "Yessir, I remember the great contract signing of '34.)
SHHS will go out of business
Unions do not ask for more in a contract than a company can afford. They know that the worst possible disservice that a union could do to its membership is to drive the company they work for out of business. In fact, during hard financial times, most unions will do everything in their power to help companies stay in business. The most famous example of this is the Chrysler bailout in the 80's - pressure from both Chrysler and the UAW led the federal government to give Chrysler the loans that saved the company. Also, concessions during this time by the union enabled Chrysler to turn the corner and become one of the most profitable companies in the world today.
You will be giving all control to the union
All union officials must stand for election. Last year, for example, the Local UFCW in Philadelphia did its best to insure that everyone had the opportunity to vote, even setting up mobile voting "booths" so that they could reach rural areas were as few as three union members might be. And the most important union "official" in your life as a union member, your shop steward, is elected directly by you and your co- workers. Several of your co-workers are nominated by you and the other employees and then an election is held. It's direct democracy. Futhermore the employees get to choose members to be on the negotiating team and any contract must be ratified by a secret ballot vote before it is enacted. Even dues increases must be approved by the employees or they don't pay one cent more.
Unions are corrupt
Several studies have been done that have demonstrated that less than 1% of locals had corruption problems. Contrast this with a 1980 investigation into corporate corruption by Fortune magazine that found that corporate corruption ran at 11%.