Take Your Break, Comrade... Or Else.


If you work at the local GM plant, and you choose to work during your break, your union bretheren won't like it:

General Motors Corp. and UAW Local 2209 are investigating an April 29 complaint that a union member wielded a two-by-four at co-workers who were voluntarily working during their break time at the southwest Allen County plant.

According to a report filed by the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, a witness told responding officers that “there is an ongoing problem” at the plant. “Those that choose to work during their breaks are harassed and intimidated by others who are in the union but do not agree (with) working during breaks,” the report states.

But why would you want to work during your break? Because there's extra money in it!

Working during breaks isn’t new, [president of United Auto Workers Local 2209 Don] Swegman said. When the production line is behind schedule, employees in that area are offered the chance to work during their breaks for overtime pay, which amounts to time and a half.

[GM spokeswoman Pam] Reese said the opportunity to earn extra money varies depending on the production schedule but doesn’t always fall on the same department. Swegman agreed.

The local union president said the company is within the parameters of its contract with the union when it makes such work available. [empahsis added]
It's extra money, the company's cool with it, the union's cool with it. What's not to like?

But some GM workers apparently resent those who choose to work during breaks. Union workers traditionally refer to people who cross picket lines to work as “scabs.” According to the police report, the workers who were intimidating others were calling them “scabs.”
I must have missed the point where the union rank-and-file decided to become communists, because the only possible explanation for this is that they want to punish people who work hard. And speaking of communists,
Catherine Mulder, an assistant professor of labor studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, said anytime that many people are working together, tensions will crop up.

“There are going to be personality conflicts,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like a big issue to me. It could happen in grammar school. It could happen anywhere.”

In fact, Mulder said, union shops often have less conflict than non-union shops because members have a sense of solidarity and well-defined work rules meant to ensure that people are treated fairly rather than rewarded based on how much management likes them.
Hey, prof, did you even hear what you said? '[R]ather than rewarded based on how much management likes them?' What about 'punished by their co-workers for trying to excel?'

This is yet another reason why unions have far outgrown their usefulness.


Back when I lived in Ft. Wayne, my wife worked at the city waste water treatment plant (where they treat the city sewer water to make it "safe" to dump in the river). She was a chemical technician in the testing labs, which was a union shop. This was the WORST place to have to deal with union idiocity. There are chemical processes that are going on (and have to continue) 24/7, and there are major safety concerns in dealing with the chemicals with which they have to work.

Imagine my wife's surprise, upon finding a coworker mishandling some of those chemicals, and being told that she cannot complain about another union worker to management. If she did, she would be subject to union greivances and (it was implied none too subtly) coworker harassment. There were people who took long naps during the day, while clocked in, but they had seniority and management never caught them, so there was nothing she could do. Needless to say, she was never happy working there.

Is it any wonder that she now works as a daycare teacher?

"...yet another reason why unions have far outgrown their usefulness."


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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on May 6, 2005 3:57 PM.

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