Thursday, November 12, 2015

Unions. Pro or con?

Thinking about becoming an educator? You may want to think again, at least if you live in North Carolina.
Over the past five years community college instructors in NC have averaged two.five percent in  raises. That's not per year, that's over a five-year period. This year there was excess money in the state coffers.So it would make sense that the faculty, and staff, would at least get a raise to offset cost of living, right? The faculty and staff at the cc I worked at are getting a one percent raise and a seven hundred and fifty dollar one-time bonus, while the chancellors at the four-year institutes who are already in the six figures are getting nine to eighteen percent pay increases.
WalletHub ranked North Carolina fiftieth on the best and worst states for teachers chart.
I never expected to be saying this in my lifetime but I think its time for the schools to unionize. At one point in America's history unions were necessary for the middle class and the poor to survive, and then they weren't (necessary). But I believe the pendulum has swung.I think if the middle class is going to survive, it's time to bring them back.
What's your take on unions? Pro or con? And are you in a job where your raises keep up with the cost of living?

31 comments:

  1. I think it might be necessary to establish a decent standard of living, even for teachers! As a teacher here I earned a lot less that others working in jobs with much less training and responsibility, with minimal raises and a pension you can hardy live off! Hugs, Valerie

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Val. Sounds like a universal problem. We'll pay millions for sports and entertainment while our police, firefighters and instructors are scratching.

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  2. I am pro union. Here not only are they important in wage negotiations, they also keep the employers on the straight and narrow about health and safety issues and conditions of employment. Sometimes they don't have a lot to do, and then all of a sudden they are very, very necessary.

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    1. Thanks for the insight, EC. That seems to be the way it rolls, not a lot to do then buried.

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  3. all our schools are in unions, but there are different ones. They've been constantly on strike for years now, especially after the average MONTHLY teacher salary has been dropped even lower from barely $400. It is extremely humiliating.

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    1. That is terrible, Dez. I hope you have a low cost of living.
      Refresh me, what country are you in?

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    2. not our luck, the costs of living are higher than elsewhere :) Serbia

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  4. We're ranked last? That sucks. And that is pathetic.
    I belong to a union and while negotiations are always a pain in the butt, it's kept us from losing insurance and getting no raises, even cost of living.

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    1. It's pretty sad, isn't it. Not only are they not getting cost of living, health insurance is going up.

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  5. Be careful, though. My dad is a deputy sheriff for our county and he was underpaid before a union. Want to hear something funny? The union still left him underpaid, plus he lost some really great benefits. The union the sheriff's department enacted doesn't really do much - it's more of a hindrance. I think more conversations should be had about the big wigs making more than everyone else. While I do agree that certain positions should make a little more, I don't agree that they should make hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars more. It shouldn't be grossly unequal.

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    1. That's a good point, Jessica Marie. I guess folks looking to unionize need to do their homework.

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  6. They can be a pain in the arse big time, but they can help too, depends on who is running things really. That is disgusting the rich sobs get such raises.

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    1. Isn't that pathetic. And some of them are pretty high up on the six figure food chain.

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  7. Himself teaches at a community college. They are unionized through the Massachusetts Teachers Association. That being said, currently they have no contract so they are under "work to rule" That is, they do no more than the minimum requirements of their last contract.

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    1. Think they'll be settling soon? My daughter works as an adjunct at a unionized community college and it is great.

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  8. I agree that it's time to unionize. Unions have made a real difference for teachers in the states that have them. Good luck.

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    1. My daughter lives in Philly. And their CC is unionized. Its made it possible for her to get health insurance.

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  9. I was a government employee for 19 years. I'd say I got raises maybe five of those years? Could have been six or seven. In general, government jobs just suck. I think that's the problem with teachers and police officers. There's no monetization and the people who make the decisions are more interested in saving taxpayer money than taking care of workers. I was noticing the quality of state employees was getting gradually worse each year because you can't attract a good employee at $25,000 a year anymore, even if you promise health insurance. Younger workers are drawn to pay and opportunity for advancement, not cushiness. So in that sense, I fear for the future of teaching and police work, but I think the jobs attract a type of person who is in it mostly to make a difference in the world.

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    1. I hear and agree, but in this situation the taxpayers weren't saved a penny. An eighteen percent raise on a six figure salary, is pretty darn healthy. The raise itself would take care of a couple of new hires.

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    2. That happens at the state govt. level, too--governors and legislators would slip huge raises in for themselves and their staff as they were cutting state employee and teacher pay. It's so pathetic. And there's nothing the public can do about it. News stations report on it and it blows up for a minute, but they all know that if they just stay quiet, it will blow over. However--I will say that your story might interest one of your local news stations...someone who, perhaps, does one of those I-Team Investigation type things...

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  10. I've always been pro-union and pro-workers rights. We have too many people in America who idolize the rich. The elite have always been against unions because they know the individual worker is powerless.

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    1. Indeed, Adam. For awhile it seemed like the folks at the top realized that if they didn't want their establishment unionized they had to treat their employees fairly. Those days seem to be gone.

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  11. I do think unions help but when they become too strong they can also hinder. I sound like I am sitting on the fence and I hope the fence post doesn't ram up my butt. We get 2% raise each year which is nice considering we are a small agency and have no union. Teachers here have a very strong union in our country. The teachers make quite a good wage and excellent benefits. Actually the union is one of the strongest and people have a love/hate relationship right now. One thing I disagree with the teachers here in Canada-they don't have to use their sick days (they get a large amount each year) and can convert them to vacation days. One teacher, didn't take sick time for years and she retired early but she was able to convert her sick days to vacation and be paid for it to the tune of 3 years worth! She got full pay for the 3 years, great severance package and a teacher usually has a pension of $3,000 per month not including CPP and Old Age

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    1. Wow. That's a pretty darn healthy pension. I could struggle by with that. grin.

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  12. I think teachers do a great job educating the youngsters, Lots a patience too.
    Great read Sandra.
    Yvonne.

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  13. The union is square one in government by discussion. So long as there are unions, democracy persists.

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  14. As a former union member and union steward I have some experience on this subject. I must tell you first of all that I became a steward because the union did not help me the way it should have. I wanted to work to help other members get the representation I did not. In theory unions are a good thing. In reality they are only as good as the members make them. Members must get a copy of the contract (which should be available and free from the union) and read it. Become informed about your rights and responsibilities. Attend union meetings to see what your representatives are doing. Vote on issues that need to be voted on. Remember that the union representatives are your employees; they work for you and you pay their wages with your union dues. Treat them as a good employer should. Respect them and expect them to do the job you want done. If you do that a union is a good way to go. It is your tool to use to get yourself the working conditions that you wish.

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