T Nation

Dock Workers


Came across this article about dock workers choking off goods as the do a work slowdown

So 6 figure income from

Basically what I came up with for education requirements is high school education and be able to drive a forklift. Most people I know would be lucky to have a $20/hr job let alone 6 figure income. These unions are serious business.

or maybe only grade 10

Seems to me these people should be feel lucky to be making 1/3 to 1/2 of what they're getting.


I love it when unions try and make it seem like they are just trying to get their people a living wage. Unions were useful a 100 years ago, now they are just like any other business.

In the business of making money.


The union dilemma, are they still needed or not. If one looks at some of the largest businesses in the world that do not pay a living wage but make massive profits. So I would say unions are still needed. We can not rely on the governments to make sure everyone makes a living wage.

I have no doubt in my mind that without unions very few would make a living wage. I do find it frustrating that unions are always asking for more. Then again the companies they work for are usually making greater profits due to their workers. There is a balance out there unfortunately greed never seems to go away.

I have never word for a union, but I have also never worked for a large company. I usually work with my boss so he sees my work and appreciates it. That maybe the problem with big companies, the owners are not in touch with the work that goes on. If bosses had to do a days work every month maybe they would appreciate their workers more.


The great thing about America is, you can do anything you want. You don't have to work at a job you don't like.

You don't have to have children.

You don't have to work for that meanie company.

A union does not accept the same risk as the owner of the company, they do not have to make payroll or find contracts.

But they sure as hell want to reap the rewards.

I am really happy I work in a right to work state.



Without picking a dog the fight........
And workers are free to band together and form a union. I assure you the employers do not make agreements that do a dis-service to themselves or their larger business interests.

FTR....looks like an agreement was reached last Saturday.

Out of curiosity; do you feel the same about police and firefighter unions?


This ^ Unions do so much more harm than good today.


I think historically, unions served 3 purposes: they allowed the worker's to collectively bargain, the pushed for workplace safety reforms, and they acted as a barrier to entry for low cost labor by enforcing competency standards.

With the advent of OSHA and gov't safety standards, the second purpose is no longer relevant. I think the first is very relevant and workers should be able to organize if they want to. Of course, I also believe that employers should be able to shit-can their workers for attempting to organize as well.

The third goal is more in line with the purpose of a craft union; enforcing standards in order to maintain membership in a union is a legitimate purpose of a labor union.

A couple things that always struck me as odd: Why can't white-collar workers organize and why do public-sector employees need to organize? I think gov't work should be contractual, but not unionized.

I think another interesting debate that we're seeing right now is the use of union dues for political purposes. I believe a judge just ruled that there is some base amount of union dues that every organized employee must pay in order to fund collective bargaining, but that employees can be exempt from paying amounts beyond that.


I think you make a couple of great points especially regarding purpose #3. It makes sense to essentially lock out unskilled labor when a certain standard is required. Police and fire unions come to mind. I think a strong argument could be made for teacher union's as well. Places like Wal-Mart, not so much.


I'm not a cop nor a fireman, but isn't it the Police/Fire Department that enforces the standards and not the union? It's not the union out there timing guys on a 2 mile run, it's the Academy.

The only time you hear a peep out of the unions is when it's time to renegotiate a contract or a cop is fighting his termination. In IL and Chicago, the unions really limit their influence to matters of pay.


I'm not sure actually. I assumed (mistake #1) that the union & the departments enforces the standards together.


Unions are large corporations that literally make their living off the blue collar worker, have special legal coercive rights (many places), and who are in the express business of making money without producing anything. They are near the top of the "large evil crony capitalist companies" list. I mean, the worst offenders for putting hard working people out of work and doing things like physically intimidating workers are unions.


One thing also to take into account here is the cost of living for areas with port facilities/docks. Ok, a 600 sq. ft apartment in San Francisco costs 2500/month. a 250 sq ft (yes, that's right), is going for over 1000/month. I have friends out there in both San Diego and San Fran currently apartment shopping, and I know Maximus and others can talk about costs associated with SoCal in general.

So if you have roughly 2x the cost of living in middle america, then 147,000 doesn't go nearly as far as you think. It is effectively 70K-75K. Still good, but not outrageous at all. Especially when you're talking about a family instead of a single man.

Hell, typing in my salary to Sperling's, I would have to more than double my salary to make the same comparable living style in San Fran.

You'll get no argument from me that Unions are often abusive in the political process, and I am generally not pro-Union these days although I do think workers should be able to unionize (my views are similar to Pangloss). But when comparing numbers it is absolutely vital to do the cost of living adjustment for the location.


get rid of unions, and all ya'all'll suffer.

think corporate greed is out of control now? Did the unions create the problem that caused the world into a recession? No, who did? right~

Unions are their own worse enemy, there is no arguing that point, but so are the corporations. One needs the other to temper the situation, and come to an agreeable resolution.

As for the safety aspect, OSHA is in place, that is for sure, and it is underfunded - this means that there are less inspectors and the addition of workplace protections that Unions provide allow for workers to stand up and contact OSHA without the repercussions. for the most part, anyway.

As for the comment that they were useful 100 years ago, but not now.......Ask the corporations 100 years ago if they were needed and they would have said the same thing.

Ya'all really need to think about this before you shoot your collective mouths off.

what am I doing here in PWI? I must've wandered through the ladies locker room, and got lost....


Typically when someone tries to tie greed and corporations together they pick non-union corps (like Wal-mart). So how would eliminating unions change corporate greed at all?

Lets not pretend unions ascended straight from heaven. Unions are one of the reasons Detroit is so messed up.

I don't think the two are all that comparable.

Maybe. Maybe not.


I'm not sure what that has to do with anything.

Why you gotta be like that Edgy???



Our police are members of a union, and they make a dump truck load of money and benefits. We also have one of the lowest crime rates in the nation for a town under 150K people.....and have long before the Union came calling.

This forces the police to basically write every ticket possible to produce revenue and justify their salaries. This brings animosity from the community.

On any emergency call, a minimum of FOUR vehicles respond....a full fire truck, a assistant fire marshall, a ambulance and a police officer.

We call it the cat in a tree call.

Union rules.


Teachers unions, mentioned earlier, do very little to improve the quality of education and in fact contribute more to the reverse. They make it next to impossible to remove terrible teachers from a position and will fight tooth and nail to keep someone employed despite horrific performance in the classroom.


Pangloss, regarding your third point, is having high school or grade 10 really a barrier to entering the workforce? That's about all I could find regarding the ILWU requirements, so I may be mistaken.
To me it isn't.

Regarding gov't workers. It's complete horseshit for them to need a union. Their jobs are entirely cog positions, and they're not personally responsible for anything. I believe the term "failing up" comes from gov't workers, but I may be mistaken.

At my university, there are office administrators making $40/hr, just because they've been there long enough to receive ten step raises.
Time spent on a job should not be a factor in getting a raise, if you're just doing the same shit.


Unions are corporations who's greed is out of control. These are the same unions that fire bombed the company I work for (before I started here) and sued Boeing to stop them from creating thousands of jobs in South Carolina.

Far from being necessary, most of them are detrimental to the blue collar workers of America.


Out of curiosity, have you ever dealt with OSHA?


I was more or less just talking about the need for skilled labor vs. unskilled labor in certain industries, but ya I agree that's what teachers unions seem to have become.