Unions, Liberals - Where you when we need you?

I spent most of my life in areas dominated by union culture.  I grew up twenty miles from Kenosha, WI.  Once, during one of my earliest days of school, the teacher had each person in my class tell a little about themselves, including where their fathers worked.  As I recall, about half of the kids dads worked for American Motors.  Most of the rest of my life, I have resided near Janesville, WI, where General Motors was the largest employers, until the Janesville plant closed in 2008.

Between the stories I heard about UAW workers (often from the UAW workers themselves) and what I learned about the Wisconsin Education Association during the protests of Scott Walker and Act 10 during his first term, I think I know about the worst unions and liberals have had to offer.

That being said, there is at one place where it would be refreshing to see a union and some loud-mouthed liberals squawking about workers rights.  Read the story below and see if you don’t agree.  I’ve worked at some places with tough bosses and less than desirable working conditions, but I have never even came close to experiencing anything even remotely like this.

source: The New York Times

Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big
Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push
white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.

SEATTLE — On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working.
They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions.
At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)
Read more.

In reality, a union could never help the employees at Amazon in the long run.  It could only make the company less competitive and ultimately fail, but it would be fun to witness the two opposite ends of the spectrum go up against each other.

Life has taught me that whatever group of people that has the upper hand, will abuse the other to the point of breaking them.  Neither management nor the organized workforce has any more decency or compassion than the other.  They are both selfish to the point of their eventual ruin.
Whether it’s the employer or the employee that gets the short end of the stick, complacency and desperation are always the two ingredients necessary for such inequities to exist.  In the past, automakers let the unions take advantage of and almost destroy them.  Today, workers are afraid to stand up for themselves because of the tight job market.  Remember the song, “Take this Job and Shove it”?  People used to think like that - "I'm not gonna put up with your shit. I just go down the street and get another job that probably pays more."  Not anymore, because they’re afraid they won’t be able to get work elsewhere.

By now, it should be clear to everyone that the only answer to such problems is freedom and a strong economy.  Workers should be free to form unions if they wish, but investors should also be free to start up nonunion companies if a union dominated industry has become too inefficient.  

Most importantly, the government should keep out of the way of private enterprise and let the economy grow.  Nothing simultaneously ensures the rights of workers to be treated fairly and promotes strong, healthy industries but a robust economy. 

One last thing: We'll always have to deal with stupid people. They'll be around no matter what happens. Check out the comment (especially the part highlighted in yellow) that this moron left regarding the Amazon article.


 Seattle 23 hours ago
Work is not daycare for adults. This country was not built on 40 hour work weeks and treating the office like a social club.

America needs more companies like Amazon that demand more from employees and rewards them accordingly. Our nation's Silicon Valley culture isn't perfect and can burn people out, but is also the reason we have Apple, Microsoft, and Google keeping us competitive.
Tesla is on the brink of kicking our oil addiction that has crippled us with years of war and environmental catastrophes. Should we force them to work forty hour weeks and keep us in the automobile stone age for another generation or two?

Yes, Amazon clearly could afford to make tweaks to their work/balance culture, but it is not mandatory for anyone to work there. Workers aren't being tricked off the farm into boarding a bus to sew zippers onto jackets for pennies a week, they are at the top of their skill sets and aware of the achievement culture.

Stack-ranking and the ability to have your feedback about management taken seriously by management might force out a few employees before their time but is infinitely preferable to having dead wood in the office watching soccer games all day while managers run a department into the ground.
Readers need to understand that for a company to offer six months of paternity leave, Christmas parties, and free snacks, it must have someone in the office actually doing the work. We should be thankful a few companies in America are still putting in the hours. 

       For all you idiots out there, Tesla is not on the brink of anything other than being one of the biggest ripoffs of tax dollars in history.


  1. It used to be us white collar people would put in the a few extra hours here and there as a professional courtesy. But now they want you to do it all the time. I have friends in engineering consulting; not a great culture or way to work. Why put in more hours if you know you won't be taken care of when things get tough? Then the companies wonder why there is no loyalty.

    There are slackers out there no doubt, but I would guess most people don' t mind making a fair effort if they feel like they are compensated and treated fairly. Sadly, there are no cultures like that anymore.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I hit the new comment button instead of the reply button. See my reply below.

  2. how about putting in about three extra days worth of hours a week, not getting paid for it and finding out your company was billing these hours to the client!

    1. These days, many employers will screw employees (and clients) any way they can. You have to be careful. There is probably no other time in most people's lives when they they will be told so many lies (that have real consequences) in such a short period than in a job interview, and the employee has absolutely no recourse against this except for quitting. Then the employer goes on and does the same thing to the next desperate job applicant. This has gotten way out of hand and is primarily due to the long term, horrible economy that Obama (and even Bush to some extent) has created. As an individual, there is nothing you can do about it except to be aware of it and be on the lookout for it. Look out for number one.

  3. No shit, and Amazon headquarters is in Seattle - home of the $15/hour minimum wage. You'd think the people there would be concerned about working conditions. It's funny. I bet most of the Amazon workers supported the $15/hour minimum wage, but they were too stupid to realize that they were getting less than that when you consider the amount of hours that they put in. $15/hr x 80 hrs/week x 52 weeks/year = $62,400/year. I bet many Amazon employees salaries are less than that.

  4. For me, I don't feel like unionization or any more government laws are really the answer. If people were not straddled with SS taxes and income taxes and many others, many of us could obtain that legendary 'F' you money. The government is also cheating us on inflation with the Federal Reserve system, but most people are too dumb to understand that one.

    1. You are correct about everything you said. A union would not make things better for the employees in the long run. I just think it would be fun to watch Amazon have to deal with a union.