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Friday, June 02, 2006

No Sympathy

I'm having a hard time finding any sympathy for the Laborer's Union here in Chicagoland that went on strike yesterday.

At first, as I was listening to the news, I thought they had a decent point, the companies want to cut retirement benefits by 25% for folks joining right now, and the usual increase in health care contributions from the members, and wanting them to work Saturday's at straight time. But their big issue, a 50% pay cut for new hires that are flagmen for construction zones.

Then I heard the rest of it. Saturday at straight time would only be if they had a day rained out and weren't at 40 hours for the week. Literally pennies towards their health care premiums. The retirement cut is to make sure that the retirement plan stays solvent, since like most defined benefits plans, it's paying more than it's collecting.

But the pay cut is the big thing that lost my sympathy. You see, with a 50% cut in pay, union flaggers would only make $14/hr. That's right folks, the dude on The Loop with that stop sign in the construction zone is making $28 per hour.

That's more money than a 4 year degree in computer engineering will pay you, or for that matter, just about any 4 year degree.

So, with no skill set, they are bitching about making "only $56,000/yr", and if they take the cut only $28,000? Sorry, I got no sympathy. If you had a job that actually required some knowledge, and skills, I might feel different. But I can literally train dogs to pull down the stop sign at the right time, so you are already overpaid.

With an average wage of $30.15/hr for all members of the union, and an offer for $4.40 an hour more over 2 years, they ought to just shut the hell up and get back to work.

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Blogger shoprat said...

The sense of entitlement to good pay that many union workers have is sickening to me. In my own shop the laziest employees complain and demand the most while those who work hard, and frankly deserve more than they get, complain the least.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I think 28 an hour is a lot to pay for that job, but the idea of a %50 pay cut would make me want to strike as well. I think about $16-18 is more in line with reality. Would you want to stand there for 8-10 hrs a day in the hot sun doing that? That's why I went to college. They still have a childish "give it to me, I need a job" mentality. They should be thinking "how can I add value to the enterprize and be more productive. That is the only job security there is.

9:38 AM  

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