Monday, September 24, 2012

Aren't Those Unions Wonderful?

This morning at midnight, 300 well-paid Teamster workers went on strike at a local dairy here.

Lil' ole Anderson Erickson Dairy in Des Moines, Iowa is suffering through the first strike in its 82-year history. Teamsters Local 120 is striking over a wage freeze and health insurance concessions. This is no different than other strikes being played out all over the country. And like many of those, these folks ain't exactly underpaid:

The new contract required increases in employee contributions to health care plans as well as a wage freeze.
Peter said the average hourly wage for Teamster members at AE is $18.81, with annual average salary total of $53,477, and $73,000 when health care and pension contributions by the company are added in.
And they don't pay a whole hell of a lot for their health insurance:
 In the most recent contract union employees worked under two health care plans. One had no contribution by employees for individual coverage. Another family plan required a $69 per month worker contribution.
The new proposal would offer three health care plans, with monthly contributions ranging from $16 to $35 per month for single coverage or $45 to $105 per month for family coverage.
Poor union folks! They might have to pay a whole $105 a month at the most for family medical. That's really tough. And they only make $73,000 on average in wages and benefits. 

This local TV news report claims that both sides want to resolve this as soon as possible. But the simple fact of the matter is that the company didn't want a strike in the first place because, quite obviously, they pay their employees well and pay the vast majority of their health insurance premiums for them to boot.  As those of us who are in a position to know can tell you, health insurance costs, mainly due to ObamaCare mandates, have skyrocketed. Having employees share costs isn't some evil thing employers are doing just for fun to piss off employees. It's a matter of profit and loss and being able to continue to stay in business and pay employees excellent wages and benefits. And if AE doesn't get their product out, they can't earned the money it takes to pay wages and ever-increasing health insurance premiums. But this little bit of reality is lost on the Teamster's Local 120 thugs  who took AE workers out on strike because their extravagant wage and benefit packages are paid 100% by AE workers they ordered out on strike. 

The company brought in replacement workers. Good for them! After all, they have a product to get out if they want to keep customers happy and continue to be able to pay an excellent wage to the whiners walking around on the street with picket signs. If they come back. Apparently AE's  replacement workers have more appreciation for the good-paying jobs the company has to offer than their ungrateful regular employees. Hope they can handle well-paid whiners at the street harassing them with "scab" and other catcalls (watch the KCCI footage).

These replacement workers are hardly scabs. They are simply appreciative employees selling their labor to a good employer in a right to work state where if you are unhappy with your $53,000 a year job, you can go sell your labor to another employer if you think they will give you a better deal. Of course, there has to be a learning curve and certainly these replacement workers aren't making an average of $53,000 a year to start. But I bet they are willing to learn and grateful for the money they are getting paid. Unlike a bunch of ungrateful, overpaid whiners bitching about having to pay a little for their insurance.

Did I say overpaid whiners? Make that unpaid whiners. Oh, they may get a pittance from a strike fund like the well-paid UPS employees did when they went out on strike a decade or so ago -- $55 a week. Try living on $55 a week when you are used to making $53,000 a year (roughly $1020 a week). Meanwhile, the folks that called them out on strike are still making their hefty salary and benefit packages:


Mike Klootwyk, the spokesman for the union in this strike, as you can see above, makes a nice tidy little package of $128,341 a year.

And how do Mike and the others who convinced the stooges walking around with signs to vote to go out on strike (solidarity bro!) make their money? They make it all off of the dues paid by AE employees and others making on average only about 40% or less per year than what they are paying the union thugs with their dues. And the union thugs don't show "solidarity bro" with the strikers by forgoing their wages and benefits during the strike. If the AE workers are replaced and/or get fired, Teamsters Local 120 will just find some more stooges to convince that these overpaid union bureaucrats are "fighting for the little guy" while they are collecting six-figure salary and benefit packages from the dues of people making far less.

Speaking of dues, what exactly are these well-paid AE employees getting for their union membership? They've been replaced and they could be getting fired. We know what the union thugs are getting for the AE employees hard-earned money -- fat and happy. What purpose does it serve to cripple a good employer's ability to produce a product so they can pay their workers decent wages and benefits?  Even if the strike ends and these ungrateful employees go back to work, the trust between employer and employee is going to be permanently damaged. And depending on how long the strike lasts and how well AE is able to operate with replacement workers, its ability to compete in a tough marketplace may severely affected.

In the end, who's the winner in all this? The nine union thugs listed above making six-figure wage and benefit packages by whipping a bunch of well-paid employees of a good employer into a frenzy. Ultimately, these employees will still be paying dues that pay the outrageous salaries of a bunch of union thugs. And these union thugs don't do anything for that money Except convince these employees that the employer that pays them a decent salary that keeps food  on their tables, a roof over their heads and a provides them all the other niceties of middle-class living is an evil bastard for wanting to charge them a little bit for their health insurance.

Who gets the last laugh here? You decide.

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