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Opinions on unions

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? IL

I'm looking for pros and cons of voting in the union. My husband's company is voting on bringing in the Teamsters union. Would like some experiences from Teamsters members.

The company is putting out propaganda against union, union is putting out replies, and we're confused as to what is true and what isn't.

Thanks in advance for any info.

companys hate unions because unions make it harder for them to fire people and unions usually demand higher benefits than non union workers. The union is probably putting out the correct info.


I'm a Northern Girl
On the other hand, even a cursory look through these forums will show numerous cases of employees whose union did not back them up. Some unions, I do not say all, are only interested in getting employees to pay union dues and do nothing for the members they are supposed to represent.


I'm a Northern Girl
My personal experiences with the Teamsters union were well over twenty years ago so they are not likely to be relevant. They were not positive experiences, however.

Unless someone had experience with the same local that your husband would be a part of, their experience would not be meaningful. One local within the same union may be completely different than another.

In the early eighties, I administrated the benefits programs for a number of union locals, (including of local of Teamsters). There were eight locals of carpenters and two I.B.E.W. locals represented, among others. Of the eight locals of carpenters, two of them were wonderful to work with, three were annoying but not difficult, two were more or less neutral and one was next to impossible to deal with. Of the two electricians locals, one was relatively neutral and one was hell on wheels.

There's just no way to give you any kind of information that would be "binding" on your husband's situation.


Junior Member
opinions on unions

Thank you for your insight. I really don't understand unions. Does anyone know where I can go to find out information about the Teamsters locals in the Quad City area in IL?

Thanks again.


I'm a Northern Girl
Even if I did that was twenty five years ago. Even if I remembered anything (and I don't) my memories would have no relevance to what's going on today.

I say again, you need (or actually, your husband needs) to go down to the union hall and talk to the men (and women) who are members of that local today. They are the only ones who can give him any information that will be relevant to how the local is administered now.


Junior Member
An invitation from the union came in the mail today, for an open house at the union hall, promising union reps and employees represented by the union would be there. You're right, this would be the best way to find out what we want to know.

I just don't like the propoganda and name calling. I lose respect for both parties (company and union) when they resort to this.

The letter from the union said that the company hired a union-busting consultant to talk to employees. Is this legal? I know union-busting is illegal, and I'm sure the guy's actual title isn't union-busting consultant, but isn't it obvious that's the reason the company hired him?

Thanks again for your advice.



I'm a Northern Girl
The union has a vested interest in making the company look as bad as possible. The fact that they say a "union busting" consultant has been hired does not make it true.

The management has as much of a right to present their position and their views as the union does.


Senior Member
I can point out another joy of belonging to a union. It is called going out on strike. No pay, no benefits even though I thought the contract was acceptable. I leave for my first picket duty in an hour.


I'm a Northern Girl
I'll do you one better, racer, or at least tie you for first.

Today was my stepdaughter's first day on the job, and the union decided on a walkout. So she's now on strike, no pay, no benefits, without ever having worked a day. She had no say in the contract, not having been with them at the time, and was excited and happy about her new job with no complaints about the contract she would be working under. Nor will she be likely to be able to find another job in her industry for several months under the specific circumstances.


Junior Member
Opinion of Unions

Dear Grandma:

My husband was a member of the Steelworkers Union for 31 years. Good union over the years. Local Union officials worked side-by-side with their members in the mill and, therefore, knew what the problems were, etc. Unfortunately, the International wasn't as good when company went out of business, but then "the writing was on the wall - NAFTA" We did have good benefits for 31 years compared to non-union companies -- who also went out of business.

Husband has now been a Teamster for the past 5 years --- one terrible local -- way out of touch with their members. I put that down to the fact that none of their local officers work side-by-side with their members. They stay in their union hall office and are paid by the Union. You see them at election time and when they are "negotiating" a contract. They have no idea or desire to help their members with anything other than negotiating a "not worth the paper" contract every 3 years.

I worked for a "union buster" attorney for 25 years (that way our "bread was buttered on both sides"). My boss could "buy" Teamster officials for a good meal. Shame, because their members deserved better.

Now that the Teamsters have broken off from the AFL-CIO, I am really praying that they start getting back to the grass roots. We'll see. However, any protection is better than no protection at all. At least you have an arbitration process, whereas without a union, you are at-will and have nothing. Remember one thing -- a union is only as good as its members. You can't stick your head in the sand and let someone else do the work or hang out on a limb. You must get involved.

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