“There is Power in a Union”

Written By: - Date published: 9:16 am, February 18th, 2013 - 80 comments
Categories: activism, class war, education, International, music, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

While Rodney Hide is trying to stimulate a further round in the old right wing sport of union bashing (this time the teachers), the teachers’ unions continue to do great work, and two Global union federations are planning a campaign against global violator of workers’ rights, DHL at London Fashion Week.

Rodney Hide is on the rampage against the unions doing their best to counter the Nact government attacks on New Zealand’s highly successful state education system:

Gone are the days of the ferries going on strike at the start of the school holidays. The freezing workers no longer hold farmers to ransom. The picket that left Mangere Bridge unfinished for two-and-a-half years is now unthinkable.

But the teacher unions? They’re the baddest and the maddest. They dictate education policy, destabilise duly elected ministers of education and present themselves as the arbiters of right and proper schooling.

They’re rich, powerful and unassailable.

Hide labels the teachers’ unions campaigns against Charter Partnership Schools as  propaganda.  The teacher’s public statements on these Charter Schools-by-another-name, are based on sound research, as indicated by Ben Clark’s post on the campaign against these schools.  While Hide’s and Act’s campaign for these schools are based on….?  Propaganda Actual?

The campaign by the global federations, the ITF(International Transport Workers’ Federation) and UNI Global Union begins Sunday 17th, UK time:

Two models dressed in high fashion clothes crafted out of packaging materials, and made up to match, will parade outside the main (Strand) entrance of Somerset House, London WC2R 1LA, the central venue for this year’s London Fashion Week.

DHL is a repeat violator of worker’s rights and is a major sponsor for London Fashion Week.  It has a branch in NZ.

Unions in New Zealand have been under attack for several decades, but for those who are still members, they produce results.  The CTU (Council of Trade Unions) also participates in (and sometimes leads) campaigns that aim to reduce the severe and destructive inequalities in the country.  This includes the Living Wage campaign (as written about by Eddie), and the Fairness at Work campaign.  (Ben Clark posted about a new book by Max Rashbrooke, on inequality in NZ.)

Unions provide legal protections for members against unfair employer practices.  Also, the TEU reported last year, that union members have benefited from higher wage rises than for non-union workers. The Unite union has extended support to all workers, whether in the paid workforce or not.

There is Power in a Union was written by Joe Hill in 1913.  It’s still a powerful song today.  Billy Bragg has written his own version, using the same title:

Go the teachers!

80 comments on ““There is Power in a Union””

  1. Tom Gould 1

    Maybe the Tories are just looking for a scapegoat over their ongoing Christchurch schools fiasco? Plus, they really want to punish the teachers for moaning about Novopay so much. Demonising the union worked so well over the Hobbit, a re-run must be on the cards. All the Tory shock-jocks and their toadies on TV will already have been sent their lines.

    • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 1.1

      And teaching is so easy to criticise and minimise. As I have commented before, the wealthy can leave much of their children ‘s upbringing to the schools. So they don’t know much about talking with, and guiding their own children, instilling values, and good attitudes with their own or anybody’s kids. ‘Everybody’ could do better than most teachers if they wanted to be bothered. Thhis quote from Rodney in his diatribe against teachers reflects more on him and his type –
      “They’re rich, powerful and unassailable.

      So teachers can become servants for the two-job monetarily-aspirational, and for the poor can be the gap-filler in many ways, adult role, adult civilised speech, encourager of growth of personal skills and of course filling the stomach.

      Teaching is easier to dissect than say medical people, nurses, hospital staff etc. who could be a good target for criticism. Any of their errors criticised are really blatant. But teachers face a constant murmur of disquiet, undermining teacher’s integrity and spreading calumny widely about the profession because of the expectation for them to perform miracles. They sure need a union
      and good spokespeople. Their working conditions can be difficult if they have school trustees and principals adopting hostile attitudes and unreasonable targets.

  2. Te Reo Putake 2

    Interesting post, Karol. Hyde’s point seems to be that the Teachers’ unions are just too good at their job and represent their members too well. He’s also miffed that the teachers and principals are also putting forward positions that align with how parents see things, which is doubly unfair on the Government. And to make things worse, the pesky unions are relying on facts. Facts! Outrageous behaviour, indeed.

    DHL don’t merely have a branch here, they are in a partnership with NZ Post to own and run Pace, CourierPost, Roadstar and Contract Logistics. Ironically, thanks to the organising strength of the postal workers union, the EPMU, workers in those companies have collective agreements and wage rates and conditions that most DHL workers around the world can only dream of. There is indeed power in a union.

  3. Saccharomyces 3

    I don’t really care about DHL’s workers rights record, but I do know one thing, that their service and “product” is far from the best.

    Perhaps there’s a link?

    • Stever 3.1

      You know this, you say. So, let’s see some stats to prove it, please.

      • Saccharomyces 3.1.1

        Ok, perhaps I should’ve said “I feel their service is far from the best”.

        Sorry, I don’t have any hard data, but I have personal experience dealing with them, and we have had far more lost shipments, delays etc with them than any of our other carriers.

    • Saccharomyces 3.2

      I think perhaps I should’ve stated my point more clearly, which is that perhaps DHL’s supposed (because I’m only going off what’s stated above) poor treatment of workers is leading to a lower quality product/service, and perhaps if they treated their staff a bit better they might have a better result.

      • Te Reo Putake 3.2.1

        And as I’ve pointed out above, the DHL/NZPost joint ventures here are unionised and therefore have the best rates and conditions in the courier/delivery industry. So if your theory stood up, the product/service would be excellent, not poor.

        However, in a general sense, you are probably right. If workers are treated badly, they’re not likely to be positively motivated to do good work and that might show up in poor quality goods and service. It could well be why our retail staff are often regarded as surly and disinterested in customer service surveys. Perhaps minimum wages and the 90 day sack at will Bill are actually bad for business?

        Have a nice day, Sir, and thanks for shopping at TRP Ltd. We know you have a choice in fact providors and we hope to see you here again soon.

        • Saccharomyces 3.2.1.1

          You could well be right, most of my issues have arisen from problems overseas, well before goods have gotten to NZ. Of the paperwork issues we’ve faced I don’t have any way of saying where the issue has come from, but I suspect that they’ve been overseas too.

          Perhaps minimum wages and the 90 day rule has been bad for certain businesses. I know that I’ve always tried to work at places that I’ve perceived to be good employers. It makes sense really, reward your staff well and reap the rewards.

    • millsy 3.3

      Fastways has been pretty crap. My work use them all the time to send customer’s house keys to area offices (for reading power meters) and they have tended to go missing. Which means that we have to pay the customer to get the locks changed and new keys cut, a lot of time and effort for everyone. The track and trace system is not really fool proof, as anyone can sign and scan something off anywhere.

  4. bad12 4

    My solution= for those who earn $20 an hour or less compulsory union membership, simplistic perhaps, but, elegant in outcomes i would suggest…

    • Saccharomyces 4.1

      Really? When I was earning under $20 per hour I didn’t want to be part of a union. I don’t think I would’ve been happy about the “theft” of my money for union membership.

      I don’t think compulsory union membership can really be ethically or morally defensible, any more so than banning unions.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Have an opt out clause to compulsary membership,

        but if you are not part of the union you can’t get any benefits of a union negotiated contract

        • bad12 4.1.1.1

          F**k putting in an opt out clause, see that ones continued comments below for the reason why not,

          Union members sweat blood to increase their pay and conditions and then that one says oh the collective agreement is now the norm and i want that,

          SCAB is the only suitable explanatory expletive that can be applied to such an attitude or one who would live by that attitude,

          Blanket compulsion for all those earning less than $20 an hour would stop employers from first handing the opt-out form to prospective employees to sign befor the employer agreed to employ someone as well,

          It would then be up to the unions to (re)-educate their new members on why they pay union fees and why collective unionism for the low paid is the only means of forcing employers to pay decent rates of pay…

      • McFlock 4.1.2

        I suggest the compromise is to simply ban employers from giving non-union members the same conditions as union members. In other words, banning freeloading of unionists’ hard work.

        edit: and the fact two identical responses come up within 5 or 6 minutes suggests that your objection to “compulsory” membership isn’t particularly spectacular.

      • Saccharomyces 4.1.3

        I agree that non-union members shouldn’t get the benefits of the work of the union, but exactly how do you stop an employer giving the same conditions etc? “Okay Bob, you’re not a union member, so I can’t give you the same pay. The union rate is 23.67 per hour, here’s 23.68″……

        • felixviper 4.1.3.1

          Yeah you could try that and the union could take you to court.

          There you get to make your case that you weren’t taking the piss and let me know how that goes for you.

          • McFlock 4.1.3.1.1

            Exactly. Or arbitration. An impartial third party who can judge whether the employer is encouraging freeloading, or merely that the non-member employee really is so valuable that they need to be paid so much more.

            • Saccharomyces 4.1.3.1.1.1

              Okay, so at what point is one not free-loading, .05 less, 50 cents? a dollar?

              Surely as a collective agreement becomes more prevalent within a given workplace it becomes the de-facto market rate?

              • felixviper

                At the point where you can convince others that it’s not freeloading.

                Go ahead, put on your best show.

                • Saccharomyces

                  That’d be easy enough, just run productivity measures against all workers, union gets paid based on average productivity, individuals get paid on individual productivity.

                  • McFlock

                    Union walks off job because the performance measure were stupid impractical and imposed without good faith negotiation.

                  • felixviper

                    Typical tory, wants to negotiate both sides of a contract.

                    Remember, in this hypothetical example the union has already negotiated a rate. That’s what this whole discussion is about.

                    You don’t get to turn around and breach contract by unilaterally deciding to pay on some other arbitrary measure instead.

                    If that’s your best show, you’re fucked mate.

                    • bad12

                      PS, at birth, (or maybe we should be charitable and give you a slight discount for (wrongly) learned behavior…

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    The collective agreement that the union negotiates is a minimum, it’s possible for a union member, with the help of their union, to negotiate a higher rate.

              • McFlock

                Okay, so at what point is one not free-loading, .05 less, 50 cents? a dollar?

                That’s what courts or arbitration determine. Or are you asking us to make a ruling on an hypothetical case when we don’t have full knowledge of the facts?

                Surely as a collective agreement becomes more prevalent within a given workplace it becomes the de-facto market rate?

                You think that’s how markets work, do you?
                It’s like cafe coffee cards – one effective rate for cardholders, another for non-cardholding punters. Two market rates.
                Or maybe the AA organises a cheap deal for members – say tyres. Do non-members expect to take part in that deal? Rude surprise if they try.
                Membership might become de facto, because only a moron would pay money (forego income) to avoid it, but not the market rate itself.

                • cricklewood

                  Can’t see it working, Surely the employer can say I beleive X is worth the same or that little amount more than what I am paying the union members and use it as a blunt tool to reduce membership. At the very least it would be hard to prove otherwise.
                  There is no easy solution and it did cause acromony as a union delegate when non members got raises that had been hard fought and paid for by union dues. I well remember how much time and effort negotiating took up…
                  I think unions need to be looking at negotiating different benifits other than pay which can be union only, I had thought something like a dental insurance scheme through the union of which an employer contributes would be useful.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Now that’s real thinking. Have the unions organise as collective organisations designed to look after not just union members, but union families, and not just with respect to their primary employers, but with respect to all facets of things needed to get through day to day life.

                    Everything from a cheaper deal for mobile phones to cheaper conveyancing when buying or selling a house (since unions already have their own lawyers…)

                    Endless possibilities.

                    • cricklewood

                      When I became a delegate I was only 22, I was elected by my mostly older peers.
                      I tried my best for those guys an I put forward some alternate ideas but was shot down as I hadn’t ‘done my time’ It was a hard time for unions under the new employment contracts act and IMHO at that time the leadership had failed to adapt to the new unbalanced playing field and the old tactics had become obsolete. Our regional delegate seemed to not really give a fuck and preferred to get an agreement as quickly as possible before moving onto the next one.
                      I lasted 4 years in the role before resigning from both a delegates role and as a member. This was due to a pay negotiation where the union organizer decided (as the casting vote among the delegates) to take an offer back to the guys where they would get $250 cash and 2% rise the catch been that they would agree to everyone moving onto pre described wage bands. The kicker to this was that there were a number of guys who had done 30 years plus service and had over the years of incremental rises ended up on a reasonable wage. Part of the agreement was that they had to take a cut to get inside the wage bands. Shamefully huge pressure was put on these guys and to their credit agreed so others could get something.
                      It was a fucking disgrace and drove a wedge through the whole workplace between young and old and this proposal should never have been allowed past the negotiating room.
                      I for one wanted to go back into negotiation and tell them to shove it and said as much. It ended up with the delegates and officials who were pro the agreement scaring a lot of guys with young families by saying that they should accept or go on strike and lose wages. This was only after the first round of negotiation! Anyway the offer was narrowly carried and I resigned as I wanted no part in it.
                      Since I have been lucky enough to work for small companies where if all employers were like them Unions would be obsolete. Hell the current one has been paying a living wage for the last 3 years.
                      I do hope that some of the dinosaurs have moved on and a more modern way of achieving the desired results as there are many ways to skin a cat…

                  • Saccharomyces

                    Exactly, I see that working far better. A true point of difference.

                  • McFlock

                    Yes. An employer can say “I believe X…”.
                    Just like I can say “I believed the union official was trying to kill me, so I shot him when he walked onto the worksite for a prearranged appointment”.

                    Fortunately, we have things called “courts” that rule on whether somebody was acting reasonably, or was just playing silly buggers.

                    Either a union gets benefits from the employer, in which case the employer can offer those benefits to freeloaders, or the union simply acts as a marketing tool no different to flybuys or a discount shopping card.

                    Gotta stop the freeloaders. You know, the ones who will take union-achieved pay and conditions without paying for membership.

                    • cricklewood

                      That is correct but I believe Unions should be finding creative ways to work around the system rather than complain and wait for a government to get around to changing laws, I became a Union delegate in the late 90’s and we had the same problem then. A labor government didn’t bother changing the laws last time round so I wouln’t hold my breath.

                      The more members the more sway you have

                    • McFlock

                      Unions already do the group member bonus thing.
                      Doesn’t help much.
                      I agree about lab5 though.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      “A labor government didn’t bother changing the laws last time round so I wouln’t hold my breath.”

                      ERA. Bought in by the last Labour government to replace the Contracts Act.

                    • McFlock

                      A significant change that failed to put the workers on an equal footing with the bosses at the negotiating table.

                    • xtasy

                      “cricklewood” and “McFlock”:

                      I have in past work experienced similar “deal making” between local union delegates alongside senior union negotiators, when they were negotiating with employers and also forced members to accept deals that many were not really happy with. This happens all the time.

                      Also have unions for many years offered discounts on this and that kind of service and products from selected retailers, offered special deals to long term members for holiday homes, and what else there has been thought out.

                      I found it going a bit too far, appearing more like perks for belonging to any kind of ordinary “club”.

                      There will always be some problems, no matter what changes are suggested here. Some employers (usually larger ones) can in many cases pay more than others. Some unions are stronger than others. Some unions are having the government’s departments and agencies as employer, others private or public companies, and this all creates an environment, where there will be different agreements at differing pay and other levels.

                      To do away with it is to go fully “socialist” and “socialise” or nationalise all production and service delivery, and everything else, to bring in one rule and law for all, the same, or at least only minimally varying, pay rates for all, and so on.

                      I cannot see that being favoured by the public and society we have, who vote in governments. Division is too deep, and any privilege (to earn or have more) is something, the ones who have it, will not part from without force.

                      By the way some long-serving union members will feel they should be privileged also, demanding more for themselves. But length of service alone will not be accepted by newer members, more cause for frictions there. At least government can set a living wage, or a reasonable minimum wage (we are waiting by the way). Fairer laws can be introduced, and there is always arbitration.

                      So apart from that, it all boils down to changing the law to give unions and workers a better chance to defend and fight for their rights. The ERA needs reforming to achieve that, to give workers representatives and workers more rights also to participate in decisionmaking. Yet no one fix all solution will resolve all issues. Same as people will get the same guaranteed superannuation under the law, independent from what they did for work, how long they worked and so forth.

                      I suggest that where non members are offered the same pay and other benefits, clauses should determine they have to either pay a negotiating fee to the union, or join the union. If they do not do either, no free loading, thanks!

        • Murray Olsen 4.1.3.2

          Where I work, the employer makes a ridiculously low offer, which we union members reject. We then fight for a decent award and all employees are paid at the rate we finally settle on. My view is that non union members should be paid at the first rate tabled by the employer. That is exactly how you would stop them. Easy.

      • Blue 4.1.4

        When I earned under $20 per hour, there was a choice between the union collective contract, which paid $19 per hour, and the individual contract which paid $14 per hour.

        Funnily enough, no one ever selected the individual contract, even if they did have to give $1.00 per week to those thieving unions.

        • David H 4.1.4.1

          Why do you call it thieving when you have to pay 2.5cents an hour to a Union? When you could lose $5.00 per hour if you didn’t want to join the union. I’d call the boss that offered the $14.00 ph a thief. Not those who fight so you get a Good hourly rate.

      • bad12 4.1.5

        So who really gives a big fat you know what you say you did or did not want, it would be in the best interests of all those who earn less than $20 an hour to be unionized,

        The fact that ‘you’ don’t like the idea is meaningless…

        • Saccharomyces 4.1.5.1

          As of March 2011 20.9% of all wage/salary earners were in unions.

          I don’t see the people who curently aren’t in a union being that happy at being forced into a union. That’s what matters.

          • McFlock 4.1.5.1.1

            Thanks for your concern.

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.5.1.2

            And we wouldn’t have to apply any force, just give everyone an option to join.

          • bad12 4.1.5.1.3

            Nah what matters is that ALL Kiwis have a ‘livable wage’, and what matters is that SCABS who cry over a couple of bucks a week of union fees which would enable those who are basic ‘paid slaves’, (barely able to afford housing and food), do not get a free ride off of the paid for efforts of others in the workplace,

            What also matters is that the production of employees is sufficiently rewarded so as to allow monies to transit the local economy in effect creating further employment rather than just the bare minimum being paid as wages where 50+% is paid as rent to the over-mortgaged middle class which is simply a direct transfer of the production of New Zealand into the pockets of the multi-national banking cartels…

            • One Tāne Huna 4.1.5.1.3.1

              “Paid slaves”.

              Bollocks. Slave owners have far more incentives to keep their property well fed and housed that New Zealand employers do.

    • RedBaronCV 4.2

      How about if you are an employer of more than say x people, the employer is required to pay a fee to the union of x dollars per head for each employee under a certain wage rate.
      An employee that wanted to opt out of the union could but there is no personal financial advantage.

      • infused 4.2.1

        lol fuck off.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.2

        That would work.

      • Saccharomyces 4.2.3

        Interesting idea, but now you’ve just set up a perverse incentive for an employer to NOT employ more people. Could have the effect of limiting how many entry level jobs there are, but it could also possibly have the benefit of businesses striving a bit harder to advance their staff and get them out of the “union pay bracket”.

        What about (and I’m loathe to say it) if the unions got paid by the government, at X $ per member? I suppose there’d be too much opportunity for influence by the government of the day….

  5. felixviper 5

    “duly elected ministers of education”

    Oh Rodney you poor fool. Ministers are appointed, not elected.

    Puts his own time as a minister in a new light though. No wonder he never understood why the vast majority of the population didn’t want a bar of anything he did – he thought we’d elected him!

  6. felixviper 6

    Also, have you noticed how the right wing polis and commentators have been very consistent and very deliberate in their phrasing of “teacher unions”? And I don’t think it’s just because they wouldn’t know where to put the apostrophe.

    The more correct phrase “teachers’ unions” tells us too much. It tells us that the union belongs to the teachers. It tells us that the union is the teachers.

    They’d love to attack teachers directly but they know they can’t get away with it. We’re all connected to teachers in our communities so the lies and smears will never stick. Instead they have to pretend they’re attacking some other entity, and not the actual teachers we all know.

    But put that apostrophe in and the game is up. Because if there’s one thing the right must never do, it’s acknowledge that a union is just a group of workers.

  7. karol 7

    Hmmm… and another occasion when the CTU is onto important issues. Just got alerted to this via a tweet from Helen Kelly:

    A critic of the Government’s military-style youth development courses has slammed Social Development minister Paula Bennett for knowing about processes that led to troubled youth being abused.

    The Council of Trade Unions president Helen Kelly says the Government should have turned its back on the courses years ago when research showed poor outcomes.

    Ms Kelly called the course a “one-trick pony” that did not support young people into jobs.”I don’t blame Work and Income, their job is to fill these programmes up – I blame Paula Bennett,” she said. “She has not come up with a comprehensive programme suitable for young people. This is a timebomb and then for [youth] to be abused on the course is terrible.” …

    The six-week programme, officially known as Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) courses, are run by the New Zealand Defence Force in partnership with the Social Development Ministry, aimed at helping young people at risk of being on the benefit long-term, to find work.

    Fairfax Media yesterday revealed that troubled teens who enrolled in the course had been assaulted and abused by military personnel who ran the programme. Two military staff have faced disciplinary proceedings.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      And there was this about over-aggressiveness in some officers leading to serious problems in preparing troops for Afghanistan

      A leaked report has strongly criticised the training given to an army contingent sent to Afghanistan which lost five of its members in combat.

      The Defence Force has admitted the group left New Zealand with gaps in their training…(the) report to senior officers identified problems in command, logistics and planning, and also criticised the attitude of commanders and lower ranks.

      It highlighted the aggressive stance of one senior officer with a tactical role, who neglected relationship-building skills with Afghan locals, which are always highly prized as a critical part of New Zealand’s ability to maintain calm in Bamiyan.

      The report quoted a soldier saying the officer “wants to turn Bamiyan into a more war-fighting role”.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10865764

      • AmaKiwi 7.1.1

        You have identified an Achilles heal of conventional forces fighting guerrilla wars. Police are not trained to be soldiers and soldiers are not trained to be police.

        Police are trained to defuse armed confrontation. Soldiers are trained to confront and destroy.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          And mercernaries would do a superior job to both. Right?

          • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1

            Nobody’s ever said that, as far as I recall the debates.

            The point is simply that cops have a tradition of minimum force reasonably possible, and discussion before violence, and to preserve life. A tradition that is laughably frequent in its non-observance, and much diminished by the last 40 years or so trend of paramilitary policing, but one that’s still there to some extent.

            The military, on the other hand, are trained for situations where they can only survive with the explosive application of overwhelming force. If the enemy happen to be alive and prisoners at the end of it, that’s a happy bonus (or sometimes a not-very-avoidable logistic liability).

            That training takes resources to retool the soldier into the subtleties of being primarily negotiators and relationship builders, rather than pure military.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh I’m quite clear on the difference between police and military roles in peacekeeping and aid missions.

              But mercernaries would be an acceptable and usable alternative in those roles, right?

              • McFlock

                Nope. Didn’t say that either.

                Just.
                Better.
                Than.
                Sending.
                Nothing.

                Except in the role of police. For that you need police.

                • McFlock

                  fuck. Way off topic. My bad.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yeah sorry I’m partially responsible for the derail.

                    • AmaKiwi

                      Not as far off as you might think.

                      Military personal have a sort of union in the unified power of veterans groups and military families to lobby government.

                      Mercenaries don’t.

                      The “union” of middle class kids (including Robert McNamara’s children) ended the Vietnam war.

        • One Tāne Huna 7.1.1.2

          “…trained to confront and destroy…”

          Meanwhile, back in the real world

          • AmaKiwi 7.1.1.2.1

            Precisely: “trained to confront and destroy.” What do you think armies are for?

            When another army wants to kill you, your family, your country, what do you want your army to do? Do you think those mangled bodies on the nightly news are actors who wash off the make-up and go home? Do you think genocide is a board game?

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.2.1.1

              Precisely: “trained to confront and destroy the enemies of the state.” What do you think armies are for?

              I thought I’d add the above to clarify. And to paraphrase from a TV series (any guesses which one?):

              When the army are made to act as the police, the people become the enemy of the state.

            • One Tāne Huna 7.1.1.2.1.2

              In fact, the primary goal of any well-planned military endeavour is to ensure as little bloodshed as possible.

              “…to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” Tzun Tzu

              He goes into great detail as to why this is.

              …and before you go complaining that The Art of War is three thousand years old, consider that it is required reading at West Point.

              The article I linked is an illustration of the strategic consequences of political priorities being allowed to override military ones.

  8. Polish Pride 8

    Seems to me that given the damage that unions can do to a business, an employer would be wise to offer two rates of pay to incoming staff. One rate for staff who are want to join a union and a higher rate for those not wanting to join a union.

    • bad12 8.1

      That has been pointed out in a comment above, BUT, that aint the reality of what happens as there is a union involved who simply put it to the employers that if x can be paid a higher rate for the same work then their members get the same or a higher rate,

      There may be some, but, i have yet to hear of an employer deliberately paying non-union labour a lower rate of pay except in the case of temporary staff hired from the likes of labour-hire companies,

      Should there be compulsory union membership for all those who earn below $20 an hour all of such SCAB behavior would be curtailed…

      • Polish Pride 8.1.1

        you make it a policy early on in your business even before union representation is looked at by your workers. then all workers would probably opt for the non rate.

        • millsy 8.1.1.1

          Joining a union is a HUMAN RIGHT mate. It sounds like you want to ban trade unions, and jail union organisers, like Rodney.

    • AmaKiwi 8.2

      @ Polish Pride

      In successful northern European economies, union representatives are part of the company’s board of directors. Union representation is guaranteed by law.

      It is a partnership that works.

      We could never have it here. We love the rugby model of constant confrontation.

      What an absurd idea. Workers telling management how they can produce better products more efficiently and in so doing helping to make their own jobs more secure.

  9. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 9

    Unions provide legal protections for members against unfair employer practices.

    But have no interest in making schools better for students, especially if that makes things worse for members of the union.

    • karol 9.1

      Oh, really? And so all the teachers’ responses to National Standards, and Charter Schools (plus several other issue)s, are unions making things better for the union members and not for the students? The reality is that members of teachers’ unions, work hard to make schools as good as possible for students .See for instance the ppta website, and the NZEI site.

      • One Tāne Huna 9.1.1

        I wonder: does Gormless have enough integrity to acknowledge that Karol just exposed his bullshit as nothing but a deceitful smear?

        I wonder whether Gormless made up this rotten smear himself, or whether he is just a well trained parrot, repeating the lines he’s been fed without thought or intelligence.

        My pick is that the craven little shill won’t have the guts to defend his lies, except perhaps by repeating them in a shriller tone.

    • AmaKiwi 9.2

      The reason every new government assumes they should re-design our education system is because most MPs have completed high school. That makes them experts, doesn’t it?

      The teachers unions are trying to protect an internationally respected NZ education system from MPs with big egos and small brains.

      Have we ever had a Minister of Education who was qualified to be even a high school principle?

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 9.2.1

        AmaKiwi: while we’re are on about people being qualified to do things on the basis of how much education they have received, it’s “Principal”.

      • millsy 9.2.2

        Peachey was a High school principal, and he would have had the PPTA banned and the schools sold by lunchtime,

  10. georgecom 10

    Rodney is simply trying to protect a policy he would have pushed had he still been in Parliament, Charter Schools.

    As for the statement that unions are using “hyperbole, propaganda and wild claims” to denigrate charter schools. Sheeesh Rodney. You’ll have to use hyperbole, propaganda and wild claims, along with as huge dose of neo-liberal wishful thinking, to substantiate the claim that charter schools will make a significant difference to education achievement levels.

    They haven’t elsewhere in the world, why should they suddenly start working in NZ.

  11. Arfamo 11

    Rodney obviously has no problems with the destructiveness of the Union of Taxpayer Subsidised Wealth Accumulators which he and Jonkey (and far too many other politicians from the main parties) belong to. But the rest of us do.

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