RE: employment law, overtime

Subject: RE: employment law, overtime
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Stephen Arrants" <steve -at- mbfbioscience -dot- com>, "Bill Swallow" <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 12:46:42 -0500

On Behalf Of Stephen Arrants was heard to say:

> Bill, that statement makes no sense. Given that you didn't join a
> and you most likely don't even know WHAT the union rules (not laws or
> "laws", rules) are, how do you know that you couldn't have done what
> did do? I don't know of any writers union, guild, or trade group that
> hard, specific, and ENFORCEABLE rules regarding how to do the job.
> Unions and their "rules" vary depending on the actual industry. Have
> any direct experience as a union member?

I do have direct experience as a union member........ but not while a
'Twas in the days before I became a techwriter. I was a production
technician on the factory floor of a company that made pre-PC things,
and then made PCs when that trend had become more than obvious.
The union covered everybody in the production facility who was not
management, and was a very "democratic" organization (meaning that they
worked first toward the good of the union hierarchy, second toward the
good of the largest category of their members, and a distant third
toward the "good" of people in [to them] marginal categories). The
majority of the members were production-line assembly people and those
involved in warehouse-ish activities. Most of them were nice people,
many quite smart, but semi-skilled at best. The technical folk were
poorly served. The few line workers who aspired to learn technical
things, and move up the food chain a bit, faced interference and
obstruction (as did the supervisors who wanted to give them a chance).
The union liked to claim us techs, but didn't really like us. It was
effectively impossible to circumscribe our jobs with the time-and-motion
analysis that was used on the line-workers' tasks. They tried to place
restrictions on the extent to which a given line worker could be taken
from one line task and put to work on another (even though the average
line worker welcomed a change in the monotony...). The same approach
just slid off our backs when we techs would happily hop around the
various assignments as needs changed. That willingness meant less
pressure on the company to hire additional (unionized) workers.
One fellow got a union reprimand when he helped to get a wonky
wave-solder machine back in operation. I think it might have been sweet
revenge when he was later instrumental in getting robots working on the
production floor.
(The company was growing so fast that all the robots they could "hire"
never resulted in a single job loss on the line.)
Anyway, I jumped at the first chance to get off the production floor and
into a staff job, where I immediately had to work at least ten more
hours per week, and thought it a good trade. From that first staff job
(as third-line tech support), I slid sideways into my first techwriting
job. I can't say that I haven't looked back - I'm looking back right
now, but not with fondness for unions.

I just wondered if there existed any situations where working technical
writers were dues-paying members of actual unions, and how that was
handled in the workplace.

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employment law, overtime: From: Jay Maechtlen
Re: employment law, overtime: From: Jay Maechtlen
Re: employment law, overtime: From: Jay Maechtlen
RE: employment law, overtime: From: Allan Ackerson
RE: employment law, overtime: From: Chesler, Lynn
Re: employment law, overtime: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: employment law, overtime: From: Dan Goldstein
Re: employment law, overtime: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: employment law, overtime: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: employment law, overtime: From: Ned Bedinger
Re: employment law, overtime: From: Bill Swallow
RE: employment law, overtime: From: Stephen Arrants

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