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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Noontime talks

From Riki Gay, SPSE:


Anonymous said...

The collective has asked that the common worker attend the indoctrination meeting to join the collective.

The evil corporate entity known as the Lab that has provided our gainful employment and food for our families cannot be trusted comrades.

Join commissar Rikki Gay (who for some reason dislikes the Laboratory?) and we will hand out information cards (ssshhh!!! comrade, really voting for union cards)and we really want union high school dropouts to help capitalist Dr. Parney to run the Laboratory because he needs the help from the uneducated union collective.

So meet with us comrades and we will fight (the hand that feeds us) the evil capitalist and our motto will be Socialism for all (don't forget our free Obama cell phones, if we are going to be part of the Entitlement society, Oh like Switzerland and Cypress).

We understand that you do not have the intelligence to negotiate your wages so we will do that for you but Oh lest we forget please vote Democratic to keep the Socialist cycle going (and do not worry about those payments (50% of intake at some point) to pay for the national debt, our children can take care of that)/

But under no circumstances take ant personal responsibility for yourselves but leave it to the Union collective comrade, let us think for you (too big of a responsibility for you!!!!).

Anonymous said...

March 18, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Please just go away.

Anonymous said...

I think we can all agree that unions generally thrive on kind of selling themselves to the uneducated workers who need some help in the workplace.

I think people with higher education do not want the restrictions a union environment puts in the daily activities of maybe a Scientist or Engineer.

I wonder why that is?

Anonymous said...

March 19, 2013 at 9:15 PM

It is very simple. The higher the education of the employee, the more in demand the employee's skills (in general, not always). People whose skills are more in demand are more mobile and have more opportunity to switch employers. So no need for a union to "protect" (i.e., tie up management in negotiations and possible strikes) the current job.

Plus, as you imply, professional employees care about professional output and credentials, including professional publications. Anything that hinders that, or causes management (company or union) to make it more difficult, is bad. Unions are as big (or bigger) a drain on employee productivity as company management is.

Anonymous said...

As I have posted previously, I am no friend of collective anything, I prefer to fend for myself in most things. But I have greatly benefited from farsighted benevolent leaders who before I was born realized a good pension, reasonable benefits, reasonable time away and low-cost insurances would allow me to concentrate almost exclusively, on trying hard to achieve excellence.

That foresight left LLNL in Oct 2008.

I too failed myself in the transition, when my letters to NNSA (2) clearly explaining what was coming, and a futile conversation with doe-eyed Jerry McNerney, along with attempted hard questions to Lynn Soderstrom and Frank Russo that were bullied in to silence. All of these futile gestures failed. Of course. And I lost about 10% of my total compensation as LLNS under NNSA direction reprogrammed funds into its own folly. 1700 others lost much more.

If I was under an employment contract at that time, I might be better off now. The knee-jerk policy, compensation and layoff changes that were installed with the stroke of a pen, would have certainly been slowed down, perhaps frustrated by the long, laborious, lugubrious process of collective bargaining.

The problem is not the Goldsteins and Warners and Moses and Lanes of the Lab, it is that NNSA can dictate hard terms without resistance which no-one can directly challenge.

As one wise mentor taught, you need to prepare your audience ahead of time for new ideas. This is an old idea, maybe right for new times. Times have changed for the worse. Congress and NNSA still think that you are compensated too much. You need protection for the next go around. A negotiated professional employment contract might, I say might, give some measure protection.

Something to consider rather than dismiss with cold-war platitudes.

Anonymous said...

March 19, 2013 at 11:59 PM

There is a reason that collective bargaining for private-sector workers in the US (which you are) is essentially dead. There is no incentive or reward for corporate employers to come to the table, and there is little chance of unity with a workforce that is educationally, politically, and economically diverse. Might you have had it easier with a "negotiated" employment contract? Perhaps. Will it ever happen in today's world? No.

Don't know what all this has to do with the Cold War.

Anonymous said...

A good argument, March 19, 2013 at 11:59 PM. Thanks for that.

There might indeed have been some advantage in drawing out the process. This might have allowed a little more thought about the real impacts, the alternatives, etc.

But I think that unionizing in this situation would only do that: slow down the changes. Eventually, the changes would happen. I am a bigger believer in "voting with your feet", so that the impact of the changes becomes obvious more quickly.

Anonymous said...

But I think that unionizing in this situation would only do that: slow down the changes. Eventually, the changes would happen...

I read the people differently. NNSA is close to power, it responds to power. Power has a short attention span. Just blunting the charge for a while until the next storm attracted their attention, might have dulled the ardor and preserved the goodness of LLNL.

Under the protection of senator from Washington -their guardian angel, PNL was spared the knee-jerk reaction of going through a contract renegotiation at the same time.

The madness of that crowd dissipated. Instead, LLNL and LANL as construed, were lynched. And the country is worse off.

Anonymous said...

An interesting perspective that I had not considered.


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