I am in management at a company that has a large union labor force. Overall, we have an excellent relationship with the union. We’ve never had a work stoppage or even really come close to one. I have never been a real proponent of unions. I feel like they have greatly overstepped their original missions of fair pay and safe work conditions. They seem to only work for the bottom 5% of the work force - the ones who really should be fired but cannot be.
The first 10 years at this company I was an Individual Contributor, so it never really impacted me. For the past 4 years, I have been in leadership with about 45-50 physical and clerical union employees under my umbrella. I haven’t had any significant issues and I have found that the vast majority of those employees are hard working and care about their work. The ratio of bad apples in management are about the same or more that those in the union.
Their is an issue that has got my goat right now. We have had a significant amount of turnover in the past year - retirements, promotions, training. The replacement and training cycle takes a lot of time and the new people are not as efficient as their predecessors. As a result, resources are strained. We use contractors to get the work done, but they are much more expensive.
An employee recently left the company for another company in a similar industry. He was told a story that they paid much better and at was a good place to work. In the middle of his training, his entire class was let go - told there was no work. I don’t know him well, but I’ve met him. Good kid, hard worker, young family he is trying to support. I don’t blame him for trying to take advantage of an opportunity.
He called his old supervisor to see if he could get his job back. My leadership and I was supportive of this. He was a good worker, knowledgeable and we have a need. We figured there would be a penalty, he might lose his seniority and have to stay in the position longer.
Nope. The union says he has to start from scratch in the lowest position (not in my department). This is just penny-ante shit. It will take us probably 6 months to get this position filled and trained. I can think off the top of my head at least 5 management employees who left and came back. As long as they left on good terms, are qualified for the position and it benefits the company, why wouldn’t you do it? I think the real reason is for the union to flex their muscle with their members - you better be loyal, or else!
Not like this is the biggest deal in the world, it’s impact on me is minimal. I feel bad for the kid.
And I know - the real villain is the other POS company that gave him a song and dance and then fired him. That was a dick move.