We just had another labor strike on site, and once again the expats are to blame.

Allow me to give you some background that led up to this.

Around the same time every year the local labor unions decide that it is time to go back to the drawing board and renegotiate the agreements that the primary company have with the local work force concerning pay, benefits, etc. for the junior staff. They usually only ask for minor things such as a 200% increase in pay, less work hours but the same (if not more) pay… you know, the usual. The old saying “shoot for the moon, pay attention to the ground, and meet somewhere in between” has been modified by these morons as they have replaced the word “moon” with “Alpha Centauri” and if only a measure of their demands are met, as the primary company tends to cave like a little bitch, they decided to kick off and either drop tools or riot.

I have seen both, with the one that just happened thankfully being only a drop tool strike.

This leads into the reasoning behind me absolutely loathing the concept of unions, which I believe to be a completely outdated institution that serves no purpose in the modern world other than to impede production and provide the workers the legal equivalent of extortion by holding the forward path of work over the heads of those that run the job or oversee the production of the product. Mind you, there was a place and time for such practices when the labor force was treated like machines that had no other right whilst working for a company other than acting like a cog in the assembly line, and yes there were basic humanitarian issues that had to be addressed and were addressed by the forming of unions, but those times have passed. I once asked one of the workers here what they actually gained from the union, and he told me that he received representation when it came to having to communicate to the management. When pressed as to what else did he gain for his dues other than a glorified mouthpiece for his concerns, he couldn’t come up with anything else. He didn’t get any health benefits from the union, didn’t gain any extra time off, and basically garnered little other than an intangible product that end of the day didn’t help him put food on the table. He did state that he has seen an increase in his pay while being a union member, but when I pursued that point with him he eventually came to the realization that yes indeed he had an annual increase in pay clause’d in his friggin contract, so that could not be attributed to the union. I then proceeded to turn it around on him and ask if he realized what silly little things like general strikes and riots actually did for their cause. He was told that every time they decided to strike it caused us to loose more and more confidence in their actual ability to do the work assigned, and when a riot kicked off and they broke shit (last event’s bill? -A little over a mil.) just gave us more and more reasoning to mothball the plant and shut the job down.

The man was distraught once he heard that their actions could potentially end his employment and began to pinwheel back, saying that he never participated in any of those events and was in fact just there to do his job.

This kind of segues into the reason that I have no love for unions, and that is that they keep their employees completely in the dark concerning actions that occur at a higher level than the floor and are basically vampiric by nature, not symbiotic, and will feed off a company for as long as the host can take it, as the union has no concern for things that create work, such as innovation nor profit margins, and are just in it to suck the corpse as dry as possible before moving on. The modern employee mentality as I have seen it is that if your job sucks, if you are mistreated by management or hate what you do for a living, you always reserve the right to QUIT AND GET ANOTHER JOB. Even in this environment of 10% employment if you look hard enough there is something out there for you to do that is not the job that you currently have, or chance to the wind you could just be fun-employed if you choose to. No longer are the days when you called yourself a “wage slave” because the conditions you worked in were directly reminiscent OF slavery, as there are laws in place that tend to frown on such a practice, and for that we may have historical union actions to thank for that… but those days and conditions are over and the old tools used to accomplish this might just need to be put away for a bit.

Another day in West Africa, another labor dispute.

(NOTE: Sorry guys, when these idiots strike it always pisses me off. Please carry on.)


About Old Iron
I'm just a guy that works overseas alot and likes to play just as hard as I work. Been to a FEW countries, know a shitload of people all over, and generally have a good time wherever I go. -Oh, and I am currently in between girlfriends, and strangely enough and perfectly happy with that status. In the long run hookers are cheaper. Take my word on that.

6 Responses to Unions

  1. Buck says:

    Rant ON, My Good Man! We’re on the same page; I have about ten years worth of experience of having to wind my way through the UAW’s arcane work rules in order to get IT infrastructure stuff done in GM plants. It was a hair-raising and hair-PULLING (as in my own, out-by-the-roots sorta thing) experience. I loathe the UAW to this very day.

    • ~KC~ says:

      As a former GM employee, I feel yer pain Buck.
      Although, because I was in management, I wasn’t unionized – we were greatly impacted by all the UAW claws into the manufacturing industry.
      For that reason… I despise unions for what they’ve NOW done to our manufacturing industry and most importantly – the automotive industry. They really no longer bring anything valuable to the industry – rather, they hemorrhage money, and are a big cause of the loss of many jobs.

    • Old Iron says:

      I have just seen nothing innovative or modern about a union that would justify it’s continuing existence. What seriously is gained from having a union in any area of industry? From what I have been exposed to only strong-arm manipulation of a company with the end result the eventual strangulation of any business that it has pull over. Current laws do not allow employees to be forced to work under the same conditions that promoted the birth of said union organizations… So why are they still around, and how can they continue to justify themselves?


      -That’s what I thought.

  2. Gordon says:

    The public sector unions have been and continue to be very effective in increasing the benefits and pay for their members. That they are simultaneously bankrupting our cities and states is also true.

    • Old Iron says:

      Increased the benefits and pay at the expense of…? Bankrupted the cities and states at the expense of…? The money has to come from somewhere, and that is usually at the expense of the corporation’s motivation to continue to innovate and expand. The market is bad enough without having the weight around the neck that is unions dragging down various industries.

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