Along with my coworkers at Vallourec Star (V&M), I will be voting Jan. 21-23 on whether or not to have labor union representation. Here are some points everyone should consider before voting:
1. I was a union member for 23 years at Copperweld Steel in Warren and seven years at Graphic Packaging in Solon. I can tell you from those years of experience, that at both locations, if an employee had a grievance but didn't have cronies at the union hall, his grievance had no chance of even being processed. That whole thing about fighting for the rank-and-file was a farce.
2. If we vote for a union, when company and union representatives start negotiating for a contract, the first point company reps will make is that it's going to cost the company a lot of money each year (probably $1 million or more) to deal with union issues. They can't just raise prices on customers to pay for that because we're competing against other pipemakers in the industry. So guess who's going to pay for it? The hourly workforce will, that's who - through reduced benefits. If we vote in a union, I see our profit-sharing dropping close to zero.
3. Employees who think management is too strict now - watch what happens if we vote in a union. They will be writing people up daily, partly because the radical unionists foster an adversarial relationship in workplaces. It will get nasty.
4. This isn't the 1930s anymore and never will be again. Unions today are all about politics, promoting liberal public policies and electing big-government liberals to public office. They're not principally there to go to bat for the rank-and-file like in the old days. Anyone who doubts that should be informed if a union member demands a refund of the part of their union dues that's spent on political activities, they are considered persona-non-grata by the union and will not get representation when/if they need it even though they're still paying the labor portion of their dues. So, which is more important to unions today - promoting collectivism politically or actually representing dues-paying members?
5. The promotional materials the UE union sent to each employee claim that it is a bottom-up organization where the locals call the shots. They lied; Article 14 of the UE constitution clearly states, ''Matters affecting jurisdiction of locals shall be determined by the general executive board (of the national)."
6) Employees at Vallourec have had it very good for a long time, but voting in a union will ruin that. I've been down this road before; unions don't make anything better. Let's not kill the "golden goose!" Vote NO.