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Old 08-20-2007, 10:56 PM   #21
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Well I have a master's degree, have been in my job for over 7 years, and still get paid waayyyy less than you earn. On the other hand, the median household income in the nation is only something like $41K, and that's usually for a family of 3 or 4. I really have nothing to complain about. Of course I wish I were paid more, but as I get older, I realize more and more that life is not a race to see who gets to the end first (or last). It's all about enjoying the ride.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:12 PM   #22
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what difference does it make. there are so many ways to get through the world. you don't need a union; you need a mirror. you need to learn to be satisfied with yourself. as long as you compare yourself to someone else you will never be happy with what or who you are. concentrate on your own life. compete with your own self and you win every time.
Lazy said it best.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:21 PM   #23
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Well, actually I'd consider it, but as with all union jobs, it's about time served. So I'd start at the bottom and in 5 years be where he is. I'm already far enough along this path that I'd take a pay cut. I also think job openings are hard to come by due to the high rates and are mostly locked up before they are officially posted. I definitely understand your point, it just doesn't stop me from feeling a little foolish/jealous. The time I spent in college he was earning good $$.
Laurence, I'm not singling you out, or flaming you, so please don't take what follows personally. It's just that you hit on a lot of what I've heard time and time again before I was able to leave the land of the working class.


Did anyone see the episode of "Dirty Jobs" when he had to go into a sewage holding tank to remove a 3-ton sewage pump?

Been there...Done that...Threw away the t-shirt afterwards!!!

General Disclaimer: Rant begins here...please feel free to skip the following few paragraghs.

*****************************************

YUP! It is about time served. And I served mine! I was low man on the totem pole for almost 10 years. In wastewater (sewage) the low man is honored with a brand spanking new pair of hip and/or chest waders, a heavy duty rain suit (that you could only wish was going to be worn in the rain!), and a hard hat (for when the morons "up top" drop there tools and stuff into the tank, pit, or manhole). I worked my way up the ladder (literally) in seniority, and was then able to pick and choose which work crews and which projects I wanted to be on. Eventually climbed up to plant foreman. At that point I never HAD to go into another nasty tank or pit.....But I still went in (at MY choosing) IF a crew needed help, or if I was more knowledgeable of the work needing to be done.

Over the last few years that I was there, they hired some "know it all" idiots and punks that complained continuously about me having a soft cushy job as lab manager and plant foreman. And they were correct, it was a soft cushy job, with a heck of a lot more stress! They had NO idea all of the sh*t I had to put up with for a lot years! (literally and figuratively)

There were several people in other departments, and in other offices who had their BA's and a couple with MA's, who made far less than me. That was the path they chose. Many of them are in 'go nowhere' dead end jobs....no ladder to climb....no pay grade boosts. They're stuck! UNLESS they choose to take the various employment and labor tests, and get placed on the "call" list. Then if there's an opening in a union position, and they've scored well on the tests, they WILL get "called". And they WILL start at the bottom of the totem pole....just like EVERYONE else did. And they'll receive the same pay raises and benefit upgrades just like everyone else gets.

I joined the Union on day one! They fought to get us decent contracts. We never asked for world, we only asked for what was reasonable. Management continuously countered with cuts in pay, insurance, jobs, and just about anything else that we had. One contract we even accepted some fairly major benefit cuts and a pay freeze. Management turned around at their very next meeting and voted themselves and there appointed non-union cronies 8-34% pay raises! (34% is NOT a typo NOR an exaggeration) They also didn't take any cuts in benefits.

Sounds kinda like a lot of manufacturers in this country.....the workers get cuts, and the white collar S.O.B.'s vote themselves raises. Then they cut jobs and out source jobs over seas, or south of the border. I think that they ought to leave the workers in the factories to do the work, and out source a lot of the white collar jobs. Many times a lot of them just blow smoke and spew bullsh*t anyway, and that could be done for minimum wage from a call center in India! (no offense intended toward any Indians)

*******************************************

OK...I'm done ranting! I'll behave again!

Now that I'm out of the rat race, all of that BS doesn't have any direct effect on me anymore.....THANK GOD!!! (or the higher power of your choosing!) However, I will continue to stand along side of my former co-workers in their fight for better benefits, higher pay, and better work conditions. Even for the idiots and punks who used to despise me, so that even they can have the opportunity to climb the ladder.....all the way to the top!
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:23 PM   #24
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................as I get older, I realize more and more that life is not a race to see who gets to the end first (or last). It's all about enjoying the ride.
AMEN!!!
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:29 PM   #25
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And I don't come home with an aching back, either!
During my first 10 years on the job, I would have given just about anything to for that!!! But thank goodness for heating pads, osteopaths, and medication!

Amazing how I soooooooo don't miss that!!!!
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:39 AM   #26
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I remember when I went to college for years and finally graduated. I was making about 60% of what my brother was making. He was in a construction trade union. It bothered me a bit. That same craft now makes about 60% of what I make, and that is if they are working full-time. But my understanding is that there are frequent lay-offs.

By the way... my brother saw what I did and decide quit the Union job and go back to school himself. He got a BS Comp Sci (many years ago now).
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:11 AM   #27
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I remember when I went to college for years and finally graduated. I was making about 60% of what my brother was making. He was in a construction trade union. It bothered me a bit. That same craft now makes about 60% of what I make, and that is if they are working full-time. But my understanding is that there are frequent lay-offs.

By the way... my brother saw what I did and decide quit the Union job and go back to school himself. He got a BS Comp Sci (many years ago now).
.

I think it all balances out over time, like your 60% examples indicate. Although it all depends on the job, the pay, ability for advancement, etc. And it's a matter of what each individual wants and is willing to do and/or sacrifice to achieve it.

I was highly fortunate that although I was in the union, it wasn't in one of the building/construction trades. It was in the public sector, and lay-offs were non-existent. In our area, the 'trade' union members have to bust their humps to make as much money as possible, since they normally have an extended 'vacation' from Dec through March. I'm thankful that I didn't have to do that!!!
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:17 PM   #28
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If you're great at what you're doing, and it provides a valuable service, requires some level of skill, you should be compensated for it.

Some of us are compensated for our brains, some for our brawn, some for a little of both...I couldn't build a cabinet or install plumbing or electrical w/out wreaking some havoc! but it gives me hope for my son that he can earn a decent living as long as he is determined to work hard.

i don't think one path should decide who makes more than the other.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:01 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by GoodSense View Post
Well I have a master's degree, have been in my job for over 7 years, and still get paid waayyyy less than you earn. On the other hand, the median household income in the nation is only something like $41K, and that's usually for a family of 3 or 4. I really have nothing to complain about. Of course I wish I were paid more, but as I get older, I realize more and more that life is not a race to see who gets to the end first (or last). It's all about enjoying the ride.
Yeah, and half of all Americans make less than that...

Sorry, couldn't resist...
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Old 08-21-2007, 06:00 PM   #30
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I can't resist posting my union story. Back in the mid 70's I was a union member, worked for a quasi gov't organization in IT, was an IBM systems programmer. Our local included everybody from janitors, secretaries, operators to programmers and analysts. I (and about 10 others) happened to be at the top of the pay scale, 700 others weren't (and our pay was about 250% of the bottom where most resided). It was a time of high inflation (at least here in Canada) and at contract time the company offered x% across the board. Union wanted top pay decreased and any benefits to the bottom. Strike vote taken, etc. and I'm expected to strike for a pay cut. Showed up for work on strike day with a sign that said "MORE WORK, LESS PAY". Shop steward encouraged me to cross the line.

After that, took a job in private industry, was awarded stock options and am both FI & RE. Would not have happened if I stayed with union protection.

FWIW, ended my career in IT Security just as the OP is starting there. Enjoy, Laurencewill .
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:56 AM   #31
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I can't resist posting my union story...
Great story. I neglect to mention that I worked in a union job for a short period of time. I have a good understanding of it and how it works. I have family members that have been in various positions in the Union hierarchy...


It seems to me that the union is about creating an average compensation rather than rewarding high performers. Plus in your case, they were willing to sacrifice the more skilled persons pay as a negotiation trade-off to get something for the masses. If you remember union officials are typically voted in. It is not unlike public office.


IMHO - Unions have passed their plateau and are declining in membership. Some of it is because general labor laws (safety, etc) have reduced part of the need for unions. Now it is mainly about collective bargaining for wages and benefits. In a world of "get it done cheaper" and with businesses using outsourcing/offshoring... the unions have not been able to adjust. Where they are entrenched, they seem to hang on. But not a lot of growth.
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:02 AM   #32
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IMHO - Unions have passed their plateau and are declining in membership. Some of it is because general labor laws (safety, etc) have reduced part of the need for unions. Now it is mainly about collective bargaining for wages and benefits. In a world of "get it done cheaper" and with businesses using outsourcing/offshoring... the unions have not been able to adjust. Where they are entrenched, they seem to hang on. But not a lot of growth.
I agree and all workers are worse off because of it. Workers do not have a voice in the political arena and others are loosing their benefits.

Most union members these days are in the service sector - hotel workers, supermarkets etc.

Also, whenever people want to point out the negatives of unions they point to "overpaid" manual workers and restrictive working practices. But these are an extream.

Henry Ford recognoised the benefit of paying his workers well - so they could buy his products. The rise of the middle class could track with the rise and fall of union membership.

Many of the benefits we have today come from union efforts. As unions decline so do these benefits erode.

Will they come back? Not until unions learn to appeal more to the cube rat and less to the production line worker.
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Old 08-22-2007, 08:34 AM   #33
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Most union members these days are in the service sector - hotel workers, supermarkets etc.
Actually ,most union members these days are in the government sector.

The implications of that boggle the mind.
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Old 08-22-2007, 12:45 PM   #34
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Actually ,most union members these days are in the government sector.

The implications of that boggle the mind.


Ouch..........
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:40 PM   #35
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It's not how much you make....it is how much you keep.
I know a couple of guys making 90K in union jobs....live in a pigsty, drive an old batty car, no savings, no retirement, spending haplessly with nothing to show for it. They think the union is going to take care of them in their old age....not when they are laid off for half the year!
I'd rather do my job, save and invest, enjoy the ride, and then turn in my ID card once I have built my nest egg.
I have noticed that people who make more money also have a higher standard of living and must have's. They are living paycheck to paycheck, not saving anything, and definitely not sharing their wealth with anyone.
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:21 AM   #36
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I have noticed that people who make more money also have a higher standard of living and must have's. They are living paycheck to paycheck, not saving anything, and definitely not sharing their wealth with anyone.
Hmmmmm..... interesting. I've noticed that people who make less money also have a lower standard of living and must have's.

I think we're on to something here.......!
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Old 08-24-2007, 12:42 AM   #37
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So a buddy visited this weekend from the Bay Area. Now, I understand it's expensive up there, but it's not that much more than San Diego. What's "that much more" you ask? I am completing my MS right now, work in a pretty technical ( IT Security) field for a high tech company etc. I get 75k base plus some extended compensation that pushes me a little north of 80k. He is a "stationary engineer" and from as far as I can tell from his stories, involves some simple plumbing work, unstopping drains, putting up cube walls, boiler room watch, that type of thing. No degree. He was just bumped to 91k and is getting 8-10% raises annually.

I pay over 200 a month for day care. He pays nothing. I pay 1.5% towards my pension. He pays nothing towards his. He gets 80% in retirement to my 50%.

He also can work as much overtime as he wants for 1.5 times pay. Does it when he wants to buy a new guitar.

Am I missing something here? Am I stupid for going to college? How do I get in on this gig?

When my children were young, one of them made a statement after something did not go the way they wanted - "That's not fair". My response -"Get use to it. Life is not fair."
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:01 AM   #38
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I would go further to say overall life has been unfair in my favor. Which is what everyone really means when they say they want their "fair share". No, there is no doubt I need to have a hot steaming cup of STFU on this one, I almost didn't make the original post. I was just so shocked.
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Old 08-24-2007, 10:48 AM   #39
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The problem with the "it's not fair" mentality is that it always applies! No matter where you sit, something looks unfair compared to someone else.

There are many instnaces when I have found myself leaning toward that way of thinking, more so when younger. I now push harder against the knee-jerk response, because it doesn't get you anywhere. My kids also try that phrase all of the time, I push back there too.

Bottom line: your choices are yours and there are random events beyond your control. Together they form your life and that is the only one you can live.
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:07 PM   #40
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... I realize more and more that life is not a race to see who gets to the end first (or last). It's all about enjoying the ride.
Unknowingly, I really needed this thread today. The 'don't compare to others' mentality is much harder to practice than preach. The wisdom is appreciated...


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... The grass on the other side always is greener, because there's more $h!t.
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