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How many Petalumans does it take to change a light bulb?

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Re: How many Petalumans does it take to change a light bulb?

Postby commonsense » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:46 am

I find the pejorative spin on unions interesting. It used to be that a union which enforces the idea that a working man or woman should have a decent salary, benefits and rules safeguarding his or her health and welfare.

Now, though, fewer people belong to unions than at any time in the last 100 years and the proof is in the pudding - look at the predicament of the working class over the last 30 years (i.e. ever since Ronald Reagan, a former union president, declared war on other unions and regulation in general).

I'm happy if the guy changing light bulbs in town has union protections - it's ultimately good for all of us.
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Re: How many Petalumans does it take to change a light bulb?

Postby mikeg55 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:58 am

commonsense wrote:I find the pejorative spin on unions interesting. It used to be that a union which enforces the idea that a working man or woman should have a decent salary, benefits and rules safeguarding his or her health and welfare.

Now, though, fewer people belong to unions than at any time in the last 100 years and the proof is in the pudding - look at the predicament of the working class over the last 30 years (i.e. ever since Ronald Reagan, a former union president, declared war on other unions and regulation in general).

I'm happy if the guy changing light bulbs in town has union protections - it's ultimately good for all of us.


I only have an issue with public employee unions. I don't like the pensions at taxpayer expense. If I'm stuck with a 401k, and have to work until I'm 70+ before I retire, I don't want to support a public employee union member who makes as much or more money than me, will get to retire a decade or more before me, and will continue get 90% of his salary or more for life.
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Re: How many Petalumans does it take to change a light bulb?

Postby commonsense » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:00 am

I think it's just the price of getting committed public servants. There has to be some perks so that people will want those public jobs in the first place. Just because you and I don't have pensions, should they be removed from everyone? That means there's never a chance that you or I or our children will ever have one.



mikeg55 wrote:
commonsense wrote:I find the pejorative spin on unions interesting. It used to be that a union which enforces the idea that a working man or woman should have a decent salary, benefits and rules safeguarding his or her health and welfare.

Now, though, fewer people belong to unions than at any time in the last 100 years and the proof is in the pudding - look at the predicament of the working class over the last 30 years (i.e. ever since Ronald Reagan, a former union president, declared war on other unions and regulation in general).

I'm happy if the guy changing light bulbs in town has union protections - it's ultimately good for all of us.


I only have an issue with public employee unions. I don't like the pensions at taxpayer expense. If I'm stuck with a 401k, and have to work until I'm 70+ before I retire, I don't want to support a public employee union member who makes as much or more money than me, will get to retire a decade or more before me, and will continue get 90% of his salary or more for life.
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Re: How many Petalumans does it take to change a light bulb?

Postby mikeg55 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:47 pm

commonsense wrote:I think it's just the price of getting committed public servants. There has to be some perks so that people will want those public jobs in the first place. Just because you and I don't have pensions, should they be removed from everyone? That means there's never a chance that you or I or our children will ever have one.



mikeg55 wrote:
commonsense wrote:I find the pejorative spin on unions interesting. It used to be that a union which enforces the idea that a working man or woman should have a decent salary, benefits and rules safeguarding his or her health and welfare.

Now, though, fewer people belong to unions than at any time in the last 100 years and the proof is in the pudding - look at the predicament of the working class over the last 30 years (i.e. ever since Ronald Reagan, a former union president, declared war on other unions and regulation in general).

I'm happy if the guy changing light bulbs in town has union protections - it's ultimately good for all of us.


I only have an issue with public employee unions. I don't like the pensions at taxpayer expense. If I'm stuck with a 401k, and have to work until I'm 70+ before I retire, I don't want to support a public employee union member who makes as much or more money than me, will get to retire a decade or more before me, and will continue get 90% of his salary or more for life.


That is an outmoded notion. Nowadays, there are plenty of people who would take a public service job with a good salary, benefits and a 401k. And our children wouldn't be saddled with paying off their pensions.
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Re: How many Petalumans does it take to change a light bulb?

Postby PetalumaGal » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:53 am

Of course unions initially were formed for very good reasons. For the most part, in the USA, times have changed. How did public service jobs get such overly cushy benefits? Because they could. Now they no longer can. I'm guessing the atmosphere in organizations that now have two tiered pension/retirement plans is kind of awkward. At every level of government and public service the party is over and I'm sure an awful lot of trimming is about to happen. I think this whole scenario makes the boomers look like piggies at the expense of the current young adult generation. Times change and we must change along with it.
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Re: How many Petalumans does it take to change a light bulb?

Postby da shaman » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:23 am

PetalumaGal wrote:Of course unions initially were formed for very good reasons. For the most part, in the USA, times have changed. How did public service jobs get such overly cushy benefits? Because they could. Now they no longer can. I'm guessing the atmosphere in organizations that now have two tiered pension/retirement plans is kind of awkward. At every level of government and public service the party is over and I'm sure an awful lot of trimming is about to happen. I think this whole scenario makes the boomers look like piggies at the expense of the current young adult generation. Times change and we must change along with it.


Civil service employees received these bennies after negotiating with the various leaderships (local, county and state). During the negotiating process both sides come to an agreement as to a contract (wages and benefits.) Many of these "overly cushy" benefits were given when times were good and the coffers overflowed. Unfortunately, the government agencies frequently failed to pay their share into CalPERS or other retirement fund. Times went south and the agencies were facing a huge deficit. Whose fault is that? Too easy to blame the civil servant.
Critics always tout the "3% @ 50" retirement for civil service employees. That retirement benefit applies mainly to public safety employees-cops and firefighters. I don't know of any park employees, street workers or light repairmen that get this. Also, an employee that gets 90% of salary in retirement has to work 30 years for it.

Should there be trimming in government? Damn right there should be. We should hold ALL our elected officials to make cuts to or eliminate programs that are redundant or wasteful. We are wasting big bucks providing meals to kids that end up getting thrown away, cut back. Wasting time enacting laws that cannot or will not be enforced but cost money to manage. And on and on.

I worked in civil service and I don't reap the benefit of a huge retirement. I don't get a fully paid medical plan. I made some investments on my own that ease up the situation. I also saw the incredible waste committed by government agencies, monies that could have been used fixing the infrastructure. Hiring and purchasing policies that would make your eyes bleed. And the problem is all of us. We elected the officials that have perpetuated these policies and then use the civil servant as the evil doer.
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Re: How many Petalumans does it take to change a light bulb?

Postby Edgybob » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:06 pm

I dont blame the civil employee, in fact some of them are probably getting screwed as these entitlements structures change mid career. The last generation of folks probably got WAAY too good a deal and the next generation will be more noramalized. Its the folks in transition (10 to 20 year careers) may actually be getting the worst of both worlds...

I do have a huge issue with the concept that unions generally protect to their core: that tenure and seniority matter above competence and effectiveness. That is where all this went south (IMHO). Unions were a good thing until they got so much power that they started fight for contracts that upset the natural competive (and capitalist) notion that the best should be rewarded the most. Its great when tenure and experience actually lead to more competence but we all know that is not always the case...

Since I consider myself to be a pretty talented guy (yay me!) I would never tolerate an environment that some other person who is less talented (boo them!) gets pretty much the same contract year after year becasue we both managed not to die or get fired over the past 365 days. No way. I just cant imagine why anyone would - unless they are not confident in their own ability to add and substantiate their own value to their employer....I dont want a committe of people I have never met doing that for me.
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Re: How many Petalumans does it take to change a light bulb?

Postby commonsense » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:03 pm

mikeg55 wrote:
commonsense wrote:I think it's just the price of getting committed public servants. There has to be some perks so that people will want those public jobs in the first place. Just because you and I don't have pensions, should they be removed from everyone? That means there's never a chance that you or I or our children will ever have one.



mikeg55 wrote:
commonsense wrote:I find the pejorative spin on unions interesting. It used to be that a union which enforces the idea that a working man or woman should have a decent salary, benefits and rules safeguarding his or her health and welfare.

Now, though, fewer people belong to unions than at any time in the last 100 years and the proof is in the pudding - look at the predicament of the working class over the last 30 years (i.e. ever since Ronald Reagan, a former union president, declared war on other unions and regulation in general).

I'm happy if the guy changing light bulbs in town has union protections - it's ultimately good for all of us.


I only have an issue with public employee unions. I don't like the pensions at taxpayer expense. If I'm stuck with a 401k, and have to work until I'm 70+ before I retire, I don't want to support a public employee union member who makes as much or more money than me, will get to retire a decade or more before me, and will continue get 90% of his salary or more for life.


That is an outmoded notion. Nowadays, there are plenty of people who would take a public service job with a good salary, benefits and a 401k. And our children wouldn't be saddled with paying off their pensions.


If it is an outmoded notion, it is only because the power of unions has been decimated over the last thirty years and the working man or woman doesn't have power he or she once had. If you kill unions in one kind of labor, it affects all unions and in turn, the middle class.
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