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I worked in a union sign shop back in the late 80's and 90's and remember wondering how a business could properly reward the deserving and productive employees when the dead weight was gauranteed the exact same rewards for their efforts or lack there of. Every contract year the union would hold the business hostage until they strong armed their way to new unprecedented raises and benefits until the business finally was no longer able to compete in the market place and it went belly up.

This model for failure looks exactly like our present administrations social agenda.

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Kenn, I would doubt you could fire a union worker without probably three warnings, then maybe you'll have to give him a week off without pay. Then there will have to be a meeting with his local rep. At least that's how it would work in the UAW.

Your opinion regarding work quality between union and non workers seems to have changed a bit from your first post.

I think one thing most of us agree on is the fact that union workers tend to have that attitude of arrogance that implies that they will work at their own pace, and if you don't like it, you can take it up with my union rep. Which is the problem I have. It's as if they work for the union, not for you.

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Kenn, I would doubt you could fire a union worker without probably three warnings, then maybe you'll have to give him a week off without pay. Then there will have to be a meeting with his local rep. At least that's how it would work in the UAW. Your opinion regarding work quality between union and non workers seems to have changed a bit from your first post. I think one thing most of us agree on is the fact that union workers tend to have that attitude of arrogance that implies that they will work at their own pace, and if you don't like it, you can take it up with my union rep. Which is the problem I have. It's as if they work for the union, not for you.

Having direct experience with the union as it pertains to electricians, that electrician who belongs to the IBEW, indeed does work for the union and he is simply rented to the employer. That is just a fact of life in the electrical trade.

Having said that, I personally know many electricians who are union and I can tell you that they are damn good. No, they are triple damn good and know their trade backwards and forwards. The training that they received is thorough and prepares them for the work experience they will face. But, they do tend to be mavericks and kinda go at their chosen direction. In addition, they make some damn good dollars for going in that direction.

But, once again, having said that, there are some hacks who belong to the union and get along solely because they are part of the union and are a protected species.

For the record, I have seen so many hacks in the electrical trade who do not belong to the union it makes my head split with pain. So in the end, it is up to the individual to make of his career what he or she will. But the union guys I know do a good job and absolutely love the pay because it is very good. The road to get into the union is long and winding and hard to get on, but once you do get on that road, the journey is sweet...........

Also, for the record, I do not belong to a union so I have no axe to grind either way.

Best


"Don't be afraid to see what you see" - President Ronald Reagan

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Michigan roads are a fine example of union work - their extra knowledge really shows, doesn't it??

That combined with the stupid low-bid' system....

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Everyone, lets get out of the past. I can fire any employee with just cause or simply lay them off without notice. I've know the union reps for 20 years and if I have a problem with a worker I can take that issue up with them with not back lash. Back in the day there may have been other tactics used to control an area. I know for a fact that NYC sign unions are strong and tough and they will go face to face with you if you don't follow to proper protical to work in there area. This isn't done by storng arm tactics or political pay offs it's actually written into the construction laws for the city. This was done years ago so if you want to change it then take it up with the city of NY because they put it into law. Other unions accross the contry have never did this and that's one of the reasons the sign unions have a bad reputation but once again you can't say every union works at this level nor sits around exspecting something for doing nothing. It sounds like many of you never found the right shop to get your work done in a Union area and either tried to get around the issue and got caught, which makes the situation even worse, or didn't research the area and the protical that you had to follow and didn't have enough money into the job to cover your costs or hit your profit margin pretty hard. Sounds more like the idea that you all don't like the thought that you may have to put some additional time into your jobs to make sure you cover ALL your bases. DO YOUR WORK. Don't blaim your bad jobs on the Unions. Maybe your project managers need to be trained properly so they know what they are getting into before hand other than just throwing out that low bid to get the job. Most of the product that comes into my area is made by non-Union shops from across the country. How many times do you hear of a contractor refusing to do a job because of the product they recieived was made by a non-union shop? Not too many. That's old school mentallity and it doesn't fly that way any more or contractors would not have enough work to keep them in busniness. Unions shops have had to make hard decisions and restructure the way they do business over the last decade to stay competative with the entire industry. Please don't keep thinking that the unions have a lock on the construction industry because they don't. We battle everyday against all shops on the bidding battle ground and believe it or not, we don't always win.

As for the people I employ and work with, they can't be beat. We are all highly trained sign mechanics, with certified equipment, with over 100 years of combined exspeience. There isn't a job to small or too large that we can't handle with 100% confidence in out abilities and quality of work to get it done. We also stand behind our work and exspect to be paid in an appropriate time fashion. The NON-Union shops that employ us know that and that's why they keep coming back to us with work. NOT because we are union it's because we are good at what we do. The Union thing is just a stamp that lets people know the quality of standards that we operate at. I also guess our pricing must be pretty competative if we can go against both union and non-union shops and still get the work. Its not always about the mighty dollar but that sure ways in at a large factor. Most of the time customers want a well rounded shop that can handle the work, give them a decent price, do the job in a timely fashion, and know that the way they want the job done is the way it will be done with no call backs. Doesn't matter if your union or not. If you can operate at that level then you succeed if not then you fail.

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Exactly! And apparently we have no money to fix any roads yet we had enough money to put new elaborate traffic signals at every intersection in the state! I wonder what union company got the contract to build about a million traffic signals. I would bet that those thing are about 5k each and every intersection now has around 10 each.

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There you go again Kenn, making assumptions about how other people do their when you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Your coments always make their way around to how great you and your company are. It's always been my experience that if someone has to constantly let people know how great they are....it's probably not the case. While everyone else is discussing to pros and cons of unions, you seem to insist on explaining to everyone how great you and your company are. Typical union attitude! It's all about them being better than everyone else.

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Hey Rigby, I grew up in Michigan. I guess with the down fall of the states economic status, the auto industry pulling all there work out and shipping it overseas, and the fact that NEON has taken the biggest hit in the industry in the last decade, has really put a bad taste in your mouth. I know nothing about the other unions from across the country and how they operate but they way of the beast is that all those Union contracts that YOU state are awarded to just Union companies is totally farce. Did you ever think that the majority of goverment contracts go to women or minority owned business that are not necessarly union. What do you say to them. Dam you for being a women or dam you for being ethnic. Get out of your small thinking mentality and take a good look at the WHOLE picture. Our economy sucks, our leadership sucks, and we as the people are seemingly standing for it. As for me, I'm not and I do voice my option when I feel it's worthy. You're just a hater at more than one level and right now you feel it's the Unions that created the problems but you're so far off the mark it makes me laugh this morning.

Sorry but I have to go get some work done and don't have time to play any more mind games today. We'll continue our conversations and discusions later.

Have a great day to all.

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I personally think unions have outlived their usefulness. There are all kinds of laws to protect the workers today. If someone doesn't like the pay or benefits, go somewhere else to work. I will not have anyone strong arm me into paying wages or benefits that they think they should get. I've had employees tell me that if they didn't get a certain amount of raise they would walk, I told them, go ahead. I refuse to be held hostage. My employees make above average wages for my area, they have paid insurance (medical, dental, vision, life), they get a vacation bonus every year and they get a Christmas bonus every year ($100.00 for every year of employment and I pay the taxes), they get bonuses every quarter if their department exceeds their sales goal (a percentage of everything over the goal), we provide free coffee and soft drinks. I have never in 15 years laid off an employee, even when I had a really bad year, they got 40 hours every week. In 2011 the company lost $41,000.00, I basically worked for free, one of my employees demanded a $1.00 hour raise, even though he spent most of the year sitting on his ass because there was nothing to do. He said he would walk, I said go ahead. He found out they grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. I was a union member for 30 years in the telecommunications industry. I can't count the number times I've seen workers walk away from an outage because it was lunch time or quitting time, or the guys that had seniority set on their ass because the union protected them. I never did that because I wan't raised that way, I was forced to be in the union if I wanted the job and I resented the union every step of the way. I received a lot of grief over the years because I thought the customers and company deserved the very best I could do at all times, because it made the other workers look bad, I was a BROWN NOSER because I did my job. The worker is the one that determines the quality and the work ethic. The union protects the lazy workers and the malcontents, they will go to the ends of the earth to protect those guys, and run like the wind from a good worker that makes an honest mistake.

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Does Kenn signs have a website address? Not finding one. All I see is an address to what looks like a house.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Eugene, I agree with you on the fact of why pay for waisted space. It's your call as an owner if you want to keep or get rid of someone. In my union they don't dictate to me who I can hire and fire and when it comes to the man himself his work ethics and quality are what keeps him working, not just because he hold a union ticket. We also give out bonus's and I take care of my people as any good owner with quality personel should do, regardless of status. Theres good unions shops and theres bad union shops. Theres good non-union shops and theres bad non-union shops. I might talk myself and my people up because I have PRIDE and CONFIDENCE in what we do, not because I'm union, because as an owner that's what I do. I don't think to many shops will talk down about themselves if they wish to stay in business. Just because my opinion is towards my company and how it performs is not because I just talk a good game but it's my business and any owner with confidence and pride in me and my people I can say it and mean it. I also back up what I say with my efforts and skills not just my mouth or words as SO MANY Companies like to do.

I don't have a web site and my office is in my home for those that are trying to find me. I'm not hard to get ahold of. Kenn Signs & Service, Lindenwold, NJ, look it up. You won't be able to tell our capabilities from a photo on google maps. You have to call or e-mail us and that's how we start a repore. Drop me a line if your that interested.

One last thing. I thought this was a discussion about unions and being that this is on the sign syndicate web site I would figure that we should be discussing more of the sign industry other than every union in the country. I have always said there's good ones and bad ones but it's always your choice in the end.

Have a great day.

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That would make perfect sense Erik. He's probably just a sign salesman.

So Kenn, now you "know nothing about the other unions across the country". Yet earlier you professed to know exactly what was happening all over the country. Remember, there isn't one company anywhere in the country offering any type of training.

I think what is very obvious is that you know very little about anything other than how great you and your company are.

You make silly generalizations based on your political preference that have nothing to do with the topic. Again, typical union mentality.

And Kenn, a decade is ten years. The neon industry has taken the largest hit since the invention of neon.

I love how the people that write the longest diatribe's always end with "I have to get back to work, I don't have time for this". As they sit starring at their computer waiting for a reply! lol...

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I think we are confusing the whole issue of unions on this thread. It is one thing to disparage the union for using techniques that we find offensive and quite another to disparage the union worker.

Like I said, I know many damn good union electricians who do a very competent and honest job. They care about their profession and will, in confidence, tell you many things they don't like about the union. But, they are well trained and are what I would call highly skilled. There are of course many hacks i have come into contact with who don't represent the trade very well.

The same can be said about non union electricians I that I know and have worked with. One of the best electricians I was ever privileged to work with, Paul, was not and had never been in the union. He was one of the best I have ever seen. I also worked with many non union hacks who I wouldn't even let wash my truck.

So keep in focus that the you may not like the practices of the unions, but there are some damn good technicians who came through or are currently in the union. There are also many who are working and are exemplary who are not in the union.

I, myself, am not in the union and look objectively at both sides.

Best


"Don't be afraid to see what you see" - President Ronald Reagan

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I'm offended as a tax payer and American that my government would giver preferential treatment to a company based on the owners gender, ethnicity or if their a union shop, period. We don't need affirmative action for contract work.

On the website....I'm just being nosey and was curious to see what your site had to say about what you do and what work you have done. I'd figure you would have a website to show off what kind of shop you are and work you have done for potential clients.

So you work out of your house and you're a union shop? I'm confused


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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back in the late 80s, :headbang: I was hired on with a union sign company. It was about a three dollar per hour raise, I was happy and prounion! Two weeks after my hire date, when it came time to get paid, the boss called me into his office and asked if I wanted to join the union. I said, of course I do this is a union shop right? He then got out a piece of paper and started to write down the things he would have to pay if I join the union. He then said those things would come off the top of my agreed upon wage.I was also told that the company did not pay overtime, but were required to work it, and that the extra hours would be logged and paid out when it was slow. I still had my head full of prounion propaganda,so I sucked it up took a four dollar an hour hit, and joined the union. I knew that once I talked to my rep, things would get straightened out. I talked to my rep, and he assured me that things would get taken care. Nothing was. The only thing the union rep was concerned about was getting paid his dues.I worked at the company for close to two years until I found something else. I think I paid in close to $8000 into my retirement fund.there was a bunch of BS back then that you had to work in the union for 10 years before you could be vested in the union. I met multiple people later who had worked over nine years in the union, and were mysteriously laid off prior to being vested. That is money that I will never see.

Fast forward to 1991, and I am laid off at my current job. I still have my brushes and paint, that's right, old-school, and Minnesota sign company is born. I maintain my union membership, with the hopes of someday recouping that $8000. As a self-employed union member, it's not as expensive to be in the union. A large neon job at a local casino comes up, and union membership is a requirement. I was pretty naïve back then, so I put in about 40 hours into detailed scale drawings, designs, and bids. The other company was nonunion, and considerably far away. I talked to my new union rep and asked him to check on the job. He assures me that I will get the job because the other company is nonunion. He then goes to the other company and signs them up to the union! they also mysteriously end up with my drawings and specifications. I am not sure how much if any kickbacks he got, the only thing he was concerned with was padding his own pocket. my graduation from the school of hard knocks in the union area was complete, or so I thought.

Now, fast forward to about 1998, my company has grown to 12 to 15 employees, and built a manufacturing facility. I don't have a big pool to draw from, so I trained in a lot of inexperienced people. One such person, thought that after 3 to 6 months of training, he should be paid as an experienced installer. This individual also thought he knew better ways of doing things, and routinely disregarded installation specifications and did them his way. I am pretty fed up with him, but haven't taken the time to find and train a replacement. Then, my old union rep visits my installers on a job site. Of course he promises them the moon and the sun and the stars, and this individual takes it hook line and sinker. I would also like to add that this meeting took place on a job site when I was paying them to do a job. He gets back to the office and demands to join the union. I told him that my company was not going union, but he was more than welcome to join the union on his own dime and be a self-employed union person. He does so, and starts demanding union wages. I have been documenting his poor performance up to a point, but now I get anal about it. I document everything. He goes out to install a pylon sign, and was specifically told in writing to weld in the inside ring that sleeves into the pole. He has argued with me before about the necessity for this. I also explained to the other employee that this needs to be done. He does it his way with out the ring,and he is fired. The next day, I received a visit from the union rep. He tries to strong-arm me into joining the union. He says the only reason said employee was fired, was because he joined the union. If I didn't sign my whole company up for the union, he would file a complaint with the state labor board, and that it would be a lot cheaper just to join the union. I politely and diplomatically :wave-finger: told him that that was not going to happen. Asked him to leave my property and not come back or he would be charged with criminal trespass.

Long story short, that cost me about $8000 in legal fees. As long as I remain at the helm, the union will not be allowed on my property.

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Very well said Eugene!

I think your experiences are exactly what many are referring to when it comes to unions.

The unions were created to keep employers from treating workers unfairly. And back then the working conditions in some situations were horrible. Things are much different now, and I think the unions are a big reason why that is. But now it seems that union leaders have become similar to exactly what they were created to stop. Which is a fair and equal work environment for everyone.

I ran my company very similar to your Eugene. I gave everyone one week paid vacation and one week of paid sick days. I remember I had an employee come to me once demanding another week of paid vacation. I told him I couldn't afford it and he left for two days. When he came back I asked him why he hadn't been at work. He said he was to distraut to come to work until today.

I gave Christmas bonuses every year that I knew they all planned on getting so like you said, even the last few years when I wasn't paying myself, they all received bonuses.

Just me here now though....and I still rarely get paid! lol...

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Dear Ken, I don't think you have an understanding about any of our posts - your reply makes no sense.

Who is complaining about work?? My point was simple; union workers are waaay overpaid for the work they do releative to non-union workers in many, many instance - and in my opinion. You don't need to be so defensive.

I would put my work up against yours any day of the work, sir. And, I work my pretty little ass off, to boot, and have done so for 32 years, thank you.

By the way, I cannot find a website for you anywhere. What is it? I would enjoy looking at your work - see what you design, engineer and fabricate in-house. How long have you been in the sign insdustry and how long have you owned | operated a sign business?

Edited by sign_girl

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" And, I work my pretty little ass off" ???

Proof? Just kidding ------------- trying to lighten things up a bit.

gn

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Lol...I used to work my ass off, back when we had work to do...Not so much any more though.

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Damn Nathan! I'd say you've certainly earned that 8k.

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Lol...I used to work my ass off, back when we had work to do...Not so much any more though.

Nope, don't want no proof of that either...

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Gary, I can send you a picture, my phone has a great camera!

Lol...

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Damn Nathan! I'd say you've certainly earned that 8k.

that has been my experience with unions. When I read the post, I wasn't sure if I even wanted to respond. :gdmornincoffee:

I'm not sure how I earned the $8000? The way I look at it, I had to double my loss for dealing with them again :dizzy:

I wonder where all that non vested money goes? Maybe a union person could answer that for me....

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Damn Nathan! I'd say you've certainly earned that 8k.

that has been my experience with unions. When I read the post, I wasn't sure if I even wanted to respond. :gdmornincoffee:

I'm not sure how I earned the $8000? The way I look at it, I had to double my loss for dealing with them again :dizzy:

I wonder where all that non vested money goes? Maybe a union person could answer that for me....

Well, what I meant was for all the bullshit you've been put through I hope at least get that 8k.

That's a big ass fish! What is that thing?

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Regarding the UAW...I thought it spoke volumes when back in 08 the big three went to Washington looking for some help from our government but the UAW was totally solvent. They have no money problems at all.

Many people that don't live in this part of the country may not be aware of this but the UAW had what they called a "job bank". This is a huge building that houses UAW workers that are laid off or out of work for whatever reason.

Now these union workers go to the job bank every day and sit around waiting to see if they may be called back to work. The big three, as part of their contract with the UAW had to fund the job bank. Which meant every person in the job bank was to receive 95% of their pay. This was a big part of what was burying the auto companies.

In 09 their contract was re negotiated to close down the job bank. So now an unemployed UAW worker has to collect unemployment like every other unemployed worker in Michigan....I really feel bad for them!

Kenn's comment regarding the auto companies sending all their work overseas was simply one more ignorant line of shit that he pulled out of his ass. There are hundreds of tier 1,2, and 3 automotive suppliers doing very well in the Detroit area. But he was right about me being a little bitter about the neon industry pretty much vanishing.

I've been asked by my customers to carry a line of LED's so they can still come purchase channel letter lighting supplies from me. So I do that to try to make up for some of the loss in neon revenue, but LED products have very little profit margin anymore. I think Starbucks is planning to start carrying them so you can grab some in the morning when you pick up your coffee.

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