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#23375 - 09/14/12 08:14 AM Basic Goodness
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
In the midst of what seems to be an unending litany of stories about large corporations gouging both employees and consumers, along comes small business man Howard Cooper to demonstrate how a caring owner treats the people who helped him become successful.

Well done, Howard.
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ryck

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#23378 - 09/14/12 09:36 AM Re: Basic Goodness [Re: ryck]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
For those who are hostile to unions, bear in mind that if all bosses were like Cooper, unions would never be necessary. I speak as a retired teacher and card carrying member of the American Federation of Teachers.
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#23384 - 09/16/12 08:27 AM Re: Basic Goodness [Re: jchuzi]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: jchuzi
.... bear in mind that if all bosses were like Cooper, unions would never be necessary.


I both agree and disagree. I think that, in a small company like Howard Cooper's, issues are easily resolved because the of the short lines between the top and the bottom. As well, in a small organization it is much easier for employees to understand the direct link between what they do and the company's survival.

In a large corporation, with layers of management and mission statements that may or may not be understood, there is more of a need for the employees and the companies to address their issues at a common table. Theoretically, it should work well for both the company and the union. Unfortunately, the theory hasn't become reality.

I've sat on both sides of the table, union and management, and have found that both unions and companies suffer from the way union/management relationships have evolved in North American culture.

They're both in an environment that is inherently confrontational, even in the suggestive terminology. Unions make "demands" and file "grievances" while companies "threaten" with things like "lockouts". As long as each comes to the table loaded for bear, they're doomed to having a fight.

And now we have the ultimate fight, with large corporations involved in union-busting. In the end, that won't be of any value to the companies or to the country. Other nations have found ways to make the relationship work better (e.g. Final Offer negotiations, Interest-Based Bargaining, et cetera). Perhaps the parties should look at those before going for the other's throat.
_________________________
ryck

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#23627 - 10/02/12 01:38 PM Re: Basic Goodness [Re: ryck]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
I think a lot of it has to do with the point where the employees start becoming part of the revenue stream. Instead of giving them what's fair, they start cheating their employees little by little ever more.

While you could see that as a sign the company is in trouble, it can also simply mean that the workers are becoming disposable in their positions, and are ripe for abuse.
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#23630 - 10/02/12 03:01 PM Re: Basic Goodness [Re: Virtual1]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Hedrick Smith's recent book Who Stole the American Dream? is relevant here too by putting things in an interesting perspective, which flies in the face of what many Americans believe about recent economic history. Yesterday he was interviewed about it on PBS' News Hour, and he has talked about it at length at various other occasions during his current book tour, in presentations like this one or in discussions like this.

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#23647 - 10/03/12 03:07 PM Re: Basic Goodness [Re: Virtual1]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I worked for a Fortune 100 corporation that employed around 80,000 employees world wide and there was no union. The table or organization was incredibly flat — the goal was no more than four pay grades between the CEO and the lowest pay grade employee. Needless to say the pay range within a pay grade was wide — very wide. The open door policy extended all the way up to the CEO but seldom ever needed to get that far to get a mutually satisfactory settlement. The Executive Dining Room was the employee cafeteria and there were no carpets on the floor in the executive suite until the engineering areas were carpeted (as a dust control measure). The CEO had essentially the same benefits package as every other employee except bigger stock options. Almost all of senior management came up through the engineering ranks. The division I was in took pride in delivering more than the customer asked for, on schedule and under budget. (No we didn't always make it but that was the goal.)

It was a great place to work and our accomplishments were without parallel. The company took pride in giving workers all the rope they needed to either succeed — or fail. That lasted through three generations of management and into the fourth. Some where along the way the Board of Directors decided their customer was Wall Street, not the person who bought our product. Eventually nearly ⅔ of us were sold off to other companies - a substantial number took early retirement. I understand it is still a good company to work for but not the great employer it once was. My point is a really big company can be a really good place to work if, and kit is a big IF, Management does not isolate themselves from the rest of the company.
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#23652 - 10/04/12 01:11 PM Re: Basic Goodness [Re: joemikeb]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
That lasted through three generations of management and into the fourth. Some where along the way the Board of Directors decided their customer was Wall Street, not the person who bought our product.


That's the path any publicly traded company will eventually take, I suspect, whether it wants to or not. You could argue that public corporations are legally compelled to; any public corporation that fails to maximize returns for its shareholders can end up being sued by its shareholders, after all.

It leads to a legal environment in which corporations are obligated to act like sociopaths.
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#23655 - 10/04/12 02:41 PM Re: Basic Goodness [Re: tacit]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: tacit
It leads to a legal environment in which corporations are obligated to act like sociopaths.

I wish I could argue with you — I want to — but sadly you are right. That may have something to do with the recent trend of publicly traded firms to take the corporation back into the private sector. In essence that is what Warren Buffet and Berkshire-Hathaway does. Find a good well managed company that is not properly valued on the market, buy them out, leave the old management structure in place and still running the show. Shielded from the vagaries of the market those firms tend to thrive. I can show you four Berkshire Hathaway owned firms within five miles of my home here in Fort Worth in industries ranging from western boots, to construction bricks, and railroads. All are thriving and have excellent worker/management relations and only one has a union which is a fact of life in the railroad industry. So it can be done. It is Wall Street that is the joker in the deck.

Apple has threatened to buy back its stock and go private and frankly I hope they do.
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