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Would You support a nationwide IBEW Union, and sign a card?

Yes
102 (52.3%)
No
93 (47.7%)

Total Members Voted: 96

Author Topic: Rent a tech Union debate  (Read 352818 times)

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Chimera

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #50 on: Jan 01, 2007, 11:47 »
Well said, JJordan.  While I agree with the contents of your post, I also assume that all the roadies know these points.  Well, I can only speak for myself in that regard, but I know all your points and I have chosen to be a roadie versus a house tech (having been a house tech in the past).  I voluntarily surrendered all those lovely perks (rotating shift work, capricious managerial decisions, etc.) for a life on the road where I get to take 4 to 6 months off each year to spend with my children and grandchildren.  I felt differently when I was still raising a family.  I wanted to be home every day back then.  To be honest, that was my only reason for becoming a house tech.  Once they were grown and off on their own, I recaptured my freedom and went back on the road.  Would I like all the protectionism that is built into the concept of a union?  Most certainly.  However, I also remember a decided lack of protection from the union, too.  Being out here on the road is my choice.  I have my own IRAs, health care, and insurance.  It is my responsibility to take care of myself.  So I choose the jobs I want knowing full well what to expect while I'm at that particular job (hours, scope of work, pay scale, duration, etc.).  For those things I didn't expect, I adapt . . . and I remember for future reference.

I have noticed that, when I was a house tech, the job became my life.  I still hear it in conversations amongst the house techs at various sites.  Every little slight and/or perceived injustice seems to become a personal crusade because the "job" is so closely integrated into your "life".  As a roadie, the "job" is separate and distinct from my "life".  The job just pays for my life (travel, kids, etc.).  I don't think I would want this job to achieve the same level of importance in my life that it did when I was a house tech.

jjordan

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #51 on: Jan 01, 2007, 12:25 »
Chimera,
Thoose are some very valid points. I too as a contract HP enjoyed a lot of what you mentioned. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both sides. You have to make a choice and make it work for you. I used the creative unemployment as my paid vacation. I liked not getting drug into the political battles. Rotating shifts suck, but in outage as a contractor, you are usually either nights or days. I hate nights, but usually was stuck with them, both then and now. (maybe a union could make it more equitable) :P The measure of a good outage as a contractor was: I got through it, made some money, and they barely remember my name. Unfortunately being technician "A" several times, I would have liked to have had someone in my corner. The right of due process is the most important issue of all. When you have issues like theese, you find that your friends are no longer your friends. Everyone ducks their head and go into the survival mode! I managed to survive all of my ordeals, a lot of RPM's, and supervisors had to look for work. I don't beleive even though I survived, that the end result was fair and or equitable. I feel that if a union was involved, that a lot of injustices could be prevented or at least lessened to a certain extent. if you are cleared of all charges, and then released prematurely, never to return. is this fair? It's against the law, but it happens almost everytime a contractor is involved in any incadent. Nothing is ever written down, but everyone still remembers. There will be some people reading this remembering very painfull times. All of you contractors, need to keep your head down, and pray this never happens to you! You need to do this daily, because every time you go past that line and do any work, you are at risk. You can be fired, fined and imprisoned, if the people involved choose to "do" you, in order to save their own skin, and job. The playing field is heavily slanted toward the house side hear. One of the reasons they hire contractors, is for legal liabilities. It also gives them an out. "The contractor was released" usually appeases all of the parties concerned, except for the poor victim which may someday be YOU! :'(
Think about it!
JJ
« Last Edit: Jan 01, 2007, 12:29 by JJordan »

Offline Rufus

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #52 on: Jan 01, 2007, 12:59 »
I gotta ask. Are you actually in a union now? Or petitioning for one. You paint a much rosier picture of the IBEW than the one I know.....
« Last Edit: Jan 01, 2007, 01:02 by RangerRoy »

Offline ShovelHeadRed

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #53 on: Jan 01, 2007, 04:14 »
 ......JJordan, you spew a large crock of crap..........when have you ever heard of, seen or been involved in a technician being fined or imprisoned for anything?, fired yes...but the rest of that is junk..........and how about this union that gets you on days when you want it..sometimes you just have to work nights,,,house or RAT....... this is not a perfect world we live in..at the nuclear plant or at home....I agree a union can help the workers, that is what they are for.....but they do not make a perfect situation, as you are trying to get some of these techs to believe....we have worked in this business as long, or longer than you have...we have worked house, contract, DOE, DOD, EPA....union and non-union work...and some of us agree with some of what you say,,,,BUT YOU ARE RUNNING A DEAD HORSE IN THE GROUND.....I enjoy a good argument, and have started a few myself, just to see how they go....and I think I need to start a new one here........btw, do you have brown eyes?........red
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Offline ShovelHeadRed

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #54 on: Jan 01, 2007, 04:26 »
...I left something out...this technician A thing....if you were involved in a situation that put you in that technician A seat....then evidently you let something get by you.....you may need a union to save yourself......I myself, have never been in that seat...maybe it was luck, maybe it was the prayer, maybe its because I was DOING MY JOB........but I dont think I need a union, because I am afraid of losing my job, because I radio'd a survey..maybe didnt do an air sample....missed a couple smears I/S the valve they were opening...had my meter on the wrong scale........do your job, self check yourself....make the deal, you want financially at the beginning of the outage, always have a backup plan...draw Mass unemployment...dont overextend yourself at the bank....and enjoy every summer and winter 7 days a week at least 26 weeks a year at home....not worrying about security, rent a techs, unions , breakrooms or arguing with some one you dont even know who they are......what do you think...AMERICA???????????
"A government
big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take
everything you have.." Thomas Jefferson

"If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence.  If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel" - BB. (Benjamin Netanyahu)

.....Calling an illegal alien an 'undocumented immigrant' is like calling a drug dealer an 'unlicensed pharmacist'!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline RRhoads

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #55 on: Jan 01, 2007, 04:56 »
Chimera,
Thoose are some very valid points. I too as a contract HP enjoyed a lot of what you mentioned. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both sides. You have to make a choice and make it work for you. I used the creative unemployment as my paid vacation. I liked not getting drug into the political battles. Rotating shifts suck, but in outage as a contractor, you are usually either nights or days. I hate nights, but usually was stuck with them, both then and now. (maybe a union could make it more equitable) :P The measure of a good outage as a contractor was: I got through it, made some money, and they barely remember my name. Unfortunately being technician "A" several times, I would have liked to have had someone in my corner. The right of due process is the most important issue of all. When you have issues like theese, you find that your friends are no longer your friends. Everyone ducks their head and go into the survival mode! I managed to survive all of my ordeals, a lot of RPM's, and supervisors had to look for work. I don't beleive even though I survived, that the end result was fair and or equitable. I feel that if a union was involved, that a lot of injustices could be prevented or at least lessened to a certain extent. if you are cleared of all charges, and then released prematurely, never to return. is this fair? It's against the law, but it happens almost everytime a contractor is involved in any incadent. Nothing is ever written down, but everyone still remembers. There will be some people reading this remembering very painfull times. All of you contractors, need to keep your head down, and pray this never happens to you! You need to do this daily, because every time you go past that line and do any work, you are at risk. You can be fired, fined and imprisoned, if the people involved choose to "do" you, in order to save their own skin, and job. The playing field is heavily slanted toward the house side hear. One of the reasons they hire contractors, is for legal liabilities. It also gives them an out. "The contractor was released" usually appeases all of the parties concerned, except for the poor victim which may someday be YOU! :'(
Think about it!
JJ


well...it seems that YOUR story is becoming more clear from the above statement.
If you're happy about the situation you're in, great. Glad for you.Sounds like you need to be in a union tho.
But not everyone shares your views on the Union issue...& i doubt you could speak for everyone...& it sounds a little "preachy".
I am a union House Tech....I do enjoy the benefits union..but do i need "protection"?..prob not. I worked on the road for 14 yrs as a HP Tech & was never tech "A".
But how many times does a person reach the level of tech "A" before the realize that it might not just be circumstances or the utilities that are conspiring against them???
Just some food for thought.

Offline SloGlo

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #56 on: Jan 01, 2007, 05:17 »
"tech a" ain't a title to be bandered about lightly.  iffen yinz are doing watt yer told, 'n dune it within procedures, protocols, 'n regs when something goes south shud ya be two blame?  yet peeps are.  iffen engineers don't analyze every aspect 'n one that is overlooked is to blame, is it yer fault?  yet da blame game goes on.  'n contractors are the wons at the end of the rope.  like jjordan sez, everybuddy is turtleing n@ while "tech a" is saddling up.  itza fact of life.  butt, whacha gonna due?
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illegalsmile

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #57 on: Jan 01, 2007, 06:52 »
gotta agree. i've seen us road trash served up to appease the dieties many times when the actual screw-up was courtesy of a house tech, supv, eng or whathaveyou. i actually saw a tech get fired because the GE people he was covering wouldn't leave the work site when the RPM ordered an evacuation.

jjordan

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #58 on: Jan 01, 2007, 11:23 »
Shovelhead,
It seems that you are attacking me and not the issue. I am in a union currently. Not the IBEW, but it's a good union as well. Lets see, I was initiated into this union in 1975. This union got me my first nuclear job shortly thereafter. I never said the union would get you whatever you wanted. I said maybe they would make it a little bit more equitable. That would mean: maybe you get what you want about half of the time, instead of hardly ever! ::) As far as techs getting fined or imprisoned, I don't know if it has ever happened It is a fact that it can! If it is determined that you did something willfully, this will become a very real probability. There are some people at Davis Besse that have learned this the hard way. They just weren't HP's. Plenty of HP's have been fired though, some justly and some not. As I said I was cleared of any and all wrongdoing, Some of the management I worked for were not. The utilities were fined, and as I said before the contracor was released, even though he did nothing wrong. As a matter of fact, he was complimented for doing everything correctly. Technician "A" is not a title you ask for, or wear with pride. It just happens when you least expect it. Sometimes in a matter of seconds! If you cover a lot of the higher risk evolutions, the probabilities increase. Even if you do something of minor signifigance, say sitting at the exit, there is still a chance. Say you miss something on a release survey, and someone else finds it somewhere. Not one of my scennarios, but I've seen that happen. It is not a perfect world, and not all unions are managed efficently. There are some bad ones out there, but that would be the members fault, not the IBEW's or whoever charters it. If things aren't working, you vote to change it. It's a democracy, just like the federal government. Majority rules! I don't need a union, remember, I survived!!! I want a union! Because things are not perfect, and management will have to listen to the majority. Try and get something changed by yourself. My eyes are Blue, Red, I may be full of it, but it doesn't show!
JJ
« Last Edit: Jan 01, 2007, 11:31 by JJordan »

Offline biloxoi blues

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #59 on: Jan 01, 2007, 11:55 »
JJ is right a Union will stand up for you in case something does goes astray.  Its easier to fire a contractor than a house person and a union would at least give you some kind of support.  And the only way you cant make a mistake in this business is your either NRC or you havent done anything.  Knowing JJ he is a hard and cautious worker but when your in the trenches back in the old days you were on your own and things did happen.  Happy New Year everyone

jjordan

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #60 on: Jan 02, 2007, 12:28 »
Thanks BB,
I try to do as good a job as I can, and like you said everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes someone elses mistake elsewhere in the plant impacts you, and you aren't the least bit prepared for changing conditions. See how fast you can get to the door when OP's changes a lineup without telling anyone! that's happened to me more than once! Because i've been technician "A" dosen't make me a bad tech. In fact I learned more from thoose experiences then you would in several years of routine HP coverage. I hope none of you have to go through any of this though. It's not the least bit enjoyable. I'm currently a house tech, and I've watched some of my fellow techs get tagged as Tech "A" . What I'm trying to tell all of the rentatechs is: if the exact same scennario happens to one of you. you will be looking for work before you know it without due process! The utilities always take the cheap and easy way out, and that is to blame and fire you, and not too many people I know will stand up and say "Hey it was my fault , not his" a union won't stop this, but it will give you some resources and allies that, believe you me. You will both want and need. Becuase it's you against the world. currently you have nothing. Oh and the tarnished reputation to boot. Makes it hard to secure future employment. See it's such a small industry, everyone talks. Not everyone gets the facts straight. HP's if they don't know, may embelish it a little bit, and the next one a little bit more. Until it's entirely out of context. Sounds better in the break room. If there is only a few contract companies. What are your alternatives if you get on a list or two? Think About That too!
JJ

jocro

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #61 on: Jan 02, 2007, 02:47 »
Just from the discussion here, getting everyone to back a union appears to be futile, but credit should go to jjordan for his efforts.  Universal support for a tech union would be nearly impossible, even though it would be in everyone's best interests in the longterm as far as job security, wages and uniform conditions go.  There always going to be those of us who see a need to cross the "line".

Offline SloGlo

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #62 on: Jan 02, 2007, 08:28 »
there isn't really any knead to cross a line.  there is no line.  there is discussion as to whether a union would be a bonifide benefit to the working road tech.  several aspects have been discussed 'n usually dissed.  funny, lots of these items that are dissed are the same ones that peeps are beaching about on other threads.  go figger.  btw, when yer discussing tech a situations 'n comparing them to what you git yerself into, look to see what lawyer you have in yer pocket.  a common civil or criminal lawyer is going to get steamrollered by utility and government legal beagles.  make sure yer lawyer is well versed in labor law and has a special aptitude for things nuclear. 
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jjordan

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #63 on: Jan 02, 2007, 10:57 »
Very Very good point Sloglow!!! As tech "A" I had the pleasure of meeting a lawyer that represented the utilities. he was absolutley the most intelligent individual I ever crossed paths with. He asked all of the right questions, hit on issues that the regulatory investigators missed. When he asked me questions, I didn't know how much health physics background this fellow had, so I asked if I needed to simplify it. He said no, just tell me like you would talk to a coworker. Well no offense intended here, but ya'll aint nowhere near this smart. He could have pased the CHP exam. If he wanted to practice criminal law, he could've gotten a conviction on OJ too! This is who you may be up against, if you miss something, someone else sets you up (shift turnover, and such), or things just naturally turn to s__t! If you have a union, you happen to get free legal counsel, who are well versed in labor law. I've had the pleasure of working with the IBEW's attornies, and you would be very well represented, if the need were to arise. It doesn't cost you anything extra, it's covered by your dues. Which depending what level of participation you choose, is somewhere between $20 and $40 per month. The dues also cover lots of other things, like a pension, and preferential rehire if you are outplaced. I don't know how this would be structured for rentatechs, but I know I've left that much laying on the bar on more than one occasion! It's a bargain anyway you slice it! You still need to think about all of this too! 8)
JJ
« Last Edit: Jan 02, 2007, 11:02 by JJordan »

Offline Old HP

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #64 on: Jan 03, 2007, 10:04 »
JJ
Now you are scaring me. I thought I had the HP road tech pension plan complete with the Brunswick Drywell bonus step included.
Seriously, the need is great for some organization, but therein lies the catch, migrant workers and organization don't seem to mix. Anyway thanks for your efforts and I hope to work with you again but I"m not on "the list" for this year. Hope you have a good outage.

Offline Eric_Bartlett

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #65 on: Jan 03, 2007, 11:21 »
I didn't mean to imply that any of the Euro-Techs were illegal. All of them I worked with were great people and there wasn't one that didn't meet any reasonable standards of competence or professional conduct, but I do have a problem with them being brought in to keep our wages down.
As for the bennies, you've gotta mean 4-6 months' vacation/year.....that's the only one I get. ;)

I've tried to stay off this thread as long as possible.  I've read some good points for both sides and some pretty "whacked" statements too - the above being one of them.   I cant speak for any other vendor in this business, hell I really don’t have the authority to speak for Bartlett on this issue, so much for the last name, but I will speak on behalf of the Euro-Techs and other assorted foreign nationals that I have hired for various assignments over the past several years and why I've hired them.  First off, and please don’t take offense because there is no offense intended, the idea that we bring in foreign nationals to "keep your wages down" has got to be one of the most misconstrued ideas I’ve ever heard.  If anything it may help to drive your wages up.  The foreign nationals, especially the Europeans, are considerably more expensive to bring in to the states than it is to hire an existing US HP Tech, or even drag one from the DOE, D&D or dirt jobs.   The thing that your missing is that these guys (& girls) are still employed by their parent company back in Europe who happen to bill Bartlett for their services - in many cases what we get billed by them is more than what we can bill for them.

The reason we use foreign nationals is because we, and I say we as an industry, need to.  Ever since de-regulation more and more techs get out of the business than get in.  I'm sure some of you that have been around as long as or longer than I have been can remember the days that there were more techs than jobs.  For those of you who have got into this business w/in the past 10 years I know that sounds strange but yes there once was a  time that some techs ended up not working a season due to that there weren’t enough positions to accommodate everyone.  Since the magic moment that de-regulation took effect, we've seen plants tighten the belt, thus leading to shorter outages & smaller crews.  During the “dot.com" craze I watched as a very large chunk of the technician population bailed on the nuke industry to go make their money somewhere else.  What that has left us with is an industry whose primary work force, you, is aging and dwindling at the same time.

We're trying to move as many people as possible along, but it takes time, as most of you will attest, to get them with the proper training and experience.  Hell allot of the other threads on this site have some of you bashing our efforts on trying to get the DOE techs in on the outage circuit, or trying to make Decon techs into JHP's, etc.

At the same time as our clients are screaming get us more techs, you guys (& girls) are understandably screaming get us more work.  So what do we do?  We enter agreements with foreign companies hoping that we may be able to grow some international work so that, yes (A) we make more money, but (B) we have more to offer you.  In order to get work over there we need to have  work available over here for their techs, which due to the current nature of the industry we do.
So what can we do???
Bring in qualified, experienced foreign nationals.
Will we make money on them?
Probably not. 
So why bring them in?
Because we have signed a contract, an obligation, to our clients that we will                                                                                                      do whatever we can to ensure that we staff their sites with the best quality techs that we can get to fill their requested slots.  Also, we may not have a contract but we do have the obligation to you, the techs, to find and secure as many employment opportunities as we can.
 
Ok Now that I've weighed in on the foreign national remark I'm outa here.   I know I have not touched upon your union vs. non union debate, and truthfully i really never will other than to say 6 in one hand, half doz in the other.  I've staffed both union and non union jobs - I've had both easy and hard times trying to staff both.  I've seen real good Union jobs, I've seen even better non-union (go figure) - all i know is that there are pro's and con's to both sides.  I'll let ya get back to your debate.

Eric Bartlett

The opinions & views expressed by me are mine and mine alone and may not reflect those of the company.

Offline Marlin

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #66 on: Jan 03, 2007, 02:37 »
Eric your posts are always direct and honest on this board, Karma your way.

Offline Showme T. Money

Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #67 on: Jan 03, 2007, 05:47 »
So how many votes are you looking to get before we start see petitions around the country at sites?  Also sorry for not reading the intire forum but what Union are you looking at going through?  One last question, are you looking at an RP/HP Union as a whole or just for Outage workers? 
I'm interested as well as many others from the workers I talk to, hope to see something happen.

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #68 on: Jan 03, 2007, 06:10 »
.."showmethemoney"...prior to replying to a post..I usually read up on the entire subject...so at least I will know what I am talking about...sometimes I make an A$$ out of myself...sometimes argue,,,sometimes bring out a good point or two...and this subject is near and dear to some of us,,,as we lost friendships that were decades old the last time a union for traveling techs was tried...I agree union work for house techs, works...but for travelers, it wont because we dont all live in the same area..I think the reason unions for welders, millwrights, electricians, works, is these workers are from the same town, city at least state...they have a local hall, train together, work as a team, break together..vacate together...ride their motorcycles together......not many HP's live in the same place,,except maybe Ocala, Fl.....I have worked union jobs, non union,,it doesnt matter to me...and this tech A thing,,I have never been in that situation..I have been fired, sent home, taken off a job,,,but I have never been afraid to stop a job, call a supervisor, document the problem,,follow a procedure,,ask a stupid question...or quit a job, because of a problem with management.....JJ, you have talked alot of pro-union, so tell me this....just how do we go about organizing,,the correct way, not like the last fiasco?....I am all for it, if it's done right...red
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Offline Mike McFarlin

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #69 on: Jan 03, 2007, 06:49 »
Not impossible to organize, just impractical. Would take a sincere commitment from all, not just a few.
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A.

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #70 on: Jan 03, 2007, 10:11 »
It will be through the IBEW. The number of signed cards for us at Brunswick to ask to be represented was at least 30%, the IBEW would like 65-70% to insure a victory. They said that statistically some card signers chage their mind at voting time. The required number of votes to carry would be 50% and 1 vote. I don't know how you can determine how many eligible voters we have. The IBEW is interested in all of the contract HP's, but I see no reason to omit the deconners.They need a union too. There are a whole myrid of questions and issues to figure out. I'll be working on it and maybe some of the readers here will volunteer to help also. It's a big project. Whith the internet it will be a lot more effective than the last time.We have a VOC in our campaign. (Volunteer Organizing Comitee) I'm sure when the time comes they will ask for asistance. One way it can work, is like the construction craft do. When you work at a union site, you pay a fee to the host union, and abide by their contract, but not all sites are  represented by the IBEW, so I don't know how this would work. I'm pretty sure the IBEW has been kicking around some different ideas. I don't think it will be a big issue for the contract companies, Bartlett already has a union shop. (Bartlett Sevices). The real resistance will come fromk the utilities themselves, but I don't know how much. I'll keep everybody posted with any new developements.
Thanks,
JJ ;)
« Last Edit: Jan 03, 2007, 10:14 by JJordan »

ramdog_1

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #71 on: Jan 04, 2007, 08:57 »
how are you going to decide who is going to get get top scale? why should I being a 27 year man in this field be paid the same as someone fresh off the boat? or out of some nuke school?
what are you going to do try and get bennys such as health and welfare ?how many hours a year do you need to make time to get health care for the year. what about lay offs how do you decide who go's 1st.and who stays.
Will this be like in 1990 walk out agin? (called it a strike) loose your jobs and go in to an other site that has walked out and take thier jobs like in 1990.]
it is not  strike  do to the fact it not a union .
and one more thought will bartlett sign a contract and will the others?
then it should come down to call the hall for an other tech they make more.
Who gets called out 1st why should I have to sit while the favs get to go to a job I wanted. is the union going to protect my rights to be called out 1st?

alphadude

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #72 on: Jan 04, 2007, 09:16 »
This debate is really dead end. Look at the demographics of this web page and you can see that most are not pro-union based. (conservative republican voting). If given the chance most of the techs that read Nuke worker would vote in a non-union president. (W). Pro-union workers tend to vote democratic.

Offline RRhoads

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #73 on: Jan 04, 2007, 10:21 »
wow....Dem Vs Rep...this is WAAAY of base now!

ramdog_1

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Re: Rent a tech Union debate
« Reply #74 on: Jan 04, 2007, 11:42 »
Why do you not call the OCAW
Oil Chemical Atomic workers. at least they are with the words ATOMIC .
Let me ask one other thing if you do get signed in how will benifits affect Per diem . looks like that has to go.
 Say you have a $65 an hour package why would they want to pay your diem as will as your health care and retirement fund.
the BM and Fitters and such do not get diem so why would an hp with a package?
« Last Edit: Jan 04, 2007, 11:55 by ramdog_1 »

 


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