Richard Mazzucchi - Positive Point: B...

Richard Mazzucchi - Positive Point: Bust-a-move to bust union busters

There are 10 comments on the Red Bluff Daily News story from Feb 28, 2011, titled Richard Mazzucchi - Positive Point: Bust-a-move to bust union busters. In it, Red Bluff Daily News reports that:

Richard Mazzucchi is a retired research engineer specializing in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Red Bluff Daily News.

sandslinger

Los Osos, CA

#1 Feb 28, 2011
Richard, I too attended college while working as a journeyman grocery clerk. My opinion is that in recent years, the grocery union that I was a member of (UFCW) became so greedy and corrupt that they are no longer doing the workers any good. For example:
1. They lied to us about negotiations by saying that we were not receiving our "usual" raises (which I think was about 10 cents per year) in exchange for not losing any medical benefits. Everyone voted yes, and we all started paying much more for copays, percentages, and prescriptions. Now, don't feel too bad for the grocery clerks, they still make over $20/hour and have better benefits than anyone else I know, but the point is that the union is lying to the workers that they represent.
2. When the union president decided to retire, we were informed that his son would be taking over as president. If that's not corrupt, I don't know what is. There was no vote. It was apparently not up to us. His son just took over for him when he retired (and I believe he is still the union president to this day).
3. Two-tiered wages. The union has allowed two-tiered wage rates. Now, instead of Journeyman Clerks, there are Clerks and Senior Clerks. The Clerks make about half what the Senior Clerks make and still pay almost the same union dues. This works out great for both the employer and the Union, but not so great for the workers. When I left the grocery business, we had the two-tiers for a few years and not a single person had been promoted to Senior Clerk in the entire region. They never will. Those days are gone.
Take it for what it's worth, but that's why I don't have much respect for unions.
Robert Red Bluff

Nelson, CA

#2 Feb 28, 2011
Richard, I was a grocery clerk for Ralphs Grocery in Upland, Ca. in the 70s and 80s. I was making a good living and had full benefits before I graduated High School. I was a UFCW member. My dad was a Steel Worker and in the Union. Our family had a very good life. We didn't have a great deal of money but our basics were covered and money for recreation.
By the mid 80's I watched our Union take some very big hits. They managed to divide up the items in the store and labeled which clerk could touch what. It allowed them to make everyone part time. So you could work full time for three months and then one week at part time and you were still labeled a part time clerk. The clerks that stocked gum and magazines and various other things were paid much less than myself. I thought it was big rip off.
I think after Reagan busted the air traffic control unions I saw it all just snow ball until my dad got screwed out of pension and a job and hired back nonunion at half pay. I couldn't get the hours I needed and had to do something else.
The union is needed in this society. It is needed more today then any other time in history, yet people have been brainwashed into thinking that big companies are benelovent. The population is so large now that people who get screwed out of a decent living and/or a job just fade away into poverty never to be heard from again. People need to tell their stories and stop hiding.
geewhiz

Redding, CA

#3 Feb 28, 2011
It would be extremely naive to believe that a union is not one of the reasons for a company to shut it's doors. Look at the paper mill in Anderson. They were squeaking by and asked the union to make concessions, lowering their pay. The union voted "up your nose" and soon afterwards, the plant shut down. This is happening all over our country. This union-busting will continue and you had better get use to it. Obama met with some CEO's and lectured to them to do the right thing and hire workers. One CEO at the end of the lecture said, "The main right thing that we need to do is make a profit and stay in business". The man just has no clue.
The strong unions are not our only problems. We need to penalize companies for manufacturing their products utilizing cheap foreign labor and then selling it back here. I think both sides need to meet somewhere in the middle and get our country back on track once again. What we are experiencing right now seems so anti-American. One third of Americans believe today that buying a home is not a good investment. I have news for them: Show me what is a good investment today. All I know is following in FDR's footsteps is not the answer. Hope for the best.

Since: Sep 10

United States

#4 Feb 28, 2011
Private sector unions and public sector unions and their members operate under completely different environments.

If a private sector union gets too powerful then the private company it's involved with goes out of business or moves out of the country.

If a public sector union gets too greedy it simply perpetuates itself until the other, "middle class" revolts.

Mr. Mazzucchi's blog fails to take into account the middle class who is not union and not a public worker. That middle class often carry the burden of both unions.

“Sustainable and Spiritual Soul”

Since: Nov 09

Los Molinos, CA

#5 Feb 28, 2011
Respectful effort wrote:
Private sector unions and public sector unions and their members operate under completely different environments.
If a private sector union gets too powerful then the private company it's involved with goes out of business or moves out of the country.
If a public sector union gets too greedy it simply perpetuates itself until the other, "middle class" revolts.
Mr. Mazzucchi's blog fails to take into account the middle class who is not union and not a public worker. That middle class often carry the burden of both unions.
I have spent some time considering the distinction between public and private unions but still maintain that we all are better off with collective bargaining in both sectors. Let me explain after echoing my statement that the two groups opposing unions IMHO are non-union workers and business owners, the former being envious of their union peers and the later wanting to keep more profits for themselves. This also pertains to public employee unions, except instead of business owners picking up the tab to provide living wage jobs with benefits, the taxpayers must.

You see the premise that our fiscal problems are due to civil service compensation levels is a lie, the present problems are due to excessive defense spending, tax cuts and the consequence of reduced tax and fee collections during a period of economic malaise. Speaking as a taxpayer I have no problem supporting good paying jobs with benefits for those that serve the public interests, including teachers, police, firefighters, and yes even legislators (insofar as they actually serve "the peoples" interests as opposed to only those that fund their campaigns!) I feel strongly about this because the wealthiest of Americans continue to pocket increasing shares of profits as the middle and lower class Americans slide into poverty. Capitalism must be constrained by a distribution of wealth lest we end up like Mexico and Arab nations with a small group of super wealthy folks and masses of poor. True capitalists are not otherwise motivated to share the wealth IMO.
Orv

San Jose, CA

#6 Feb 28, 2011
Admittedly the history of unions have had some shady moments however our latest economical disaster wasn’t caused by unions. The blame can and should be put on wall Street. The site below explains it all. A bit of reading but very informative.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Why-Isn-t-Wa ...

Since: Sep 10

United States

#7 Feb 28, 2011
rpmazzucchi wrote:
<quoted text>I have spent some time considering the distinction between public and private unions but still maintain that we all are better off with collective bargaining in both sectors. Let me explain after echoing my statement that the two groups opposing unions IMHO are non-union workers and business owners, the former being envious of their union peers and the later wanting to keep more profits for themselves. This also pertains to public employee unions, except instead of business owners picking up the tab to provide living wage jobs with benefits, the taxpayers must.
I also have spent some time considering this issue.
All across this nation Richard are non-union private sector MIDDLE CLASS workers that could care less about unions. All across this land there are small mom and pop businesses who also fit nicely in the MIDDLE CLASS without the benefit of a union.
I don't see these people as being particularly prone to envy or greed.

I do however see them being prone to taking offense by someone who automatically discounts them as being those things. And that might be more of the issue. After all, to you it seems the public sector middle class and the union middle class are more relevant then those, "envious and greedy" private sector or non-union middle class.

As I pointed out in #4, you seemed to neglect that sector of middle class in your blog. It's unfortunate you chose to getting around to acknowledging us in that way.

Divide and conquer right Richard? Once an union man always a union man.
rpmazzucchi wrote:
<quoted text>You see the premise that our fiscal problems are due to civil service compensation levels is a lie, the present problems are due to excessive defense spending, tax cuts and the consequence of reduced tax and fee collections during a period of economic malaise........ Capitalism must be constrained by a distribution of wealth lest we end up like Mexico and Arab nations with a small group of super wealthy folks and masses of poor. True capitalists are not otherwise motivated to share the wealth IMO.
I agree that government has spent trillions more then it should. That and being complacent (if not being an active co-conspirator) while the financial industry committed great frauds across the land created a major economic catastrophe. I don't have a problem with paying a fair compensation to the public sector, however, when the private sector suffers mass layoffs and ultra high double digit hits to their benefits, many being lost completely, and all the other negatives that go along with it. Homes being lost, their businesses shutting down......on and on.
And it would be a lie Richard if you were to try to make the comparison that the public sector has taken their fair hit in this as well. Do I want them to suffer like the rest of middle America has? No....but I don't want them whining that they might have to contribute 5-10-15% more to their retirement or medical when their neighbor has either had to drop theirs altogether or pay ANOTHER 30%.

Funny thing about people who support the redistribution of wealth. They support it all levels. Not just between governments and the people, or even between the super rich and super poor. It always ends up being the government that takes for itself and it's bureaucracies and the, "rich" is everyone who has something more then the other.

I know you feel strongly about those, "capitalists". I can't say that I blame you really. However, your desire for a huge and powerful government, redistribution of wealth and the likelihood that you will still end up having a government that will continue doing all the things you don't want it to do, places in a lot worse position IMO.

Since: Sep 10

United States

#8 Feb 28, 2011
Robert Red Bluff wrote:
...I think after Reagan busted the air traffic control unions....
On August 3, 1981 the union declared a strike, seeking better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweek. In doing so, the union violated a law {5 U.S.C.(Supp. III 1956) 118p.} that banned strikes by government unions. Ronald Reagan declared the PATCO strike a "peril to national safety" and ordered them back to work under the terms of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_Air... (1968)
craig

United States

#9 Feb 28, 2011
It is so sad that the Reagan haters have no clue to what the history of the actions that he took and that it was the the right thing to do. They broke the law, and had to suffer the consequence of their actions. Had he not followed through with the threat of firing them, then the union would have won, and the power of the federal government in it's right to make law would have been lost.
Robert Red Bluff

Chico, CA

#10 Mar 1, 2011
Respectful Effort;

You talk about the "non-union middle class workers" Well, let me tell you a story of a non-union middle class worker.

She earned two masters degrees in computer information technologies. She worked for the YUM Corporation (Taco Bell, KFC etc.) She made 150K per year and worked for them for 15 years. She goes out on a routine medical for 30 days. YUM fires her while out on 30 day sick leave. YUM then outsources her entire department to India and fires the 30 or 40 I.T. professionals she was in charge of. YUM forces her to sign legal papers to get her severance package. She now doesn't have health insurance and can only find Temp work. The jobs she interviewing for have her looking at pay below 100K. YUM Corp. stock is booming, the CEO is making hundreds of millions of dollars. Isn't non-union capitalism dandy?

You speak of "Huge and Powerful government" What about a government like we use to have when these type of excessive blantant smashing of human dignity were regulated? So I guess America was a socialist society before your hero Reagan? How do you think the atrocities that have been committed against the homeowners of America were able to be happen? DEREGULATION!

Please tell me you havn't drank the Tea that the Capitalist are serving up via the Tea Party.

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