Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day - Union Leaders, Government, Teacher Strikes & Business Ethics

Labor Day "A Walk Across the Bridge"

Where I come from (Michigan) Labor Day Weekend is considered the end of summer. It is a time to leave work behind and hold one last backyard barbecue, or head up-north
for one more weekend camping are staying at the cottage before closing it for the winter, others spend it walking with our governor across the

Mackinac Bridge. For most people, Labor Day is simply the last long weekend before the next long weekend of Thanksgiving.

In 1894 President Grover Cleveland created Labor Day by signing federal legislation declaring the first Monday in September a national holiday.

Today Labor Day is associated with the Union Movement that include parades and speeches by Union Leaders and of course Politicians. Unfortunately the Unions find themselves with dwindling membership that means less dollars and less influence with government.

I always thought the Labor Movement created a much-needed balance between management and workers. I believe this is no longer balanced because the Union Leadership has taken on many of the traits (isolation from subordinates, selfishness, look out for myself first, then the people I represent, blame everyone else including the government for “all” of the problems, corruption, rotten ethics, etc) of Executive Leadership and Board of Directors.

To bad both sides listen so much to outside consultants and academics who claim to be experts on employee relations. In my 27 years dealing with these types I found very few worth the money they charge and their ethics were no better than the people that hired them. Academics think they have all the answers and jump right to the conclusions (based on surveys, so-called research and interviews with senior management) with out any regard to the people doing the job.

The following are some stories that took place this week:


Alonzo Bates (Former Detroit Councilman) found guilty of bank fraud and stealing public funds for putting people on the city payroll that did little or no work for the city or only personal work for Bates

A federal jury convicted this role model and leader for paying his ex-girlfriends, daughter, his brother-in-law and his yardman out of the city payroll for work they never performed.

"You know, I can get in trouble for this," former Detroit City Council member Alonzo Bates was quoted as saying when he handed a public payroll check to a guy who was mowing Bates’ lawn, washing his cars and taking out his trash.

Mr. Bates declares he did nothing wrong and the "Ku Klux Klan ... Ku Klux Klan," mentality of the jury is why he was found guilty. The black jurors were embarrassed by his remark.

qualityg says … I wonder how many other people get paid for services they don’t actually perform? Do autoworkers that draw money from the “Job Banks” qualify as they sit home?

TEACHER STRIKES (including colleges)

It’s an annual event this time of year to listen to the Teachers Union and School Officials facing off to decide who is correct. The losers are always the students, parents and the local communities, and the schools themselves because parents will remove children and put them in private or charter schools. Even the teachers are losers because if they win the strike many will be laid off to pay for the increases and they will still lose because leadership says they have no money to pay all of the ones they already have because the state and federal governments don’t give them enough money

Teacher strikes are supposed to be illegal but where I come from the American Federation of Teachers Unions have political clout with judges (elected in state of Michigan).

qualityg says … Many of the issues have been known since last year. No sense of urgency takes place until mid-August so that both sides can use the children and parents as pawns for their own causes. Those members with tenure follow their leaders like lemmings and will not ask the questions that are required for these type of decisions to be made because they are OK, who cares about those who don’t have enough time, life is hard.


Last week an estimated 4,000 job applicants camped out for two days for a chance to get a job at an auto supplier plant (owned by the French). The pay will be $10.00 an hour. Many of the applicants were former UAW members who have lost their jobs and can no longer live off their depleted 401K savings. Below is a great cartoon by Mike Thompson of the Detroit Free Press.

qualityg says … I wonder how many of those UAW applicants were former union leaders?


I read were many of the universities are creating courses in business ethics because of the scandals over the past few years. And, it’s NOT just for the MBA students; undergraduate students also get a chance to be enlightened.

Another change (sarcastic) is the business instructors will teach these classes instead of the philosophy and sociology teachers that taught them in the past.

qualityg says … Who taught the business instructors? And, whom did they learn their practical experience from?

One more question – Do corporations hire more business ethics graduates or do they hire more MBAs?

The best thing about Labor Day is the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon -

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