Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Training for What?
Wise and worldly readers, what would you do? If you ran MATC, would you honor the union request, or would you run the program?
Could be fun to watch if the companies negotiators were among those ordered to go to welding school.
Great question. It feels over the line. Essentially, "neutrality" on this one would seem "don't get involved." Training the scabs puts the institution on one side. MATC organizing its students and staff to join the picketers would seem to be the roughly equivalent version of "the other side." I'd avoid both.
I'm certainly not anti-union (despite how the above may read to some), but I do think that an awful lot of union behavior has shifted from its historical raison d'etre (worker safety, establishment of a working wage, and yes, workers' rights) to sort of a protectionism against ANYone (management) using non-union labor or preventing anyone else (skilled non-union worker from entering particular labor markets.
Not a Wisconsin case, but here's an example of some of the tactics some unions have recently gone to: http://www.phillymag.com/articles/busting-philly-unions-pestronk-brothers/
I don't want my tax dollars subsidizing Caterpillar pulling these hijinks. The only sane reason Caterpillar would contract a state funded CC and not a for-profit is that the CC is cheaper. Thus, in a sense, even if contracting with the private company is normally a net win in the way you described, it's still a tax payer subsidy of private industry.
In other words, if we allow this school to provide this service, the public is CHOOSING to provide scabs.
Screw Caterpillar. Let them train their managers to weld at University of Phoenix, if they can.
Wouldn't "neutrality" then also require that the school not offer courses to Union members? Otherwise, they'ed be "on the side" of the people looking to hurt those employers by leaving for other jobs.
Acting in a manner which benefits one side to the determinet of the other is rarely listed as a definition of "neutral."
In addition, having the managers actually know the tools and processes they're managing will serve to improve the company in the long run. They'll be able to intelligently comment on and review worker suggestions, since they will have first-hand knowledge of the work involved, rather then opinions. For that matter, the proposals the managers make will be better-grounded in the workplace reality, and therefore less likely to inadvertantly make the overall process worse.
Most tech companies have management that is mostly engineer and other techies. Doesn't stop them making bone-headed decisions. Back when I worked in the tech field I had a lot of engineer/managers making silly technical decisions.
Hell, every management position in my school board, clear up to the director, is filled by someone who was once a teacher. Doesn't stop them jumping on every educational fad going on, boosting our workload as teachers.