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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Big League Bullying: The Conspiracy To Humiliate MLB Umpire Steve Fields

Baseball consensus holds that umpires only get noticed when they make a bad call. Steve Fields’ career as a major league ump was bookended by two calls that put him in the spotlight. But he went to his grave insisting both were right.

His first momentous call came during the umpires strike of 1979. National League officials, Fields said, told him that crossing a picket line was the only way he’d ever achieve his boyhood dream of making it to the big leagues. He was the oldest minor-league ump in the land at the time, and he believed what he was told. So he crossed the line.

And after all those years in the bushes, Fields suddenly found himself at the highest level of his profession. But because he’d made what his new peers regarded as a deal with the devil to get there, Fields’ run in the major leagues was anything but dreamy. Instead, he encountered seasons of hate and hazing from the veteran members of the very fraternity he’d desperately wanted to join for so long.

“Since 1979, Fields has lived out one of the ugliest episodes in baseball history—the ostracism of the union umpires,” wrote Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post.

Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 07, 2018 at 01:32 PM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: labor issues, long reads, replacement umps, umpires

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   1. Master of the Horse Posted: August 07, 2018 at 01:57 PM (#5722436)
Amazing read
   2. The Duke Posted: August 07, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5722456)
well, they won’t strike now with robots about to disintermediate them

Do we even need umps anymore? On 98% of calls the players already know and if they had enough cameras the computers could make quick calls on all the rest. Balls and strikes would be easy too
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 07, 2018 at 02:22 PM (#5722457)
From TFA:

Eric Gregg, a large-bodied Philadelphian
Well, that's one way of putting it.
   4. Sweatpants Posted: August 07, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5722499)
I'd never heard any of this.
   5. Greg K Posted: August 07, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5722500)
It's odd. Thanks to all the ######## about the strike zone, Eric Gregg is one of the umpiring names I'm most familiar with. But I never realized he was black. I guess I never really saw many of this games over there in the National League.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 07, 2018 at 03:44 PM (#5722533)
I guess I never really saw many of this games over there in the National League.

Gregg's channeling of Enrico Palazzo in Game 5 of the 1997 NLCS (the Livan Hernandez 15-K game) is the stuff of legend. That day in particular, his strike zone was wider than he was.
   7. spanx for the memories Posted: August 08, 2018 at 11:43 PM (#5723765)
Learned 2 things from this article, the first is that the old time umpires seemed to be a bunch of hot headed dicks and the other was the story that the Trump administration elected Reagan to the Labor Hall of Fame which seems surreal.
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 09, 2018 at 08:16 AM (#5723815)
Most interesting and informative baseball article of the month, and maybe of the year.
   9. McCoy Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:20 AM (#5723853)
Learned 2 things from this article, the first is that the old time umpires seemed to be a bunch of hot headed dicks and the other was the story that the Trump administration elected Reagan to the Labor Hall of Fame which seems surreal.

Yep, that group also elected to resign en masse as a labor dispute tactic. As if the world of baseball couldn't go on without a bunch of fat blowhards.
   10. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 09, 2018 at 09:56 AM (#5723884)
Well, that's one way of putting it.

There's video/pictures of him from this time frame. He hadn't quite hit his peak at that point, but it was obvious he was a big prospect.
   11. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5724017)
Unions exist to protect poor performers. Ironically, pro sports are the only real exception to that rule, because sports are still a meritocracy (mostly) -- underperformers get benched and released.

But unions overall are not that, and in my experience the most active members tend to be A) lousy at their jobs and B) thugs, like Colosi and the other umps in that tape & the umps who harassed Fields.

the Trump administration elected Reagan to the Labor Hall of Fame which seems surreal.


This is the first, and very likely last & only, positive thing Trump has done.
   12. BrianBrianson Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:53 AM (#5724032)
Man, have we not been members of the same union. When I was a union rep*, we spent ~50% of our time trying to get people paid for the hours they actually worked, and ~50% of our time trying to get supervisors who were sexually harassing the people they supervised to knock it off.

*A position to which I was elected because I was big, loud, and not in the room at the time.
   13. Batman Posted: August 09, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5724033)
Great read, but referring to Bob Boone as "Phillies backup catcher" kind of stands out as something that should have been fixed.
   14. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:12 PM (#5724052)
Man, have we not been members of the same union. When I was a union rep*, we spent ~50% of our time trying to get people paid for the hours they actually worked, and ~50% of our time trying to get supervisors who were sexually harassing the people they supervised to knock it off.


I've never been a union member and after my experiences dealing with them, I never would be. Examples:

-When I was a kid, my dad was in management & had to deal with a union at his plant. These were the lovely sort of people who brought shotguns to picket lines and called our home with death threats. We had a police car in front of the house 24/7 for a while in response. Interestingly, the greater workforce got so tired of the union thugs they voted to de-certify the local union, which is an epochally rare event.

-Dealing with local teachers union who has gone to the mat to protect the jobs of teachers who: racially slurred African American students, smoked on school property, a kindergarten teacher who left her class unattended for a 20 minute personal phonecall, a special ed teacher who called students "retards," and aggressively agitated for a strike even after its demands were met because its thuggish leaders want one. The state level union admins took the very rare step of rebuking the local chapter but their shenanigans continue anyway.

-Similar behavior from local firefighters union (average annual comp approx $280,000) which I won't comment on because it's ongoing.






   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:25 PM (#5724063)
Brian and Traderdave are like two blind men feeling different parts of an elephant and trying to make sense of the whole based on the texture of a trunk or a tusk. Overall unions helped to create the American middle class, but that doesn't mean that all of them always act angelically, or that historically many of them, especially the craft unions of the old AFL, weren't racist to the core.
   16. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5724076)
With the notable exception of pro sports, can you name a union that doesn't protect poor performers and doesn't hobble the efficiency of its employing entity?
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:45 PM (#5724084)
We had a police car in front of the house 24/7 for a while in response.
Union worker in that car. Just sayin'.
   18. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5724090)
With the notable exception of pro sports, can you name a union that doesn't protect poor performers and doesn't hobble the efficiency of its employing entity?

Can you name a single company that was unionized in the 30's that would've voluntarily given its workers a living wage without the agitation of unions to force their hand? Do you think that today's teachers would be able to obtain a living wage without teachers' unions?

Linking unions to inherent corruption is as wrong as saying that all business owners are inherently indifferent to the living standards of their employees.
   19. Tom T Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5724095)
With the notable exception of pro sports, can you name a union that doesn't protect poor performers and doesn't hobble the efficiency of its employing entity?


Not a Union member, nor has been any member of my family for many decades, but the general issue is that "poor" exists on a sliding scale.

As part of his Union duties, a friend of mine had to defend teachers in the Union-mandated hearings they received prior to firing. There were times where he would go up to the panel and beg them to focus on one or two aspects of their case so they could fire the teacher cleanly (i.e., without risk of someone later over-turning the decision due to bias). There were also times where it became apparent to him that the teacher was at-risk because the kid of a wealthy board member ... or the star QB ... had (justifiably) failed a class or been (likely rightfully) disciplined.

If you can come up with a nice objective and broadly acceptable definition for "poor performer", I think we would have much less of a need for this aspect of Unions.

The latest round of ambition-filled administrators is ready to start branding as "not successful" faculty who "only" bring in NSF grants each year, and one moron (current Interim Head) wants to give them 0% raises to "encourage" them to pursue larger grants. No clue where the hell somebody working in information theory (for example) might find a larger benefactor than NSF, but.... Obviously, the more likely outcome is that the faculty member checks off in his mind "No raise for teaching, doing committee work and bringing in enough money to graduate students, so...if I get the same raise for doing none of it...." (Anyway, if these types of jackwagons manage to implement their dreams, maybe we will need a Union, too.)
   20. BrianBrianson Posted: August 09, 2018 at 12:53 PM (#5724098)
Trader Dave probably isn't old enough that strikers would've faced a significant risk of getting killed on the line (Wikipedia lists only one incident of the employer/police killing strikers after 1940, plus the Greensboro Massacre), but depending on your industry, a shotgun on the line isn't a bad idea - I know when my dad struck in the 80s, they got bricks thrown at them, rammed with cars, etc. - but management was probably conscious of the fact they couldn't get away with killing works.

When I was a union rep, I don't believe we ever stopped anyone from getting fired. We certainly did make the employer less efficient, since having your employees work unpaid overtime is pretty good for your bottom line. ;)
   21. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:00 PM (#5724103)
I take it this is the new OTP thread, then?
   22. BDC Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5724108)
Do you think that today's teachers would be able to obtain a living wage without teachers' unions?


That rhetorical question does not really have a clear-cut answer, though. This Fordham Institute study is six years old and a little awkward to use (individual .pdf reports on each state), but there are some interesting items there. Usually the absence of collective bargaining correlates with bad conditions for teachers, but some states that prohibit collective bargaining by teachers (Virginia, eg) have pretty good working conditions; and others (Florida) require collective bargaining but have crappy conditions. (Or did six years ago.) State and local policies are sometimes quite independent of collective-bargaining pressures. Texas has about average conditions despite strict prohibition on collective bargaining by any public employees, and despite pretty weak lobbying presence from teachers' unions.

That's really just to say that teachers can sometimes present a unique case. Overall, strong unions surely correlate with better workplaces.
   23. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:23 PM (#5724124)
Re: teachers, I can only speak for the district in which I live, and in which I am an active volunteer, significant PTA donor and for which I have worked countless hours ringing doorbells and phone banking in favor of local school taxes.

This district has the lowest avg teacher salaries in the entire county and lousy benefits to boot. This is due in part to a quirk in state funding (in CA the greatest share of funding is from state, very little local control) and due in part to a militant teachers' union who pours all its energy into throwing bricks at the administration and defending low lifes who should be fired. If they actually worked for the benefit of their members salaries might improve, but the union leadership is just a bunch of dim thugs. The best teachers don't participate much, if at all, in union activities. The union is led by the crappy ones. Friends who teach in other districts have similar stories: union work in negatively correlated to professional ability.
   24. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:27 PM (#5724129)
We had a police car in front of the house 24/7 for a while in response.



Union worker in that car. Just sayin'.


Early 70's in the Deep South, so maybe not a union member.
   25. BrianBrianson Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:31 PM (#5724138)
I think we're at least roughly on the topic, no?

Teachers' unions are a bit of a weird outlier. In most unions, it's bad for the employers if you strike - they start making less money and stuff. But in the case of teacher's unions, that's not true - they keep collecting whatever tax is being used to fund education, but they stop paying the teachers. So the school board saves money, and has only the external threat of harassing phonecalls from parents and the possibility they won't get re-elected some years down the road. I dunno - everywhere I've lived, when there's been a teacher's strike, it's been followed quickly by back-to-work legislation, and arbitration that inevitably got the teachers way more than they could've hoped to get in a strike, because they have basically zero leverage when they're striking, and can only hope they can convince the public they're striking because they don't want to be teaching in unheated portable classrooms full of ankle-deep mold.
   26. dlf Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5724139)
With the notable exception of pro sports, can you name a union that doesn't protect poor performers and doesn't hobble the efficiency of its employing entity?


Personal background so you can weigh my biases: one piece of my legal practice has been serving as an arbitrator, primarily but not always in labor-management cases. Yesterday I set out a scheduling notice in my 250th substantive(*) case. Those cases have been roughly 60% discipline cases and 40% contract interpretation cases.

I've found that the vast majority of cases that reach me are far from frivolous and have nothing to do with merely(**) protecting the poor performers. There are some cases which the union clearly brings solely for silly internal political reasons, usually involving newly elected union leadership trying to appear like tough negotiators against management. But equally so there are some cases where management has been so wrong that they couldn't have been wronger if they tried - including one where the mine(***) manager put in writing that he knew that the CBA which he had negotiated required him to do X but he didn't care and wasn't going to do it. In other words, the unions who have appeared before me have for the vast majority of cases been there in good faith making legitimate arguments and haven't "hobbled the efficiency" of the company or agency.

....

(*) I'm ignoring the lemon law car cases which, in Georgia, used to have a streamlined procedure where the panel would hear 3-6 cases each day and not be required to issue a "reasoned decision." They changed the law several years back but before that happened, I had heard well north of a hundred of those.

(**) Termination cases are a bit different. Often the union, in its collective wisdom, knows that the miscreant should be fired but because management has the burden of proving its case and because of the threat that the employee will sue it for a purported DFR claim, it will at least put up enough of a defense to require management to prove each element of its case rather than just not submitting it to arbitration in the first place. In a sense, it is like a defense attorney who knows her client is guilty, but still makes the state prove its case BARD.

(***) Same mine where I was taken roughly eleventy-billion miles underground to examine a piece of a long wall mining machine because both sides thought it was an important element of their case, but they couldn't bring it above ground. Friends let me tell you - miners are much tougher than thee and me.

...

Edit re teachers unions. My wife was an elementary school teacher for about 10 years with the first part in a state with unionized teachers and the latter half dozen years in a state without. My kids went to school in each state before graduating in the second one. I can't say that I found the schools more efficient or providing of a better education in the state without a teacher's union.
   27. Tom T Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:36 PM (#5724140)
This district has the lowest avg teacher salaries in the entire county and lousy benefits to boot. ... If they actually worked for the benefit of their members salaries might improve, but the union leadership is just a bunch of dim thugs.


The former likely explains the latter.

There really does seem to be some floor below which the people who make themselves available for hire truly represent "scraping the bottom of the barrel". Once you reach this stage, all bets for normal/sensible behavior are pretty much out the door.

Indiana is pretty crappy state in which to work as a beginning teacher, but there are prospects to earn good salaries later.

The teachers whom I recall being Union reps were all pretty darn good at their job. Caveat: 2 of our 3 public school systems are in the top 25 (of 291) in the state, and the 3rd is still solidly in the top 25%. My wife's experience teaching in a different county was markedly on the negative side.
   28. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:40 PM (#5724142)
Aren't unions supposed to "hobble the efficiency" of management? The more exploited workers are, the more money their bosses can make.
   29. Tom T Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5724145)
Often the union, in its collective wisdom, knows that the miscreant should be fired but because management has the burden of proving its case and because of the threat that the employee will sue it for a purported DFR claim, it will at least put up enough of a defense to require management to prove each element of its case rather than just not submitting it to arbitration in the first place. In a sense, it is like a defense attorney who knows her client is guilty, but still makes the state prove its case BARD.


Thanks --- you described the gist of many of my friend's cases far better than I could have.

I just remember him talking about his (least? most? not sure, given his disposition) favorite case in which the school was trying to fire a teacher for some petty theft issue (something like stealing paper and other office supplies) and it came out that the teacher had been disciplined four or five times *within the present semester* for showing up drunk...yet my friend was ostensibly there arguing about whether petty theft issues should or should not justify a firing. He said he walked up during a break and essentially said "Are you guys stupid? This teacher shouldn't ever be allowed in front of a classroom again, and you have me debating the value of pens and pencils?"
   30. BrianBrianson Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5724146)
Err, not really. German unions are a much better example - if you're both co-operative, it's better for employees and employers if the company runs smoothly, everyone is happy, everyone is invested in the company succeeding, etc.

In the short term, being a dick to your workers can boost your bottom line, but in the long term, good, hardworking, experienced people leave and are replaced by less experienced workers who don't plan on sticking around and thus don't care about anything other than doing the bare minimum not to get fired, people get burnt out and stop caring, and so forth.
   31. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:49 PM (#5724149)
I take it this is the new OTP thread, then?

NO, goddammit. This is a perfectly good story that didn't need to have its thread ruined.
   32. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2018 at 01:54 PM (#5724157)
Yeah, I knew I was risking an OTP infection, but I was repsonding to the thuggish way the union umps acted, and noting such behavior is common among union types.
   33. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:13 PM (#5724176)
Err, not really. German unions are a much better example - if you're both co-operative, it's better for employees and employers if the company runs smoothly, everyone is happy, everyone is invested in the company succeeding, etc.

In the short term, being a dick to your workers can boost your bottom line, but in the long term, good, hardworking, experienced people leave and are replaced by less experienced workers who don't plan on sticking around and thus don't care about anything other than doing the bare minimum not to get fired, people get burnt out and stop caring, and so forth.


And similarly, when nobody has to worry about crippling medical bills because they have insurance that lets them avoid dipping into their savings to pay for them, society will be more stable and more likely to keep families together. IOW it'll be more like the sort of society than people who call themselves conservatives like to hold up as a good thing.

Just like a society where everyone is treated with equal respect and given truly equal opportunities is more likely to remain stable than a society where "the other" is demonized and white and minority workers wind up fighting like crabs in a barrel. But that latter scenario is what many self-described "conservatives" continually cheer on, at least the ones who most loudly defend our current occupant of the White House.

   34. dlf Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:21 PM (#5724185)
NO, goddammit. This is a perfectly good story that didn't need to have its thread ruined.


Sorry. I can talk about the evils of Eric Gregg all day or equally so the stupidity of Richie Phillips, both as an Ump and as a labor leader.
   35. bunyon Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:23 PM (#5724188)
Yeah, I knew I was risking an OTP infection, but I was repsonding to the thuggish way the union umps acted, and noting such behavior is common among union types.

And exploitation is common among employer types. What are you gonna do?


As to the story, damn. I get not socializing with the guy - no one should feel it necessary to socialize with anyone they don't wish to - but the on-field crap was terrible.

I've always sort of wondered if it doesn't make sense for MLBPA to pull in MiLB players to forestall such a strategy if they need to walk out. It would also be the decent thing to do but having a pool of replacements being trained by your employer seems like it would reduce your ability to walk out. I guess, in the case of the MLBPA, their members have name recognition that protects them. But the umps don't. I think it's interesting that MLB seems to have intentionally tried to avoid such a situation in the later umpires strike.

And the members of Fields' crew sound like real ########. Two of them I had never liked and the third I'd never heard of.
   36. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5724191)
As a general rule, an umpire whose name you know is probably a really bad umpire.
   37. dlf Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:28 PM (#5724196)
Don't go taking Doug Harvey's name in vain! I believe that is one of the Ten Commandments, right?
   38. Batman Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:32 PM (#5724199)
Don't go taking Doug Harvey's name in vain! I believe that is one of the Ten Commandments, right?
It's in Eric Gregg's version of the Ten Commandments, which is much broader than the Commandment document as defined by the Christianity rulebook.
   39. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5724210)
It's in Eric Gregg's version of the Ten Commandments, which is much wider than the Commandment document as defined by the Christianity rulebook.

Gregg's Christianity rulebook is so wide, it's half Jewish
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:44 PM (#5724212)
At least five tablets of stone.
   41. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:45 PM (#5724215)
Gregg's Christianity rulebook is so wide, it's half Jewish
Well, in fairness, the actual Christianity rulebook is half Jewish too.
   42. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2018 at 02:57 PM (#5724228)
Well, in fairness, the actual Christianity rulebook is half Jewish too.


And the Jewish half is where most of the dirty stuff is.
   43. BrianBrianson Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:01 PM (#5724233)
As a general rule, an umpire whose name you know is probably a really bad umpire.


The only alternative is that they have a truly hilarious name.
   44. Perry Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:20 PM (#5724249)
I used to know all the NL umpires, back when they only worked one league and there were only 24 regulars. I even knew a few of the AL-ers. Now I doubt I could name more than 5 or 6 off the top of my head.
   45. maccoach57 Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:21 PM (#5724251)
NO, goddammit. This is a perfectly good story that didn't need to have its thread ruined.


BTF is dominated by white, middle-and-upper management type guys, aged 30-60, a large percentage of whom have school-aged kids, so any thread that mentions unions in any way will result in this type of discussion, and will inevitably include a few guys trashing teachers and teachers' unions, even if those unions are not part of the backdrop per se. Been going on here for well over a decade. As soon as I saw this thread had hit 43 posts, I knew what it would look like.
   46. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5724254)
When I was a kid, my dad was in management & had to deal with a union at his plant. These were the lovely sort of people who brought shotguns to picket lines and called our home with death threats.


Why didn't you call in the Pinkertons and have them beaten?
   47. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:26 PM (#5724255)
My only experience as a union member was getting a job at a grocery store after high school. I found out on my first day that I had to join a union, and that the dues would mean I'd make less than minimum wage.
   48. perros Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:41 PM (#5724267)
45 -- damned right.

Nobody noted that it was the owners who gave Fields the ultimatum to either be a scab or never be hired at all. I can't really blame him considering the salary, but neither do I blame the union members for ostracizing him. There is no union, no collective bargaining power, if workers break the action.

Americans rarely aim their ire at the proper target. Owners=Trump
   49. dlf Posted: August 09, 2018 at 03:43 PM (#5724270)
I used to know all the NL umpires, back when they only worked one league and there were only 24 regulars. I even knew a few of the AL-ers. Now I doubt I could name more than 5 or 6 off the top of my head.


I used to know the names of all the starters for every team in the AL and most of them in the NL. Expansion, more frequent use of the AAA shuttle and far more importantly, getting older with less time to spend on this stuff has taken that away from me. I can picture Eric Gregg, Livan Hernandez, Fred McGriff ... or a generation earlier Ron Luciano, Jim Palmer and Hal McRae easily, but many fewer of today's players. I'm pretty sure that if they were in street clothes I'd have no idea who Angel Hernandez or Luis Severino or Corey Seager were.
   50. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2018 at 04:31 PM (#5724316)
BTF is dominated by white, middle-and-upper management type guys, aged 30-60, a large percentage of whom have school-aged kids, so any thread that mentions unions in any way will result in this type of discussion, and will inevitably include a few guys trashing teachers and teachers' unions, even if those unions are not part of the backdrop per se. Been going on here for well over a decade. As soon as I saw this thread had hit 43 posts, I knew what it would look like.


Note that I did not trash teachers in general. Most of the ones I had were excellent, same for the ones my kids have had. I trashed teachers unions, who in my experience are run by combative & incompetent teachers, who are a minority of the profession.
   51. BrianBrianson Posted: August 09, 2018 at 04:37 PM (#5724323)
Also, my rugrat doesn't start school for another year. So ha! Generalisation = wrong.
   52. Batman Posted: August 09, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5724330)
BrianBrianson's kid doesn't start school for another year, so that's 49% right there.
   53. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2018 at 08:44 AM (#5724564)
With the notable exception of pro sports, can you name a union that doesn't protect poor performers and doesn't hobble the efficiency of its employing entity?

This is wrong and missing the point.

Unions don't protect poor performers. Unions protect their members. Period. That is kind of their role. Management can get rid of any poor performer they want. They just have to do it fairly and in the agreed upon manner. Unfortunately just like there are poor performers inside the union there are also poor performers inside management which leads to conflict.

Most people don't want to or like to document poor performance and behaviors. Well, with a CBA that is too bad, you need to do it. I've worked in an industry that has unions in some places of work and in others they do not. I have seen no difference in the quality of employees. I will also say that the non union place is far more cutthroat when it comes to messing with their employees and their lives. I currently work in a non union place right now and while we have a lot of aspects that you would find in a union house since they don't want a union to form they also do things that a union wouldn't allow. We mess with a person's schedule, we cut hours, we shift from full time employees to part time to cut benefits, so on and so on. You can argue that we're just doing business and what the rules and laws allow but the same can be said about the negative aspects of a union house. If you have a union workforce and you don't think it is very good that isn't the union's fault. That is management's fault for not managing their workforce correctly.
   54. Hysterical & Useless Posted: August 10, 2018 at 10:19 AM (#5724608)
They just have to do it fairly and in the agreed upon manner.


Absolutely!!!

Most people don't want to or like to document poor performance and behaviors. Well, with a CBA that is too bad, you need to do it.


My wife ran a private school (so non-union) for a number of years, and she ALWAYS documented performance/behavior problems. She hated firing people (1st choice is always to do what you need to do to get them up to the mark), but you really need to be able to demonstrate good cause in order to avoid lots of unpleasantness (lawsuits, paying out unemployment, rising insurance rates).

The only union I ever belonged to was a joke, but even a fleeting acquaintance with labor history since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution shows that unions were absolutely necessary; working conditions for most people in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first decade or two of the twentieth were horrific. As long as management had no incentive but their own personal altruism to improve those conditions, they wouldn't, didn't, couldn't improve.
   55. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 10, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5724624)
Yes but now that unions have put all these worker protects in place there's no need for them anymore - business learned its lesson and knows to treat labor respectfully.
   56. McCoy Posted: August 10, 2018 at 05:27 PM (#5724903)
Where’s a simpsons gif when you need it?
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: August 10, 2018 at 06:02 PM (#5724922)
Brian and Traderdave are like two blind men feeling different parts of an elephant and trying to make sense of the whole based on the texture of a trunk or a tusk. Overall unions helped to create the American middle class, but that doesn't mean that all of them always act angelically, or that historically many of them, especially the craft unions of the old AFL, weren't racist to the core.


I've always thought of unions as good thing when they first start out, but after about 20 or 30 years or so, they have managed to get all the real concessions that they set out for, and that is fair, and then need to justify the membership fees and the organization that they created, so they keep trying to push the boundaries, not for fair treatment, but because they feel that they need to be seen doing something. After that time, I'm not a fan of unions. When you see them out of policy not sticking up for new employees because they effectively have a handshake deal with management to not protect new members, so management can constantly hire people for 88 days of work with everyone at the facility knowing that there is zero chance the person is going to be able to stick around to get a full job.(this is for simple non-complicated jobs that don't usually require high skills, but used to be an entry job into the business, now it's a way for unions to collect fees from suckers that they have no chance of having to ever represent and for business to keep a few roles in their company safe from being given benefits)
   58. cardsfanboy Posted: August 10, 2018 at 06:11 PM (#5724925)
(**) Termination cases are a bit different. Often the union, in its collective wisdom, knows that the miscreant should be fired but because management has the burden of proving its case and because of the threat that the employee will sue it for a purported DFR claim, it will at least put up enough of a defense to require management to prove each element of its case rather than just not submitting it to arbitration in the first place. In a sense, it is like a defense attorney who knows her client is guilty, but still makes the state prove its case BARD.


It makes sense that unions insist on employers following procedure for every firing, simply to establish the guidelines that they need to follow and hope that those guidelines reduce the number of firings for personal reasons (Manager doesn't like a guy with an accent or a female manager doesn't like another female that looks better than her etc.) I work non-union but for a corporate environment type of thing, and there are procedures to do if you are planning on firing someone, you can't just do it(unless there is clear reason) but if you have a poor performer, you write them up, you give them bad evaluations (and at the same time you have to give good evaluations to a few) etc. Repeated documentation makes the firing easy to get past the corporate bosses (we just fired someone last week that we have been considering firing since February, but then we thought we could fix her and spent a month or two re-training her, and then when she was left alone again, repeated the bad habits, if not even moreso, and then when confronted said "my bad, I have nothing to say to defend myself"... we had the documents in place so corporate was fine with it and left us alone)
   59. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: August 11, 2018 at 01:01 AM (#5725051)
In the abstract, I view unions as distorting markets, protecting their members (good ones and bad ones) but at the expense of others who would also be willing to work those jobs.

That said, we don't live in the abstract and there is a huge difference between the power and information available to an employer and to a would-be worker - and that imbalance is not being sufficiently addressed through regulation or other outside forces (imo). So, I'm reluctantly pro-union in general, and ardently so in some specific instances.
---
That clip is from a sweet spot of my baseball fandom - I have memories of pretty much every player and ump involved. Yikes.
---
Beyond the specific energies at play here, I think it would be fair to say that there were a handful of hot headed dicks umping at that time (I'll let more knowledgable folks weigh in - my reading Ron Luciano books 30 years ago isn't much of a knowledge base to draw from) and that certain types of bad behavior among players were also more common (no surprise on either front, natch). Interestingly, we're seeing in the NBA a real increase in player/referee conflict and I don't think MLB would necessarily be immune to the same forces (changes in ref training/turnover + increased entitlement by all parties).

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