Has the WDW workers union failed?

Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by OKW Lover, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Just catching up on some podcasts that I missed while away on vacation. One news story from the 8/1 show was about a news conference held by one of the WDW workers union in advance of negations for a new contract with WDW. The thrust of the unions news conference was that their members are way underpaid and most don't earn a "living wage". Some will dispute this, claiming that most CM's are part time and that this isn't what they depend on for a living. Maybe so. Others may question just what a "living wage" is. I guess I don't know.

    It made me wonder though, did the union fail in its duty to represent its members under the current contract? How did they let their members get to this point? Union negotiations are between two parties and the resulting contract is signed by both labor and management. The union agreed to the current wage levels during the last set of negotiations. Should they have held out for more? Will they fail this time?
     
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  2. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    It's hard though they when members of that union are so dependent on a regular paycheck that they can only go so far before agreeing to a deal (unless they have some huge watchers of funds to pay people while striking)

    And they did get a pay increase last time to higher than other employers in the area - now just want more which is their job as a union

    I think the bigger issue is all the hires Disney has (college program, etc) to get around having to pay at the union agreed levels
     
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  4. NeuroCindy

    NeuroCindy DIS Veteran

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    One day I'm going to have to find a written history of how all of this has played out over the past 20 years or so. Until then, I can't answer if the union failed the workers or not. :/
     
  5. jcb

    jcb always emerging from hibernation

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    MIT has a web page which calculates a "living wage" by geographic area. http://livingwage.mit.edu/ It uses this definition: "the prevailing wage offered by the public sector and key businesses should reflect a wage rate required to meet minimum standards of living."

    So, the calculated "living wage" for Florida, Orange county (http://livingwage.mit.edu/counties/12095) for an adult with no children or dependents is $11.51 per hour. Add a child and the living wage increases to $24.07 per hour. This assumes full-time work (2080 hours). Osceola County looks to be the same. This is a social calculation. So far as I know, U.S. governmental entities (states, cities, counties) require payment of a "living wage." Here, legally, the obligation is to pay a "minimum wage." Talk of a "living wage" became popular when in the late 20th Century when Congress refused to raise the federal minimum wage.

    As to whether the unions failed "in its duty to represent its members under the current contract", from a legal point of view, the answer has to be no. No court would say that the unions breached a duty of fair representation to its members when it obtained significant increases, $1 per hour from 2014 to 2016, in the past contract(s). (Remember, there are multiple contracts, including separate contracts for full-time and part-time employees). As of July 31, 2016, all non-tipped Service Trades Council bargaining unit employees (full or part time) receive at least $10 per hour. Full time under the CBA means at least 30 hours per week on average over a 12 month period. Tipped employees make a lower hourly wage rate but, of course, are supposed to receive tips to make up the difference. In Florida tipped employees must be paid a direct hourly wage of $5.08 per hour (federal law only requires $2.13 per hour). Under the CBA, the lowest tipped wage rate is $5.40 per hour.

    Now, before you ask, it isn't really possible to make a one to one comparison between wage rate in a CBA to the "living wage." The union wage rate does not include many benefits (health, pension and vacation) which are reflected in the living wage. Also, the CBA rates increase depending on an individual employee's experience. For example, a bus driver makes between $12.65 and $18.16 per hour, depending on years worked (and other factors).

    It is difficult to show a breach of the duty of fair representation standard in individual claims. The union's action typically has to be discriminatory or downright dishonest. Unions, by definition, have to look after the interests of the entire bargaining unit. Even in past contracts, where the unions agreed to wage rates that were quite low, it would be very difficult to show a breach. The unions can always point to other concessions they obtained as a trade off, e.g., obtaining a clause saying "On an annual basis, January 1 through December 31, seventy-five percent (75%) of all non-tipped Regular Full Time employees who are employed for this entire time period shall be guaranteed 1,800 paid hours."

    College program students are not members of the bargaining unit.

    A further note, the wage rates agreed to in 2014 were for three years but the CBA expires in 2019. The current negotiations occur because the union exercised its rights under the wage reopener clause.
    The parties agree to reopen the Contract upon written notice no later than sixty (60) days preceeding September 24, 2017 solely to negotiate wage increases in accordance with Article 12, Section 1 and Addendum A. If the parties are unable to reach agreement regarding wages, thirty (30) days after September 24, 2017, the Agreement shall expire unless mutually extended by the parties.​
     
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  6. SorcererHeidi

    SorcererHeidi Sorcerer please cast forever love spell for me

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    Have to give you a huge shout out and thank you, as always, @jcb - for explaining the COPPA item in this week's news. As always, you have such a great way of explaining complicated legal issues in such an understandable manner. Despite the audio issues, I always enjoy seeing you.
     
  7. jcb

    jcb always emerging from hibernation

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    Thanks. I mucked through - all while Pete kept pushing his ear buds farther and farther into his ear!
     
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  8. SorcererHeidi

    SorcererHeidi Sorcerer please cast forever love spell for me

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    That brings many thoughts and images to mind, ALL of which shall stay in that Dark Place. :lmao:
     
  9. dalt01

    dalt01 DIS Veteran

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    unions are very good at getting you "7 and 1/2 cents" and getting themselves millions.
     
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  10. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Very helpful discussion @jcb. I guess my take is less on the legal aspect of their prior and current representation and more a question of if they should have held out for more so that their members wouldn't be so underpaid (as they claim) at this point in the contract.

    Again, there are two parties to this negotiation and both had to agree with the results. IIRC the big push last negotiation was for benefits and maybe they did less of a push for wages. Just seems to me that the union is currently trying to paint Disney as the villain when its something they (the union) agreed to.

    Of course all this is simply a negotiation strategy.
     
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  11. jcb

    jcb always emerging from hibernation

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    That's quite true. But then, the last pay increase becomes unsatisfying in direct proportion to the degree to which an employee believes they deserve a pay increase.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
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  12. mattincanberra

    mattincanberra Mouseketeer

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    It's a really interesting question (that I deal with on a pretty much daily basis) here in Australia.

    I work for a union with really diverse "coverage" - from manufacturing workers and health professionals through to hotel cleaners (and broomstick makers and everyone in between)

    The simple answer is that every contract negotiation is about relativities of "power", where you have a well organised workplace where people are prepared to walk off the job, and those people are difficult to replace, you end up with higher pay/better conditions. Where workers are afraid to take action, and they are seen as easily replaceable by management, you end up with worse outcomes.

    That doesn't mean that you can't want more, just sometimes you just don't have the chips on the table to stay in the game that long.

    Representing low paid workers is not easy - you are always acutely aware that people that spend every cent of their pay check on affording to live just can't afford to go out "on the grass" even if doing that would mean higher pay in the future.

    That is why increasingly fights about minimum wages are becoming political rather than workplace fights, because often it is the only way for low paid workers to win.
     
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  13. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Appreciate the perspective Matt.
     
  14. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    I see that a lot in sports (MLB, NFL, etc.) where the individual players will complain about the power of the commissioner or how they are being treated - when at the end of the day, what is being followed is the rules per the collective bargaining agreement that both sides agreed to.

    I do think a lot of it is posturing for negotiations - and trying to gain public support to put pressure on Disney. It seems like Disney is general the leader in this sort of thing and provides as good/better than their competitors (I think the last round they agreed up up the minimum and then shortly after Universal agreed to match that, if I am remembering correctly) so hard to make them the worst of the bad guys but they try
     
  15. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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  16. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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  17. Tiggerette

    Tiggerette Mouseketeer

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    Actually, I think the mediator is a step in a positive direction. It may show that both sides want to get to a resolution, and both sides may be willing to submit to a third party to determine how that resolution will take shape.

    My job classification arose to a mediator to determine what kind of job it was- and it wasn't what the employer expected. Ultimately, it meant better wages and coverage for me as a worker. So I'm not assuming bringing in a mediator is positive or negative ('cause that depends on presupposed outcomes), but it seems a step towards resolution.

    Now my forecasting question is; will the members of the union be allowed to vote on the results of the mediation, or is the agreement binding upon the mediator's finding? If it's binding without vote, I don't see what good a strike will do- so all the talk of an impending strike may be obviated by the use of the mediator. Any thoughts?
     
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  18. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Good point about the mediator's finding @Tiggerette. I certainly don't know what's happening right now, but there's a difference between using a mediator and binding arbitration. As I understand it, a mediator is the "cooler head" trying to help the parties find a mid-ground.
     
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  19. jcb

    jcb always emerging from hibernation

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    Jeff is right. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service of the U.S. Government provides free mediators to assist parties in reaching an agreement.

    The website FAQ (https://www.fmcs.gov/resources/faqs/#cbm-faqs) says:

    During negotiations, a mediator uses his/her knowledge of the industry, similar negotiated settlements, the parties, and the issues to guide negotiators past potential barriers to settlement. Mediators may offer procedural or substantive suggestions and recommendations throughout the process. However, a mediator does not have authority to impose a settlement or to determine contract terms.​
     
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  20. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

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    Happens once in a while. :faint:
     
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