I kind of agree with that too, but its not really "Union Crap" that is the issue. It has to do with skill level and employee retention.
Even the most experienced welder does not walk in off the street and instantly become a First Class Welder capable of churning out the quality welds the US Navy demands in the the exotic hardened steels used on ships that is designed to see battle. That takes training and time, and results in skill. As a company, it just does not make sense to let those welders migrate to other jobs when the average age of the shipyard is 55 years old and you have a retirement rate of 300-400 people per year. A company wants to retain that skill level and is why during slow periods of construction, they lay us off, but allow us to migrate to other trades. Paying a group of welders a few dollars more per hour is a drop in the bucket compared to hat it would cost to hire, orient, and train a new block of welders to the level of proficiency that is required to build modern war ships.
But as a farmer, I know where you are coming from; a fair days pay for a fair days work. If that was the case however, a labor cleaning the bilge of a ship would deserve the same pay as a welder, but that is not how the system works. I mean the US Navy is not going to buy a ship that has a filthy bilge just like it would not buy a half welded hull! But a laborer has a lower skill set and can be found anywhere, where as a First Class Navy Welder is much harder to obtain. It is no different than an school system paying a higher salary to a teacher with her Master's Degree then just a college degree in child education for example. You are paying for knowledge...paying for potential...not a days production.
This is to the employers favor. A long time ago I was rehired at the shipyard as a painter, the lowest paid job in the shipyard, but allowed to keep my First Class Welders pay, the highest in the shipyard. Being a Christian, I am told in the bible not to antagonize and I didn't say anything about my pay, but when I was told to paint fuel lines the JP-5 purple, I realized it would improve my welding skills. With a mirror taped to a stick, I was able to slap paint on those pipes in the most unreachable spots, but in doing so I learned the skill of manipulating a paintbrush backwards to what I was seeing. We call this mirror welding and do a lot of it at the shipyard to weld spots unreachable. If you think it is easy, I suggest you try giving yourself a haircut by looking in the mirror!!! When I told the welding school instructor what I did, he said he would have never thought of that, and later when I went back to welding, my mirror welding had improved so much, mirror welds were about all I did. Again, the employer got a welder trained for mirror work while getting paint put on their JP-5 piping...that is a lucrative deal.
So it is not "Union Crap", it is sheer economics.
(I am not offended in the least however of what you said, I am just trying to explain why things are done this way, and why an employer would agree to it during Union Negotiations).
freetown fred wrote:
Good to hear NS--not thrilled with that union crap of keeping pay scale where a person WAS--get pd. the proper pay rate for what you'll be doing or I'd find someone that will. Sorry my friend--just an old farmers beliefs. Of course you're on thieving Govt. contracts