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Virtual Strike

Strike without work stoppage
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(+4, -7)
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In a conventional labor strike, work is stopped until an agreement is reached. The idea, of course, is to deprive management of the profits made from the productivity of the workers, as a way of gaining leverage. This idea is for what I will call a "virtual strike" where labor decides to strike, but instead of stopping work, all revenue generated by the work site begins to go into escrow.

Neither management nor labor are paid until an agreement is reached, with the following exceptions: a) if management can show that some portion of the revenue is necessary to pay for materials or utility costs to operate the work site, then that portion of the revenue will be released for that purpose. b) while the union will be expected to pay strike benefits to the workers, if a particular worker has some demonstrable hardship, like "Lisa needs braces" or something, then they will be allowed to draw from escrow some portion of the revenue not to excede their before-strike wage. When an agreement is reached, the funds in escrow would be paid out accordingly, of course adjusting for any funds already paid out due to a) and b) above.

Obviously, this would fall on its face in the case where a work site is not profitable, but really, when that happens it is only a matter of time before the site is closed anyway.

JakePatterson, Nov 04 2004


       Geez, I didn't think the reference was that obscure...
JakePatterson, Nov 06 2004

       With a regular strike, the disruptive effects of work actually not getting done add incentive for the management to settle. You're reducing that incentive. So, if I were management, I'd much rather have your kind of strike than the existing one. My profits are delayed, big deal.
jutta, Nov 06 2004

       The union would also get reinbursed at the end for the strike for the benifits that it payed out, so it would wind up stronger then it would at the end of a regular strike.
JakePatterson, Nov 06 2004

       By "management", I assume you mean "the owners"...yes?   

       No company operates in an economic vacuum. There are always other businesses involved - up the line or down - like suppliers, contractors, packagers, deliverers, marketers, etc. Everybody outsources.   

       Many of these other businesses will be the kind of small one-man-bands and family concerns that usually operate with very small margins for error. They're not unprofitable - they're simply small.   

       It wouldn't take very long for these firms to become innocent casualties of your scheme.
thud, Nov 06 2004

       [thud], that is the whole point. They get paid, by clause b) above. If work was actually stopped, they would not get paid.
JakePatterson, Nov 06 2004

       Ah, I see. You're talking about salaries. Just salaries, yes?   

       But what's all this "deprive management of the profits made from the productivity of the workers" stuff, then?   

       Management are salaried employees, just like the blue collar guys. Profit is what's left after salaries and stuff have been paid.   

       This "them-and-us" attitude sounds rather dated to me.
thud, Nov 06 2004

       The goal is that the bystanders get paid and don't have their busines disrupted, but the parties involved in the negotiation don't get paid until an agreement is reached. I thought of it when pondering the NHL strike, not that I am much of an NHL fan, mind you, but I got to thinking, what if they went ahead and just played the games, using just enough of the profits to pay the operational expenses but not player salaries, and putting the rest in escrow until they reached an agreement. The owners would not have access to the profits without the players consent, so they would be motivated to deal, and the players would also be so motivated. This would have the added benefit of shedding light on the profitability (or lack thereof) of the enterprise, I mean, you would actually have a number to work from in deciding what percentage of that number should go to the players and what to the owners.
JakePatterson, Nov 06 2004

       I don't think you're going to get any support on this one, Jake. Shareholders would possibly suffer a little bit from this scheme. Employees would certainly suffer. Net benefit? I'd say not much of one.
contracts, Nov 06 2004

       [contracts], Neither party would suffer as much under a virtual strike then they would under a conventional strike. Bystanders wouldn't suffer at all. Suppose UPS reached another impasse with their labor, would it be better for UPS and for the union to have another long conventional strike like they did a few years ago, or would it be better for them to have a virtual strike? I remember the last one, businesses were disrupted across the country. UPS lost a ton of business, and the workers didn't get paid during the strike, except for strike benefits which I'm sure weren't 100% of normal. If one side refused to bargain in good faith, it could proceed to a conventional strike or lockout, but the virtual strike would give them a tool to use that may avert that, and if successful, both sides would be "made whole" at the end per whatever contract is worked out, because there is no disruption of operation.
JakePatterson, Nov 06 2004

       And for the end goal of attempting to make strikes less devastating to businesses and individuals, I commend you. A strike is a deadly serious thing, something grave and to be avoided by ALL parties. The owners of corporations can outlast their employees - - they have positive net worth in most instances. Even still, the corporation bears responsibility, insulating the owners and decision makers from too much liability. I just don't believe that it would work how you'd like it too, J.
contracts, Nov 06 2004

       Change idea line to "Escrow money made during strike, while work continues".
pashute, Aug 23 2011

       // This "them-and-us" attitude sounds rather dated to me. //   

       It wasn't dated in '04, and it isn't dated now. I've worked in part-unionized environments (which frequently happen in shops or on worksites involving multiple trades), and when you put them side by side, the animosity toward the management held by the union guys is ludicrous in contrast to the attitudes of the non-unionized workers.
Alterother, Aug 23 2011


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