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  • #16
    Originally posted by davedarragh View Post
    1.) The UMWA's #1 Priority is SAFETY. Even though this mine was Non-Union, the benevolence of the International is paramount in their volunteer services.

    2.) At issue here is SAFETY. Had this mine been UNION, chances are, this accident would have never happened. Work at this mine would have come to a halt before the number and severity of citations were allowed to stack up.
    I know you said chances are it wouldn't have happened but I have worked for a union contractor that preached safety in the morning but expected you to do what it takes to get the job done with no regard of safety.


    Originally posted by reggie
    you can be the best welder,smartest employee,hardest worker, but in a union setting if some lazy,incompetent piece of sh1t was hired before you,you will be laid off before him based on seniority.Most who praise up the unions are the ones protected by it.Why work hard or to the best of your ability if it doesn't make a difference in making you stand out from the ones who don't.Try joining a union without a "connection"....your resume or skill level/training won't help.
    There is a lot of incorrect information in your post, not all companies are based on senority, I have been the last person to the job site and one of the last to leave. The union contractors that I have worked for will get rid of you for not doing your job and keep the good employees working until the end of the job.
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    • #17
      Originally posted by reggie
      you can be the best welder,smartest employee,hardest worker, but in a union setting if some lazy,incompetent piece of sh1t was hired before you,you will be laid off before him based on seniority.Most who praise up the unions are the ones protected by it.Why work hard or to the best of your ability if it doesn't make a difference in making you stand out from the ones who don't.Try joining a union without a "connection"....your resume or skill level/training won't help.


      Conversely, you can be the best welder,smartest employee,hardest worker, but in a non-union setting if some lazy,incompetent piece of sh1t relative/crony was hired before you,you will be laid off before him based on the whims of the boss/foreman. Why work hard or to the best of your ability if you are just going to bang your head against the nearest wall because it doesn't make a difference in making you stand out from the ones who don't. Try keeping a non-union job without a "connection"....your resume or skill level/training won't help nearly as much as family ties and cronyism...
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      • #18
        Originally posted by Bob the Welder View Post
        Please give specific examples of what the unions are doing that are destroying this country and please avoid rhetoric and hyperbole.
        Probably not in the category of "Destroying the country"
        but certainly an example of the dark side of unions...

        About 20 years ago I was working for a company that made
        newspaper computer systems and networks. We were working
        with a "Large metropolitan daily newspaper" (in their offices
        in the middle of downtown of a large city). At this particular
        time, we were installing a pilot/demo system for the network
        we were trying to sell this particular newspaper. There was a
        guy in the computer room with us who didn't seem to be doing
        much other than watch from a distance. As soon as I plugged in
        a piece of gear (into a 110vac outlet ... didn't need a trained
        electrician/etc) he ran off to some guy in an office. They had
        a "spirited discussion". The guy in the office whips out his wallet
        and hands the first guy a stack of bills. First guy disappears.
        Office guy comes over and says that the first guy was the
        union shop steward and whenever he's around, we're _not_
        to plug anything in... Only a union guy can plug things into
        the wall outlet... If we have to plug something in, go get a cup
        of coffee until the steward is gone...

        I don't know which was worse, that the union steward felt that
        it was ok to sit around looking for violations rather than doing
        something productive, that the union rules didn't allow me to
        plug in a piece of gear, or that the office-guy could just pay off the
        union guy...

        Don't get me wrong, I'm _not_ saying that all union operations
        are like that -- unions have a lot of good, positive, benefits (and
        not just to their members). But they are not 100% good and pure
        (like any human activity, I suppose)

        Frank

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        • #19
          By CrossJ:

          Huh? I am non union. I am self employed. I have friends on both sides of the union/non union debate. I also lost friends due to bin ladens plans and what he intended them to do. Your statement above shot your credibility to **** from my point of view.
          How is what Don Blackenship done to those families any different than what Bin Laden did?

          By reggie:

          you can be the best welder,smartest employee,hardest worker, but in a union setting if some lazy,incompetent piece of sh1t was hired before you,you will be laid off before him based on seniority.Most who praise up the unions are the ones protected by it.Why work hard or to the best of your ability if it doesn't make a difference in making you stand out from the ones who don't.
          Sounds like a management problem to me. You should be complaining to your boss if that is the case!

          Try joining a union without a "connection"....your resume or skill level/training won't help.
          I had no connections when I was in the UAW (3 yrs.), UMWA (7 1/2 yrs.) and Boilermakers (19 yrs.). I know many who got where they are by their skills. Some probably had help but the way in is through application and skill sets.
          Flash me! I'm a welder.

          American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers Local 60

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          • #20
            fjk, I have heard of stories such as that but I have never witnessed any such thing personally. As you said, and I agree, unions are not perfect but what is? After all, you have the human element involved.
            Flash me! I'm a welder.

            American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers Local 60

            America is a Union

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            • #21
              Originally posted by fjk View Post
              Don't get me wrong, I'm _not_ saying that all union operations
              are like that -- unions have a lot of good, positive, benefits (and
              not just to their members). But they are not 100% good and pure
              (like any human activity, I suppose)

              Frank
              I agree, I worked in a Union factory once and couldn't believe some of the jerks who milked everything, "don't work so fast" and "save some work for later" were a few of the choice phrases that blew my mind, but there's people who will abuse every system out there. I also wish that these miscreants knew that they were undermining the very unions that support them when they do this sort of idiotic crap. I just feel that it's unfortunate that some folks have no idea about the working conditions of the past and the fact that organized labor was the only thing that changed the positively abusive, near indentured servitude, employer/employee relationship that once existed in this country. Do some unions take things too far? Of course, but imagine how things might be if they didn't fight to maintain the gains that we all enjoy. Unions force many employers who are non-union to raise their standards of how they treat their employees as well. I just think it was a positive thing to do sending their rescue crews to voluntarily risk their lives for other miners and I applaud them for it.
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              • #22
                Originally posted by reggie
                you can be the best welder,smartest employee,hardest worker, but in a union setting if some lazy,incompetent piece of sh1t was hired before you,you will be laid off before him based on seniority.Most who praise up the unions are the ones protected by it.Why work hard or to the best of your ability if it doesn't make a difference in making you stand out from the ones who don't.Try joining a union without a "connection"....your resume or skill level/training won't help.
                Reggie: How arbitrary. What would lead you to believe, this alledged, "lazy, incompetent, piece of dung" would remain employed in this Union setting?

                You paint a picture of no work rules? No production standards? No disciplinary procedures? Wow, who would ever operate a business under those circumstances?

                In your attempts to vilify Labor Unions, of a surety, you've manifested your own shortcomings.

                For all of you Anti-Union advocates, who claim to have this "real world experience," I'll remind myself to look at the night sky, wondering what "world" you're from.

                Evidently, there is a gross mis-understanding and total lack of knowledge regarding Organized labor, and a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

                I'll cite examples from my Teamster Local 104 Contract for illustrative purposes.

                Health & Welfare Contributions are 100% funded BY THE COMPANY. Not ONE dime is subtracted from any employee's payroll earnings for the plan. A MONTHLY contribution of $672.86 PER EMPLOYEE is paid to the Southwest Teamsters Security Fund (Blue Cross/Blue Shield). This plan covers EVERY Teamster in the State of Arizona. It is held in a TRUST (no, not the Mafia), and is governed by a Board of Trustees, selected at large from signatory Companies, Union executives, bankers, lawyers, and the medical field. This is a 90/10 plan and covers medical, dental, eye, pharmacy, etc.

                Pension Plan contributions are 100% paid BY THE COMPANY. An HOURLY contribution is paid at the rate of $3.15/per hr, for all hours PAID. This includes holidays, vacations, as if they were hours worked. These monies are paid to the Western Conference Teamsters Pension TRUST (again, not the Mafia). This TRUST covers ALL Teamster Members in the 13 Western State Conference. If you live in Seattle, and are a Teamster, it is the same TRUST as in Phoenix. If one were to move within the Jurisdictional Boundaries of the Trust, and remain a Teamster, his/her funding would continue. There is a rather lengthly list of TRUSTEES, primarily investment BANKERS, and signatory employers, as well as Union Trustees.

                Many other benefits include work guarantees, seniority, grievance procedure, shift premiums, Holiday pay (I worked Thanksgiving last year, made as much in ONE day, as I did the rest of the week), per diems, job safety and the list just keeps on going.

                Slackers don't last any longer in Union Shops, than non-Union, in fact, they don't make it past probation. Your myth, is heresay.

                These are just a few of the benefits, I enjoy as a Teamster. Sacrifices were made by many, and James R Hoffa's vision was manifested in a Master Frieght Agreement in 1964. The Spirit of Organized Labor exists today, due to the Solidarity of those who wished to make things better for their children and grand children.

                I can read the anger and hostility in those who besmirch Labor Unions. All I can say is, you don't have a clue what you're missing
                "Bonne journe'e mes amis"

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by davedarragh View Post
                  Reggie: How arbitrary. What would lead you to believe, this alledged, "lazy, incompetent, piece of dung" would remain employed in this Union setting?

                  You paint a picture of no work rules? No production standards? No disciplinary procedures? Wow, who would ever operate a business under those circumstances?

                  In your attempts to vilify Labor Unions, of a surety, you've manifested your own shortcomings.

                  For all of you Anti-Union advocates, who claim to have this "real world experience," I'll remind myself to look at the night sky, wondering what "world" you're from.

                  Evidently, there is a gross mis-understanding and total lack of knowledge regarding Organized labor, and a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

                  I'll cite examples from my Teamster Local 104 Contract for illustrative purposes.

                  Health & Welfare Contributions are 100% funded BY THE COMPANY. Not ONE dime is subtracted from any employee's payroll earnings for the plan. A MONTHLY contribution of $672.86 PER EMPLOYEE is paid to the Southwest Teamsters Security Fund (Blue Cross/Blue Shield). This plan covers EVERY Teamster in the State of Arizona. It is held in a TRUST (no, not the Mafia), and is governed by a Board of Trustees, selected at large from signatory Companies, Union executives, bankers, lawyers, and the medical field. This is a 90/10 plan and covers medical, dental, eye, pharmacy, etc.

                  Pension Plan contributions are 100% paid BY THE COMPANY. An HOURLY contribution is paid at the rate of $3.15/per hr, for all hours PAID. This includes holidays, vacations, as if they were hours worked. These monies are paid to the Western Conference Teamsters Pension TRUST (again, not the Mafia). This TRUST covers ALL Teamster Members in the 13 Western State Conference. If you live in Seattle, and are a Teamster, it is the same TRUST as in Phoenix. If one were to move within the Jurisdictional Boundaries of the Trust, and remain a Teamster, his/her funding would continue. There is a rather lengthly list of TRUSTEES, primarily investment BANKERS, and signatory employers, as well as Union Trustees.

                  Many other benefits include work guarantees, seniority, grievance procedure, shift premiums, Holiday pay (I worked Thanksgiving last year, made as much in ONE day, as I did the rest of the week), per diems, job safety and the list just keeps on going.

                  Slackers don't last any longer in Union Shops, than non-Union, in fact, they don't make it past probation. Your myth, is heresay.

                  These are just a few of the benefits, I enjoy as a Teamster. Sacrifices were made by many, and James R Hoffa's vision was manifested in a Master Frieght Agreement in 1964. The Spirit of Organized Labor exists today, due to the Solidarity of those who wished to make things better for their children and grand children.

                  I can read the anger and hostility in those who besmirch Labor Unions. All I can say is, you don't have a clue what you're missing


                  Darn you get $3.15 per hour for every hour you work towards your pension? My former employer who is non union I got a total of $4258 dollars towards pension after 11 years of service. Found out how little my company put towards pension when I got laid-off last year. Sounds like pretty good benefits to me.
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                  • #24
                    As said, "Live better, work union"!
                    Flash me! I'm a welder.

                    American by birth, Union by choice! Boilermakers Local 60

                    America is a Union

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                    • #25
                      Not all companies can afford union benefits and pay

                      I work at a company that sometimes (maybe 1/3 time) competes against Mexican made fence panels. There is no way the company can afford to pay us full union benefits and $20+ an hour.
                      Probably 2/3 of our estimates are in competition against other non-union northern California and Oregon companies.
                      Does this make me a scab Dave?
                      This is a welding forum. Your union praise belongs on another site.

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                      • #26
                        [QUOTE=davedarragh;232294]Reggie: How arbitrary. What would lead you to believe, this alledged, "lazy, incompetent, piece of dung" would remain employed in this Union setting?

                        You paint a picture of no work rules? No production standards? No disciplinary procedures? Wow, who would ever operate a business under those circumstances?

                        In your attempts to vilify Labor Unions, of a surety, you've manifested your own shortcomings.

                        For all of you Anti-Union advocates, who claim to have this "real world experience," I'll remind myself to look at the night sky, wondering what "world" you're from.

                        Evidently, there is a gross mis-understanding and total lack of knowledge regarding Organized labor





                        Many other benefits include work guarantees, seniority, grievance procedure, shift premiums, Holiday pay (I worked Thanksgiving last year, made as much in ONE day, as I did the rest of the week), per diems, job safety and the list just keeps on going.

                        Slackers don't last any longer in Union Shops, than non-Union, in fact, they don't make it past probation. Your myth, is heresay.
                        The Spirit of Organized Labor exists today, due to the Solidarity of those who wished to make things better for their children and grand children.

                        The initiation fees and monthly dues are an offset for what the unions are doing for you.Grandfather clauses and grievance procedures allow the slackers in and pro long their stay.As for lack of knowledge,my opinions are based on the attitudes of union workers we hire on while they are between jobs.Yes there are benefits if your high enough up(job security),but for most its no different than a non union setting.Point is...it doesn't COST you money to have a job non union.Most high end non union companies treat employees fair and most pay structures are based on union rates.Both union and non union have good and bad points,but its the perception that the union is an end all for the perfect work enviroment .If anything unions have slowed down production and increased the cost of production.These same union workers while employed by us are still paying a due to a union while our non union shop is putting food on their tables.You naming of union founders(a few) shows how one sided your beliefs are...how about naming some union members between jobs paying dues....
                        ''True genius,in many fields of human endeaver,is often revealed in elegant simplicity"

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                        • #27


                          When ever I hear / read stories about a catastrophes like this one I always wonder when our government agencies (OSHA, MSHA, your state-OSHA) will get enough bite to immediately shut down an organization / operation for a gross safety violation!
                          Must be like a signal light at a dangerous intersection, not the amount of people killed, just the right person with connections.

                          When is this insanity going to stop?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                          Caution!
                          These are "my" views based only on “my” experiences in “my” little bitty world.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by down19992000 View Post
                            Darn you get $3.15 per hour for every hour you work towards your pension? My former employer who is non union I got a total of $4258 dollars towards pension after 11 years of service. Found out how little my company put towards pension when I got laid-off last year. Sounds like pretty good benefits to me.
                            As a union operator, I get around $7.00 an hour just for pension in my home local and the one I been working in is about $3.50. I don't remember the exact amounts but it's pretty good.
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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by reggie View Post
                              If anything unions have slowed down production and increased the cost of production.These same union workers while employed by us are still paying a due to a union while our non union shop is putting food on their tables.You naming of union founders(a few) shows how one sided your beliefs are...how about naming some union members between jobs paying dues....

                              LARGE piece of humble pie there Dave.

                              Would you like a dab of whipped cream with that ?
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                              • #30
                                First off, let me state that this whole Union/Non-Union discussion deserves it's own thread. Should not be piggybacked on an unfortunate accident. No one posting on this thread has first hand knowledge of what caused the accident and whether it was due to lax safety standards or simply one of those "freak events".

                                I have read several critical posts, all of which came from totally uninformed posters, concerning the operation of said mine. The one poster who claims the ventilation in the mine was "reversed" is full of BS.

                                If posters will keep an open mind and not form "unfounded/uninformed" opinions, I will learn what I can and post up "accurate information".

                                The President of Massey Energy (who's name I have not seen thus far in press clippings) is one of my closest friends. We went to elementary school, Jr High, and HS together and have been "very" close for nearly 60 years. I will get the straight story and post what I can. Until then, I would ask that posters keep an open mind and withhold judgement til the facts are in.

                                Additionally, yesterday, I did have an opportunity to talk to another close friend who is "intimately" familar with that particular mine. He grew up not two blocks from that mine. He is a graduate "mining engineer" and a former employee of Massey. When he retired (about 8 yrs ago) he was VP of international sales. He's spent many days in that mine and knows it like the back of his hand.

                                One thing he stressed, that most people would have trouble grasping, is the enormousness of this mine (over 5 miles into the mountail with numerous branches leading off main chamber). The amount of air forced into the mine for ventilation purposes is mind boggling.

                                His "best guess" at this point is that the miners hit a pocket of methane gas of sufficient quanity to overcome virtually any ventilation system that could have been in place. When asked where the methane comes from, he indicated that it is released from the coal itself.

                                With regards to the federally imposed "penalties" that have been imposed on Massey over the last several years, he called them nuisance penalties which every mining operation encounters. Inspectors "have to" find something wrong and they do (to justify their own existance) but the penalties are not worth fighting in court. Kinda like the OSHA inspector who walks into your shop and states "I'm here to help you". Yea, right.

                                He also indicated that each miner that was lost, carried on his person, a four hour supply of "personal oxygen". The fact that these personal suppies were never employed, would indicate that the initial blast was overwhelming and came without warning.

                                In conclusion, I would suggest that we withhold condemnations until more facts are available. The poster who suggests that Blankenship is akin to Bin Laden is a freaking idiot and so much as proves it with his post. Time will tell whether this accident was the result of "organizational oversight" or was it truly an unfortunate accident. Underground mining is much safer than it was 20 years ago, but it is still not without it's unforseeable dangers.
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