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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » If you were a checker that made almost $18/hr, would you strike? (Page 0)

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Author Topic: If you were a checker that made almost $18/hr, would you strike?
BannaOj
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OMG, I would lose anywhere between 6,000 to 16,000 dollars per year of disposable income if I moved back to Southern CA. The worst I checked was San Diego where I'd lose 16K. In L.A. I'd only lose 10k. The 6K figure was from Ventura, CA where I actually grew up.

At those numbers there is no way it is worth it, much as I miss it!

AJ

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Robespierre
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You are missing the point Banna. Of course I have had medical expenses. I paid for them out of my own pocket with money I earned.

quote:
So, if a cheaper viable system were proposed, you'd reject it on the grounds that if you can't pay nothing, you'd rather not pay less?

No, you create a false dilema. I do not want to be coerced to pay for other people's healthcare. ANY system that causes me to pay other people's bills is a bad system.

quote:

Beware to those of you arguing with CT

There is no one I would rather argue with. However, I would point out that being an MD does not give someone a special perspective on morality. It certainly gives said person a qualified opinion on the practice of medicine. However, administrating a health care plan and actually performing the health care are two different situations. You would not hear me argue with CT about what is the best way to treat someone's injury. However, I will argue about how to pay for that treatment.
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ClaudiaTherese
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Clarification:

The Edmonton Protocol is being used at centers across the world, including the US. The preliminary data are astounding.

Injectable insulin was first produced by Fred Banting in 1920. Of course, there have been more recent developments, too. [Smile]

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katharina
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Robspierre, let me get this straight. You do not believe in health insurance? You pay all medical bills out of pocket?
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BannaOj
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Do you know how much gall bladder surgery costs? Gall bladder surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the U.S.

My hospital bill was ~$17,000. How long would it take you to pay that off?

AJ

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Papa Moose
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I'll throw in support of the individuals, despite the fact that I think unions are somewhat a necessary evil. If they didn't exist, but companies acted as though they did, then the companies could pay more to the employees and still improve the profit margin. But any company that goes public has to answer to shareholders, who want profit as high as possible (in almost every case), and just about any analyst will tell you that the number one controllable cost in most any industry is labor. Once labor is looked at as a cost rather than as an investment, it usually gets slashed.

I did as much shopping as I could before the strike was set to begin, and I hope the strike will be over before I need anything. If it doesn't end by then, I honestly haven't yet decided what I'll do. I'm a regular Vons shopper, and plan to continue to be one. I cannot recall a time when I haven't had a pleasant experience checking out at my local store. If the lines are too long (that is, more than two people waiting, which has probably happened once in the past few years), they open another checkstand. And I am also unable to remember any time when I wasn't offered assistance to my car (aside from when I purchased one or two items), even though I've never taken advantage of such assistance. I've gone out of my way to tell all the employees, including the managers, at various times how much I appreciate the service there.

They're not all the same. I know that. We are lucky enough to live next to a great one.

My real beef is that the strike involves three different major companies. In my mind, the union has formed a monopoly, which shouldn't be allowed, but because it's the workers rather than the companies, it's not looked at in that way legally, or at least doesn't appear to be. The ironic thing in my book is that the ostensible reason the companies need to cut costs is to compete with big-box stores like WalMart. I wouldn't even consider shopping for groceries there, if only because of the lack of service. The perception may be there (greeted at the door), but the actual help is not to be found in my experience. Again, this undoubtedly varies store by store. And though I don't want to shop for that particular competitor, the strike might drive me there.

--Pop

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
quote:

So, if a cheaper viable system were proposed, you'd reject it on the grounds that if you can't pay nothing, you'd rather not pay less?

No, you create a false dilema. I do not want to be coerced to pay for other people's healthcare. ANY system that causes me to pay other people's bills is a bad system.
I understand that. I fail to understand why a system that causes you to pay less is not better.

quote:
There is no one I would rather argue with.
Awesome! *high-five We'll have some interesting discussions. [Smile] Welcome to Hatrack, by the way. I didn't realize that you were new -- you've been posting quite a bit, and all the names sort of run together sometimes.

quote:
However, I would point out that being an MD does not give someone a special perspective on morality.
Agreed. It's one of the reasons that I don't post that information in my profile, as the degree is irrelevant to most discussions.

quote:
However, administrating a health care plan and actually performing the health care are two different situations.
I know. That's why I'm always trying to swing more training and practical experience in the former. Believe it or not, Hatrack is an excellent place to hone one's understanding of such issues.

Robespierre, I'm off for the day, but I look forward to continuing the discussion. Enjoy your night! [Smile]

[ October 14, 2003, 05:15 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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BannaOj
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quote:
However, I would point out that being an MD does not give someone a special perspective on morality.
No but a PhD in MEDICAL ETHICS might. And she has both, which makes her extremely qualified or did you miss that bit of info the first time around?

I'm also very interested interested in finding out how you would have accumulated $17,000 in savings above and beyond a basic car purchase (of for the sake of argument lets say $6K) by the age of 24 while going to and paying for college.

AJ
Edit: Incidentally, CT the PhD in medical ethics impresses me a lot more than the MD. I know people who are in degree programs for both and while the MD may be more physically taxing, that particular PhD seems to me to be much more mentally taxing. But I won't mention it again per your request.

[ October 14, 2003, 05:19 PM: Message edited by: BannaOj ]

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Robespierre
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quote:
We'll have some interesting discussions. Welcome to Hatrack, by the way.
Thanks, I appreciate that. I need someone with good #'s and expirience to discuss these things with.

quote:
Robspierre, let me get this straight. You do not believe in health insurance? You pay all medical bills out of pocket?
No, you couldn't be more wrong. I have no problem with health insurance. I have a decent policy myself. I just think everyone should have to pay for their own insurance!

Why don't we have national auto-insurance? Because not everyone has a car. Also, those who own $100,000 cars would pay the same as those who own $500 cars. Would this be fair? This is the type of situation we would be in if we had national health insurance.

Why does your health care supercede my right to persue happiness?

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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I meant sexual activity.

I know that sexual harassment is against the law, but without a union, the victim may not have a lawyer, the time, or the energy to find out her rights. She will just put up with it, and in the end, doesn't have faith in the company to do right. While the managment can make all of the phone calls necessary and hire all of the people necessary on the clock to quiet the problem or make the problem go away.

You can't just say it's illegal as a means of saying the problem doesn't exist. People try the same with racial discrimination. The problem is that the people on the ugly side of the issue don't have the means and the resources to know their rights, and even if they do know their rights, the victims don't have the means and the time to enforce them.

Over the last few months of our organizing campaign, the owners of the store I work for (250 employees) pled guilty to four charges in violation of the National Labor Relations Act, including threatening employees with termination and attempting to bribe them with pay increases. Their penalty was having to post that they violated the act. They posted it in eight-point font on a bulletin board for three days. And then continued to break the charges, feigning ignorance.

You are right, Mrs. M. the companies pay your firm millions of dollars while the victim, without a Union, has all of the change in her pocket and the time she is not at work to find help.

With the Union, you get a clear, legally binding contract, and a lawyer at your call when you need an advocate or an interpreter. You get an unambiguous conduct policy which is a boon for both the workers and the employers, because more than half of these problems stem from the fact that while the employer may be an excellent widget salesman and producer, doesn't know how to manage employees. Or as Moose said it, "Once labor is looked at as a cost rather than as an investment, it usually gets slashed."

[ October 14, 2003, 05:32 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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katharina
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Rob:

What do you think insurance is but a method of spreading the cost of health care around? If you want to be 100% solely responsible for your own health care, then you can't be part of an insurance plan where other people take on the risk of catastrophe for you.

[ October 14, 2003, 05:25 PM: Message edited by: katharina ]

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ClaudiaTherese
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AJ, no worries. [Kiss] I didn't mean it that way. (And I appreciate your kind thoughts. I could freakin' never make it through basic engineering classes. Thank goodness we have people who do. [Wink] )

I think it's one of OSC's basic tenets that degrees don't matter in forum discussion -- only the strength and clarity of one's argument. I have this fond hope of being so strong and clear someday, on something, that I never need to mention the degrees. They're just hoops, anyway.

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fugu13
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I believe Robespierre might advocate private insurance -- in which case you still pay for other people's health care costs, that's (one way) health insurance companies make money.
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rivka
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quote:
What do you think insurance is but a method of spreading the cost of health care around? If you want to be 100% solely responsible for your own health care, then you can't be part of an insurance plan where other people take on the risk of catastrophe for you.

You know, I come here to get AWAY from studying for my actuary exam. [Wink]
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BannaOj
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I find it sweetly naieve Irami, that you don't think sexual harrasment goes on within the Unions themselves. Please tell me how many heads of Unions are female.

Also, do you know the amount of abuse and threatening non-union workers take from union workers? This should be just as illegal as sexual harrasment, but it isn't. Do you know that in many jobs (especially here in Illinois) your "Union dues" are automatically deducted from your paycheck regardless of whether you wanted to be part of a Union or not? This deduction happens to my boyfriend every paycheck. He has no choice over the matter at all.

How is this holding someone over a barrel to take their money any worse than sexual harrasment. They are both forms of coercion, but one is given tacit approval while the other isn't just because the word SEX is mentioned.

AJ

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Robespierre
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quote:
What do you think insurance is but a method of spreading the cost of health care around? If you want to be 100% solely responsible for your own health care, then you can't be part of an insurance plan where other people take on the risk of catastrophe for you.

Insurance does NOT spread the risk at all. I will pay in MUCH more over my lifetime than I will ever get out of it. How do you think insurance companies make so much money? They take your money, then make you dance upsidedown on a table to get it when you need it. They are not in the business of spreading the risk.

quote:
I think it's one of OSC's basic tenets that degrees don't matter in forum discussion -- only the strength and clarity of one's argument.
This is an attitude that can make the world a much better place.
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BannaOj
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Also Robespierre I appologize for being snippy about the medical bills. I thought you didn't believe that anyone should have insurance and that everyone should pay out of pocket.

It would be really nice if we could all pay medical costs out of our pockets, but the cost of even a simple surgery are so high that is isn't do-able anymore.

AJ

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katharina
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quote:
I will pay in MUCH more over my lifetime than I will ever get out of it.
Then why have insurance? You don't need it if you are so certain you will pay more in than you will get out.
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Robespierre
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quote:
snippy about the medical bills.
No problem. I understand medical bills are crazy. I just think that the current legal structure encourages run-away prices. We are shielded from the real costs of health care when companies pay our insurance and the gov. helps too. Free market forces can fix this problem. If each person knew how much their insurance costs, it would go a long way toward some understanding on this.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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aj,
Your boyfriend's working conditions are the way they are because of the Union contract, a contract that he has a part in forming just as he pays his share in dues. His wages are the way they are because of the contract, his hours are as they are because of the contract, and his benefits plan is the way it is because of the contract. I place the same people who whine about dues in the same lot as those who whine about car registration fees, but love the fact that there are clean, smooth roads. If the wages, hours, and conduct agreement had been as good without the Union, why on earth would there be one? And if it would remain as good as they are without the Union, why don't the employees decertify?
__________

I do think it's sweet that you called me sweet. Does your bf know about us?

_________

quote:
Please tell me how many heads of Unions are female.
I don't know. I wonder if it's the same reason that most congressmen or engineers or philosophy students are men. Or why HR people are female. I'm sure there is an excellent reason why this is the case. Admittedly, most of the vocal and effective organizers were men. To be more specific, college-educated men. But the good thing is that the contract that will be approved will be gender neutral, and the wages and benefits for everyone in the store will be better because of it. There will even actually be a pension. (Yes, I work for a 250 person grocery store which grosses over 60 million dollars a year, and there is no pension plan. One of the managers admitted to trying burn employees over six months so that he wouldn't have to give them a raise. He has been a manager for 6 years, and it took this Union effort for him to finally be talked to about this practice, though complaints have been launched for as long as I remember.)

______________

For the record, I hate strikes. I hate strikes and lock-outs and strategic firings and union-busting law firms. I hate it all. I do respect that 97 percent of the voters approved the strike. Look at these numbers:

quote:
In elections this week at seven local unions of the United Food and Commercial Workers, almost 70,000 supermarket workers in Southern California voted overwhelmingly to reject the demands of their employers and to authorize their leaders to call a strike. The vote to reject the proposals surpassed 97 percent.

Some 85 percent of workers eligible to vote did so in an unprecedented turnout of support for rejection of the offer.

quote:
Workers have also announced that they will only target one supermaket chain in order to avoid inconveniencing their customers. Workers at the two other supermarket chains will urge their employers to allow them to stay on the job and not to act on Employer threats to lock the workers out of the stores. The other chains are urged by the seven locals on behalf of their customers and neighbors not to spread the dispute by engaging in a retaliatory lockout.


[ October 14, 2003, 06:01 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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BannaOj
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Yes but the actual amount of representation he has with the Union, is probably less than he would get by calling his congressperson. He didn't vote to establish the Union dues purloining from his salary, he was still in college at that point. You HAVE to be Union to work for the Illinois department of transportation up in until you be come an Engineer IV.

At that point they turn on you you are management and the "enemy". They are totally screwing what should be the higher paid more qualified engineers because of the demands the unions are making for the lower level employees both engineers and non-engineers. Do you know how much money a public works roadway project costs? The peon engineers routinely do 50 million dollar projects without blinking. The "managment" engineers which have had at least 5 years of experience get completely gouged in pay during budget cuts since they can't do any belt tightening or, horrors, LAY OFF union workers and then those same managment engineers are expected to act in the public trust on multi-billion dollar projects. So what happens? The government loses money right and left, because most Civil engineers work for the DOT until they hit the non-union point and then run screaming out the door for the nearest contractor. I can't blame them.

In my personal life, yes, the Unions are right now guaranteeing my bfs pay raises and for that I'm happy. But, as a taxpayer I realize how stupidly inefficent the whole system has become because of the Unions. I just think you should have a choice to be in a union or not, and not have that choice made for you regardless of where you are employed. If the Unions provide tangible benefits, then people would be happy to pay the duse. If they don't, then why should they pay the dues?

Also here in Chicago, Unions are much more out of control than a lot of the rest of the country. Look at the garbage worker strike that just took place here with some of the highest paid sanitation workers in the country. I believe the Chicago garbage men are making more than the supermarket employees and in a lot of ways my feelings are with the supermarket employees now that I am aware of all of the facts.

Another random note:
Two good friends of mine (both female incidentally) were union negotiators for their community college district. The negotiating they did was very necessary. The interesting thing was that about 2 levels up in the heirarchy every one was male.

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BannaOj
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quote:
I don't know. I wonder if it's the same reason that most congressmen or engineers or philosophy students are men. Or why HR people are female. I'm sure there is an excellent reason why this is the case. Admittedly, most of the vocal and effective organizers were men. To be more specific, college-educated men.
Don't get me started on women in engineering. That will get you in trouble here on hatrack because I know we have quite a few female engineers. I think over the last couple of centuries women are making a steady progression toward equality in skills that do not require 200-lb longshoremen. To me it seems like the equality started in literature, and then spread to the life sciences through nursing and then doctors, engineering is just one of the last bastions of machismo. I know there are some elements that may have to do with brain thinking patterns but I believe a lot of them have more to do with nature than nurture.

Also, I'll have to go back to my union history books, but I thought a lot of the driving forces behind early Unions were actually laborers wives rather than the laborers themselves. I believe there were at least a few women in the inception of the Union movment, but they didn't stay at the top of the organizations for any lengths of time.

AJ

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
The government loses money right and left, because most Civil engineers work for the DOT until they hit the non-union point and then run screaming out the door for the nearest contractor. I can't blame them.
It sounds like the managers need to Unionize. That's often the case in a multi-tiered system.

About women in engineering: I don't know the answer, but I have eyes and know that there is a problem. I don't think that the Hatrack posting population is an accurate sampling. There is a disparity, and I think that's the reason we should get in to it on Hatrack.

[ October 15, 2003, 10:48 AM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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BannaOj
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I'll start a thread on it tomorrow. I know I don't have anywhere near the answers. I confuse myself sometimes as to why I think the way I do when other females don't see the obvious logic and males do.

THough that doesn't happen here on Hatrack which is why I like it [Big Grin]

AJ

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slacker
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quote:
How do you think insurance companies make so much money?
Actually, they make alot of money from stocks and bonds. I remember hearing about an independant study that has shown that when the stock market sucks, premiums rise.

They initially did the study to find out if the malpractice insurance premiums in Texas would go down after initiating a cap on malpractice awards.

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mackillian
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quote:
Why don't we have national auto-insurance? Because not everyone has a car. Also, those who own $100,000 cars would pay the same as those who own $500 cars. Would this be fair? This is the type of situation we would be in if we had national health insurance.
We all don't have cars, but we all do have bodies.

quote:
Insurance does NOT spread the risk at all. I will pay in MUCH more over my lifetime than I will ever get out of it.
You know, that makes me want to wish a chronic and/or serious illness on to you. Just to see how the health care system really works, to see truly how much things cost out of pocket, and how it feels to be one of the sick and not one of the robustly healthy.

The problem with free market healthcare is that they can have your ass over a barrel. Appendicitis? No time to find the best ER or doctor. You need whoever can take it out the fastest so that you don't die. Doesn't matter how much you have to pay, you need it done, and then right at that moment.

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Papa Moose
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My son, by the age of two, had racked up what would have been over $100K in medical bills. He's still on antibiotics, which could possibly be required every day for the rest of his life. He's going in for another surgery tomorrow morning.

Yeah, there could be some positive changes made in the health insurance realm. If things were different would the actual cost have been much less than $100K? Possibly. But go without insurance entirely? I sure hope not.

--Pop

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The Rabbit
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A worker making $12/hr working full time will bring home $24,000 a year. The cost of living in California is between 1.5 and 2 times the national average, putting the poverty level in California between $27,000 and $36,000 per year for a family of four. So even though $12/hr might sound generous to some for an minimal skill position, it isn't enough to get these people out of poverty. Its questionable if even $18/hr puts these people above the California poverty level.

From my point of view, everyone who is working deserves to be paid a living wage. If I am not willing to pay the people who sew my clothes, and sell me my food enough to live on, how much better am I than the slave owner?

I am fully aware of the problems associated with unions and with their obuses, but who else is there who is fighting for the workers rights? Who else is there who is insisting that workers be treated fairly? Certainly not Walmart.

[ October 14, 2003, 08:04 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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rivka
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quote:
Insurance does NOT spread the risk at all. I will pay in MUCH more over my lifetime than I will ever get out of it. How do you think insurance companies make so much money? They take your money, then make you dance upsidedown on a table to get it when you need it. They are not in the business of spreading the risk.

Take it from the person studying for the actuary exam, that is precisely what insurance companies do! Yes, they hope to make some profit on the deal -- their employees all demand to be paid -- but that is exactly the basic idea of all insurance.

quote:
Actually, they make alot of money from stocks and bonds.
That's because it's another method of spreading risk. [Smile]
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The Rabbit
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Insurance companies unquestionably spread the risk. They also increase the risk, or at least they increase the amount that the average person pays for health care because they take a cut for distributing the risk. I don't think any of us would argue that the guy who processes your insurance claim or the woman who directs the insurance agency shouldn't be paid for their work. They deserve a cut, the only question is how big a cut, and when CEOs of insurance companies are getting multi-million dollar salaries -- I say they are taking more than they are worth.
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rivka
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No argument from me, Rabbit! I think the cut CEOs of many companies in a wide variety of fields take is ridiculous.
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slacker
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Well, according to SEC filings, our CEO has been excersizing thousands of shares in options per week. He's been making several million dollars per week (I wish I could do that - even once!).
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Maccabeus
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I've brought up the illness I had a few years ago, the one that knocked me out of college; what I haven't mentioned is that by that time I hadn't had insurance for several years. What chewed up my savings were the expensive drugs I had to pay for myself. Besides that, I've been in and out of the hospital most of my early life, just to stay alive, and my family sure couldn't have paid for that without insurance. If anyone should be in favor of universal health insurance, it's me.

But I'm not. It's nothing to do with Rob's fancy arguments about communism--I literally can't afford to pay any attention to whether I deserve to live or not. I just don't think it will work. Any system of health care that tries to pay for too many poor people is doomed to eventual failure, one way or another, whether it's simple rationing of care, lack of research money, or something worse. I'm not that selfish.

I hear a lot about it working in Europe. Maybe it's less income disparity, fewer people, rationing of health care...I don't know. I also hear a lot about people coming here to get advanced technological care or to avoid a long waiting line; that could be the valve that blew. Who knows? Maybe I've got it wrong. I don't see how that can be, though.

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Papa Moose
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Well, the strike still hasn't ended, and I needed some things, so I decided to cross the picket line. Didn't do much good.

The shelves were empty. The produce was going bad. Apparently they couldn't find anyone who knew how to cut meat, because there were a bunch of packages of ground beef, and nothing else. I got a few rainchecks (hand-written on plain white paper and stamped with the store stamp) for sale items they didn't have, and left otherwise-empty-handed. Well, except for Mooselet and a diaper bag.

I'm even more convinced that I disagree with the method and extent of the strike, though. It was bad when it was the store workers from three separate companies, but when the truckers joined in I could no longer believe there's an excuse. As far as I'm concerned it's a monopoly, and there's collusion going on, and if the companies themselves did this there would be a huge lawsuit and the companies would lose. The double-standard in this case is disturbing. Again, I feel for the plight of the workers, but I think the labor unions are the worse evil this time.

Now I gotta find tomatoes somewhere. Maybe there's a farmers' market nearby.

--Pop

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Robespierre
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I feel sorry for the people who actually need to work. I have a friend who worked at one of the stores that went on strike in St.Louis. He was a part-time worker, and new, so he did not even get to vote on the strike. He had bills to pay, so he cannot afford to sit around and mope about free health care. He had a job, until the unions forced him out by striking. Unions need to be reworked so that their interests also include having a successful business to work at.
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msquared
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Unions are legalized monopoly on labor. They can do things that companies could never dream of.

msquared

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rivka
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Pop, isn't there a Smart&Final or Trader Joe's near you? That's where I'm getting groceries meanwhile. (Well, there and some of the little kosher markets nearby. But those I know you don't have in your neighborhood. [Wink] )

I'm not real happy with the union, I agree. But I feel for the workers. [Dont Know] Although my understanding is that the union is paying the salary of striking workers who picket a minimum number of hours per day.

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TomDavidson
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"Unions need to be reworked so that their interests also include having a successful business to work at."

Out of interest, how would you rework a union to permit long-term strikes but still achieve this goal?

(As a side note, I'm glad you never intend to have serious medical problems. Congratulations.)

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Robespierre
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quote:
(As a side note, I'm glad you never intend to have serious medical problems. Congratulations.)

Explain yourself.

quote:
Out of interest, how would you rework a union to permit long-term strikes but still achieve this goal?

As I said, the unions need to be concerned with the success/failure of the company in SOME way. I did not say that longterm strikes should be permitted or not. The strike of the grocery workers, is wrong in my opinion, but this does not mean i think ALL strikes are wrong.
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TomDavidson
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"Explain yourself."

Well, you said it yourself: you never intend to pay more in medical expenses than you put into insurance. Over my lifetime, at my current medical insurance rate, I will pay around $150,000-$200,000 in insurance (including company-paid premiums), depending on inflation and the like. To date, I have probably benefited from only $9,000 - $10,000 in actual medical care since entering full-time employment about a decade ago; I'm a basically healthy guy.

It's nice to know that you and I will never get cancer, break a major bone, cut an important artery, lose a limb, suffer brain damage, have a heart failure in our 50s or 60s, or watch as our wives encounter complications during pregnancy. You know, when I think about it, I really get steamed just thinking about how basically healthy guys like us can't go work for companies that don't pay health benefits; after all, think how much more they could pay healthy guys like us every month if we weren't kicking back a few hundred bucks of salary to subsidize all those unlucky, unhealthy genetic throwbacks, eh?

"As I said, the unions need to be concerned with the success/failure of the company in SOME way. I did not say that longterm strikes should be permitted or not. The strike of the grocery workers, is wrong in my opinion, but this does not mean i think ALL strikes are wrong."

I don't quite understand why THIS strike is necessarily more wrong than any other long-term strike that intends to defend what is perceived as a right or benefit of a company's employees.

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Robespierre
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quote:
Well, you said it yourself: you never intend to pay more in medical expenses than you put into insurance. Over my lifetime, at my current medical insurance rate, I will pay around $150,000-$200,000 in insurance (including company-paid premiums), depending on inflation and the like. To date, I have probably benefited from only $9,000 - $10,000 in actual medical care since entering full-time employment about a decade ago;
I am with you so far...

quote:
It's nice to know that you and I will never get cancer, break a major bone, cut an important artery, lose a limb, suffer brain damage, have a heart failure in our 50s or 60s, or watch as our wives encounter complications during pregnancy.
Your wonderful sarcasm plays well. It really helps you make your point.

You beg the question. Perhaps if you had ALL of those things happen to you, you would use up your $200,000 paid in. However, it is unlikely that you will ever use that much money. Go ahead and add in the total amount you have paid into medicare as well.

quote:
I don't quite understand why THIS strike is necessarily more wrong than any other long-term strike that intends to defend what is perceived as a right or benefit of a company's employees.
The difference is that the perception of health care as a right could not be more wrong. The bill of rights enumerates no such right. The unions seem to think that their employee's should get FULL health coverage for free, even though the price has shot through the roof, and profits have fallen. The unions would rather destroy the business than actually solve the problem.
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Kayla
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Moose, I just thought I'd mention the following, in case you missed it earlier.

quote:
Officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, representing an estimated 70,000 employees throughout the Southland and beyond, said the clerks voted overwhelmingly to authorize a walkout that could affect Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons stores.

Connie Leyva, president of UFCW Local 1428, said that only one of the three chains would be targeted.

"We will be meeting with the federal mediator today, and depending on the outcome of that, we will determine the target chain," Leyva said. "We will be targeting one chain. We're targeting one chain because we are asking the other chains not to lock out their employees, so that they will still be able to go to work, and the customers will have a place to shop."

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ibsys/20031010/lo_kgtv/1825936

quote:
Union officials decided to target only one chain, but operators of Ralphs and Albertsons then ordered a lockout of their union employees. Maynard said that 21,000 Vons employees are on strike and 49,000 workers at Ralphs and Albertsons are locked out.

.
.
.

According to a joint statement issued by the three companies shortly after the strike was announced, "the unions agreed that a strike against one company would be considered a strike against all three companies, and as a defensive move Albertsons and Ralphs will lock out their employees."


http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ibsys/20031013/lo_kgtv/1827819
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Robespierre
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If labor is going to organize itself into barganing cartels, why should the stores, which share the same contract with the unions, not act in such a manner?
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msquared
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Because that is illegal. However, the unions got the Federal Gov. to pass laws that allows them to do things that would get a busines busted in a heart beat.

Rob is partly right about the healt care. When people do not pay for their health care, they do not care what they are charged. If you have insurance, do you shop around to get the best deal so that you can save your insurer money? Of course not. Why not?

msquared

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slacker
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**keeps a sharp eye out for any incoming phone calls**

One nice thing about the strike (in a really wicked way), is that we're getting less fluff calls (calls to check their orders - when they've got the darned reports!), and that the callers from Vons are actually listening to us, instead of copping attitudes and blaming us for their mistakes.

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Dagonee
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Fairly basic math that shows most people who get health insurance will spend more than they get out of it. Letís assume 100% efficiency in the insurance pool (no profits for the insurance company, no expenses allocating the benefits or collecting premiums). Also, assume equal premiums per person of $1200 a year (I know thatís low, but Iíve got student health insurance and thatís the number I know).

To break even, you need to get $1200 in benefits Because we assumed true efficiency, the average (the mean, or total benefits paid divided by total number of insured) benefit is $1200.

However, there is a floor on the least amount of benefits you can receive: $0. There is theoretically no ceiling (although some companies have one or two million dollar caps on lifetime benefits). In large samples with this configuration, the mean benefit tends to be higher than the median benefit (the benefit amount at which half the insured receive more benefits and half less benefits).

If youíre having trouble seeing why, consider that one person receiving the lowest benefit counteracts one person making a double benefit ($2400), but one person receiving 1,000,000 in benefits requires 833 people to offset their contribution to the average, bringing down the median significantly. The overall effects are not that drastic because most deviations above or below the average benefit will be relatively small, but the effect is present nonetheless.

By the way, changing to more realistic assumptions makes the distance between the mean and the median larger, especially since some money will come out of the benefit pool for admin expenses and profits.

All that being said, not having health insurance is one of the greatest economic risks you can run and is never a good idea once more basic needs such as food and shelter are taken care of. Having a major health problem raises expenses and lowers income, eating your cash flow from two sides. Few people can survive financially if theyíre stuck with a $100,000 health care bill Ė and thatís not close to as high as it could be in some cases.

I have great sympathy for the health care dilemma facing the truly poor (working or not), since lack of access to regular health care increases the risk of facing a major health expense someday.

My sympathy is less or non-existent to those people (I know too many) who have a new car and a nice television and fancy clothes right out of school but arenít buying health insurance. Even though itís harder to get if your employer doesnít provide it, there are enough alternatives available that a single person making a decent income can afford it if s/he prioritizes correctly.

All of which has nothing to do with the strike, but medical policy is near and dear to my heart, so there you go.

Dagonee

PS, I know I didnít give the true mathematical reason for the difference between mean and median, but the conceptual reasoning is still valid. I just didnít feel like going into normal and lopsided distributions.

[ October 20, 2003, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: Dagonee ]

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fugu13
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It is theoretically possible for all people to put less insurance than is paid out, due to the aggregation of investments by the insurance companies.

This would of course require insurance companies to have a near perfect knowledge of the future.

So the best one can expect is for people to on average pay in less than they receive in benefits, which is slightly possible, if unlikely.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
Unions need to be reworked so that their interests also include having a successful business to work at.
Nobody eats if the store closes down. There is an incredible misconception that Unions = strike. I think it's the inclination for media to see the world in terms of crisis instead of continuity. The workers don't want to strike for the sake of striking, they want to work without the fear of tripping over the curb on the way home, and the extent to which the business is successful, the workers want to beat back that simple fear.

Seeing Unions in terms of strikes makes about as much sense as seeing the federal government in terms of prisions.

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mackillian
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I have been a member of a union and we managed to fix systems without striking.

Most times, the management would only address issues when the union leveled a threat to strike. Without that ability, the company wouldn't listen to the workers, because it would have no contract to stick to. Even WITH a contract, the company didn't stick to it.

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TomDavidson
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"Perhaps if you had ALL of those things happen to you, you would use up your $200,000 paid in."

Robespierre, I don't think you realize how expensive even one or two of the things I listed -- brain damage, cancer, etc. -- actually are. Consider that a single MRI is often billed at over $700.

Medical insurance, like most forms of insurance, is really a type of gambling; it's betting on catastrophe. If you're lucky enough to never need it, and only see the "benefit" when you're doing $10 copays on regular checkups, so much the better -- but trust me: in an actual crisis, it's definitely worthwhile.

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