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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
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Man, this is going to stir up a hornets' nest! (In Ontario, I mean.)
Pure and simple; an attack on non-union workers.
Carpenter licensing plan threatens construction agency: Tory MPP | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun
In the spirit of full disclosure, the only union I ever worked for was United Steelworkers of America...took me years to get to a point where I came close to the hourly wage I had made under them. And where are the steel mills now, in Canada?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 03:56 PM
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When you watch Mike Holmes's or Brian Baeumler's TV shows then you can see a case made for certification. There are some incredible screw ups they uncover but I put some of the blame on that with building inspectors. At the same time it will put a lot of people out of work and drive the cost of construction way up. If it gets implemented I have absolute faith in the inability of the Ontario government or the Tades College to be able to handle the volume of people trying to get certified.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 08:02 AM
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Well for once Ontario is following something Quebec did many years ago. I think the general population will benefit from better educated tradesmen. There will always be people doing jobs without certification, what we call the black market, and they will always undercut real contractors and produce less than perfect work. The disadvantage I see is the strength of the UNIONS. In Quebec they can literally cripple the province when they decide to protest or strike. We have different certification for construction workers for everything from road construction to sewers to framing to finish carpentry and they all have apprentice and master classes.
As far as the steel mills go, they are all still here, just the names have changed.

Cheers,
Dan
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 09:05 AM Thread Starter
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Dan; I'm not opposed to Trades Training. I'm opposed to that training being controlled by Big Labour. As you pointed out, Quebec is a perfect example.
Here in B.C. for example, only licensed Electrical Contractors can take out an Electrical Permit, but basically anyone can be an electrician...they just can't pull the permit.
So, the Electrical Contractor, on a non-union job, manages the project, and a bunch of guys run around pulling the wire. Seems to work just fine...at a lower cost to the consumer. Eventually a lot of those guys running around will want to do their apprenticeship, and will probably get full credit for the time they spent on the job; just not the class time.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 09:20 AM
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Dan-meister,

I've been in all of the chairs of this conference - from labor to skilled tradesman to general contractor to developer to owner and even building inspector. A gigantic factor in this is simply HONESTY! Plain and simple - too many people are so concerned about their "bottom line profits" that they lose track of the quality they SHOULD IMPART to every venture they undertake!

Building inspectors should be held accountable more than they are - in many cases. My days of inspecting were COMPLIANCE INSPECTIONS and were for the sole purpose of assuring that the structural drawings and specifications are followed. It was not unusual for me to have to shut-down jobs because rebar were undersized, columns and beams are undersized, nuts and bolts did not meet specs, pitiful welding, watery concrete, etc.

After a few visits to certain contractor's projects you get a feel for "who cheats and who plays fair". The one's that "play fair" are always proud to show me whatever I wish to see. They are the ones willing to get a forklift and send me up to check bearing assemblies or lower me down into a ditch to inspect rebar. They are the one's that have NOTHING TO HIDE! On the obverse there are always those that chose to "cheat" even when the instructions (plans, details, specifications) are right there in the construction trailer! These are also the guys that seem to "never have time to spend helping me to see what I need to see" - no problem - I WILL CHECK IT ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

I have never been a member of a Labor Union - but my brother has been for close to 40 years. I admire the fact that in the IBEW in Atlanta you are going to be trained or you get no work, unfortunately the non-union electricians often have employees with zero training. One of my main businesses is concrete formwork - in the field, I see all kinds of work. The (thousands) of UNION form carpenters I have met all knew what they were doing, unfortunately a high percentage of the NON-UNION guys did not have a clue - and their workmanship made this apparent!

I am not pro-union, I am simply saying when you're in construction and you're working in areas that involve safety of future building occupants - it is key to know what you're doing! Doctors and nurses, police, fire, paramedics, etc. also deal with human safety - aren't we all glad that they are trained in their field?

I've heard my Dad say on several occasions: "This stuff is important! A person can carry a flashlight (electrical) or a bucket of water (plumbing), but if your building fails STRUCTURALLY you are in big trouble!"

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 06:02 PM
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Yes, what Otis said, the reason that so many buildings fall down in third world countries is shoddy building work, failure to follow the plans,, builders who should in fact be working somewhere else other than building. With proper building codes combined with professional inspectors then they don't fall down. N
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2014, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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I can't fault any of your points, Otis. But I did have a lot of mgm't side contact with the IBEW, up here, and I can say unequivocally that we had a lot of trouble getting guys from the hiring board that were capable electricians. Needless to say they didn't stay long before we were looking for their replacement...sometimes 4 or 5 guys before we got a keeper.
But yeh, you're absolutely right about lack of training on the non-union side. There has to be a simple answer to that which doesn't involve layers of expensive bureaucracy.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 11:51 AM
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Default Back down to HONESTY...

What both of you last said (Neville & Dan) reminded me of something else that can be a big problem - but it still gets down to the basic point of HONESTY. When making compliance inspections, it was fairly common when I would meet a "cheater" for the first time that they will have a shirt pocket overflowing with cash. WOW - this is super common, it is not a new idea! Unfortunately, there are many building inspectors that are in their job for one reason and that is to GET SOMETHING PERSONAL FOR NOTHING! Good building inspection departments make random follow-up inspections behind their inspectors!

True character in a person is what they do when nobody is watching over them! I now have a great group of employees / coworkers, but getting to this point was NOT EASY! One cannot know what a person will be like from an interview with a stranger! Therefore, it is very unusual for me to advertise job openings - but rather, I get people that I know and trust to recommend people or, like I've done here on the RF, I observe.

Once someone is located that is your ideal candidate - you cannot starve them to death! These key people must be rewarded! They must understand that as an integral part of your business's successes they are key and no matter what comes-up we both must always treat each other as we would wish to be treated.

I will tell a brief story, but I AM NOT PREACHING - just relaying a true story that happened to me. In the late 1980's I saw a construction problem that was super common. I "wrote-up" numerous contractors for this condition in my many inspections over several years. I literally obsessed over how to make this "chore" easier for contractors to accomplish. I was only hoping to develop a group of details and a sequence that could be expected to be followed by commercial contractors. I realized in my research that there was need for a non-existant product. I set-out to invent this product and for two or three years, everything I tried had failed. I am not one who easily "gives-up" so I continued at my own expense until I came-up with a workable solution. A very large sum of money ($2.5M) had been invested prior to having a marketable product. In 2000, I had my patent and a local manufacturer came to me wanting to do the manufacturing and marketing of my product. I was still employed at the same Engineering firm where I had been for 20 years. After year 1, sales were great and I retired from Engineering in 2001. The first 8 years went great, but interestingly ALL OF THE SALES were made by personnel whom I had hired and trained - even though the "partner" had ASSURED ME that his company's expertise was marketing! My product line was simply too complex for his (hired off-the-street) idiots, so it was agreed that I would take over marketing in whatever manner necessary. I wanted only commission paid sales reps, but I did not wish to starve them; so I added to the product price enough to pay a 10% sales commission with the boss' full blessing! My product was a "steal at twice the price"!

Well, several of my people were total flops and found themselves other jobs. A few; however, did exceedingly well and were making very nice incomes as a result of their sales efforts. All of a sudden, when business got slowed by the "down economy", the boss hired a jackass to be the "General Manager". The new GM wanted to prove his "worth" by criticizing what he knew nothing about. He and the boss were griping about business and said I needed to fire some sales personnel and turn their customers into "house accounts". I said NO emphatically. They had worked hard and diligently and EARNED every penny they were paid and besides that, they were getting money over and above what the boss was asking for. He further stated that he needed me to change all of my people's commission rates from 10% to 2.5%. I told him that his brain had come loose! He got mad and I got madder! These were my friends - who I had hired, trained and worked with daily AND I AM THE ONE WHO MADE THE 10% PROMISES (to them) BASED ON AGREEMENTS I HAD WITH HIM!

I suggested we take this meeting into the boss' office and I slammed the door. I said, "What part of DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU do you two guys not understand?"

The GM said, "Otis, we have been talking about your product line's POTENTIAL and have come to realize that YOU CANNOT SEPARATE YOUR CHRISTIAN BELIEFS FROM HOW YOU RUN A BUSINESS!" I made him repeat it to verify that in my madness I had not taken this incorrectly. The boss then repeated the same statement WORD for WORD.

A period of silence occured. I said, "Thank you". Then they proceeded to tell me how I should be doing more business but "dangling carrots" as a hiring practice is perfectly okay in business. I said, "Guess what?" they asked what? I then said, "This business will die in a matter of weeks without the knowledge of me and several of my people!" "I quit" and I walked out. No more handsome six-figure income for me, but guess what? I did right by the people who I hired and if he were to cut them to anything below 10% they will quit and he will have to go out of business. By the way, I already had in a written contract my royalty agreement, which he cannot get out of.

He was right, I CANNOT SEPARATE MY CHRISTIAN BELIEFS FROM HOW I RUN A BUSINESS and I have no plans to learn!

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that, Otis.
In the early 70's an out-of-town material supplier casually asked me, I was a Contractor by then, what it would cost to pay off an Inspector in Vancouver. I was shocked for at least two reasons:
1) why did he assume I would know?
2) why did he even ask? To the best of my knowledge at the time, the Bldg. Inspection Dept. was squeaky clean.
In all my years in Vancouver, only one bribery situation came to light, and the City went after the Inspector, the contractor involved, and the homeowner, like a coyote in a chicken coop.
None of the above is meant to imply that there weren't some downright lazy inspectors, and a lot more sleazy builders; they give/gave the rest of us a bad rep!

I never took cash for a job ( I mean without proper paper work); I'd never give that kind of leverage over me to a client. "Give me a discount or I'll report you to the Tax guys..."
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-12-2014, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Default I Almost Forgot!

Visual Consumer: Ouch!
Heh...
Sure as Hell, they'll blame the contractor.
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