RE: RE: Sprawl-Mart cuts and runs

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From our what if it worked and everyone wanted to bargain collectively for a fair wage and a modicum of benefits department, Wal-mart would sooner put everybody out of work rather than try to make a profit with a unionized work-force.


Don't Shop At Wal-mart. Your karma will thank you!


Rebuttal from Travis in... 3, 2, 1, ;-)


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Wal-Mart (WMT:NYSE - news - research) said Wednesday that it will close a store in Canada where workers were close to establishing the retail giant's first labor union, according to The Associated Press.


The company plans to close the store in Jonquiere, Quebec, because it says union negotiators are making unreasonable demands that threaten the store's business.


Last week, the United Food and Commercial Workers of Canada asked Quebec labor officials to appoint a mediator in its talks with Wal-Mart in hopes that it would help break a logjam in negotiations.


"We were hoping it wouldn't come to this," Wal-Mart spokesman Andrew Pelletier told the AP. "Despite nine days of meetings over three months, we've been unable to reach an agreement with the union that in our view will allow the store to operate efficiently and profitably."


Any success enjoyed by the Canadian union with Wal-Mart could have ultimately impacted the company's business in the U.S. One of Wal-Mart's competitive advantages is low labor costs. That was especially apparent throughout its recent foray into the grocery business, which prompted massive labor strikes across Southern California as traditional grocery chains attempted to cut health and other benefits to their workers in an attempt to compete.


"Is Wal-Mart sending a message here [about organized labor in its stores] ? It's too soon to tell," said Richard Hastings, retail economist with Variant Research. "It's all about expenses, and Wal-Mart is all about expense controls. The unionization of that store ruins the expense budget for that store, so Wal-Mart definitely looks at it as something to eliminate."

And from right here at home. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.


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BC Wal-Mart employees still waiting for LRB decision

Feb, 09 2005 - 7:00 PM


VANCOUVER (CKNW/AM980) -- Another delay in the effort to unionize Wal-Mart workers in BC.


United Food and Commercial Workers Union spokesman Tom Fawkes says the Labour Relations

Board has scheduled more hearings in March to review complaints of unfair labour practices filed

against the big retailer.


Fawkes says while it's all part of the process, waiting can be frustrating for the workers.


The UFCW is waiting for the LRB's decision on whether or not employees at seven Wal-Mart Lube

and Tire Express departments can join the union.




PBS' Frontline did a great (and relatively objective) show on Wal-Mart. You can view it online by following the link.

Since we don't know the details of the contract, it's obviously unfair to simply blame walmart for closing the store just because the union came in. It's just as valid to say "That lousy union forced the closer of a retail store". The truth is almost definitely somewhere in the middle. From what I've read before I believe that the union lied to their prospective members.


I'm not defending walmart, I never shop there, I think that they're a terrible monopoly that destroys communities by its very nature. But if you don't want to make what walmart pays, don't work there. And if you decide to unionize, know what you're getting into. It's not like you're just voting on getting a higher wage, there will be repurcussions.


Hopefully some country can at least protect their communities by making some sensible anti-trust legislation. Until we do up here I fear we're in for a tough slog fighting srawlmart.

Two quick comments cuz I'm near my daily deadlines.


There's plenty of communities where Wal-mart is damn near the only place one can get a job. Should a monopoly position allow a corporation the right to deny workers the strength of numbers in bargaining their wages and benefits pkg?


Second point. One unionized store couldn't possibly spell the end of Wal-mart. If Wal-mart thinks they can't make a profit w/ a unionized work-force, what better way to prove it than allowing a test run to put the question to rest?

Walton built his billions by being ruthless businessman. Squashing unions is what Walmart does and will keep doing to tenaciously protect it's profit margins. In a business sense, benefits of killing the Quebec store are not only does it snuff the union movement there, it also sends a message to the other stores that may be thinking of it, organize and you will lose your job.


Megacorps HAVE to have growth or the shareholders get grumpy.


We have to keep them in check or we'll get a monoculture.


Agent Smith said it best "you are like a virus, a cancer of this planet, and we are the cure."

Dugly:



I think it IS fair to simply blame Wal-Mart. The union was willing to go to an impartial third party to

get a deal. Wal-mart is afraid they might have to pay a living wage, so they pulled out. Certainly

raises and/or benefits for its workers wouldn't put them out of business. It would only cut into

profits. I don't know how or if the union lied to the workers. A link, or a brief summary of whatever

makes you think so would be welcomed.



The first article mentions that there were nine days of negotiations. Having been a part of the

bargaining process, in my experience nine days would barely get serious negotiations underway.

The article doesn't mention it, but how many offers did Wal-mart put on the table? Were they even

serious about getting a deal? I highly doubt it. Further, spokesman Andrew Pelletier is a master at

spin. Trust me, I interviewed him when the big W first started talking about coming to Vancouver.

He knows what to say and how to say it. Stay on message and you can deflect any real criticism.

That's the way it's done.



Corporations hate unions. Not because they can't make money with unionized workers, but because

the union gives workers power that they don't have as individuals. Corporations are like wolves.

They cut the weakest from the herd and feast on them. Whether it's refusing to give a raise to a

deserving worker who they know is too desperate for a job to quit, or frightening workers by telling

them their jobs are at stake if they organize, corporations use the age-old tactic of divide and

conquer, not to ensure their survival, but to maximize profits for shareholders. Now, getting a

return for your investment is not wrong. Capital investment is what creates many jobs. But, and this

is the but that matters, exploiting people who may not be as smart or rich as you is plain wrong.

It's utterly selfish and that seems to be the way corporations function.



Finally, cuz I just know some of you young, bright, kids with college edumacashuns are thinking to

yourself, "Hell, unions had their time and place, but in this day and age we don't need them, and I

especially don't need one, because I'm good at my job and I'm in demand."



Wake the f*ck up OK? It's called the race to the bottom and it's what happens when there's more

applicants than jobs and greedy corporations ready and willing to exploit the discrepancy. Did you

ever see a post-secondary institution unwilling to churn out more graduates for an industry because

there might be more workers than jobs?



So what happens. Two applicants, one job. One job hunter is willing to work for less than the other

guy. And so he does. When it comes time for a raise, there's somebody willing to work for even

less. So, shut up and economize sucker, cuz otherwise the next young kid willing to work longer for

less will take your job.



Do you think the 8 hour day, child labour laws, a couple of weeks vacation a year just magically

happened? Put down the X-box controller, pick up a history book, and grab a clue kiddo.



Peace


CK


Choice quotes from CK's post:


Wake the f*ck up OK?

and grab a clue kiddo.



I guess that's all fine and Dandy CK, but the reality is that Unions are businesses. Unions are 3rd party businesses that get paid by their "member" for a service, and that service is to make sure those members don't have to do anything they don't want to. Unions who won't let me move my desk myself, and if I want them to move it, charge $150 to come and shift it over 3 feet. Unions whose members hit their bosses, and then get to keep thier jobs.


Unions aren't out for what's "Right" for everyone any more than corporations are. Unions aren't here for the betterment of society. They're here for the betterment of thier members. I HAVE been (and AM a member of a union), I've seen people blacklisted by the union because they don't agree with something the union says. I've seen Unions bring down otherwise completely fair and honorable businesses because all they care about is getting an extra buck, and doing what they do best. Be another business.


How many mills in BC have closed because of the union squeezing and squeezing? It's NOT unreasonable to make money off of an investment. Why the hell else would someone invest?


Is this true of all unions? Hell no! Is this true of all corporations? Hell no.


If you bother to respond, try not to call anyone any names. It's immature. Including comments like "kiddo" and "wake the fuck up".

I'm not really looking for advice on writing. Thanx tho. I write pretty much how I speak. Colourfully, passionately. Don't get worked up over how I say it and let's stick to substantive issues.


Unions aren't businesses. A more accurate description would be that of a cooperative or association... there to represent the interests and well-being of its members. Profit is not the prime motivation.


As to all the mills that closed BECAUSE of unions. I don't think that's true. I think those businesses would have closed anyway, or automated to the point where it wouldn't really matter if it was open or not, because very few people would be working there. Further, Gyppo logging companies are feeling the same pressure as unionized ones. It's not a union/non-union issue, it's one of dwindling profit margins as logs get harder to extract. Why is that the fault of the workers? It's the companies that have to be forced into replanting schemes, too little, too late in many instances.


Of course it's not unreasonable to make a profit off an investment. I already said that. Please don't intimate that I'm suggesting otherwise.


I didn't call any ONE names. I made a blanket judgement about all the young (mostly, tho there's plenty of old and in the way types too) people out there more interested in video games than leaving a better planet behind.


Unions ARE there for the betterment of society, in that their mbrs are members of society and often the gains they get trickle down to all those people who are not represented by a union at the bargaining table.


"Unions are 3rd party businesses that get paid by their "member" for a service, and that service is to make sure those members don't have to do anything they don't want to."


Now that's a choice quote. Completely over-the-top and inaccurate, but hey, whatever floats your boat.


"Unions who won't let me move my desk myself, and if I want them to move it, charge $150 to come and shift it over 3 feet. Unions whose members hit their bosses, and then get to keep thier jobs."


Would you prefer the company train the desk mover to do your job and tell you you're now expendable? Howzabout when the company tells you that you now HAVE to move your desk, and Bob's over in accounting too, and since you have an extra five minutes at the end of the day, you now have some janitorial duties to boot? Was that what you signed up for?


You're certainly welcome to paint union workers as violent, lazy, and unwilling, but it's simply a stereotype. I could call all managers incompetent and manipulative, but that's not true either. I could say all priests are pedophiles, but it's simply not the case.


Evil, Venality, Sloth. They all exist. Get used to it. Those attributes are hardly the sole domain of unionized workers.


The weaker unions get, the more people are exploited. It's self-evident to me. Feel free to point out examples where the opposite has occurred. I'd be happy to go toe to toe with you providing examples of union-busting making the workplace a less hospitable environment.


warmest, politest regards,

and not a single dirty word, just for you D. ;-)


CK

I thought the myth of "unions as the source of all evil" went out with Maggie Thatcher....


Jiminys...I'm getting that Socred vibe.


Main Entry: labor union

Function: noun

: an organization of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members' interests in respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions


Contrary to the myth, it's not in the inherent interest of a trade union to bargain it's members out of a job.


Wal-mart is pulling out for precisely the reason others have put forth: paying their workers a liveable wage screws up their business model, which depends on low paid "associates" selling goods from countries where the price of labour is, by an amazing coinkydink, also low. [Of note: Wal-mart almost went under in the 90's until it dispensed with it's "Buy American" policy, and began buying it's wares from China]


The benefit to the North American consumer is obvious, but it's a short term benefit: you're basically selling your economy's long term prospects up the river in return for satisfying your immediate consumption.


I too highly recommend the PBS site recommended further up the thread.

Has anyone seen Dugly. (S)he was here just a minute ago. Dugly, Oh Dugly, where are you???

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VANCOUVER(CKNW/AM980) -- As the union which initially led to the stall the Vancouver

International Boat Show votes on a new contract settlement, the people at the Boat Show are

actually thanking the dispute for the business they're getting.


The labour dispute between the B.C. Government and Service Employees Union and B.C. Place

delayed the start of the Boat Show for over a day.


But vendors who decided to stick around are glad they did, suggesting the publicity surrounding the

dispute has led to one of the best boat shows they've seen in years.


About a dozen exhibitors dropped out because of the dispute.


The Boat Show wraps up Sunday.

------------


I believe the computer geeks have an expression.... Pwned!!!


Ha ha, seriously, don't blow a gasket dude, but I couldn't resist pointing out this story, and

mentioning that this is an instance where the union was fully within its rights to stay out, but chose

to help the boat show instead.


regards,

CK

I guess you missed where I said "not all unions are like this" and other such statements.


I hadn't bothered to respond because you' hadn't made any points. And as much as I like the Internet, I can argue with myself without having to type it out.


You make some statements like "Unions ARE there for the betterment of society, in that their mbrs are members of society and often the gains they get trickle down to all those people..."


Is about as intelligent as "The rich people SHOULD get richer, because the money they make gets spent which trickles down to the people who aren't rich".


I guess you've never read the news of the BCTF (BC Teachers Federation) blackballing a member because that member wanted to go to work and teach the kids she wanted to teach. The UNION black listed her, and INSTRUCTED her co-workers to not speak with her and give her the cold shoulder.


I guess you missed the Ferry workers who thought they got paid enough for flipping burgers. Again, the UNION blackballed them and called them traitors.


I guess you missed the BCGEU protecting a VIOLENT employee in the Okanogan last year, fighting for his position. That employee eventually came back to work with a gun.


I guess you missed the FACT that Union administrators are ALL PAID for their positions.


Hey CK


put down your XBox controller and grab a clue kiddo.

Wow, I don't even know where to begin.


Enjoy your rage.


I'm sincerely sorry my opinions and the way I express them make you so upset. If you actually wanted to have a civilized debate about the benefits and disadvantages of organized labour... I might be able to learn something from you and vice versa. But, I get the impression you don't consider my p.o.v. worth the electrons it takes to display them.


FWIW, three examples of bad behaviour by unions hardly seems like an indictment of the entire system. I didn't miss the part where you said not all unions are bad. You however, missed the part where I said capital investment creates jobs, but too much corporate power creates problems. And that's my issue with Wal-mart refusing to bargain with the union that's trying to represent Wal-mart workers.


Seriously, WTF is your point beside trying to make me look like I don't have a clue. How will it make you feel if you succeed?


Let's get back to the point that seems to have provided a target for your unfocussed rage. I said that there's people out there who think that the time for unions has come and gone. Are you one of those people? If you are, feel free to explain why.


Until then, if you can't take a little gentle ribbing, maybe you should avoid me and my impish ways. After all, I don't think we need worry that I'll infect the masses with my crazy ideas on a forum that a few dozen people goof around on. And, you needn't be the antidote to my poisonous theories if it gets you as worked up as you appear to be.



Seriously, what's your issue with me? Too smart ass for ya? Then ignore me. But don't pretend that I didn't address your comments to me. I did, you just didn't like the answers.


I'm happy to grab a clue. Should I pick one up for you while I'm at it?


Or, perhaps we could just cut straight to the name calling... Wanker.


(That's a joke Dugly. Don't get all bent out of shape about it OK?)


CK

I think you're giving yourself far too much credit. I'm not enraged or angry at all.


Since you asked though, I'll answer your questions (or most of them)


"What's my issue with you?" When you "discuss" you invariable add personal attacks, which I see as just childish, and demean your arguement. You use phrases like "get a clue kiddo" to attempt to admonish anyone that doesn't agree with you. I find that weak.


and using half of a single viewpoint to prove a point is about as good as fox news. "Hey, this store is closed, walmart is bad!" Walmart is definitely bad for numerous verifiable reasons. This store closing isn't one of them (unless you can provide details of the bargaining, or perhaps at least the contract that the union has proposed?)


"Are you one of those people?" (that thinks that Unions are outmoded in our society):


Nope, I think Unions as an idealist structure are a beneficial construct. I believe that Unions can be invaluable to protecting the rights of employees, particularly in times of recession.


I believe that the way Unions are currently run is unreasonable. What's best for everyone isn't necessarily what's best for the union as a construct. I believe that the way most unions are organized is not responsible to their members. Much like the falacies in our governmental structure, there is no representation for minorities (in general) for instance the green party has no seats federally. the same is true for Unions, it's the vocal minorities that run them.


In summary:


The idea of a union that becomes a voice for the employee's in negotiation with an employer is good.


The way in which this idea is currently in use in many circumstances is bad. (Note: I'm not against the BCTF or the BCGEU or CUPE or even the Ferry workers union in particularly. They've all done bad things, as have their employers)


You need to re-read what I wrote. I said "get a clue kiddo" to an entire subset of people. I doubt that addresses your actual concern, but so it goes.


"Much like the falacies in our governmental structure, there is no representation for minorities (in general) for instance the green party has no seats federally. the same is true for Unions, it's the vocal minorities that run them."


You appear to be contradicting yourself here. Perhaps you need to explain this a little better.


"Hey, this store is closed, walmart is bad!"


Not what I said. I think Walmart is bad because they would sooner close the store that admit the possibility they can operate with collective bargaining in place.


Unlikely I can find details of the bargaining or the agreement. They tend to be held pretty close to the chest. By the same token, I'd like you to give me the details that made you suggest the union lied to its mbrs.


Your complaint seems to be that Unions are run by a vocal minority. My complaint is too many people sit on their ass and complain about the way things are run. You seem pissed at the symptom. I'm ticked about the problem.


That's the way I see it.


CK

Also,


"You make some statements like "Unions ARE there for the betterment of society, in that their mbrs are members of society and often the gains they get trickle down to all those people..."


Is about as intelligent as "The rich people SHOULD get richer, because the money they make gets spent which trickles down to the people who aren't rich". "


Except that there's a long history of labour activism actually improving working conditions. There's very little proof that trickle-down economics does anything but aggregate wealth upwards.


CK

In the current system the winner of any given "seat" can do so with having just a couple of extra votes than whoever is in second place. For instance, in a fantasy riding, a liberal candidate might get, say 251 votes, an NDP candidate might get 250, a Conservative candidate might get 250, a Reform Candidate might get 250 votes and a green candidate might get 250 votes. Say there was a 50% voter turnout, and that 50% of the population is elidgable. For around 5000 voters


The winner in this system would be the liberal candidate, who would carry the voice of the entire populace, thats 251 voters getting to dictate the wishes of 5000 people.


Does that clear it up?

Except that most union votes are along the line of a yes/no situation, i.e. do you want to accept this contract... yes or no. In such a situation, the majority carries the day.


CK

Except that the negotiations are done by elected members, and that the membership isn't consulted on the vast majority of the process. Only once the negotiating team says they should vote. Representation is elected in the same way as my description, except that voter turnout is drastically lower, and as such an even smaller portion of vocal idealogues run the whole show.


Like the NHL Players. Are they voting on a contract? Nope. Because the NHLPA knows that the vast majority of players will be unaffected, or even come out better, from the current team proposals.


Or how about CUPE, even when it's time to vote we didn't get a copy of the contract, and weren't allowed to make a copy. There was only 2 or 3 copies available for hundreds of us to look at, and were in inconvenient places. The union told people how to vote.

I'll speak to the first issue based on my experience.


Your second point is speculation. I won't try to out-speculate you as I don't know (or care) whether the millionaires get screwed or the billionaires, except to point out that nobody ever held a gun to an owner's head and made them sign a cheque. If they didn't try to outbid each other for the stars, and instead got together and set a cap on what they'd pay... and stuck to it, they could drive payrolls way down. It's funny that when a player tries to get the most money they can, it's gouging. But it's all good when an owner tries to maximize his profit. But I digress as they say.


The third issue is as you point out, one side of the story. What did your union executive say when you asked them about it? 'Cause you did ask right?


Anyway, back to point one. The reason the process is held behind closed doors is because there's usually a number of items on the table and as the deal progresses some things come and go.


For example, presuppose a union and a company each have five items they want. Today, maybe I say I'll give you A and C in exchange for your B and D. You counter with no way to A, howzabout B and E in exchange for C and E. I say, no way to your D if you expect to get E, but I'll take B and F for some other combination. In other words, it's a fluid situation. It's better not to get people's expectations up and then have to explain why something they thought would be in the contract has disappeared.


What it comes down to is this. You have to trust that your negotiating team is trying to get the best result for the most members. If you can't support the principle of the maximum good for the most people then a unionized environment is going to be tough for you to work in. There's plenty of non-union shops out there if it's impossible for you to accept that sometimes a little bad accompanies the good in a collective agreement. The key word is 'collective'


If you have a problem with the idealogy of the negotiating team, there's two ways to address that. Mobilize those who agree with you to vote in a bloc, and/or become part of the negotiating team.


The union tells people how to vote because they are best able to judge whether or not the company is going to come up with more bucks. At the company I work for, many workers were ready to sign on the dotted line on the first offer. We managed to hold them off, and guess what. Somehow, the company's position that there simply wasn't anymore money to be found... turned out to be, gee, here's some more $$$. That happened a number of times before the pot was sweetened enough that a strike became less appetizing to the members than a deal. Personally, I think we could have got a little more. The vote passed by a tiny margin. Oh well. we got some good stuff. We gave up some stuff. Nobody lost a day of work and the company is still reporting earnings on shares. I guess a measly few percent raise didn't invoke a corporate apocalypse after all.


CK

Apparently my first message was too long. I also had this I wanted to add.


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There's one other point I want to address. You mentioned the ferry workers and flipping burgers. First of all, when a few members of a union start publicly offering their opinion it destroys the united face necessary to get a company to bargain. If they think they can split the membership, they will. It's just good business to encourage dissent in the ranks and call the skills of the bargaining team into question.


Also, there's more to being a ferry worker than flipping burgers. If something happens to that ship do you want a well-trained, well-paid worker helping you to safety, or a poorly-trained, poorly-paid burger flipper? Think worst-case scenario. It ain't a floating McDonalds safely tied up to a dock. And quite frankly, even McDonalds McJobs are shitty high-stress positions that probably should pay more.


Still waiting to find out why you think the union organizers lied to the Wal-mart workers in Quebec. Even a link I could check out would be appreciated.


CK

Sprawlmart makes the news twice today. Good thing they didn't waste any of those profits on training their managers how not to break child labour laws.



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Wal-Mart retailer settles with government in child labour cases


WASHINGTON (AP) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, will pay $135,540 to settle federal charges that it broke child labour laws, the U.S. Labour Department said Saturday.


The 24 violations, which occurred at stores in Arkansas, Connecticut and New Hampshire, had to do with teenage workers who used hazardous equipment such as chainsaws, paper bailers and forklifts.


Wal-Mart denied the allegations, but agreed to pay the penalty. A spokeswoman for the Bentonville, Ark., company said Wal-Mart was preparing a statement Saturday.


The company also agreed to comply with any provisions they violated - in this case, child labour laws - in the future, said Victoria Lipnic, assistant secretary for the department's Employment Standard Administration.


In the settlement, Wal-Mart also agreed to train managers to make sure they understood the child labour laws.


"This is a fairly standard thing to have an agreement like this," Lipnic said.


The settlement was signed by both sides on Jan. 11. An announcement was not made before Saturday because the department was waiting for the settlement to be paid in full within the 30-day period agreed to, Lipnic said.




copyright The Canadian Press, 2005


---------------------------------------------------

Press Release Source: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.



Wal-Mart Reports Record Sales and Earnings

Thursday February 17, 6:24 am ET



BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT - News) reported record fourth quarter sales and earnings for the quarter ended January 31, 2005. Net sales were $82.2 billion, an increase of 10.4 percent over the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004. Income from continuing operations for the quarter was $3.2 billion, an increase of 16.2 percent from $2.7 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004. Earnings per share from continuing operations were $0.75, up from $0.63 per share in the same prior year quarter.

Net sales for the year ended January 31, 2005, were $285.2 billion, an increase of 11.3 percent over the year ended January 31, 2004. Income from continuing operations for fiscal 2005 increased 15.9 percent to a record $10.3 billion, up from $8.9 billion in fiscal 2004. Earnings per share from continuing operations for the year ended January 31, 2005, were $2.41, up from $2.03 in the prior year.


Lee Scott, President and CEO said, "In the year just completed, we added almost $29 billion in sales and topped $10 billion in net income for the first time in our history. It was a solid performance, but we can do better. With the help of our Associates, we can look forward to even better results in the current year."


1) I'm not defending Walmart in any way. I feel walmart is a terrible company, and I don't shop there.


2) The reports that I had read about various walmarts unionizing (not necessarily the one in Quebec, but there are dozens of such efforts) lead me to believe that the Union stated to the employees that they would not lose their jobs. If a union tells potential members that their primary concern is that they get to keep their jobs, and then the union negotiates them out of a job, that's the union lying to the potential members in order for the Union to make a point. That union destroyed the livelihood of all those employees in order to make thier own biased political stance. The people who lose aren't the Waltons, and it's not the union. It's the members who are now out of work. That union should be ashamed that they have USED those people for their own political ends.


Even in your own language "presuppose a union and a company each have five items they want." you're not dealing with the members. You already admit that it's the Union negotiating. I just don't believe that the Unions always have their membership out for their best interest. I think Some do. I think some don't. Just like any other business.



Hell, look at this statement "At the company I work for, many workers were ready to sign on the dotted line on the first offer. We managed to hold them off, and guess what. Somehow, the company's position that there simply wasn't anymore money to be found... turned out to be, gee, here's some more $$$."


You squeeze a few extra dollars out of your employer. Pushing them closer to the point at which they won't make any money. So it's up to them to decide when it's no longer worth it to bother staying in business. Of course they'd rather make more money than less money, but eventually you'll just screw yourselves out of a job, and them out of a business that they've grown throughout the years. Good for you CK, I guess you're looking out for #1. and the company knows full well that you're doing it. That's fine CK, I don't have a problem with you doing that. But when a company decides that it's too much, don't whine that they're evil.


Like this Walmart says "it's no longer worth it for us to operate" then the union has failed in their representation. They have screwed the members out of a job by squeezing too hard. You blame walmart, sure. I don't like walmart anyways. But it's just as much the fault of the union.


You say it'd be good for walmart to show that they can survive a union store. Why would they want to do that? Nope.... if I were the waltons I would have shut it down too.

Further debate is pointless. I could refute your points one by one, but as we've already seen in this thread, everytime I disprove your argument you find some other thing that's suddenly the issue.


The best part is, you're taking Wal-mart's word that they cannot afford to operate with an arbritrated settlement, despite the fact that the company continues to make record profits.'


Walmart operated in an unethical fashion. It's that simple. It's not the first, nor the last time Walmart has behaved in this way. You've said yourself they behave this way. But the moment a union is involved all a sudden they're the poor oppressed business. I think you might have preconceptions that are getting in the way of an objective analysis of the situation.


CK

Also, we polled our members as to what they wanted before we went into bargaining with the company. Those (employee-suggested issues)were our main areas of negotiation.


And, the company continues to make a profit, and is buying up similar operations across the country. If they're in financial trouble then I must be homeless and on the street by comparison. Your assumptions are off base in this regard.

You haven't once disproved any of my points. You've offered your opinion, which I've accepted as your opinion. I guess you haven't actually read anything i've said after all. I've never said Walmart is a victim here. I've said that Walmart didn't lose out at all. I've said Walmart AND the union are to blame, but you're letting your ideology get in the way of facts. The fact that those people are out of work, the fact that it has happened BECAUSE they unionized.


I'm sure Walmart COULD afford to operate with an arbitrated settlement. I just don't think that they HAVE to. My sincere hope is that people recognize what an impact Walmart is having on their lives and simply stop shopping there.


You're welcome to live in your world, I'll live in mine.

There's a difference between opinion, and first-hand perspective. That's why I asked you what your union had to say about the issue of very few proposed contracts placed in inconvenient locations. But, you chose to ignore that question.


I've tried to respond to most if not all of your questions. Most of my questions to you have conveniently fallen off your radar.


Another thing. You choose to differentiate between the "union" and the "workers". They are one and the same thing in my 'opinion.'


If companies don't have to honour the employees' wish to bargain collectively, that's effectively the end of unions. Do you really think working conditions would stay the same or get better without unions? Will you answer that one question?

Should a monopoly position allow a corporation the right to deny workers the strength of numbers in bargaining their wages and benefits pkg?


Would you prefer the company train the desk mover to do your job and tell you you're now expendable? Howzabout when the company tells you that you now HAVE to move your desk, and Bob's over in accounting too, and since you have an extra five minutes at the end of the day, you now have some janitorial duties to boot? Was that what you signed up for?


I said that there's people out there who think that the time for unions has come and gone. Are you one of those people? If you are, feel free to explain why.


What did your union executive say when you asked them about it? 'Cause you did ask right?


If something happens to that ship do you want a well-trained, well-paid worker helping you to safety, or a poorly-trained, poorly-paid burger flipper?


If companies don't have to honour the employees' wish to bargain collectively, that's effectively the end of unions. Do you really think working conditions would stay the same or get better without unions? Will you answer that one question?

I DO differentiate between the "union" and the "workers" because in my opinion, unions are being run like businesses. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union is MUCH MUCH larger than this one store, and as such they (as in the Business of the Union) is making a statement about THIER political beliefs through their negotiations with Walmart w.r.t. this one particular store. As plausible an explanation of the outcome is that this Union has negotiated those workers out of jobs because of those beliefs. Since neither of us has seen any potential contracts, it's as likely an answer as your belief. It's not what I actually BELIEVE has happened, but I don't think it's as simple as you apparently think it is.


Your Questions:

1) No, a monopoly position should not allow a corporation the right to deny workers the strength of numbers in bargaining their wages.


2) If the desk mover wants to learn how to do my job, he's welcome to work wherever he can find work doing so. If the company tells me I have to move my desk then if I don't want to I can quit. It seems unlikely as people in positions I've held probably make more than the desk movers (although I don't have figures available) If I don't mind I can move it. If I want to move it 1' to the right I should be able to. I should NOT be held hostage to some internal politicing between facilities management and my department.


3) I answered this question quite thoroughly already. Please at least read what I've written before you say I haven't answered your questions.


4) When I asked to see the contract they said i'd have to go to the Union office (quite some distance) and look at one of the copies while there. There was no attempt to make it more readily available. The excerpts that they gave out I found to be self serving and misleading.


5) I'd rather have a well trained worker helping me to safety. Unfortunately that isn't even an option on the ferries, and their well paid staff.


6)I think working conditions would stay essentially the same without unions. In particular some jobs would be better, some worse, without the unions as they're organized today. Largely I don't think things would change very much at all.

I've got nothing. Your answer to question six is so far removed from anything I would even

consider a shadow of reality that any further discussion is pointless. You've left me gob-smacked

mate. All your previous points (1 thru 5) I would consider worthy of discussion and agree there's

areas where dogmatism on both sides of the fence create problems.


But, six? Can you offer any shred of evidence to back up such a viewpoint? Frankly, I could point to

recent history right here in our province and a over a century of hard work and sacrifice on behalf of

wage-earners to demonstrate the positive effect unionization has had on our society. What might

you mean by "as they're organized today"? It would seem to be your out, your wriggle room, if you

will.


Not that I could even begin to guess what your idea of a revamped union environment might look

like. Though I'd love to hear it. Do tell. Give me your version of a world without unions while you're

at it. I love science fiction. Include some rocket bikes and green chicks with three breasts while

you're

at it. Unfortunately, I think you'd end up with something that's more 'THX 1138' than "Stumpy's

Adventures on the Planet of Space Harlots" And THX 1138 is neither a palatable future or a

particularly good movie. But I digress, and snarkily at that.


To papraphrase Red Green, we're all in this together, but I hope you won't mind if I get somebody

else to watch my back for the time being.


Enjoy that eight hour work day Brother Dugly. I feel kind of bad for the people who died so you

could enjoy it... like you shat on their graves or something. Seriously dude. I'm not trying to yank

your chain or troll you or any such thing. I don't know what would make you think getting rid of

unions could possibly be anything but catastrophic for the average person.


in solidarity, (oops, more snark-ification. It's in me blood I tells ya)


your union pal

Stump




Well, I can tell you I'm not going to sit here and answer all of your questions without you putting anything out. Like I said, I can argue with myself without the benefit of the Internet.


You asked question 6. But now you don't like the answer. If you don't want an answer to a question, don't ask it. If to you the question only has 1 answer, it's not a question.


Here are some recent examples of unions being a dispositive force in our society.


1) Vancouver Island shut off from Mainland for the benefit of a handful of already well paid ferry workers


2) No NHL Hockey this year. This effects millions of people, and thousands of their livelihoods. For the sake of a few overpaid millionaires.


3) Hundreds of Walmart employees out of work in Quebec.


4) at least one mill on Vancouver Island was forced to shut because of a Union in the last 2 years, they were allowed to not bargain collectively because they were already in recievership. when the new contracts came threw from the IWFW they had to shut.


5) Talk to some old timers who've worked at the shipyards. I'm told (by them) that they used to get new jobs and then sit on them working barely enough to match their job descriptions. They would bargain while there were ships in the docks so they had much much more leverage.


Unions have also been a positive force in our society. I'm not saying, nor will I say, that they haven't been. Historically Unions have done a lot for the betterment of everyone. Historically things have changed for the better. Currently Unions are at the tip of their power. I think that there is a balance that can be achieved between the interests of employers and the interest of Unions, unfortunately nobody is looking for that balance. Unions are certainly not. Employers of unionized labor tend to bargain with that in mind. And still the non-unionized employees seem to do reasonably well too. So somewhere there is a balance.


any time one side has too much power is a bad thing. (Including if there were no unions) however right now Unions are on the top of the heap. I'd rather not see big business on the top of the heap either, I'd rather see the people ruling the city/province/country.

"You asked question 6. But now you don't like the answer. If you don't want an answer to a question, don't ask it. If to you the question only has 1 answer, it's not a question."


Well, actually I'm more interested in how you came to your answer, which is, if I understand you correctly, that the loss of the union movement would have little or no effect on the average wage-earning worker. Need I point out there's usually at least two answers to any question... a right one and a wrong one. Sometimes the answer is more subjective than not, but as I say, I strongly believe there's more factual evidence to support my view of the correct answer than yours. So it goes.



"Here are some recent examples of unions being a dispositive force in our society.


1) Vancouver Island shut off from Mainland for the benefit of a handful of already well paid ferry workers"


There were options if one really needed to get to the Island. A strike that doesn't inconvenience anyone isn't really making its point. Funny how once again, the predicted apocalypse didn't materialize.


"2) For the sake of a few overpaid millionaires."


Are you talking about the players or the owners? ;-)

It's a matter of perspective clearly.


3") Hundreds of Walmart employees out of work in Quebec."


Not suprisingly, I place the blame squarely on Wal-mart's unethical business practices for that situation.


"Currently Unions are at the tip of their power. I think that there is a balance that can be achieved between the interests of employers and the interest of Unions, unfortunately nobody is looking for that balance. Unions are certainly not. Employers of unionized labor tend to bargain with that in mind. And still the non-unionized employees seem to do reasonably well too. So somewhere there is a balance."


Again, I disagree. I would say unions are losing power steadily, no thanks to Gordo and the rest of the neo-con powers-that-be around the world. Non-unionized workers tend to do well because unions have the war chest to fight labour battles and the benefits they accrue, trickle down (hate the term, but it does describe the situation.) I've said that a few times, but you don't see it that way obviously.


"4) at least one mill on Vancouver Island was forced to shut because of a Union in the last 2 years, they were allowed to not bargain collectively because they were already in recievership. when the new contracts came threw from the IWFW they had to shut."


Without knowing what the contract was, I'm loathe to agree or disagree. Having said that, B.C.'s forestry woes stem from a lot of factors, a strong union presence can't be responsible for all of it. I'd say bad forest management and an unrealistic attitude toward resource extraction bear the brunt of the blame.


"5) Talk to some old timers who've worked at the shipyards. I'm told (by them) that they used to get new jobs and then sit on them working barely enough to match their job descriptions. They would bargain while there were ships in the docks so they had much much more leverage."


And the B.C. Place workers dropped the picket line so the boat show could go on. It's easy to play tit for tat with specifics doncha think?


"I'd rather not see big business on the top of the heap either, I'd rather see the people ruling the city/province/country."


I'm curious as to who you think are more representative of "the people" Big business, or unions? I really see no evidence that big business is the least bit interested in the good of the people beyond making sure they have just enough money to buy the latest consumer crap, but not so much that they can afford to explore options outside of 'wage-slavery'.


Oh well, I really should get busy. I'm too well paid to debate politics on the Internet all day. It would be a disservice to my employer. ;-)

regards,

Stump

You still seem to believe that Unions represent everybody. well, to quote you "I strongly believe there's more factual evidence to support my view of the correct answer than yours. So it goes."


Thankfully this discussion is over.

Umm, No. I believe Union representation of some, benefits all. A quibble, but let's at least agree on what we disagree on right?


CK

Nice thread - good points - mainly by CK - I give him the win. But my biggest concern here is the apparent ingratitude that Dugly shows for his/her Union perks. Nobody but a Union member could spend a week on this site debating CK unlesss they were in a Union.


Dude - you need to realize what the Brothers and Sisters have sacrificed for you - while you're at it go to a Remembrance Day ceremony Nov 11 too.


Brother Bagger

Here is your arguments as applied to another situation. This is an exact parrallel.


Why don't you guys support the Iraq war. After all, the militaries of the world kept us free from tyrany. The Germans took 2 cracks at it. If you don't support the Iraq war, you're pissing on the graves of every soldier that has died in the name of your freedom. You hate the millions of people that have died to keep you free.


To call into question my gratitude of the real efforts of the men and women who have brought our society into the place I hold dear is ignorant, and frankly insulting. You don't know me, You don't know what I feel and what I appreciate. To think so shows that you're as arrogant as all of the other judgemental pricks in the world (you're welcome to include me in that group if you desire, just don't think you're any better).


Stump tried so hard to deflect from the circumstances around the current events by bringing up the historical fights, which is quite frankly, completely unrelated. I never spit on anyones grave, and I didn't make judgements about things without the facts that I can acquire. Maybe you should both try that. Maybe rather than trying to insult the person you're discussing something with, you should think about the SITUATION BEING DISCUSSED.


If you'd bothered to actually READ the posts. My point is that Stump is making a HUGE judgement based on zero information. My initial concern is simply that you can NOT tell what's going on without more information. To simply jump to a conclusion without the facts is just plain stupid.

"My point is that Stump is making a HUGE judgement based on zero information."


Actually, I gave my opinion based upon a body of evidence that points towards a trend. You're both exaggerating and misrepresenting that with the above quote.

Dear Mr. or Ms Dugly


I heartily apologize to you if you missed the humourous intent of my last post. If you have been around the forum a while you might realize that CK and myself attempt not only to inform but also to entertain. While I may not always agree with CK I do enjoy his style.


Your style however, leaves much to be desired. Lighten up - you'll live longer.


Warmest Regards,


Brother and Veteran of the Psychic Wars Bagger (PS I will be looking for you at the cenotaph)

What is Wal-Mart’s position on unions?

(For U.S. Operations Only)

Many of our customers and associates’ family members are union members. However, we simply do not believe that unionization is right for Wal-Mart. We do not believe that third party representation would improve our relationship with our associates or add anything to our culture. We believe our associates and customers benefit when our associates can deal directly with management through our Open Door Policy, which is widely publicized and used. Our associates have consistently recognized this and have rejected union representation time and time again, choosing not to have a union step into the middle of our partnership.


Because of our size, we often are the target of special interest groups with their own special agendas. We take all criticism seriously, and when it is valid, we use it as an opportunity to improve. However, there are numerous groups who do not want us to succeed for their own reasons, such as labor unions and other special interest groups. We keep their comments and actions in perspective and instead focus on doing the right things for our associates and our customers.


I hate this login timeout !!!!!!!!! I had a page of stuff written then lost the whole goddamned post - except the above that I had just cut and pasted from the Walmartfacts.com website FAQ.....


Anyway - sorry to not bite on this in the last month - had a kid on the 10th so I 've been busy.


Dugly stood in well and I agree with most comments -


Quick paraphrase on what I had written already -


Unions -good and bad - have their place where employees are disadvantaged (walmart likely fits) but not where the employees are educated and have any personal power - need to change methods to pitch their value to the employer, employee and customers. Think - Buy Union Made - but give me reasons. If unions don't provide value and will only leach off the current e'ee/'e'er relationship then they have no place. Currently Big Unions from a national perspective aren't always looking out for their members as too much of their focus is on growing (ie steelworkers union representing lumber mills etc....is only happening because they want to grow and be bigger to have more clout and bargaining power but sometimes growth for grwoths sake seems to override the needs of the members)


Also sidebar - prove me wrong issue - I think that labor laws are such that once one outlet is unionized it opens the door to unionize the other stores more easily becasue the organizing drive can start without a local sponsor.


Other comments - two late reports about walmart - one employee was assaulted by the union organizers in Guelph - hardly cricket - then again walmart was paying employees to run anti-union campaigns. So as Dugly was saying it was likely both parties at fault in the Quebec case - not JUST Walmart or JUST the union.


Congrats on the addition to the family Trav. Based on my experience, it gets easier once they get

to be about two years old. Oh, and learn the baby sign language stuff if you can. Sounds too

trendy for its own good I know but it worx like you won't believe.


"but not where the employees are educated and have any personal power."


How educated and what do you mean by personal power? They tell me I'm pretty smart (but not

that educated, hmmm maybe I'm a bad example). I'm in a union. Almost all of my co-workers are

graduates of a post-secondary program. Some have a couple of degrees to their name. And,

they're in a union.


"too much of their focus is on growing"


Not when you consider the logical extreme for a union is the same as a corporation, namely a

monopoly. The bigger a union, the more effective job action is as a bargaining tool. Just as

Walmart's ability to close one store doesn't affect them, the opposite is what works best for unions,

the ability to close all their stores by striking collectively across the company.


"So as Dugly was saying it was likely both parties at fault in the Quebec case - not JUST Walmart or

JUST the union."


A couple of really important facts bear repeating. First of all, Walmart decided to close the store in

Jonquiere after only 9 days of bargaining (on a first contract as well, which takes a lot of time). To

contrast, for those who may not be familiar with labour negotiations, I was involved in a bargaining

process between my employer and my union. Hammering out a deal took months, with probably 4

to 5 weeks of meetings total in that time.


Further, the union at the Quebec Walmart applied to the government for arbitration. In other words,

the union was willing to accept an impartial third party's recommendations. Walmart, instead of

negotiating, or accepting a government-imposed version of a fair and reasonable labour contract,

closed its store.


The very notion of unions is anti-thetical to Walmart and its business model. I'm not just using

rhetoric here, I use the word anti-thetical (see link below for definition) for a reason. Unions

represent a direct threat, not to their business, as they could easily be unionized and still be

competitive, but to their profit margin.


Profit is good. We should all profit. But profiting thru someone else's suffering is wrong. Isn't it?

And somewhere, be it in the bowels of some mega-store in the Can-Am economic zone or the

shit-hole factory where some poor brown schmuck makes cents an hour, there's suffering with

Walmart's way of making money.


Which is my long-winded way of saying Dugly's initial assertion, that the union is somehow

responsible for the store closure (whether it be in part, directly, or indirectly) is hogwash.



Oh yeah, boy or girl? give us deets.


CK

Three quick Points.


1. "Profit thru someone else's suffering"? An argument could be made (and has) that all profit is at the expense of others. I just bought a car and $2000 (or whatever) of profit that Honda made took $2000 from me and my starving kids. More to the point, Wal-Mart gives people a job and a salary but you say that profit concerns pushes that salary to a level of suffering? If that were the case, then nobody would work at Wal-Mart. The Market is helping to determine the rates. If Wal-Mart paid $0.40/hour they would have no workers. What does the average salary need to be to stop the suffering? $10/hour, $9.98/hour, $10.87/hour. You tell me, I would really like to know.


2. Yesterday (or this week) a Wal-Mart store turned down a union offer by 75%. I guess that means that either the Wal-Mart scare tactics worked or the Union Scare tactics weren't good enough. Depends on if you are a Stumpy-ite or a Travis'er.


Speaking of which I really think there should be an Ultimate game this summer Captained by Travis and Stumpy where all the players must share the Captains world view, wouldn't that be great to watch! Observers on stand-bye.


3. There was a cute commercial on TV last night promoting Wal-Mart's program to stamp out adult illiteracy. Obviously once more people can read they will realize what a deal cheese is at Wal-Mart and they will make even more money. Those bastards!


My 2 Cents

Hogwash? Heh.


Well, I guess it's simple enough to just blame other people CK, you seem pretty big on that. That and being judgemental seem to be your only strength. "It's their fault, and they're assholes". Anything else would be... well anti-thetical to your personality. I'm glad you see this issue as so black and white.


I so love it when people put in their arguments "I'm pretty smart". Chances are they're neither.


Here's a VERY SIMPLE fact that even you will be able to understand: Even if the store WASN'T bargaining "in good faith", the fact of the matter is if there was no union, there would have been no closure.


Understand that? Do you see the implications? The union is at least partly to blame. You can't tell me that the Union wasn't looking for any kind of wage increase. You don't even know how much. You purport to understand the bargaining and arbitration process. Tell me CK, when a contract goes to a mediator, what happens? What if one side (let's call them "Fairmart") makes an offer that REALLY is the most they can realistically afford. And another side (let's call them "Monopolunion") says "We want more!"?


Here, I'll answer my own question for you.


The mediator invariably picks a position in between.



Here's what actually happens. Regardless of what you THINK happens.


So by actually bargaining in good faith, a company completely loses because they end up having to pay more than they could have afforded. Unions know this, and USUALLY try to get a company in a position where it must go to a mediator. They hold out to get the "best" deal. Thus the company ALSO has to pick a position that is not necessarily what they could afford.


If unions would bargain in good faith, then so could companies. YOU Mr. CK think that the unions are pure as the driven snow, but that's as much bullshit as Walmart being friendly to the competition. They aren't.

I actually had to change my diapers after I read this one, I peed myself laughing :) Thanks 2cents


"


3. There was a cute commercial on TV last night promoting Wal-Mart's program to stamp out adult illiteracy. Obviously once more people can read they will realize what a deal cheese is at Wal-Mart and they will make even more money. Those bastards! "

2 cents:


Profit becomes unethical when you can afford to pay more, the labour is worth more, but you grind people down by playing on their desperation. Plenty of people work for less than they are worth because their choice is a pittance or starving. Unions help prevent that exploitation. If you can afford to buy a car, I doubt your kids are starving unless you're priorities are out of whack.


Dugly:


Call the waaahhmbulance. All you want to do is call me names. Have fun with it.


BTW, there's a big difference between a mediator and an arbitrator. You might want to learn the difference before you start lecturing about the bargaining process


CK

Also, 2 cents. The suffering that stems from Wal-mart's biz practices can occur somewhere other than their actual retail location, as I noted earlier.


As to the wage required to eliminate suffering... that's a hard question to answer, but not impossible. I won't attempt it here, but the fact that we have minimum wage laws points to the fact that it can be done. If we applied those same laws globally, much of the suffering we see in less-advantaged countries would dissipate IMO.

I just knew that if I started posting I would get sucked into this pointless debate! Damn you all!


Stump - Your comments again beg my point.


"Profit becomes unethical when you can afford to pay more, the labour is worth more"


How much more can Wal-Mart Afford? Please tell me! How much more is the labour worth? Please tell me. I don't know the answers, but neither do you or the union or the mediator or the arbitrator or Dugly (Travis might know but he is both Educated and Smart)


My point here is that the free market is often the best way to answer these questions. Yes unions are needed when 12 year olds are working in the coal mines 20 hours a day for 2 pence a week (and we had to live in a lake), but their ideals are not as clear when they are attempting to sell workers who make $x.xx/hour that they can get $x.xx/hour + x - union dues and be better off if they just drink the cool-aid.


Question - Those workers who are not out of work in Quebec, are they still part of the union, are they collecting money from the union? Honestly, I don't know. Do you?


But really, we need that game.


Travis, Dugly vs Stumpy and ???


Stump, you need someone to pass too!

Love the free market. When I see one I'll be sure to point it out. Current capitalism is far from a free market, esp. when corporations are more than happy to lobby for tax breaks etc. and demand governments provide concessions in exchange for their participation in the economy. In a free market it would be sink or swim, and no gov't handouts.


Unions do far more than simply negotiate wages. Things like safety issues, seniority, and a lot more are all talked about during negotiations.That's why we still need them. They provide the same service for workers that a lawyer does when you go to court. Experience, knowledge, and strategies that aren't available to an untrained negotiator are sourced thru the union. Would you feel comfortable representing yourself in court? Would you feel more comfortable if you had a grievance in your workplace handling it yourself, or having someone with knowledge and experience to counsel you?

"Unions do far more than simply negotiate wages. Things like safety issues, seniority, and a lot more are all talked about during negotiations.That's why we still need them."



Ah yes, and when is the last time anyone has heard of a union that gave back some wages in order to increase some safety?


I think the answer is NEVER.

blue and red flashing lights, high-pitched whining sound. Here it comes.



Waaaaahhhhhhhh!


I think you don't have a verifiable answer to your own question. You think, therefore you err Dugs.

I give that message a 3/5 on the CK meter.


You get your usual 1/1 for lack of anything remotely intelligent.

You once again get 1/1 for repetition and lack of original thought.

You get your usual 1/1 for personal attacks, rather than anything related to the discussion.


However you lost a point, 0/1, for brevity (that means how short it is), usually you draw on your ramblings for a much longer time, I'm disapointed you didn't manage to waste another half page of text as you usually do.


You also lost a point, 0/1, because you forgot to mention how smart you are.


Over all, that post gets a C. Next time you try to insult someone (probably me) see if you can't type more than 30 words and don't forget to mention how smart you are, you'll be back up to 5/5 in no time!


Oh, and in case you don't understand. I can't tell when the last time YOU heard of something is. So of course I can't verify it. I've never heard of such a thing. Nice try though! But have a look through your posts, you have precious little verifiable discussion in any of the posts you've made in any of the threads. Remind me next time you say anything to just use your "Verify it" response. It seems so simple.

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