Does Our Profession Need a Union?

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Does Our Profession Need a Union?

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    Trace One

    on the other hand, I am sure I will never change anyone’s mind…

    Off to a lecture at the People’s Republic of Berkeley..We are all union people, there..


    Alan Ray, RLA

    Why thank you Trace One, (is that your real name?)….I’m am very young @ 59……

    I’m impressed by your presumptuousness and ability to drone on and on…….anonymously.

    When were you in Detroit?

    Thomas J. Johnson

    “The concept of unionizing the profession was discussed in this forum a couple years ago, and was savagely beaten to death in the ensuing 3,578 responses. I have no doubt that will happen again.”

    Hhhmmm… I thought this kind of not-so-subtle threat was reserved for use by unions to persuade it’s members which way to vote. 😉 Do you mean to say that there is an anti-union-union within our profession? Interesting… I could see it though… I don’t particularly care for unions myself… or any strong arm tactics really.

    Sorry to bring up a sore subject… I do enjoy your acronyms though. Much more clever than mine. Your PLACE idea is especially good… and is a great concept. If we could get architects, landscape architects and civil engineers under one roof, we’d really have some clout. I mean, why should all the guys who are building our designs in the field have union protection while we’re left holding our….? It reminds me of the auto-industry. Line workers making six-figures with pensions while the engineers who went to college and designed the cars are making $50k m. Doesn’t really add up… or at least makes you wonder why you went to college…

    OK everybody, back to work. Discussion’s over. Stop asking stupid questions about why the guy with the GED is making more money than you, watching the other guy with a GED, dig a hole…Nothing to see here… now get back to work before I take advantage of the “At-Will” employment clause in your contract. You’re not Union. I can fire you any time for any reason. I don’t give a damn if you moved half way across the country for this job four months ago on your own dime or that you’ve been busting your ass working unpaid over time… that’s your tough luck, sucker.

    Oh, I can hear the Peruvian pan flute now…


    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    What could be better for a profession that already has few people willing to pay for its services than to make it more expensive? What better way would there be to get more of those of you who can’t find jobs now to land jobs than to make it more expensive for someone to hire you?


    I thought the drugs were good back when I was in school, but apparently they got a lot more powerful. …. or you are all being taught by those from my generation that stayed at the universities continuing to indulge who became professors. WTF?

    Aaron Kraemer

    Ah unions. I am actually a member of one right this very second, and as such know both the ups and downs. The up side is that as I work my way through school at a Grocery store I get such things as health insurance, and the knowledge that I make more then the worker over there at target. Which allows people at my store to actually support themselves in some shape or form off of the job. Something that is far harder to do in non-unionised retail. The disadvantage is that they can be very inflexible to either market demands at the time, or in my case, acknowledging prior

    experience with the same company (albeit in a non union store). I had the distinct pleasure of taking a pay cut upon moving to a larger city. Since then I have more then made up for it. The reason for this post: unions in my belief are generally good, the issue arises when they become so large and inflexible that they do not allow for fast changes based on market demand, or special circumstances for employees. This allows some people to work the system while failing to reward hardworking people that put in more effort than the average person. In the end I side with the unions because if it wasn’t for them it is far easier for management to push you harder for less, and at least my job is secure, something that is paramount given the current state of the economy.

    Jeff Klein

    Someone has been to Detroit once and uses it for the bases of an insightful discussion, thinking they know the world.  Detroit was depressing you say?   You saw what you wanted, that simple.  Fact is you could have learned a lot about the world while you were here.  You may never visit  a more worldly city in your life. Reality is a weird thing to those outside of it.   

    Detroit is full of the most determined people I have ever met.  

    As for  unions if you think they ruined or could save Detroit or anyplace I would ask you to look a little deeper.  How about greed, racism, capitalism, and classism?   Does anybody realize that it is not business as usual? You want an ergonomic chair? What????? 

     It seems that on the one hand people like to address a broken system and define it by all their wants but then perpetuate its very existence. Opportunity is not a gift for every child born into this world.  

    Poverty creates wealth.   Wealth depends on poverty.    

    As designers of our future cityscapes, social landscapes, and environmental solutions I ask you to dig a little deeper.   Come up with real change!   Thoughtful, insightful, and visionary change.  I work towards these goals not for a big ergonomic chair but because I know it is worth it……… Union or no union.   



    Landscape Architects to form a Union?! When I stop laughing long enough, I’ll put in my two cents worth of an opinion.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    So what is the bargaining power? We’ll stop sending you resumes unless our demands are met?


    It just may work because some of the the firms receiving those resumes may need to burn the paper in stoves in order to heat their homes this winter.

    David J. Chirico

    Some thoughts on private sector unions:


    That will create direct competition with non-union LA firms’ employees over compensation, instead of quality of work.  Think there won’t be strongarming to make non-union LA firms into union firms?


    You may have to limit your work based on union job descriptions.  Want to go out with the survey crew tomorrow? Not so fast union worker, its not in your job description.


    As a union worker you can lobby politically for what you want rather than what you should be doing, which is listening to your clients wishes.  Goes against a very fundamental rule of LA does it not?


    When the union employees of a company start retiring with full pensions, the younger employees will be working to pay the retiree pensions rather than invest and grow the company.  Its backwards and it will ruin a good firm.


    Compare very successful union companies vs very successful non union companies and see what names you come up with.


    Only 8% of private sector workers are unionized.  Private sector union membership dropped 10% last year.  What does that tell you?


    Agreed.  As a former Detroit Metro resident I applaud your comment.

    Mike G

    Unions were not the downfall of Detroit.  The auto industry decentralized and competition increased ten-fold.  You can see much of the same across the whole rust best in all facets of manufacturing and material processing.

    At the same time I would say no to a LAUnion.  This is not an appropriate profession for union representation.

    Alan Ray, RLA

    You are a smart man David!

    I hope all the socialists will read your post…..

    Thomas J. Johnson

    Like trying to herd cats, eh?

    Thomas J. Johnson

    I agree with your points. Locally, unions nearly destroyed McCormick place in Chicago by making it too expensive for vendors to attend trade shows. You literally can’t plug a light into a socket because it’s a union members job and you have to pay him $200 to do it for you. It’s gotten ridiculous. They could get away with it when times were good, but people are starting to resist the outrageous fees. It looks like the city woke up just in time and is cracking down, which will hopefully encourage people to do business in Chicago. If people won’t attend trade shows, it hurts everybody; the restaurants, hotels, transportation… It’s a great city but if you make it too expensive to live in or to do business in, people will go elsewhere. Getting taxes and unions under control will help cut the fat and get the books back in order.

    Pat S. Rosend


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