SeaWorld San Diego may scrap project due to city-imposed union requirement

Posted Wednesday, June 26, 2002 4:55 AM | Contributed by Dutchman

Tourism groups and contractors clashed with labor unions and their supporters before the San Diego City Council yesterday over council demands for an agreement that theme park managers said would force them to use contractors employing union workers. SeaWorld has said it will cancel a planned $50 million expansion unless the council reverses a decision, made in a closed session last week, to require that the theme park sign a project labor agreement and a neutrality agreement over workers employed to build and run a 300-room hotel that would be part of the expansion.

Read more from the Union-Tribune.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002 5:01 AM

When did unions get out of control? There was a time that unions stood for fairness in wages and safe working conditions. Now it seems to be all about greed. Can't get work based on your ability? Legislate it. Nice.

I had a friend who did a little labor consulting in the auto industry and the things she told me about unions and the auto industry were staggering. According to her, it was no surprise at all that American auto makers have a hard time getting ahead on the quality/economy curve over the others.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 5:26 AM
Yup its the same thing in the mining industry. *** This post was edited by Phyter on 6/26/2002. ***
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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 6:08 AM
Wait a minute....wait a minute...READ the article carefully. This isn't only about union contractors building the project, (Edit: I'm not defending that at all, as Sea World's building costs would be higher than most competitors. But the OTHER provision should stay in place) but it also allows the housekeepers, bellhops, etc.--the classically underpaid and overworked--the right to unionize later. Of course, the only way to keep them from forming a union is to pay them wages and give them work schedules that won't get them feeling they have no other recourse.

What gave you the idea sub-minimum wages, seasonal labor exceptions and ungodly work hours were the American way?

As for Jeff's friends statements....I guess you both need to see exactly how many luxury Toyotas, Mazdas, Nissans and even BMWs are built in the USA before eating your words.....not to mention how many foreign auto parts and subassemblies are manufactured by American parts manufacturers like Visteon (Ford), Delco (GM) and Johnson Controls. It's each company's manufacturing processes, policies and standards that keep US auto companies short on quality--you know, the whole capitalist greed and profit thing.

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/26/2002. ***

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 6:29 AM

'Playa ,

I believe most of those foreign automakers, and domestic suppliers are not unionized.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 6:36 AM
And that's where you'd be wrong.

Especially where Fords and Mazdas, Fords and Nissans, Chryslers and Mitsubishis roll off the same lines and are co-designed, co-produced and co-branded.

And how could I have mentioned BMWs and Toyotas without mentioning Honda and Mercedes, too? Or the whole Mercedes/Chrysler merger? I guess it's still early in the morning.

Don't embarrass yourself.

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.
*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/26/2002. ***

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 6:50 AM
This is why 'Playa specifically failed to mention Honda/Acura in the list of US-built foreign cars...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 7:01 AM
Nope, just plain forgot.

BTW, engineers who build Ford Explorers with a high center of gravity, Ford Escapes with steering wheels that fall off and Focuses that--well, just screw up aren't union people....they're salaried. Nor are any of the corporate muck-a-mucks who won't take the costly moves required to build a top quality product.

The union grunts are those little folk who complain that the doors aren't hanging right on the body frames while US auto management ignores them and tells them it's their fault.

Union or non-union doesn't signify quality or lack thereof. Just about every manufacturer--union or not--purchases components from union shops. What determines quality is their own policy and willingness to listen to the little grunts on the line. BMW chooses to listen and does great. Ford made an endeavor under Donald Petersen and made great strides--then lost sight of it under Jaques Nasser and you know the rest of the story.

Stick to rollercoaster trains, RideMan. In the auto manufacturing world, I'm Michael Jackson and you're Toto.

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo. *** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/26/2002. ***

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 7:04 AM
It has been my experience as a part of management in the food production industry that unions have caused more problems than good. Specifically, I think they have hurt the employees they represent by protecting the bad employees and therefore frustrating the good employees.

I am a firm believer that a company should have a right not to be forced into a relationship with a union. However, the company's management must understand that it has a HUGE responsibility to meet the needs of its employees. (Pay, benefits, recognition, promotions, etc.) If a company cannot meet those needs, that is when I believe a union should be allowed to step in.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 7:07 AM
Exactly.

Respect your people, keep them happy and they won't look for a union.

Frankly, that's the same assurance the city is looking for with the hotel employees.

Neither union or non-union scenarios are perfect. Union shops have incompetent time-wasters companies can't get rid of and it's difficult to reward go-getters under a system based on seniority. On the other hand, non-union employees have incompetent time-wasters (the friend of a friend's son-in-law in management, anyone?) and despots who can hire and fire entire departments of people at a whim...or as foils for their own incompetence.

Nothing's perfect. What are you gonna do?

- 'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/26/2002. ***

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 7:14 AM

Not all of cars produced by the companies you stated are co produced, only small fraction. And that is usually through joint ventures, like the Ford and Nissan minivan venture, which is ending this year, by the way. The other two have been long time joint operations on a number of cars (still a small number of models directly there maybe some small part sharing), but Ford owns a big stake in Mazda (my mind's fuzzy but I'm sure they essenitally own the company), as does with Daimler-Chysler and Mitsubishi. Not to mention DC is German-run.

But this way off-topic.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 7:22 AM

I'm well aware of the US-built "foreign" cars... we've got two of them in my garage. However, the plants these are built in are for the most part not unionized, and the culture of these places is night and day compared to union plants. In my case (with Toyota), the only unionized Toyota plant I'm aware of is the Corolla assembly plant in California, which no doubt has to do with the sale of the Prism via GM (same car).

Honda plants are perhaps best known for this culture of empowerment and common sense. It's a far cry from the nonsense that goes on in the Northeast Ohio Ford and GM plants. We did countless features on the efficiency of the supply chain and lines for the "foreign" US plants at the magazines I worked for.

As far as the "American way," the way it should be is that market forces dictate what the market will bare. Unions often force ridiculous wages for labor that is unskilled or requires little more than an hour of training. The result is higher cost for the product. What kind of sense does that make? If you want to make more money, learn a skill or trade that offers a higher wage. Don't expect entitlement because there are a bunch of you that want more money.

Before you jump all over me, the above is not a generalization of unions (food worker unions are pretty solid in my area), but it is a problem in far too many situations. What makes this case with SeaWorld even worse is that it involves a legislative act, and when politicians get involved you have a serious conflict of interest, given the way unions throw money around at policitcal campaigns.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com, Sillynonsense.com
"We used to hate people, now we just make fun of them. It's more effective that way." - KMFDM, "Dogma"

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 7:26 AM
Flat Rock assembly has always been a co-venture between Ford and Mazda since the 80s and every Mazda truck is a relabeled Ford.

Ford also owns Jaguar, Volvo and still has a big chunk of Mazda. BTW they improved the heck out of Jaguar, even though they quit listening to their own union grunts and let the home product go south.

Hyundai builds non-union cars in the US and they still suck. Chrysler hasn't exactly made huge strides in quality despite the ownership change--but the Mercedes plant in Vance, Alabama still builds things to par.

And again...Whether or not a plant is unionized, most of them are still plunking union-built subassemblies and components inside of 'em...Why? Aren't they all overpriced and destined to fall apart? Why isn't anyone touching that question? Because my answer holds as true as it did in my first post....it's the companies policies and standards, not whether or not it's union-made.

BTW, before you label me pro-union.....I'm stuck in a incompetent union that I despise, that I voted to dissolve a year ago and doesn't earn one cent of its dues it steals from my paycheck. My father was a union auto worker--once upon a time. He became a member of management as a manufacturing engineer about 20 years ago.

But I still know that 'union' -- in and of itself -- does not by necessity mean bloated, lumbering or evil. Plenty of companies do that on their own without one.

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/26/2002. ***

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 8:52 AM
I think that its funny that people would be so quick to criticize the unions before Sea World. This seems like a typical example of union busting to me, and frankly, it stinks.
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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 9:37 AM

Playa, if Rideman is toto and your Michael, wouldn't that make you brainless(vague reference to "The Wiz")

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 9:43 AM
Uh, no...that was a reference to 'Rush Hour 2' which--unlike the Wiz--was not an incredibly cost-laden flop that 12 people watched at a theater.

I suppose that would also make RideMan yesterday's dinner.

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

*** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/26/2002. ***

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 10:31 AM
Oh. I figured Honda/Acura didn't make the list because not only are their plants non-union, their management is AGGRESSIVELY non-union. Meanwhile most of the other ventures are at least partially UAW shops.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Who actually drives a Canadian-built Ford...

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 11:29 AM
Well, I work in the Reltions department here in lovely San diego, and let me just say this, its a huge mess.... Shortly after 9/11, the master plan update as we call it has been going down the hole. Sea world, just thru my eyes has been lacking in any major attraction since the sky tower and the newly shipwreck rapids. It just doesnt bring in the so called "theme park crowds", which we need. Sea world had tried to manage this by using the fun card approach which means, buy a single ticket to the park and get in the rest of the year for free. Note, this was brought back in two years in a row. Anyways, back to the Master Plan update, let me just give you the skinny on whats really been going on for the past year or so. Sea world has never in anyway been involved with union labor contracts because of their ownership by A-B company, and they are hard to when it comes to running their themeparks and staff. They wish to have no outside influences with this proposed Union labor contracts. The majority of the san diego city councel including the major backs sea world in this issue, and its highly likly that nothing will come of this union labor. That was only after sea world had threatend to cut of their proposed plans to make road inprovements and city improvements, if they had to come to labor union. As for now, dont hold your breath to see any future attraction on the horizon untill 2006..... There are still other little things to deal with other than this labor issue. We still have to deal with the coastal commision, and those dam city residents that claim this proposed plan will disrupt their view from their house.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 12:33 PM
Huh?

If you explain yourself a little more throughly, I'll toss you a herring, okay? :) (j/k)

As far as the Fun Card goes....that has nothing to do with Sea World's failure to attract guests. They offer that at most (if not all) of their parks. I have a Fun Card for the very, very crowded BGT.

-'Playa

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The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo. *** This post was edited by CoastaPlaya on 6/26/2002. ***

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Wednesday, June 26, 2002 1:52 PM

I seriously hope that Sea World Employee is not working on press releases for Sea World.

The word "clarity" comes to mind.

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