After a week, I figured there'd be no responses.
O.K., I am management, upper echelon, or whatever you want to call it. I was a union member for 12 years, and have been non-union for 8.
I never forgot where I came from, and the union often states I'm the only one from "the other side of the table" who is on their side, which in itself is a problem.
I am also a former Marine infantryman, and know the command structure in that respect, its successes and limitations. To me, it's the best structure in the world.
Now, for the one who claims this is "command" or "paramilitray" and not "management versus labor." There are differences, and you're right, "be careful what you ask for."
The problems I see is a uniformity with the chain of command. It is a well understood principle that in a "command" structure, as one put it, that the lower ranks have a complete understanding that orders, when lawful, are to be obeyed without question, right?
Well, I believe it is one of any union's responsibilities to negotiate for pay, benefits, and security of its members. For years, our union, and I can only speak to mine, while in meetings, will cast open statements that the "chief," or "white shirts," or whetever nomenclature you prefer, are never on their side. Never have their backs.
Those types of statements are what cast doubt and a lack of faith in the integrity of the command structure, and when your top department-ranking members, be they Captains, BCs or Shift Commanders, sit in and fail to quell that kind of talk, they are in effect contributing to it.
Now remember they are in "brother" capacity, and can't infringe in open discussion due to their rank, which at that time doesn't exist.
I can't even imagine a meeting to include my platoon commander (LT), my company commander (CAPT), and my battalion commander (LTCOL) all present while fireteams and squads say how the regimental and division COs and the Commandant don't give a crap about the little guys, all the while my COs that are sitting next to me are hearing this, and sometimes contributing to it. It would never, ever happen, which is why it works.
I believe officers should be out of the union, or at least BCs. The lower ranks should absolutely believe their superiors have their backs, and would never put them in jeporady. If someone feels otherwise due to a complete lack of confidence in their superiors, then it is already too late.
For those who've never served in the military, it is hard to envision how strict the system is about insubordination and/or insolence. Within our union, it is "freedom of speech."
All members of the department should respect the structure, keep bitching only on an "uphill" direction, and openly support the wishes of their superiors to their subordinates. I find it hard to see how that can happen with the atmosphere some of you have drawn about your superiors.
So, I guess the answer is that most of you have lower-level chief officers in the union. Thanks.