While some people would agree that a union is needed, I suspect the chances of it ever succeeding are practically nil. Here’s why I believe that:
1. Most Ice jobs are contractual. While that doesn’t preclude a union, it does limit worker continuity. Basically, anyone who promotes a union would simply not be hired back.
2. With a few exceptions, most Ice jobs are very competitive. If it isn’t a closed shop, there’s no end to the number of applicants willing to take non-union jobs. Even so, the company has been forced to keep some salaries in line with stateside union wages, especially for trades such as electrician; they have problems attracting employees otherwise.
3. Raytheon has, historically, looked very unkindly on union formation at overseas locations. Re: http://www.gis.net/~larrabee/unionbusting.htm. As has been seen with the contradictory results to employee lawsuits regarding the Fair Labor Standards Act (requesting overtime wages) and IRS tax law (promoting the legality of Antarctic work for the exclusion from Federal taxes), US laws are generally only applicable in Antarctica when it serves the interests of the company or government. Legally speaking, I doubt the laws allowing unions would apply here, and any attempt to form a union would be squashed. It’s a cynical point of view, but hard to avoid when viewed against the backdrop of recent legal decisions.
Still I think it would be interesting to watch someone try to do it.
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