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Thread: Thinking I might retire on 12/1!

  1. #71
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    The way I see it, the issue wasn’t that she was taking jobs from their members - it was that she wasn’t paying union dues.
    And she's still not, joining the union is not a requirement. She and the other volunteers affected were an asset to the students as well as the district, the union made her a liability to the latter. Oh well...
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

  2. #72
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    I don't understand the argument. My husband provides a full time job worth of hours for about 9 months of the year for Habitat for Humanity. There is a core group of 50 Tigers who are active volunteers. As a result, they are able to build 30 homes in our city for participants. If they did not have Tigers, they would never be able to complete anywhere near that many homes. They don't have the money to pay more employees. They supervise, build parts, keep track of materials, etc. Because he is a volunteer, they have no "claim" on his time and he can vacation whenever he wants. If he is sick, he stays home and does not have to document for an employer.

    It is not true that they would hire people to take over the work done by the Tigers. They would just provide fewer houses. I think this is true with any nonprofit organization. Take out the volunteers and automatically reduce services. I am one who carefully inspects any charity I donate to to see how active they are in using volunteer labor and squeaking a nickel. If they have bloated admin and only hire employees with no volunteers, they get none of my money or time.

    He also volunteers for a group that maybe has one or two paid employees and the entire rest of the staff is volunteers. They build wheelchair ramps for those who cannot afford them. And he delivers food for a food bank with two other guys once a week. They provide the vehicle and the time. This food bank has no paid employees but is a church activity and would close without the help of the volunteers. It is a lot of work.

  3. #73
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    sweetana3, I think the discussion is centering on the use of "free" volunteer labor for positions which are essentially required.

    I believe Alan's wife's volunteer work fits that description -- she can't just up and decide to hop on the back of Alan's motorcycle for a long tour of the West; there are kids to work with daily. Nor can the school let the special-needs kid(s) sit in the corner, for all intents and purposes unattended. In tybee's example of an accountant, the position may be more time-flexible than assisting children during school days, but still has some hard deadlines and requires specialized knowledge; it's not just balancing a check register; the person has to understand general accounting principles. bae's volunteer fire fighters encompass all of that -- the requirement to respond, hard deadllines, and specialized knowledge.

    If an organization was okay with missing 4th-quarter financials (and, therefore, their annual report and the funding issues that would create) because the person who does their accounting had no claims on his (her) time, or letting a special-needs child fall behind in class, then, fine, offer someone the ability to do the job as a volunteer. But if the work is critical, then it should be paid for. Hiring the job as a paid position allows organizations to require certain skills/certifications of the worker, lets the organization impose standards and protocols, and provides some measure of control over the worker's time.

    I see the situation differently for your husband's work with Habitat. Certainly he needs some specialized knowledge to build houses. There may even be some deadlines tied to certificates of occupancy and closing on the property. But if he and his fellow Tigers built 28 houses in a year instead of 30, what?

    I have no problem at all with non-profits that know how to deploy volunteers to leverage the work they do. But for positions upon which the rest of the organization relies and for those requiring specialized skills at required times, the looseness generated by giving the jobs to volunteers is questionable business, IMHO.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  4. #74
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    Steve, I think it depends on intelligent use of volunteers. Yes, if the job is essential, it requires a responsible, committed person who will do it well. Paying someone does not guarantee that they will be responsible and committed. Paid employees demonstrate incompetance, quit without notice, are arrested or hospitalized, have family emergencies, and find better jobs (that’s a short list.) the volunteer wanted to do the job enough to do it without pay. The employee wanted the pay enough to do the job....

    if you do not have a qualified, competent, committed volunteer for some positions, then yes, it is essential to hire help. There are a lot of things you can’t do patchwork. But refusing volunteers categorically is like saying a paid nanny is always more reliable and competent than a grandmother.

    i would do most of my job for free, but I would keep no records and fill out no forms or evaluations. So I kind of feel like that’s the part I get paid for. Also lunch duty. I definitely do lunch duty because they pay me.

  5. #75
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    And there will always be those who complain about volunteers doing tasks.

    There was a clear violation here in the last few years. The Museum of Art fired all their security people that moved around the exhibits and checked to make sure people did not take any art away. They "hired" local work/study students who got credit for doing the same work. This is illegal for the work/study program since it clearly took away jobs from people that were doing them and was not a supplemental activity.

  6. #76
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    That is also exploitative of the work/study students - who are NOT volunteers - they are being “paid” with credits.

  7. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    sweetana3, I think the discussion is centering on the use of "free" volunteer labor for positions which are essentially required.

    I believe Alan's wife's volunteer work fits that description -- she can't just up and decide to hop on the back of Alan's motorcycle for a long tour of the West; there are kids to work with daily. Nor can the school let the special-needs kid(s) sit in the corner, for all intents and purposes unattended. In tybee's example of an accountant, the position may be more time-flexible than assisting children during school days, but still has some hard deadlines and requires specialized knowledge; it's not just balancing a check register; the person has to understand general accounting principles. bae's volunteer fire fighters encompass all of that -- the requirement to respond, hard deadllines, and specialized knowledge.

    If an organization was okay with missing 4th-quarter financials (and, therefore, their annual report and the funding issues that would create) because the person who does their accounting had no claims on his (her) time, or letting a special-needs child fall behind in class, then, fine, offer someone the ability to do the job as a volunteer. But if the work is critical, then it should be paid for. Hiring the job as a paid position allows organizations to require certain skills/certifications of the worker, lets the organization impose standards and protocols, and provides some measure of control over the worker's time.

    I see the situation differently for your husband's work with Habitat. Certainly he needs some specialized knowledge to build houses. There may even be some deadlines tied to certificates of occupancy and closing on the property. But if he and his fellow Tigers built 28 houses in a year instead of 30, what?

    I have no problem at all with non-profits that know how to deploy volunteers to leverage the work they do. But for positions upon which the rest of the organization relies and for those requiring specialized skills at required times, the looseness generated by giving the jobs to volunteers is questionable business, IMHO.
    This is my issue with "volunteering". Must be there weekly on X day for X hours. Must volunteer during daytime hours. Must must must.....volunteering will be around MY life. My life will not be around THEIR LIFE.

    I have submitted to employer schedules since age 15 and when I retired at 60 I will have done this for 45 years! Volunteering will be on my terms. "I am available for the next 3 days. Do you need me?" I don't want to be "required" to volunteer the week I have 100 pounds of tomatoes ready in the garden. I do that work exhausted in the evenings NOW because I am still saving for retirement. I want to go to the mountains at random when I want to go. Not when I am allowed to between scheduled volunteer shifts. And I am not a call-in-sick-for-convenience person.

    My heart wants to volunteer NOW. But the requirements don't mesh with my work requirements. Everyone seems to want daytime volunteers. My job IS daytime starting at 6 and ending sometime between 3-6 (overtime exempt has it's downsides).

    I think the viewpoint on volunteerism is dependent on the community needs and your personal situation. However, as stated, if my services are mandatory, it should be paid/hired, not volunteerism.

  8. #78
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    sweetana3, I think the discussion is centering on the use of "free" volunteer labor for positions which are essentially required.

    I believe Alan's wife's volunteer work fits that description -- she can't just up and decide to hop on the back of Alan's motorcycle for a long tour of the West; there are kids to work with daily. Nor can the school let the special-needs kid(s) sit in the corner, for all intents and purposes unattended.
    No, not really. The description of the volunteer position may fit, although the number of volunteers for the reading program ensured that individuals could pretty much work at their convenience. Plus, all our long tours of the west take place during summer months when school is not in session.

    When the district did away with all the volunteer positions in favor of a few paid positions, my wife took one of the jobs because she had a history and a deep and abiding interest in the kids she was helping, not for the money. I think it's immoral to take away a person's ability to voluntarily make a difference in a child's life.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

  9. #79
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    It is murky when sorting paid vs volunteer positions. I volunteer to mentor an 8 year old one hour a week and have been with him for 3 years. I can cancel if something comes up but that little guy watches the clock and wonders where I am if I get held up. My commitment is to him, the volunteer organization meets all the legal requirements with paid ED and volunteer coordinator and I enjoy helping him.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  10. #80
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I've averaged maybe 300 volunteer hours a year for the last several years. I've been lucky to be with two programs that are a fit for me and my schedule and am fairly certain I didn't displace a paid worker. My take is that it is sort of like a regular paid job, where some can be boring and thankless and others the opposite. The difference being that you can always quit a volunteer job with few consequences. My experiences have been positive overall. I've made new friends and learned a few new skills.

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