A Taxidermist Union. Would you join?

Submitted by Mr. Kim on 01/26/2004. ( ABCustomMrKim@aol.com )

Was wondering, if it was possible to start a "taxidermy union" that was recognized by the fifty states, (or should I say 51 states)? Would you join?

Yes, I know there would be a lot of draw backs, but would the benefits outweigh the problems?

OK, tear the idea apart. What do you think?

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Not I, what would be the benfits?

This response submitted by John C on 01/26/2004. ( incoming!! )

To set a quality standard? to ensure client care? Buy group health insurance? Continuing education?

Free Enterprise seems to be the best, the cream rises to the top and there others seem to sour.

I think that each State taxidermy association should break off into the best and the other taxidermist and promote high quality work!

Maybe the best Taxidermist should just form thier own assiciation and quit teaching the rest?

What do ya'll think?

How about...

This response submitted by Hoop on 01/26/2004. ( )

1) I cut my fingers on the band saw. Do I apply for workmens compensation?

2) If my wife keeps bugging me while I'm working, do I file a grievance for discrimination in the work place.

3) We would all have to price our mounts the same.

4) If I'm doing shoulder mounts for $375.00 and the guy around the corner is doing them for $300.00, do I picket in front of his house?

5) If my wife fires me, would the union get my job back?

6) Under the union contract, would I get so many sick days, personal days, vaction days?

I would have to say that I, me, myself is my union. LOL

Another direction.......

This response submitted by Rip on 01/26/2004. ( bdb@txucom.net )

I'm not to sure about unions but I would be for everyone joining their local state association. I live in Texas so we don't have to have a "license" to practice taxidermy. I sometimes feel it would be a good thing if we did though. Not trying to knock the part-timer or the guy that is doing his best to learn as we all did before and still do. I just feel that it would be a good idea that before you start doing commercial work for the public you should be held to a certain standard, possibly have you work (birds,deer,small animals)categorized and judged by an elected group from your home state. Those that make the mark get the ok to proceed, those that don't have to keep at it until they reach a certain level. Second-rate work hurts the whole industry. A number of fly by night shops open around my area every year and cut prices to get work. At the end of the season there gone. Personally it's not my problem that 'his' customers got shafted and stuck with a pitiful looking mount. I get many repair jobs every year and make good money off of them for just that reason. I have two serious competitors in my area and both of them are my dearest friends. Between the three of us we try and keep each other honed as much as possible because it makes us all better in the long run.

Just my opinion

How is it possible?

This response submitted by RC on 01/26/2004. ( )

How is it possible to have a Union. To have a Union there has to be STANDARDS, we don't have any now and never had any. I learned that from Joe Kish in the 70's and things haven't changed. The more they changed the more they stayed the same.
Maybe if we could get a couple of thousand blacks in taxidermy, Jesse Jackson would let us in The Raimbow Coalition. That's a Union of sorts. Our dues would go to Jesse though. Our brothers in the coalition would picket all the shops getting less than 450.00 for a deer head.
Next ?


This response submitted by wilson on 01/26/2004. ( )

If a taxidermy union is like every other union in the world my anser is no,i dont fell like paying for every dead beat that gets in.
and rip
i agree that if a person would like to help he should start with the state ass.,But that wont happen because you can't suport your state without joining other groups[nta].
i do have a choice ,i will not join either one.

Are you an employee or employer

This response submitted by Larry C. on 01/26/2004. ( )

Are you an employee or an employer? Even if you don't have any employees and are the only one doing the work you are still an employer. Hence the phrase "self employed". As an employer why would you even think about unionizing the industy. That would just make for more overhead.

Good comments so far.

This response submitted by Mr. KIm on 01/27/2004. ( )

Well, I can see that freedom and FREEDOM OF CHOICE is important to everyone.

Right to work for less.

This response submitted by JOhn c on 01/27/2004. ( )

Many states have the OPEN SHOP laws. other wise known as the Right to work for less.

A few years back the owner of Garrison Motor Frieght up and closed the business walked off, later to sell it to Smith Trucking all because of the Union, he paid well.

He opened another trucking firm a bit after that, as Arkansas Frieghtways, they have done great, recently sold out to FED-EX ground.

Right to work got the Union Workers fired. Same for Claridge Products. look at your kids schools blackboards or magic write boards. Union workers gone, others hired.

The Union could only be as good or strong as the people running it!

I just dont see

This response submitted by Bill Yox on 01/27/2004. ( )

I dont see any advantage to it, based on what little I know of unions. In my simple little life I think loss of jobs may well be rooted in unions. Drive that pay rate way up there, and price yourself right out. Then keep paying dues to stay protected. No wonder they look for cheap labor elsewhere. Like I said, I dont know too much about unions, lol. I vote NO. But I like the idea of supporting the state org!

hate to jump on a bandwagon....

This response submitted by r.stanton on 01/27/2004. ( )

But make that no!

sure, we'd all like to make more $ rather than less, but you do
that by taking personal responsibility for your finances, not joining a racket meant to benefit the lazy and/or unimaginative people who seem to think seniority trumps talent and ability.

'UNION' was the wrong word to choose.

This response submitted by Paul C on 01/27/2004. ( )

As several others have already stated, I feel unions are largely responsible for work going outside the country. They demand everything and give little. Unions certainly had their place 40, 50, or 60 years ago but today there are enough "watchdog groups" around to keep employers fair and honest. The time for unions has passed.
As far as a taxidermy union is concerned, is that not what a taxidermy association is? Albeit a loose definition of one, your state taxidermy association, if properly run and implemented, will "educate and promote taxidermy" and raise the level of quality produced by its members. A UNION, if you will. Its all in how the association is run and how its members use it.
Wilson, join the PA Taxidermist Association-- we won't "require" you to join another organization just to be a member of ours and we'll provide you with three competitions a year to hone your talents and the largest state convention in the country to meet your suppliers.
Give me a call-814-796-6320- and we'll chat.


This response submitted by Superpig on 01/27/2004. ( )

I totally agree with you. I also have a studio in TX and face the same problems each year as you do. All these fly- by- night taxidermist that open up business right before deerseason and then are gone afterwards. Some might say so what? They won't hurt you because they won't come back. Unfortunatley they do and new customers flock there again each year.

I see so much bad taxidermy out there that a lot of customers don't even have a clue as to what a mounted deer should look like. I would fully support a state test for TX like PA has it. This would get rid off the fly- by- nighters who are only out for a fast buck (pun intended)and the ones who can't and won't do quality work.

On the Union thing. I have to say no. It is up to the individual states to set standards, and I think State tests would be a good start.

Rip, maybe you and I should bring this (state test) up on the next membership meeting in Kerrville this June.



This response submitted by Chip D. on 01/27/2004. ( gameskinner@yahoo.com )

Union,Smoonion,it'll get our butt in a rutt.
I agree with JOhn C.and the other guys,we would have to pay
to support the benefits,then most of us would have to cut prices to match
the cheaper guys or the cheaper guys would have to raise their
prices to match and that includes the hackadermist that charges
150.00 for a shoulder mount.In other words we would have to have a uniform
price for all areas of work. So adding more to the overhead and getting paid
less just doesn't seem enticive. Let the individual Associatiions
form more strict criteria for membership kinda like certification requirements
(everybody has to be certified to be elgible for full membership)
have the governing board of each association judge the entries of the, say
"associate" (or other appropriate name)member, once the "Associate"
member has passed on all criteria the board would issue a Certificate
and place the person in a Full Member status as a Certified Member of
the____________ State Taxidermy Association.
This might weed out the good from the bad.

This is just my opinion or maybe I should say, my thoughts,because we all know what opinions are like.
Ha! Ha!
Thank you for your time.
Chip D.

I can't believe I'm doing this but...

This response submitted by Paul C on 01/27/2004. ( )

At the risk of starting another great debate about testing let me tell you that testing will not solve the fly-by-night problem you are talking about. Pennsylvania has lots of fly-by-nighters and hacksidermists. While I believe in what I'm doing as an examiner, I also know that after they leave the testing facility and get their permits taxidermists are free to charge whatever they want and produce whatever junk they see fit. At the exam, we (the examiners) give the applicant a very thorough critique and lots of advise about how to improve their work. What they do with it, however, is out of our control. What I would like to see is some sort of retesting or re-certification every 5 years or so. This way the quality of work could be monitored a little more closely and individuals could get a little more "guidance". Can you imagine, though, the fun the ACLU attorneys would have with a state that told a taxidermist (read 'hacksidermist'), in business for 20 or so years, that he could no longer do business because his work was not "up to par"? YIKES!
If you want to discuss the PA testing issue, Evelyn, give me a call. I can send you a Handbook and possibly point you in the right direction if you want to get something started in Texas.
Paul Czarnecki


This response submitted by Wayne R on 01/27/2004. ( therodds@msn.com )

First let me say I'm not trying to promote unions or not to promote unions. I am a teamster for 27 yrs and a taxidermist for almost as long, so I sort of have an insight on this. Do I think we as taxidermist, should or could form a union? "No", there are too many variables involved here. However all of you are more like a union than you realize. Look at this very question, you all stood up and joined together. Every time there is something that the taxidermy industry needs to know, whether it's a new way to do something, a health issue, a political issue, or a money issue, it's put out there by someone and you all discuss it, and form your opinion and the majority has an impact on the rest. Every benefit that we have as workers came from unions whether you belong to one or not, it may be hard to swallow but that is a fact. The unions are voted into shops by it's employees when they feel they are not being treated fairly. Right now it seems that all, or most of you are the employer and the employee and are fairly satisfied with how you are treating yourself. Taxidermy union? It won't will happen, but I do think you will stick together on any issues that have an impact on this industry which in turn affects you as an individual.

I'm in!

This response submitted by Bill K. on 01/27/2004. ( klager@nvc.net )

That way "I" can make more money and I like money! Money is what life is all about, isn't it? I do fine now but I want more! So what if I have to put a few other people out of business, I'm better then them so I have more rights.

If we all join up we can effectively eliminate our competition because we are better artist then them. If they want to be one of us they will have to pay. We will be able to monitor and control all United States taxidermists and it would be on a mandatory level. We can tell them that even though they are successful and their clientele is content with their quality that they are simply out of luck. Of course this will translate into more money for ME and that's a good thing!

Maybe we can lobby the UN and make it an international thing. Man, I'll be rich!

I like the idea of telling other people that if they aren't more like me then they can take a hike.

Associations do an "O.K." job but they're voluntary and we miss quite a few. We need to mandate that they join. Well.... it wouldn't really be a "mandate" but they won't be allowed to seek training unless they register with us first, regardless of their talent or personal goals (I don't know where I get these ideas, they just come to me).

I think freedom is overrated anyway, especially when I can profit from depriving it from people.

Send me an application. I'm in!

Bill K. :-)

you are not actually talking about a "union"

This response submitted by Justin on 01/27/2004. ( jshein@bouldersci.com )

a "Union" is a group that negotiates collectivly. as independant business owners it is not possible for you to form a union by the standard definition of the word. what you would have is an association which you already have. as independant business owners, you got together to set "standard" prices, that activity would be defined as price fixing and is against the law. now, if 500 of you wanted to all work for me, and formed a union to negotiate collectivly with me well, that is up to you. but you would no longer be working for yourselves. sometimes things do not go aur way in a free market society but what you are asking for lends itself to removing freedoms that we all enjoy and I am willing to bet are some of the reasons that y'all have chosen the professions that you are in.


There's always a catch....

This response submitted by Bill K. on 01/27/2004. ( )

There's always a catch....

Darn freedoms!

Guess I'll have to figure out a way to become an independently wealthy taxidermist without infringing on other peoples rights.

Hey, maybe I can improve the quality of my work and just charge more. If that doesn't work I can move to a a better location and give that a try. Hire some employees, expand, grow, advertise, target, a wealthier clientele. Another added bones would be that I would no longer be bothered by annoying people that can't afford me because they would be taking all their business to those smaller and moderate sized "home town" taxidermist that sit around shooting their dinner in their back yard.

Now that I think about it.... maybe I can achieve my personal financial goals without interfering with other peoples lives. What a brilliant idea! I think I'm starting to catch on to this freedom thing. Maybe it's not so bad after all....

Bill K.

LOL Bill

This response submitted by Paul C on 01/27/2004. ( )

You crack me up Klager! How's that little situation coming in SD with the "agency"? Haven't heard much lately.

Are you NUTS?

This response submitted by George on 01/27/2004. ( georoof@aol.com )

We can't even get a National Taxidermy Association going for 50 states and you want a UNION? Everyone already gripes about the $50 a year and where it's going, can you imagine having the union guys calling you at the end of every month for their dues. Then what do you do, picket the hacks who're charging less than a "fair union labor" price. The AFL-CIO and the Teamsters come in and you'll be dealing with the FTC and ICC on wages, racial quotas, and equal employment opportunities. The federal government will get some college professor to come in and set the "standards" and that will end competition work. They'd probably hire Cecil to be the Big PuBah and then we'd have to convert to socialism where if I made more than Joe Blow, I'd have to subsidize his wages or send him portions of my workload.

For the most part Paul... we won.

This response submitted by Bill K. on 01/27/2004. ( )

For the most part Paul... we won.
In a nut shell.... we have to tag our specimens now. Something that we all do already. Although, the South Dakota GFP has made it VERY clear that the purpose of the tags is not so that they can "inspect" the taxidermist to keep them honest but so they can identify a particular "suspect" during a warrantless search and seizure.

We effectively removed the language that authorized them to enter our studio but they rewrote it to stipulate that we must "make the customer's specimens available for inspection". Inspect them for what you might ask? Well... actually, they don't want to inspect them they want to seize a particular persons trophy that has already been predetermined to be illegally harvested. I believe their actual words were "once the specimen has been located, it is seized for evidence and the inspection is complete". This is all based on an officers "reasonable suspicion". But since the law (also known as the IV Amendment) doesn't allow them to enter my studio without a warrant we must now "make it available for inspection". Although it's quite clear that abridging the IV Amendment is a violation of the XIV Amendment, you have to understand they're still working out the difference between an "inspection" and a "seizure" so it is unlikely that deciphering the Constitution is within grasp of their present level of intelligence.

All kidding aside, we have a considerable amount of literature that indicates that they know exactly how it works but they know as long as they keep "saying" they don't understand they can continue hide behind their qualified immunity without fear of prosecution from anyone.

At this point in time they have moved on to bigger and better things..... trespassing without probable cause. The land owners out here are pretty upset about it and now they are raising hell in the legislator and they've got them off our backs for awhile. They'll be back though. Ya see, unlike most wildlife agencies, ours has no integrity. At least the guys upstairs don't.

Ya got me all wound up again Paul. Thanks a lot!

Bill K.

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