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Local 792

 

My grandfather, Jerry, was a union man, through and through. So much so that one year we got him pajamas for Christmas and because they were made in a foreign country and not union made, he took them outside and burned them.

As a joke, years later, my mom made him a nice terry-cloth robe and put a tag inside the collar: MADE BY NON-UNION LABOR.

He served as a union steward, hung out at the hall... my wife's Kia Sportage was not welcome in his driveway. His truck, as you see above, had a vanity plate representing him and his union. You get the picture.

When he died a couple of years ago, it was because of an accident. He slipped and fell on ice in his driveway that broke his ribs and punctured and deflated one of his lungs. From there, it just got worse until he died.

Through the union, he had an accidental death policy for about $10K or $20K. And when it came time to honor the policy he had through his beloved union, they fought it. Hard. And they won. They never paid out for it, and they didn't care.

A few other things happened in the years prior to that showed disrespect to the union's avid fan, my grandfather. He believed in the concept - one for all, all for one.

Yeah, whatever.

Watching how the whole brotherhood thing went down while he was alive is actually one of the things that soured my appetite for unions. Their deep antagonism toward business owners shocked me. It was always management vs. workers, and instead of driving toward mutual respect and partnership to deliver great service to customers, the union workers who were my grandfather's friends fostered ridicule of business owners and management. Somehow, though, the entire concept of how exactly they got a job and received a paycheck in the first place never occurred to them.

When it came time to finally reward his lifelong love for the union and pay out honestly on a life insurance policy, the union flipped him the bird. This caused my grandmother great angst, up through the last weeks of her life. It was a betrayal, though it didn't surprise my mother or me... it only re-affirmed the truth we knew that the union isn't at all about its workers. Workers are just tools for the union leaders to collect a fat paycheck that they don't earn.

My grandfather taught me to be unafraid to put my name to my opinion. "If you don't have the backbone to sign your name to it, you shouldn't have the backbone to speak it."

So there you go, Local 792.

 


by Brett Rogers, 5/28/2011 9:11:25 AM
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