We all belong to a union | WisCommunity

We all belong to a union

[img_assist|nid=24395|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=99]I want to get this off my chest.  I've seen tons of anti-union comments floating around blogs and newspapers around the state- including this site.

I grew up in a union household.  My dad belonged to a union.  My grandfather belonged to a union.  Ditto my uncle, my siblings, and for a lot of my life, me.  I grew up thinking that part of working in the adult world was that you had to occasionally strike, and several times as a kid my I was brought out to the picket lines to watch.  So this runs pretty deep with me. That's not really what I want to talk about right now.  I want to talk about why it should run deep with all of us.

Whether you belong to a union, or have belonged to a union, you owe unions a lot. Because if it had not been for union workers and unions, your work life would be drastically different than it is today.

Do you have a 40-hour work week?   Thank the unions - that's the only reason it happened in the US.

Do you have reasonable benefits?  If so, that's probably because of unions too, whether you're a union worker or not.

Ever get paid overtime?  Unions.

Do you earn enough to support yourself and your family?  When union wages rise, wages for other jobs rise with them.

Do you get vacation time?  Or even paid vacation?  Where do you think that came from?

Are you a woman?  Do you make anything like as much as the men at work?  If not, do you at least have someone to complain to about it?

Are you any sort of minority?  Yes I know that work life is rough, and that at the moment it's rougher than most of us can remember.  But it could be so much worse.   And if it wasn't for unions and union members who were willing to risk  their immediate work life for their long-term well-being, and for your  long-term well-being, trust me, life could and would be worse for you.

Do you have rules at work?  Do you have an HR department that listens to your complaints about work even if what you have to say is in disagreement with the attitude of your boss or management?  That didn't just happen out of the good of your employer's heart. I'm not saying your boss is a jerk - she might be a great person.  I've been management, I've been non-management. What I'm saying here is that almost all of what we all take for granted about what it's like to work in this country came because someone (and not that long ago).

What I am asking here is that whether or not  you belong to a union, or ever have - you need to realize how much  you owe to the labor unions, and that one of the things you owe them is support.  The people who make our state run are under attack by our governor and our legislature.  It's up to you to remind them that you owe a lot to the people whose jobs are on the line.  Call your legislators.   Today, because Thursday is going to be too late.  Please remember that we all do better when we all do better.


February 13, 2011 - 6:03pm