Previously Published on Blogetary 1.0 on April 2013.
You know, I’ve been brooding over something the last few days because someone I know made a derogatory remark about unions last week. And the remark they made assumed all union members are lazy “featherbedders”. And it’s hurt and rankled ever since. But, I’m not in a position to say anything to that person, so I’m saying it here instead.
In fact, before my mom had a union job, there were times when we had problems with many of those issues.
Teamsters living wage along with financial aid, made it possible for me and my sister to attend university.
Teamsters pension helps fill in the gaps for my parents where social security and medicare don’t always go.
I am now also a member of the National Writers Union and the Freelancers Union. Hopefully, being part of this union will help me find more freelance gigs and because I’m part of these unions, I have a better chance at finding affordable healthcare.
I remember in high school over half my friends had parents with union jobs that also put clothes on their backs and food on their tables. And those parents were not “featherbedders.” They were hardworking folk who earned every single red cent they worked for.
So, before anyone goes off badmouthing people in unions, just think about what life was like before there were unions – when children were working in factories and people worked 7 days a week for wages that did not put food on the table or clothes on peoples backs and did not provide healthcare for them. Think about the people you know who grew up with parents who were in unions or who are in unions themselves. Teachers are some of the hardest working people I know. They are professionals who deserve a professional wage, yet if they didn’t have their unions people would spare no thought about taking away their living wages. And if you can’t afford to pay for good teachers then you will not have good education in your school systems and your children’s education will suffer.
Our lives are collectively better because of unions. Because unions asked for a 40 hour week, we all have a 40 hour week. Because unions asked for holidays and vacation pay, we all get those. Or should anyway. This is 2013, you’d think we’d not have to worry about any of that anymore, but some people still think it should be 1913.
I just want to be able to say this loud and publicly, that unions are a good thing and the hardworking union members do not deserve to be considered lowlifes or lazy when I know how hard they work, how hard my parents worked.