Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Another reason Union membership is approx. 12% in the United States

"And I am calling to you, throughout the world. Well, I can hear the bells are ringing, joyful and triumphant..." -Mike Dougherty

That is what I hear on my iPod as I sit down to write to you about something that has been difficult for me for far too long.

Some of the long term readers of this blog know that my husband was an Apprentice in a Union for 3 1/2 years and was terminated from them last July. As much as he desired to be a part of this Union, a personality conflict with the program's director turned out to be the sole reason for this termination. Throughout the past 3 1/2 years, my family has struggled financially and emotionally as my husband attempted to reach his goal in becoming a Journeyman in this Union. Despite unobtainable ideals impossed on him by this Union.

My husband chose to appeal his termination and has waited 3 months to hear back from them in order to do so. We consulted two different high profile lawyers concerning this appeal. Both, independantly, agreed that they would be of no help to him in regards to this Union. They said this Union was too powerful and closed minded to listen to them. The second lawyer suggested that I attend the meeting with my husband. Seeing that I am his strongest supporter, I have agreed, though I doubt the board will allow me to enter the room with them. I am very nervous about this.

In preparation, my husband has bought new "business" clothes to wear, and has cut his waist length hair for the first time in 7 years to a normal "man's" haircut. I, too, have cut 5 inches from my hair and evened out the color to my natural brown. I refused to buy new clothes and have decided to squeeze my very pregnant body into my "smart suit". I will show my baby belly proudly.... I can't wait until this day is over.

-Following day... The meeting is over...

"I got a real live horseshoe,and I hung it upside-down above my door. But it don't do nothing to impress you, so I don't know what the hell it's for..." - Old 97's

Those Union bastards didn't allow me in to the meeting with my husband. As my buddy Ron has said, "It was a Stalinistic trial". A fourty minute bitch session of hell. My favorite quote by them, as relayed by my husband, was "This Union ISN'T here to look out for you! Our job is to negotiate contracts". After hearing this, I could feel my grandfather, a United Auto Worker member who was part of the sit down strike in Flint, Michigan, rolling over in his grave. The Union co-ordinater, who's job was to find my husband work, lied repeatedly in front of the board whenever my husband attempted to defend his work history. If my husband is indeed thrown out of this Union permanently, the Union will pay via a lawsuit I'll start because of this mans lies.

I know that many of my reader's are members of Unions. They have shared stories with me on several occassions about how their Unions have assisted them on a variety of issues. Forgive me when I say, I think that Unions are a waste of time, at least in America.

-Several days after the meeting...

"You snooze, you lose. Well I have snozed and lost. I am pushing through, I'll disregard the lose. I hear the bells, so facinating and I'll slug it out, I'm sick of waiting. And I can hear the bells ringing joyful and triumphant........" -Mike Dougherty

The letter came. He has been released from the Union.

Time to get on with our lives.


Anonymous said...

My limited experience to the union boils down to dating a United Airlines guy. Hopefully I don't offend here, but from what I could gather, unions have gone from "protecting the laborer" to "protecting the slackers." I'm sure it's not this way with all unions, but I could not beleive what these guys got away with. Eh, maybe it was just my boyfriend. He certainly was a cheat!

Anonymous said...

p.s. I'm so sorry about your ordeal. Sounds like a complete railroading. Seems like your hubby's much better off to be away from these folk.

* (asterisk) said...

What a major fucking pain. My union experiences are limited. I am a fully paid-up member of the National Union of Journalists, and it seems like a really good strong union, but ultimately I hope I never really need their services, because it probably means I'm in a financial mess with a client or some such.

It's a real shame that US unions seem to have gone to shit. And if they haven't, it's still terrible that your man is being treated so badly. I'm sure there's a little truth in your notion that they protect slackers, but we have to at least hope that that's not the whole story... don't we?

ldbug said...

I'm so sorry. Unions ARE terrible here. They have so much power, and do next to nothing for their members other than flex muscle. They act like gangs, 'become a member and we'll protect you, we'll make you pay for that protection, and we'll actually only be protecting you from US!'

Chin-up, move-on, be proud you stuck up for yourselves! I am.

Anonymous said...

its just the fn mafia neways im sory camie gl 2 ur husband

Life, or Something Like It said...

Oh, Camie, I am so sorry. I'm not a big fan of unions, either. My Hubby isn't union,and there are drawbacks...I don't see the point of paying the friggin' dues, only to have them turn their backs on you. Lee is right. I see more protection of slackers than protection of workers.
What will your Hubby do now? I wish that things had turned out differently....
Hugs :)

Anonymous said...

firstly i apologise for what is to come....
"This Union ISN'T here to look out for you! Our job is to negotiate contracts".
what a set of fucking unbelievable cunts! thats precisely what unions are for! to protect you and your rights!
contract negotiations? no fucking way, well okay, but for the love of god.....
i cannot believe hubby and you cut your hair either! you should have left it, and if it was mentioned, played the discrimination card!
set of jobworth cunts.

sorry for the language, but i know how much hurt/hardship this thing has caused you both in the past, what?, 15 months.
a pox on the union officials. hope you and mr vog can put it behind you and glad to see you've kept a bit of your sanity and not taken it out on each other.
played parklife last week girly, ask mr vog what HE wants. but please not "patio bun tin" if he gets it in early enough i will try my best. love to you both, baby vog and the vog bump!
cappy, mrs cappy and cappyboy!

Hattigrace said...

What a huge disappointment and letdown. I am very sorry. I love your attitude, "time to get on with our lives." I pray out of this difficult experience and closed door, that another better pathway will open up for your husband.

Laura said...

Merriam-Webster says: Main Entry: labor union
Function: noun
: an organization of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members' interests in respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions

Oxford says: union

• noun 1 the action or fact of uniting or being united. 2 a state of harmony or agreement. 3 a marriage. 4 a club, society, or association formed by people with a common interest or purpose. 5 (also Union) a political unit consisting of a number of states or provinces with the same central government. 6 (the Union) the northern states of the US in the American Civil War. 7 a fabric made of different yarns, typically cotton and linen or silk.

— ORIGIN Latin, ‘unity’.

and Freedictionary.com says: labor union
An organization of wage earners formed for the purpose of serving the members' interests with respect to wages and working conditions.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2003.

The men holding the 'trial' are a bunch of blithering idiots. Their whole reason for being is to protect the workers. Contracts and negotiations are for lawyers, not worker advocates. No wonder unions are on a sharp decline, they've forgotten their purpose in favor of pursuing the dollar.

Laura said...

Oh! I was too mad on your behalf to add, hugs to you and yours. I fervently hope that all this mess leads to something more wonderful than you'd originally hoped would happen.

Anonymous said...

Thats horrible

Cynnie said...

The CONCEPT of unions is like the concept of communism..
sounds good on paper..

I have never belonged to one, but here in PR they run the country..

Pompous over paid assholes.

They drive around in their cars that cost more than most of the employees houses here..
Its a joke and a shame.

Life does go on baby, and the biggest shame is hubby cut his hair..
( no wonder your preggers..thats so hot!)

Get out of the fucking frozen north!
Georgia baby, georgia!

eric said...

georgia? what's going on in georgia? remember that application i sent you for chef work in vegas? CONSTRUCTION also is going on in vegas and shows no signs of slowing down EVER! think about it.

Melanie said...

un-fucking-believable! And, this is my favorite part:

"This Union ISN'T here to look out for you! Our job is to negotiate contracts".

Then what the hell is a union for??? If not to look out for it's members best interest?

I'm so sorry this has happened to you guys. I mean, clearly you were willing to bend, cutting your hair, buying business attire. What a bunch of assholes (that union board)

I'm glad you're able to move on from this part of your life. I'm not sure I'd be so gracious if something so unfair happened to us.

Stay well, and take care of that baby on the inside, and those on the outside! {hugs}

Melanie said...

I used to have mad respect and love for unions, but now I think the American worker has to realize that they are on their own. Unions have become powerful, money-making entities of their own, very corporation-like. Now it seems that the best move for the workers would be to organize independent groups reminiscent of early unions, so they can retain their rights. Such a sad state of affairs, but at least your husband can move on.

Ranting Dullard said...

My union rep didnt turn up for a discipliary meeting once. I didnt join again.....useless gits.


Missed this bein' away. Just rang a number I've got. I left a message for him. One word. "Wanker".

bob said...

Your husband is in a union - a union of three, soon to be four. He is, in a very real way, a leader of that union, whose goal is to promote the well-being of its members, facilitate the resolution of conflicts, and guarantee its survival.

There is no one to protect us but ourselves and those we love - the sooner he (and you) abandon the false dream of a so-called "union" looking out for you the better. Abandon lawsuits, abandon bitterness, abandon anger. They'll just drag you down and prevent you from moving forward, loving life in its daily parcels, and getting on with the business of advancing your own "union".

Because that's the union that you really want to be a part of.