31 May 2016

Ah, My Dear Union Brothers

My work area has been moved to another building, so we had to make arrangements with grounds to transfer the stuff back to the main store. Yesterday I had a pile of about twenty not terribly large or heavy boxes for the store. The man grounds sent refused to move them. 'No way," he said. "I'm not killing myself over this stuff." And then he drove off.

To put it another way: he refused to do his job, and he did so because he knew there would be no repercussions. After all..., he's a union man.

I am a member of a union. Most of the jobs I have ever worked have either been unionized, or I was working alongside union members. I respect unions, and I am grateful for their accomplishments. I know the history of just how bad it sometimes was in the past, and why unions were needed. But, at the same time, every union with which I have ever had dealings (in addition to eventually screwing me over) has had guys like these. They are people who know the collective agreement not so they are aware of both their rights and their responsibilities, but so they know what they can get away with.

These people are, in a word, poison. Other workers look at them and wonder why they are working hard to earn the same wage as that guy over there who is doing nothing. Sometimes the other people decide they'll do nothing as well, because why should they? And, worst of all, these are the people management use to beat up the union. In the popular mind, these people are the only kind of people who work in unions.

On the one hand, there isn't much to be done. Their protection is also my protection. But, on the other hand, unions need to do something about this, and recognize that some people have either not earned or have forfeited any right to the protection of the union as a whole.

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