I thought that it might be instructive to share how I've come to discuss unions with my father, since there are a lot of people out there who hate them (obviously not so much on DK, but I'm sure we all know a few). As I wrote in my intro diary, I was raised in a pretty conservative (and fairly poor) household. My parents split, and while they would have been probably around middle class together, they certainly weren't when they were apart. My dad was a mechanic by trade. He had gotten his degree in biology, then started working on diesel vehicles. Mainly though, he wanted to farm.
He bought a 40-acre farm, and basically quit going to work. He was good enough at his job that they didn't just fire him; of course, this didn't go over with Mom very well. After a while, she was tired of working to make farm payments, and he was tired of her not shutting up and doing as she was told (I think that's how it went roughly).
Shortening the story a bit, we can cut to the chase: my dad quit a solid-paying job to grind out a living on a small farm. It was a crappy existence, but he hated working FOR someone, having to be on the clock, and showing up every day.
He has a fairly rabid dislike of unions. I wouldn't call it a hatred exactly, but something that gets him fired up. His dislike doesn't stem from some strong personal convictions against unions, but from jealousy, more or less. He chose a hard life, while they chose a hard life with retirement.
A sample conversation goes like this:
"I was talking to this teacher. She makes $60,000/year, and she's going to retire in 3 years! And all she does is TEACH! And then she's going to go back to work for the government AND STILL COLLECT RETIREMENT.
He's pretty offended by the idea of someone else having such a sweet deal while he grinds out his hours on the farm.
Instead of letting him troll me, I've taken to framing the subject when he goes off.
Dad, I'd love to teach. I'd be a good teacher, but I won't teach for 3/4 of what I can make as an accountant. They go to school as long, or longer than me. They're expected to either have a masters, or earn one quickly, for a job that averages less than I'm making as a staff accountant (I know that's maybe not the BEST source, but it's what I came up with. Also, Montana teacher salaries kind of suck). They are professionals, who are teaching our kids! They have also negotiated the retirements! They take crap pay, okay benefits, and a solid retirement! That teacher you're upset about? I WILL BE OUTEARNING HER IN FIVE YEARS! WITH NO MASTERS!
So, step one: I directly attack his idea that union members are somehow horrible people who are filthy rich because UNIONZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
More below the flapjack.