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View Diary: “Unions have outlived their usefulness…” (25 comments)

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  •  Unions are becoming more needed than (2+ / 0-)

    they had been for a while there. There always needs to be a balance of power, and things have been very unbalanced against workers for a decade or two now.

    But people who have not been around that long as adults (a greater and greater percentage of people, it seems) don't remember a time before when they were really needed.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:47:43 PM PST

    •  perhaps if labor history, or even just turn-of-the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

      century (to the 1900s) history was just on the radar at all...but I recently finished my degree among people half my age and saw things like this: in a classroom full of 'future teachers of America' and after reading the assigned children's book in a class about children's literature, it became apparent through the discussion that although the book began 'just before the Civil War' and ended around the aforementioned turn-of-the-century...No one in class knew when the story had taken place. (Except me, and the mantra in that class from the teacher to me was- "no, not you- let's see who else knows...)

      Finally, after some consideration of the question: "Okay, who can tell me when the Civil War was?" the boldest student ventured the most reasonable guess of the day..."1781?"
      Yeah, kid- nice try. I repeat, this was after reading the assignment.

      Less sophisticated readers may experience initial confusion because of the author's technique of using a flashback to begin the story, but by the emotional conclusion, all is made clear.
      The metaphor was one of hand's shaking hands across time back to Lincoln, and these students were upper-level soon-to-be-teachers. They should have more understanding than an eleven-year-old.
      Where has our history education gone?
      •  Gone to graveyards, every one.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nuclear winter solstice

        not too many remember that, either.

        "When will they ever learn?"

        Good question.

        One might imagine that stories about the days when powerful unions became something of a gratuitous hindrance to the economy from time to time have something to do with the less positive image of unions today among quite a number of people. But I think from what you have written, there is not even that knowledge out there anymore.

        I'm talking about the period when unions and company management came to agreements which were overly costly because the companies could just pass the costs on to consumers. Then that gravy train slowed down but they all forgot to notice.

        I'm also talking about the days when unions battled each other more than they battled management, such as at the U of Mich hospital I worked at as a student in the late 60s and early 70s. I was AFSCME and there seemed to be frequent beefs between us and various crafts unions. The police, who were both Teamsters (command) and something else I forget what exactly (cops in general), also would get mixed up in it from time to time when called on to regulate picket line disputes. Then there was the time my first wife's aunt's clerical workers union walked out on the Teamster's local she worked for...

        I'm not too sure any of that last paragraph had a huge impact on anything but the image of unions, but that doesn't help.

        I don't mean to sound anti-union with all that, just kind of putting my own observations in. There will always be squabbles.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 07:29:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  we were in Ann Arbor in the late '60s, early '70s (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          billmosby

          too, although I was the child of college students at the time. Times have changed an awful lot (we arrived in NH the winter that Dartmouth started accepting women as students...72/73) and my husband has an AFSCME pin although now with 35 years experience he can't seem to get a job that pays what he's worth without an engineering degree...so I understand what you are describing. I'm just so appalled at the idea that the people who might be teaching my grandchildren are so woefully undereducated as to not know anything about any American history. Is our children learning? Coulda fooled me once.

          •  Hee, hee! Putting food on their family... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nuclear winter solstice

            here's that poor single mother now.

            I found it hard to believe that W gets paid for speaking. Then I remembered that many people have made money from their bloopers. lol.

            Moderation in most things.

            by billmosby on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 12:25:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  OH, and about the value of an engineering degree.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nuclear winter solstice

            My newest one, a master's in Mechanical Engineering, dates from 1977. It's as though it never existed these days. No way I'd be able to get a job with it at my current age of 63. If I ever need to come out of retirement (again), I'll either have to go back to my $11 an hour online tutoring job or go into business for myself. The tutoring job was as an independent contractor, so it entailed quite a bit higher tax load. And a high level of stress, to boot.

            So I'm learning skills related to being a webmaster (and working as a volunteer one for my bicycle club) just in case.

            Moderation in most things.

            by billmosby on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 12:29:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  cool. my guy has his own shop in the garage with (0+ / 0-)

              a Bridgeport, Fanuc lathe, and all the smaller stuff that goes with it. He made stuff for everything from motorcycle sprockets to space satellite holders. But 2008 killed all the business upstream from us and when we figured out where the money went it took him another ten months to find a shop job. (The goal is to get him back there-the sticking point is the health insurance.)
                   So now he could be doing a fantastic job of unscrewing years of mix-n-match paperwork and design changes at the company- the kind of stuff that you really have to know what's going on in the hands-on stuff, but instead all he can do is bring 'em the first piece and say...see? It's not just that he could use the pay and prestige- they want someone younger because they think he will leave them too soon (he's 57) and they just don't see what he's worth when he's wearing a green uniform instead of dockers and an oxford shirt.

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