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She (let's call her "Shirley") has had a 30 + year career with the United States Postal Service, "with no help from the union" as she puts it.  Well I begged to differ....

At our last family reunion Shirley announced that she was retiring after more than 30 years of service, because "they finally announced a bonus program of $25K for those eligible to retire". Apparently she needed just one more benefit (in the form of another bonus) before she exits her position as postmaster and opens an opportunity for someone else.  Needless to say she is HAP HAP Happy, although her happiness is in no way attributable to the American Postal Workers Union because she was never a member of the union.  Shirley is a resident of South Carolina and has distaste for all things union.  She thinks unions aren't necessary because people like her who never joined a union are able to have careers and retire in comfort all by their lonesome. Therefore SHE is the one who worked so hard, was recognized for all that hard work and negotiated that high salary, vacation pay, sick pay, etc., while single handedly securing a career position for 3 decades.  NO, it all happened in a vacuum.    

I called Bullshit!  I asked her had she ever worked more than 40 hours in a week without overtime pay. No. Have you had to go into work with a deathly illness because you were unable to earn sick leave or fired because you were too sick to come to work? No.  Did the post office ever take away earned vacation days? No.  Have you ever been denied a decent salary? No.  Did you have shitty health insurance for you and your family? No.  Denied the opportunity to contribute to a 401K with a cash match percentage? No.  Not to mention other benefits like a clean and safe work environment, ergonomic enhancements, technology upgrades or worker grievance processes. All of these benefits are the result of the union and their members paying dues and working their asses off to set standards.

Nope she did it all by herself because, well you all don't know it but we in the family know it, SHIRLEY IS SPECIAL, SMART AND HAS THE BEST NEGOTIATING SKILLS! Americans should never join unions because Shirley is able to retire comfortably, no thanks to the union.

Fortunately our family is growing and after talking with our nieces and nephews (ages 23 thru 31) I am more optimistic than ever.  Even though most of them live in South Carolina and are exposed to mostly right-wing talking points, they are thinking more progressively about social issues and they are much more informed about the facts in political issues.  They understand that the present state of our economy affects them the most and will have an impact on their lives for decades.  They understand the importance of unions for workers rights and employment stability. They get that the wealthiest people in the country do not play by the same rules as they have to.  They are paying attention and they are voting….for Obama!!

I love my sister, she is a good person.  She is also an idiot but her kids certainly are not.

Originally posted to Easternshore Lib on Fri Jul 20, 2012 at 05:32 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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