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Thirty years ago I worked on the East Coast performing heavy industrial construction, throughout the following ten years I worked on projects from South Carolina to California, ten different power plants.  The most notable feature on many of these jobs was the strong union presence.  The last twenty years I have lived and worked in Colorado.  The union presence in Colorado was never as strong as the East Coast or Washington state and has gotten weaker year by year.

While I now work on the management side of the fence I have always had a strong affinity for the union workers and remember being a proud member of the Boilermaker's Union in the 70's and early 80's.  My father was a senior manager for a fabricator in the 50's, 60's and 70's but was one of the rare supporters of union shops.  An appreciation for what unions can do for their membership is strong in my family.  

The opportunity arose recently for me to visit a sister company's job at a refinery in Northern Ohio and I just completed the job tour.  It has been at least 15 years since I have been on a strong union job, the memories of an engaged, informed and out front craft presence came flooding back to me.  

The first thing I saw in the Safety Manager's office was a UA (Pipefitters Union) bumper sticker for Obama/Biden 2012.  Several of the foremen and craftsmen I met in the next 20 minutes had small O/B stickers on their hard hats.  I kept my council for an hour or so, not wanting to mix business and politics.  When we went out to the work area there was a great number of O/B bumper stickers and hard hat stickers.  Nary a one R/R sticker was evident.

I finally made mention to the tour director who cautiously asked where I stood, making clear my emphatic preference he said that he had to take me to the Ironworkers gang box.  There my attention was directed to a picture do a plutocrat and a good old boy, the word balloon over the toothless GOB said "I vote Republican to protect me and my family from gays, liberals, feminists, secular humanists and other enemies of the American public".... the word balloon over the plutocrat said " I vote Republican to keep the guy to my right from knowing I am the enemy"

The conclusion of my informal poll is that the workers of Ohio, or at least this job overwhelmingly stand with our president.  I think Obama will prevail in Ohio by a handy margin.

Originally posted to Cen Den on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM PDT.

Also republished by Dream Menders.

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