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Are We Back to Liking Unions?

by Jerre Wroble
- Posted // 2011-10-13 -

I found this little note Scotch-taped to our front door at work today, likely placed there by the Occupy SLC protesters who pass by our offices on Main Street several times a day.

In these indecent times, most can relate to the bulleted items on the list. But do you feel the need to organize and push back? This is Joe Hill's Utah, after all. There can be consequences.

I only once belonged to a union. I have to admit, the wages were decent. I got paid as an office worker for an airline as much as I did as a beginning copy editor here 20 years later. Plus, when I was "furloughed," I had a month off to travel around on airline travel passes. But to remain employed, I had to bid on a new job and lost out to someone with more seniority. They eventually did "recall" me but by then I'd found a new job in the nonunion world, where I've remained ever since.

There is something about the Occupy Wall Street mantra that makes unions seem like they could be part of the solution. Remember that heady feeling after Obama's election when we thought he could usher in the sanity and forward momentum our country desperately needed? But surprise, surprise, things got worse. It took a few years to realize that government strings are pulled by such powerful corporate forces, it renders government a bit player.

So now, the 99 percent are calling bullshit on the nebulous string-pullers who run the world. The good news for unions is that it puts them in the catbird seat as far as recruiting goes.

That's all well and good for those who managed to hang on to their jobs. For the good many unemployed and underemployed, however, the answer isn't clear. Keep clamoring in the streets. It makes people nervous.


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