Tonight was an experience that I will not forget for a long time. As you know by now I am Union Pipefitter, and our contract is up on May 1st. Well, we had a special union meeting tonight in which the heads of our union would present to the members the contract that the companies are offering us for the next 3 years. Needless to say in this economic time they were going to try and kick us while we are down, we have had some unemployment in our local and they figured they could use that as a leveridging tool to take money from us, or take overtime pay etc etc.. So they present to us a bogus contract in which they want to take 1.50 an hour from us and do away with our double time and take car fare etc etc.. This is the part that I will not forget and it's why I admire unions and what they are based on. We all know there has been corruption and bad union politics, but what I witnessed tonight was reassuring for me to know that unions are for one thing only, and that is the working people. A vote was put into motion on the floor those in favor of the striking against the contract say i.....The whole room said i, those in favor of the contract say no......you could have heard a pin drop, then the room erupted in applause. It felt good to be able to have a voice and backing to say "I think not" to the companies that want to make millions and millions yet short change us a few dollars an hour and take money from our pensions and benefits. Mind you when we strike there is no pay, so we chose to stand together and take a financial loss and show the companies that they can't just treat us like they want, we have power too. So when jobs across the city aren't getting don, and they are losing money, maybe they will rethink their petty change that they want to take. The percentage of union labor in this country is about 17% last time i checked, and that is scary. the reason it's scary is for the fact that a union sets a standard for american living, so that people not union can base their pay off of it, and so on and so forth, with no standards businesses and corporations will cheat you down and pay you next to nothing and you have no backing to help you fight for what you rightfully deserve. With all the illegal aliens working in our country the standard is decreasing rapidly, I take nothing from those people they have come here and they want to work and provide for their families back home, I understand their motives, and admire their work ethics, but at the same time yours and my jobs are being filled with the workers who will gladly work for next to nothing and not get benefits, or retirement funds. I'm not trying to make this a union rant, it just felt good to be a part of something that fought back against everything I been seeing on the news for the past year, jobs cut, jobs lost, bankrupt this bankrupt that. My union leader said it best these companies aren't gonna fix the economy by taking a measly 1.50 an hour from us, and we aren't giving it up... I know unions aren't for everyone, and people have different views on them, but it has been good to me and my family, for years, providing, good wages, healthcare, and a secure retirement.
Unions...The people that brought you the weekend!