It is 1:14 am, Friday morning. I’m currently on my last break at work. Only a couple of hours until I am off and then am able to work on this article and then fall fast asleep. An individual by the name of Davor privately messaged me asking me to elaborate more on unions due to his inexperience with one. I haven’t planned this, but this will be part 2 of “A dark tunnel? I promise there’s some light at the end.”
It’s 3:20 am, I just arrived home. I can now elaborate on unions; the good and bad. I’ll share what I dislike and like about unions. First I will go through the basic history of the first union in the United States and what brought them into existence. The first union was created in 1794 by Philadelphia Shoe makers called the the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers. The union formed due to poor working conditions, very low wages, and unfair treatment as employees. Slowly many craftsman began forming unions for their specific trades. The Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions began in 1881, and then the AFL was founded. Through their partnership and perpetual persistence the Department of Labor (DOL) was born in 1913. An act called “The Clayton Antitrust” was introduced in 1914 which allowed workers have the ability to strike and leave their employers; more acts were introduced years later such as “the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA) of 1936” and “the Fair Labor Standards Acts of 1938” that made it mandatory to have a minimum wage as well as overtime when working above the standard 40 hours a week. Child labor laws were also introduced after these acts. Children could go to school and get an education instead of being forced to work.
Unions did in fact set a precedent for decent work conditions as well as pay and not forcing children to sacrifice their opportunity to be educated over having to work. Those were some benefits for the labor unions for sure. I am not completely against the idea of having unions. In theory they sound incredible and the perfect lifestyle for having a profession. To me I see more cons to unions than pros. For starters, union workers tend to back stab one another just to keep their job than having to get laid off first when there isn’t much work available. In the past, unions may have had the brotherhood mentality; being our brother and sister’s keeper, this no longer appears to be the case. Times have changed for the union. Most of the members will sabotage one another just to get a better job opportunity, higher pay, etc. One big flaw I have personally observed within the union. Many members will talk to other companies that are partnered with the union to gain a job as quick as possible after receiving a lay off from a previous job. Members of a union are supposed to wait there turn to receive a job. When a member gets laid off, they are placed on a list. Whoever is first on the list, gets a phone call to start work. Scoping in a union isn’t right and shouldn’t be encouraged.
So far I have discussed how members will cheat their way into receiving a job before a person that is actually first in line to receive the job. What I haven’t discussed about the union life is the life style a lot of people have. Many people in the union traffic drugs and narcotics within the job site. I personally had known many people addicted to various chemical substances, who would sell to their own coworkers ( brother if you will).I have known many people that were once married, divorce and get themselves addicted to drugs and alcohol within months. If someone is considering joining the union and is married and has a family, please be vigilant when joining. Do not befriend people there. They are only your coworker. Focus on your family always. If you let your coworker have an inch, you will lose your family. In fact, someone from the union may take your family from you. I am not saying that everyone is horrible in the union and can’t hold a marriage as well as their family together. I am merely saying that the numbers are extremely low. Most of the married members I knew, ended up leaving the union and starting their own type of gig. A few stayed and of course they constantly need to look at their membership as a means to have a job to financially take care of their families and not anything else.
I was in the heat and frost insulator union #82 for over three years. I travelled from Billings, Montana to tricities, Washington back in forth many times. At first it was exciting to travel and make money. After sometime, I learned a lot of people’s true colors and agendas. Lots of people just wanted to use me for my time and money. For a moment they would be on your side, but if it concerned with them potentially losing a job, they would throw me under the bus. Working hard and doing a good job in the union won’t get you far. You must learn to cheat and have connections unfortunately. I knew people that were treated extra special. These people that literally just joined the union and apprenticeship but have always had connections, never had to haul material and clean a journeyman’s job area/ carry tools. They were literally immediately allowed to be in tools while there were third year apprentices hauling material. Getting threats by people because you don’t want to help them or do something a certain way is super common in the union. I have had people tamper with my car and steal my things as well as stalk me. Unions are not safe for the people with integrity and who want to be their own person. Prepare to have people beg you for money and pretend to be your best friend. Once you loan some money, I guarantee you most of them will not pay you back. Out of 5 people I lent money, only one person actually ever paid me back in full. Getting myself to quit the union was the best life choice I have ever made. I won’t ever encourage people to join a union but at the same time, I won’t judge anyone for joining one. One must make his/her own decisions. I can acknowledge some great things from unions but there are more negative factors that out weigh the positive ones. Being positive is important, but at the same time one must have wisdom to make a decision where more positivity can be gained.
There will be a part three for this particular topic. In the mean time, go ahead and ask me more questions concerning the union and I will do my best to answer all of them to the best of my ability. Davor, I want to thank you for asking me about my perspective on unions. Due to your curiosity, you have launched another portal that’ll lead us to many more discussions concerning the topic of unions.
4:25 am now, I am about to pass out. At about noon, I will read the article again and correct any spelling errors I may have perpetrated. I sometimes type way too fast, or I forget to put on my glasses and therefore I miss a word, or make a grammatical error.