A little while ago, I happened to notice a fellow with a tee shirt, that was asking support for Local 212. It mentioned MATC, and something about technical education helping to prepare students (paraphrasing).
In years past, I belonged to the Teamsters Union in Chicago, and was grateful for the support of the union, and especially for the union wages, which helped to raise my family. Back in those days, there was also a great deal of solidarity between unions --- support for each others' struggles to earn a decent family supporting wage, and solid benefits.
And in full disclosure, after I was a Teamster, I worked in management wtih Teamster employees. That gave me experience on both sides of the coin.
When de-regulation came along (started by Carter and continued enthusiastically by Regan) the trucking industry was one of those hardest hit. Shipping rates plummeted, companies went broke, government regulators no longer cared about equal service, and safety issues went to the back burner.
Along with the deregulation came union busting, and snarky lawyers taught the trucking companies how to get out of their union contracts and bust unions -- often by very questionable legal manuvers.
If you are thinking of driving a truck nowadays --- you better like driving, long hours and hard work, but don't count on making a very good living, or necessarily getting benefits of any kind.
Sadly --- the airline industry has followed the same senario. The Air Carriers of yesterday are mostly gone, or merged, or coming out of bankruptcy.
Once great jobs for airline employees, including pilots have disappeared. Even a really great pilot like Skully - miracle over the Hudson fame - has to have two jobs to support his family. And I don't for a second think that the airlines care nearly as much about safety as they use to --- safety is an expense!
Union busting was not just regulated to the Teamsters of course. Ronald Regan set the example when he laid off all the Air Trafiic Controllers. All sorts of industries and factories quickly followed his lead.
A prime example for Milwaukee would be Briggs and Stratton --- there was a reason to move their factory jobs from Milwaukee to the southern states and overseas --- it was a quick and easy way to get out of their union contracts, and have more control over workers, while paying them less. (Bonuses for the executives making a bigger profit?)
Ironically, about this time, public employees started to get more and more union rights, including teachers. Laws that prohibited public employees from unionizing were struck down, and the public employees were able to manipulate the poiticians (with money of course) to give them more and more union power.
The old deal of providing public employees with a minimally good wage, but extra good job security and good benefits in return for not unionizing, has been replaced with unionized public employees wanting it all.
But now we have a world in which thousands upon thousands of decent union factory jobs that were the backbone of the middle class are gone --- and they are probably never coming back.
While we have a plethora of Public Unions, that are demanding more and more.
But just where is the more and more for the Public Union Employees suppose to come from?
The Middle Class is being decimated --- and the incomes they earned, and the housing they could afford, and the taxes they paid, are no longer there to support the public employees.
Cities going broke - states with budget deficits - privatizing of public employee jobs with low, low paid workers --- none of this bodes well for the future of supporting our teachers, trash collectors, police, and fire fighters into the future.
Coming back to the fellow wearing the Local 212 shirt, asking us to support the MATC teacher's union (and please note, MATC teachers are the highest paid teachers on average) ---- all the history I noted about our former union workers and good paying middle class jobs came to my mind.
I asked him about his shirt, and he said it was his wife's. I then asked him if she drove an American car -- and he said No, She Drives a Honda.
So much for the UAW I guess --- so much for Union Solidarity.
When MATC starts getting tough on the negotiations with their teachers -- laying teachers off --- going to online classes that cost less -- and in general cutting back because the Middle Class Workers who use to support the MATC costs and wages are now flipping burgers ........................................
I wonder if she and all the Union Teachers who are losing their jobs, or seeing their income decline, will think that maybe if she (they) had bought a UAW car, just maybe, there would be enough well paid workers to support the ones that are left!
(In a perfect world maybe they would also drive their car to someplace other than Walmart where virtually everything seems to be made in China, and buy goods actually made by the folks who work here and pay the taxes that pay their salaries,
WHAT DO YOU THINK? YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!