I really do not know much about Unions. I would be completely unable to make any type of intelligent statement for or against Unions. I have
absolutely now idea what they are about, what they actually do, or why this issue is even a big deal. What I do know about Unions is what I have
experienced first hand... which is generally what I have allowed to form my opinion.
As I have said many times on this site, I grew up in Philadelphia. Unions are kind of a big deal. I have worked my whole life. I came from a household
with a single, immigrant mother who busted her butt day and night to provide for 2 sons, all while going to school to make a better future, and she
never sold her body or removed a stitch a clothing to do it. I only mention that last part because if I didn't my Mother would smack me.
Growing up, nothing came easy. It really did not matter what my brother or I wanted, there was not enough money. So we worked. My first "job" came
when I was 7 years old..I would walk door to door in my area pushing a lawn mower and asking home owners if I could cut their grass. In the winter
time, I walked door to door asking home owners if I could shovel snow and clear their walkways, driveways, sidewalks around their home. When I was
actually "legal" to "work" I got a paper route and delivered newspapers. Of course I got older and the older I got, the harder I found it to find
work. I could never understand why I could not get a job and work at the local Grocery Store because they were a Union, and I found it even stranger
that I was not allowed to join any Union. One thing that became very clear to me as I would look for jobs, and by this time I was only 10-13 years
old, was that these "Union People" were always angry at me when I came looking for a job. They would always look at me very threatening, they always
told me that they were a Union with an angry tone. At that age, it was really kind of scary for me. At 15 I left Philadelphia and never again did I
have a problem finding a job because of a Union.
At 22 I moved back to Philadelphia to live with family. I sold everything I owned and moved back with just my clothes. I had several issues at this
time and I moved back home to get well. The last thing I needed was a job remotely close to what I had been doing, and so I found a job that in my
opinion gave me very little responsibility and I could literally do it with my eyes closed. I took a job as a cashier at a video store and within a
month worked my way to Manager. I had no car, and I would walk to work everyday. I am not sure how far the walk was, but it took me about 45 mins. It
would have been a much much longer walk for me, but I made such good time because I would cut through the parking lot of what is now called Parx
Casino. Now this parking lot is HUGE. It is so large that they hold the State Fair in that parking lot. For anyone familiar with the area, this place
is the old Keystone Racetrack where they used to have horse racing. This parking lot had 2 entrances on the West side, 2 on the East side, and a very
nice "main entrance" on the South side in the middle. The actual building was at the very North end in the middle. So walking to work I would enter
in the Southwest entrance and walk to the main entrance out and go to work. Only once did I not cut through this parking lot, due to a foot of snow
and the parking lot was not cleared and the gates were locked, and it took me 2 hours. So I saved a lot of time cutting through.
One day going to work I see people on strike at the entrances. They are holding signs, yelling at each other, and just hanging out. I walked through
like I always do, going the same way, never ever going anywhere remotely close to the building or even walking in the direction of the building. On
Day 1, I got a lot of very mean, threatening looks when I entered onto the property. I ignored the looks and kept walking and as I exited out that
main entrance, I noticed more mean looks and I could hear people mumbling to each other. I thought nothing of it and kept my head down and kept
moving. I was not looking forward to my walk home, I was actually a bit worried and was considering going the long way around and not using the
parking lot, but I was relieved to see that they Strikers were all gone by the time I had to go home. I remember I chuckled to myself a bit thinking
it does not matter if they work or strike, Union rules state they are done at 5pm.
For several days this pattern continued, and with each passing day I felt more and more threatened cutting through the parking lot to go to work. I
stopped worrying about the nasty looks and the mumbling. I figured they can look all they want, no one touched me and I save so much time, I can deal
with it. Just keep my head down and keep moving.
It had to be around day 10 or so, as I was walking up on the SW gate that I noticed not only did they see me coming, not only was I being stared
downed and glared it, but something was different. They were already talking amoungst themselves and pointing at me. As soon as I came across their
picket line with my head down just walking, I was punched in the back of the head. As I began fighting with the man who attacked me, others were
yelling at me. They kept calling me name, I can not recall what the name was, but I had no idea what it meant. I had never heard the term before.
Funny thing is, even right now I can not recall what they called me cause I have not heard the term since. Anyway.. I beat the guy up who attacked me.
I knocked him out cold after about a 3-5 minute fist fight. I quickly grabbed my stuff and got the hell away from there. At this point I was past the
picket line, so I was not about to cross again and go the long way. After a 20 minute quick paced walk I reach the main entrance to exit the parking
lot. I see the stares and the glares as usual, but this time I stared back and never took my eyes off them. It was at this point that 2 men, who
clearly did not appreciate me staring them down like they did me, began yelling at coming at me. As they yelled at me, I yelled back and I was ready
for another fight. In the course of our yelling and after a lot of pushing and shoving and a few punches being thrown, one of them men yelled
something (I dont remember what it was) which gave me a clue as to what was going on. I do not remember exactly WHAT was said, but it was something to
the extent of me working at the Casino and taking their jobs while they were on strike. To which I yelled back with as many profane words as I could
use that I worked at the video store up the street and I just cut through the parking lot. Instantly, like a magic wand was waved over the area, the
hostilities stopped and everyone started laughing. Which made no sense to me, here I was standing there all pissed off, beat up, was doing my best
not to get my butt kicked by these 2 rather large men (which I was failing at, I was being manhandled) and now they are all laughing.
They apologized, we began talking. They thought I was working at the Casino. I then asked one of the men if that is why I was attacked at the SW
entrance, to which he was surprised I was just punched if I was not staring at them or had not said anything, but that they must have been thinking I
was on my way to work at the Casino. The people I was speaking with at the Main Entrance were thinking that I was actually leaving after having worked
at the Casino. I explained to them where I lived, where I worked, and how much time I saved by using the parking lot. They apologized some more, and I
went to work. The next day, I made sure to begin telling the people at the SW entrance that I was not working at the Casino that I worked at the video
store and was just cutting through the parking lot to save time before I even got close to them. When I got to entrance, we talked and I explained
everything to them. They apologized, I apologized, and I never again had a problem. For the remainder of the strike, if I saw people I did not
recognize and noticed any stares, I would stop and explain my purpose and everything was ok.
I guess my point is this.... Unions can kiss my arse. Anything that would prevent a young man from working for chump change instead of asking for hand
outs like most kids do, can not be good. Most children feel entitled and expect their parents to give them whatever they want. Pagers, cell phones,
cool running shoes with lights in them, whatever luxury the TV tells them they have to have. If you have a child who was taught and was willing to not
ask, but instead work for it, then he should be able to do so.
Anything that would cause people to be so fearful or threatened over not being able to work which would cause a person to lash out violently at
another can not be good. It is even worse when the job they are so scared of losing to someone else is a job they are simply refusing to do at that
moment by their own own choice. In this world, there is always going to be someone who has it worse than you do. I would personally scoff at a job
that pays 5 dollars an hour. To me that is an insult, but I can promise you that some where, there is someone, who would see that 5 dollars an hour as
a gift from God himself. So while I laugh at the absurd idea of doing a job for 5 bucks per hour, there is someone who will not only do that job, for
that price, but will be thankful for it.
So if you truly value your job, and you refuse to do your job because you want more, why would someone who is thankful for taking less money than you
deserve to be attacked for being in need? Fact is, if these people were not on Strike and trying to get more, someone in need would not even have a
chance to go in and show that he/she can do the job for less money.
People with Union jobs do not have it so bad. When I see them Strike, it pisses me off. Even today, I would be more than happy to take their "union
job" for less money if it meant I got medical and dental insurance, paid holidays and vacation time. I imagine anyone who works at any minimum wage
job would probably jump at the chance. I can not fault a person for wanting to get all they can and trying to make a better life, but there is a way
to do things and way to not do things. What Unions have shown me is a way I would not do things.