Thursday, October 11, 2012

Kicking The Hornet's Nest

Last week I notified my union rep (United Steel Workers) that I intend to make official my request to have that portion of my union dues spent on partisan politics refunded to me, as per my rights under the law.

I had inquired about this over a year ago. In response, I received a personal visit from the regional rep while at work. While friendly, he was rather hurt that I would even look into the matter.
We had a long winded one-on-one for the better part of an hour. Not an easy feet for a guy (myself) with my prior breathing issues.

He informed me that in doing so I would be forfeiting my rights as a union member in good standing. I would no longer be allowed a vote as a bargaining unit member and would be denied access to any/all union meetings.

My response was along the lines of: ... OK, so you been calling be 'Brother' for near on 20 years; I have never, ever, not once in that 20 years violated my oath of membership; have earned a reputation, earned it, ask around... as one of the most loyal members of the unit, willing to go distances others have not, and have more than once; put my ass on the line to file Board charges with the State in my own name because ("Ask Gino, he's asshole enough to do it") nobody else would....
...
My local President stood there, nodding his head, affirming everything...
He knows me.
He knows who I am, what I am, what I have done and not done...
In short... how Union Cool I am.
The he spoke, turning to the rep who was politely attempting to inform me of my sins... 'He's a Brother. He's been there. For real. I know him.'


Yet, I am suddenly not 'Brother' enough for you.
In my raspiest, breathiest, angriest voice I could muster... I looked the Regional Tool in eye: "Kiss. My. Ass. You. Piece. Of. International. Shit."
Exact quote.
No, really...
Exact Quote.

A day later, I pussied out...
Reconsidered...
Decided that the cash refunded wouldn't cover the cost of slashed tires and broken windows.
I am not proud of that, OK.
But it is...
and I did...

Being honest, is all...
Facing overwhelming power...
I turned Pussy.
I AM not proud of that, OK...

It's different now.
I am not who I was 18 months ago.

I have informed my local president of my potential intentions and gave him a day or two to dwell upon it.
I then sent him another email putting him on notice that, yes indeed, you Mother Fucker... I will personally hold HIM responsible for any broken windows or slashed tires... for several months afterwards... maybe even longer than that... years, if need be, you bastard... whatever suits my purpose... Eye For Eye... you get where I'm going, yeah?
Well, do you?


I am either the stupidest United Steel Worker in the world, or the ballsiest...

I'll find out eventually...



11 comments:

Mr. D said...

Good luck -- it's a tough thing to do.

RW said...

It seems odd to me, having received the benefits of unions all my working life without ever being in one (weekends, holiday pay, sick time, paid vacations) that one of the very things I would have a right to complain about is denied a union member.

For example, if my employer took money out of my paycheck to give to some run-of-the-mill bullshit Republican scumbag without my consent, I could rant and complain to high holy hosanna until he quit doing it and he wouldn't be allowed to do a thing to me without a problem. But the minute you want to stop part of the money you earned from going to political candidates without your specific approval you get a visit from Luca Brazzi.

Not right, and I never understood that.

Gino said...

and yet its the employers who are all the evil.

i'm waiting for Luca...
if he arrives, there will be noise.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

We saw On the Waterfront a few months back. I think you'll fare better than that.

Bike Bubba said...

"on the tugboat, down by the river don't you know, hangs a cement bag, just a droopin' on down...the cement's there, just for the weight, yeah, five'll get you ten 'ol Mackie's back in town...."

Sorry, couldn't resist, and thankfully the LA River is a dry wash most of the time anyway with no tugboats, eh?

Seriously, what you've written is a great argument for "right to work", with political donations taken on an "opt in" basis. For that matter, as unions are in general mostly a counterweight to the market power of big business, it's also a great argument that Jefferson was right in his distrust of large institutions.

Palm boy said...

Excellent writing, even better actions. I'm impressed you had the balls to revisit this with the union guys after the last go around.

Gino said...

Robert (please, change yer handle): the last go round: i kicked the rep's ass, debate-wise. before witnesses... not bad for a guy with limited vocal ability.

there are other things a-foot that forced The Pair to hang a little larger than previously.

these will come out soon enough with the aid of providence... just not ready yet.

yes, i AM delivering the kick, with intent... because i think/hope that i can follow it up with a flying bird salute.

Foxfier said...

It's legal to effectively kick you out of the union, while charging you for it, for refusing to fund their political actions?

That stinks to high heaven, even for unions.

Gino said...

yes, it is. i still have the representation, access to shop stewards, should i need it to cover my ass for disciplinary purposes and the greivance process.

i'm not allowed participation or a vote because i am refusing to pay a full dues, to which i turn that around and claim that my refusal pertains to excess dues.

cant wait til the rep from international arrives again.

Bike Bubba said...

Gino, I'm bummed you took your latest post down; the unions you have now are not your grandfather's, but they do correspond to the time of your great-grandfather, really. In the late 1800s to early 1900s, most were strongly socialist, like today, and associated with various thuggish behaviors, like today.

There was, thankfully, a period of respectability from the 1920s to the 1960s, though, as Roosevelt and others more or less rescued them from themselves. I think it might have killed the unions if FDR hadn't done it.

Fun note; my grandfather was born and grew up in the town where John L. Lewis, a President of the UMW, grew up. Little coal town called Lucas, Iowa.

Gino said...

it may return. upon re-reading, i was not happy with the writing.