Boy* ** in These titles mean nothing.

Revised: 06/28/2024 2:36 p.m.

  • June 28, 2024, 1:03 p.m.
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  • Public

A rough 12 hours. I wrote about a large part of it in a private entry and now I’m trying to decide what to write for you to read.

Some of you probably know what’s bothering me. Some of you might feel the same way. Others will feel the opposite way. That’s how life goes. We don’t all think the same way. We wouldn’t even want or expect to all agree on everything.

So much of life depends on which way the wind is blowing. Yeah, you know.

I am sailing through early morning YouTube. The last long term commercial directed at me was from Americans For Prosperity. This one was centered in the state of Indiana and it describes the fight for and victory of a state law making the state a Right to Work state. Right to Work means unions cannot require workers who work at a workplace with a union to belong to the union. Iowa has never been a right to work state. Everyone has the right to decide not to belong to a union. Of course any benefits from belonging to the union go to all workers whether they are paying union dues or not. It doesn’t outlaw unions but it outlaws the requirement to belong to a union.

I have a little personal experience with a union. My old old old job - the one I was at for 33 years had a union. The first nine and a half years I was there I worked as an hourly worker on the production floor and thus was eligible to belong to a union. I joined as soon as my probationary period was over and stayed a member until I was offered what I thought was a better job in what might have been called management.

The new job paid a little more and offered better and cheaper medical insurance and perhaps and probably more opportunities. It did turn out to be a better job though it had drawbacks too. I’m glad I took it. I could say I learned a lot. What I don’t know is if I would have stayed in my production job for my whole 33 years. It’s like staying married. In fact it’s a lot like staying married. There are benefits to stability but there’s always the wonder if something more suitable isn’t around some blind corner or another. And then in the end, it probably doens’t matter. We choose easy decisions or hard ones and then we live with the consequences. That is exactly what life is all about.

What I want to say though it that my experiences with unions have been positive. Even in the years after I belonged to one. Our union was a pretty tame union. As far as a I know there was only one strike in the whole history of the company. That strike ended with the closing of the plant at which it happened and the opening of several other plants including the one where I worked. That of course colored everyone’s union experience, including the union’s own performance.

Our union worked with management - not totally, but to a great deal. It was a stable avenue of communication between labor and management. There was a system of complaints and answers to complaints. There was a contract with regular raises for all employees, union members and non-union members. Of course those of us in the office did not always get annual raises. Most years we did but there were some when we didn’t. One year we didn’t get raises but we were allowed to wear jeans to work. Believe it or not, wearing jeans was not preferable to a raise, but it was better than nothing. I liked being able to wear jeans to work.

Back to whether people should be required to belong to unions. I see it as mainly as Democrat/Republican issue. Red states - those with Republican majorities - tend to be Right to Work and blue states - those with Democat majorities - tend to be non-Right to Work.

Much of our government seems to be black/white, red/blue - more than it was ever before. Iowa has always been red but there were times when we had Democrats in Congress, as Governors, and an occasional majority in the at least one house of the state legislature. Honestly I can remember a lot of good Democrats in and of Iowa. Indulge me with a little list:
Harold Hughes
John Culver
Tom Harkin
Tom Vilsack
Mary Jo Wilhelm
John Beard
Lennie Burke

I have to wait for JIm to get up so he can help me remember names.
The two I can’t remember are the state legistlator who used to paint water towers who said at a county committee meeting we needed to pass marriage equality because it was the right thing to do, and the county supervisor* who was quoted in the Des Moines Register saying we had to take care of our land because the God for sure wasn’t making any more of it.


It’s Friday. It rained overnight. The sky is still gray with clouds.
Jim says John might be coming down tonight.
I hope to find a way to be a good mother.
That last line made me smile.
I’m not a bad mother.
I wasn’t a bad union member.
In fact that job - both the union part and the non-union part helped support my kids and the farm. It helped me take care of my husband. I remain grateful for the opportunities it gave me. It allowed me to do genuine work. It gave me a regular paycheck. I was fortunate to have had it.

Last updated June 28, 2024

Just Annie June 28, 2024

Ohio was definitely 'purple' for most of its history. Now it's red red red. Except for Senator Sherrod Brown. He's one of the most liberal senators. And finger crossed, he should win again. But Trump will win the state. I don't get it.

NorthernSeeker June 28, 2024

I have the "Mama Bear" instinct when it comes to protecting coworkers so I have always been asked to take various positions in a union.

Rivercity June 28, 2024

I voted for Harkin! I hold him responsible for the shut-down of my last job (a for-profit college), but he may have had a point. My ex-husband's union did well for us. The administration didn't care much when the faculty went on strike, but when the Teamsters wouldn't cross their lines, they caved right away. (That's my memory--this was in the '80s, I think.)

Rivercity June 28, 2024

Yes, a rough 12 hours!

thesunnyabyss June 29, 2024

We;ve had both good and bad experiences with the union, I guess it depends a lot on the union and it's leadership.

Brakeshoe Bob June 29, 2024

My experiences with a Union is this. You had to represent the bad ones as well as the good ones. Yes as a Union rep for Division 256 B of LE , I had to do that. I hated that. Remember this and I always held this a truth. The "Men" are not always right, and the Company is not always right. I won a few Union vs Management investigations. I had to represent those, who I knew were totally in the wrong, and be graceful about it. I did a management for a Class 1 railroad. Went through a merger. 2002 I was let go, why? Not performance, but I was a Santa Fe, and purge was going. I was 1) getting to be 50 2) I was getting to be stepped up to the next management level 3) I fought for what was right, and stood up for my position, when it was questioned. and I backed it up with facts. They did not like that. I also paid union dues even as an exempt. Like an insurance policy. When I was let go, I reclaimed my seniority as an engineer. I retired 10 years later 40 years with the railroad. during that time I was asked to be the Assistant Local Chairman for Division 256, which I accepted. The rule was I was in the background, and not brought forth unless absolutely necessary. Served me well . Do I agree with everything the Union says, NO. You work through it. Be well and safe all.

woman in the moon Brakeshoe Bob ⋅ June 30, 2024

Were railroad workers required to belong to the union? How did that work with some states being Right to Work and others not?

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