The have some(s) VS. The have less(s)

The last private union strike in Chicago was in the Summer of 2010. That was three long years ago. At the height of the recession and the start of a recovery. Tax dollars were being funneled into infrastructure programs around the city. Then a couple of unions decided to take advantage. The Laborer’s District Council of Chicago and Local 150 Operating Engineers decided to use the leverage handed to them by the federal government. Most trade union contracts expired on June 1st of that year. Local 21 tile setters contract was up as well. But what the laborers and engineers did was calculated, deserving, and not looked at favorably by anyone.

What our local did, was take concessions. All the other locals did as well. The painters, concrete masons, and tuck pointers all agreed to a three year freeze on wages and benefits. So when the laborers and engineers decided to strike, most union members were shocked and disgusted. I hate to admit it, but I was disgusted as well. Eventually the strike was settled. Didn’t take too long considering the economic climate of the time. Both Unions received almost exactly what they were looking for. But most importantly, I learned a few important life lessons.

First- It’s easy to receive information and immediately react with your heart and feelings. The moment I got news that this strike was going down, I formed my opinion. I did not take time to research, or use my brain for anything other than to say F##k them. All I knew is that they would receive some sort of increase in wages, while I agreed to none. They would become the have some(s), while I would become the have less(s). This strike taught me a valuable lesson. You HAVE to stop. There is always a bigger picture. You must think of long term gains. Not in personal wealth, but in humanity and the blue collar class. This strike was filled with audacity. But it was audacity that needed to be shown. Not for the benefit for the Laborers or the Operating Engineers. But for the benefit of ALL unions, across the country.

Second- Nonunion blue collar workers completely misunderstand unions. I think this is due to the knee jerk reaction they have, due to the benefits and pay that we have compared to what they have.                                                                               “The striking union workers should be ashamed of themselves! The economy is bad enough as it is. They talk about a “living wage”. How can anybody who makes $45 to $60 an hour complain they are not getting a living wage? I’m not an owner of a company, but if I was, I’d fire everyone of you greedy people. There are more out of work people who would be more than willing to take your job and I’d be happy to give it to them! You are nothing but economic terrorists. I hope you all lose your homes, your cars and everything you own so you can see how the rest of us in the real world live. My appologies to your families, they are innocent, you are the ones to blame.                                                    A proud NON-UNION construction worker. ”      This quote says it all. Union Vs. Non Union blue collar workers. It sounds like someone who is angry because they do the best they can, but are about to lose everything. But there anger isn’t directed at corporatist profiteers or politicians. It’s directed at other blue collar workers that they perceive to be better of than themselves.

Here’s another. “I think they should all go back to work. They don’t realize most of the public has out of pocket cost for health insurance. I pay about $400 month out of my check. What do your members pay? Ummm nothing. 401k out of check NOPE. This is why union work around the country is rapidly disappearing. I seam to recall what is happening on the residential side. Can you say going non union. Umm think your union needs to think about this long and hard everyone has had to make cut backs. So once again go back to work and be thankful you have the great pay you do because it will be gone…. ”                                                                                                                                                                                                This quote is obviously from someone who is uneducated on unions. They go off half cocked, from the heart. Truth is, what this person pays a month in healthcare ($400), I almost spend that in a forty hour week. My retirement? Again, I pay $225 in a forty hour work week. The public seems to have this disdain for unions based on false ideas. They are told something, and form an opinion without ever researching anything. Where is the disdain for companies that send jobs overseas? Where is the disdain for companies that employ people at such little wage as to force them to collect certain welfare benefits? Nowhere, nothing. That to me is appalling. What happened in this country, that there is such a divide among people of the same class?

Third- For the middle class to thrive once again, we must unite. We need to stop thinking of ourselves. We need to stop thinking in regards of “This group should not have that because I don’t.” Blue collar workers need to unite in order to gain all the benefits that union workers have.


All quotes were taken from the comment section of this article.


13 thoughts on “The have some(s) VS. The have less(s)

  1. Thanks for writing this article, JOB. My grandfather’s brother worked for Eugene Debbs when he ran for president both as a free man and from his prison cell. Debbs, rather than being imprisoned, ought to have been made a national hero for his dogged work for blue collar Americans.

    Wilson, however, had other ideas- war, specifically. I never knew my great uncle, but it must have been interesting to gather around the table and to have listened to him talk. His brother, my grandfather, was quite the advocate for workers’ rights as well, I am told. I’m happy to have inherited those genes/memes from them.

  2. AHHHHH, Eugene Debs. Every union member in Chicago knows the name well because of the famous “Pullman strike”. Your Great Uncle was in good company. Debs was a great man, and a great champion for worker’s rights.
    Mr. Debs would be a national hero if it weren’t for that one “dirty” word. Socialist.

    In my opinion, Debs blazed the trail for a true Middle Class. He did great things for worker’s rights. Somewhere in the last hundred years his message has been lost. But maybe we can find it again.

  3. “But there anger isn’t directed at corporatist profiteers or politicians. It’s directed at other blue collar workers that they perceive to be better of than themselves.”

    It seems to me that any successful conglomerate corporation that pays a minimum wage of $7.25 is purposely greedy beyond the ale.
    They are simply keeping employee wages down for their own extravagence lifestyles. Just think of the difference between the CEO of McDonalds and the peolple they hire as fast food workers.,
    or WalMart and say Home Depot on the retail side, or in the
    entertainment industry Walt Disney. These and other corporate
    giants through lobbyists like the American Restaurant Association
    have blocked raising the minimum wage for years. President Obama is asking for a wage of $9.00 per hour. That is a joke!
    And, it would not be instantly, but over two years. What an insult
    to the people that elected him and re-elected him! I believe the
    fast food strikers are asking for something like $17.00. Others say that if the $7.25 figure is adjusted for inflation, it would be at least
    $12.00. Obama is offering $9.00! Moreover, restaurant and retail workers are not 40 hours a week workers. Somewhere between 15 and 30, which prevents any benefits. I read that if the strikers
    figure was accepted it would raise the cost of a Big Mac $0.o3 cents.
    So, lets say a worker is paid $15 for 30 hourswork or $450.00 per week, then times 50 weeks, that is $22500.00 a year, hardly a
    living wage.

    1. President Obama has nothing to do with the minimum wage; it is in the hands of Congress to raise it.

      The last congressional action on raising the wage was a result of it being attached to a 2007 WAR bill on IRAQ- HR 2206, the supplemental aid to the Iraq War. In that bill there were $235 million worth of tax breaks to small business.

      Wikipedia says that The bill was thus ultimately enacted as a rider to the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act.

      How’s that for ‘caring’ for the blue collar workers of America??

  4. The following is taken from Bloomberg News: “The number of Americans who have given up their citizenship soared sixfold in the second quarter as the government prepares to adopt more stringent disclosures for overseas assets”

    Just yesterday, in preparing a possible post I wrote in my
    notebook under tax reform that Americn citizens who have profits from overseas business should not be allowed to excape U.S. taxes by declaring that they are renouncing U.S. citizenship.

  5. Why not? We are trying to “haul back” Snowden; Reagan sent the army to haul Noriega of Panama back to the U.S., just to name a couple…So you think they should escape our taxation?

  6. “President Obama has nothing to do with the minimum wage; it is in the hands of Congress to raise it.”

    Not exactly. The President can immediately take all the executive federal employees and raise their minimum wage, and there are
    thousands working at $7.25. He has been good at excusing Congress lately from the mandates of the ACA. He can do the same
    with the executive minimimum wage. Moreover, the President plays a key role in any legislation. The President proposes and the Congress disposes! Where is his Executive Order here withthe minimum wage? Look, argue the point that I made and not draw
    a red herring across the issue. Obama is proposing a $9 minimum wage enacted over two years. And, it is even below the inflation rate from the last enactment. Gimme a break, lol…I may be getting old, but the elevator still goes to the top!

  7. Hello UTF- I agree 100%. Our minimum wage right now is a joke. And the $9/HR that our President has asked for is an even bigger joke. A champion of the middle class? I disagree completely. It is my opinion that President Obama has become like every other head of state. He is removed from the Middle class, has been since his time here in Chicago. He’s no Romney, but Obama is not poor either, or even struggling for that matter. It’s a shame…..
    The McDonald’s employees are asking for $15/hr. Someone from Boston College (I think) did a some research for a study conducted. If these employees made that wage along with everyone of them receiving health insurance, every food item on the menu would increase by $.49. That’s 49 cents. A big mac would be just over $4. I don’t know about you, but I believe that to me more than fair. If the employees actually received this, I may actually start eating their s##ty food.
    I don’t know about inflation, but if the minimum wage increased as much as this countries productivity, it would now be at $22/hr.
    You started talking about people making money here and then denouncing their citizenship in order to escape taxes. What comes to my mind with this statement is the co-founder of Facebook. I don’t remember his name. But I do remember that when Facebook went public, he made 450 million dollars. Then proceeded to go back to Ecuador. He didn’t pay a dime in taxes. I disagree with Muddy on this. I don’t think we necessarily have to go get them. I’m sure there’s plenty our government can come up with. Excise taxes and tariffs? Something.

  8. Hi Muddy. I think it’s getting to the point where you start realizing that President Obama is an awful POTUS. I know you were dedicated to his last campaign, and maybe his campaign in ’08. But this guy was not the right leader. You’re right, POTUS can not raise the minimum wage on his own. UTF touched on the whole “executive order” thing in a reply. He mentioned that the President can immediately raise minimum wage in regards to Federal employees. I’m not sure if this is true or not.
    But here’s what the President CAN DO… He can could issue orders requiring government contractors to pay decent wages and not to interfere with workers’ legal right to unionize. There are so many things that Obama can do with his executive powers, but he hasn’t. Why??????

    Back in ’08 I voted for McCain. McCain lost favor with many independents.because of one reason, Sarah Palin. Just about everyone I know had one of two opinions. One opinion was that she was an idiot. While this may be true, I’ve never voted for a Vice President. The other reason I heard over and over again, was that she lacked the ability to lead a country. She lacked the experience. This of course was my argument for Obama. And in my opinion it is showing. If it’s not inexperience behind him not using his executive powers, that could mean only one thing. That he is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    Which ever reason you choose for Obama’s inactivity you have to laugh at one thing. A one time Tea Party hero (McCain) turned out to be more PROGRESSIVE than our Democratic President. Maybe we can get it right in 2016.

    1. I appreciate your ‘confession,’ JOB re supporting the McCain/Palin ticket in ’08. That would have been a disaster!

      Regarding the ‘failed’ presidency of Obama, one needs to remember that the man has yet to finish his 2nd term. Am I disappointed in some of his decisions? Yes- confession. Do I think he has failed- No.

      The right-wing media has been whipping up its base ever since
      Obama stood in Grant Park in November ’08. Yesterday, for example, the nut-jobs who follow Glenn Beck ‘celebrated’ Mock Obama Day. Yes, you may have missed this ‘holiday,’ but they didn’t. Pitiful? Sure was, but then…

      There was a news story on NBC Nightly News about a man who owns 23 Subway franchises who cut all of his employees to 29 hours/week and dropped their insurance because, as he said, “he can’t afford Obamacare.” What a lie- what a joke! The real reason he did that is his bottom line- more money in his pocket.

      The sad part about this story was that there was no follow-up given by NBC. They did not state that the Obamacare rules on employers was delayed for an entire year and will not go into effect until late 2014. What is this guy doing cancelling insurance here in August 2013??

      I’d imagine that both FoxNews and Limbaugh whooped this story to frenzy-level and their non-thinking listeners nodded their heads as per instructions.

      That’s what is hurting this nation- ignorance of the voter with its counterpart- propaganda. I’m sure there is a quote from one of the Founding Fathers that would be appropriate at this point, but I can’t recall it. Anyway, something about idiocy and democracy.

      Back to the President. How about these positives:

      1. we’re out of Iraq and withdrawing shortly from Afghanistan;
      2. we did not ‘bomb, bomb bomb-bomb’ Iran;
      3. we did not engage in the Syrian civil war;
      4, many more citizens have health care coverage;
      5. civil rights violations are being pursued with great expediency;
      6. we have, as a nation, moved farther away from the so-called fiscal cliff;
      7, the NYSE is at record highs;
      8. Jessie Helms, Strom Thurmond and George Wallace rolled over in their graves in November ’08;
      9. Joe Biden is a heart-beat from the presidency;
      10. Michelle Obama is First Lady.

      1. By your confession comment in regards to the McCain campaign, I gather that you look at him and Obama as being on different sides of the political spectrum. This is where I disagree. I don’t think they are. I believe both, and I will also include Hillary, are moderate Republicans. I will explain further after I go over your POTUS positives list.
        1- Yes we are out of Iraq, but let’s not pretend POTUS is against war like tactics. First, he escalated deployment in Afghanistan. Second, what about the drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen? And how is that Guantanamo closing going?
        2- This is true, but would Romney have? Or McCain if he were in a second term? Or any one of the more qualified ’08 Democratic nominees. I have to plead ignorance on the Iran issue, because i didn’t follow it to closely.
        3- True. Say, are we still sending aid to Egypt?
        4- Many more citizens do have Healthcare, but the system is in shambles. Hospitals are cutting staff. You mentioned a problem with employers above with the Subway story. And to top it all, there are still millions of Americans without Healthcare. This is just one example of Obama being bought and paid for in my opinion. Lobbyists owning politicians and controlling legislature is not just a Republican point. In my opinion, they own Democrats too. The AHA is awful. This problem could have been solved very easily. Expand medicare to include everyone.
        5- Do you think this is because he’s a good president and efficient leader? Or do you think it’s because he’s a black man that holds the highest office? Do you think this statement would be different had Clinton won in “08?
        6- Due to sequestration, am I wrong? Am I confusing the two things?
        7- This may be due to the fact that bankers, wall street brokers, and stock speculators know that they have yet another President in there back pocket.
        8- Don’t see how this helps out American citizens.
        9- Definitely don’t see how this helps the American citizen. But at least we can stop being concerned with steroids in baseball.
        10- Yes, Michelle is our first lady. Now what does it say about our President and his abilities to lead this country, when your positives list includes who he is married to?

        Now i hope you don’t mind, but I would like to give you a list of my negatives. Of course, some people would say it is a positive. Those people are called Republicans. Usually the Tea Party kind.

        1- His willingness to cut Social Security benefits to seniors. Don’t know if you read that one but our freedom fighting working class fighting POTUS has offered to to cut Social Security by reducing the annual cost-of-living adjustment. He needs the elderly to help get us out of the mess created by the Wall Street collapse in ’08. But yet he does not ask wall street to share in any of the burden.
        2- You mentioned the AHA (Obamacare) above. At it’s inception, there was reportedly 55 million Americans without healthcare. According to articles I’ve read, the AHA will only cover 22 million of them. That’s a 40% completion rate if your goal is to insure every American. If POTUS was an NFL quarterback, he would have been benched after four games.
        3- Obama’s fairy tale recovery that I read about on Liberal blogs is just that, a fairy tale. Obama’s pledge to promote a recovery from the middle out may be a good start, but there is nothing in his agenda that would fundamentally change the pitifully slow recovery. His proposed grand bargain on taxes would cut the corporate tax rate in exchange for closing loopholes, yielding net new revenues in the short run but no new revenue over time. And speaking of the Corporate tax rate, that leads me to this one.
        4- Not sure if you heard this one. But POTUS is now willing to lower the corporate tax rate in exchange for investment in infrastructure. I don’t know what you think, but I think this is the worst thing he can possibly do.

        You’re right. His Presidency is not up yet. And he will have a new Congress in a year and a half. But thus far, all signs point to moderate Republican instead of worker’s rights, progressive Democrat. And believe me, I’m being polite when I say moderate.

Comments are closed.