I was raised in a union family. My father was a Teamster. My uncles were UAW. Most of my other family members belonged one union or another. However the one I am most proud of was my Grandfather who I was named after. He worked to organize the trucking company he worked for in the 1930's and 4o's, at a time when you could, literally, die for doing so.
My Grandmother used to tell me stories of my Grandfather going off to union meetings or strikes and praying that he'd come home alive. Of course he did, but there were several times when he came home with blood flowing from his head, his nose, his mouth and massive bruises on his ribs and sides. Still, he went back to work. He went back to the union meetings. He still worked to organize and the fight for collective bargaining. He was a hero.
Did he do it for money? No, of course not. Sure he knew a union would give him more pay, but the real reason he did it was for respect. It was for safer working environments. It was for fair pay for fair truck runs. It was for getting paid to deadhead back to his terminal. It was to get paid when his rig was broken down through no fault of his own. It was for the (then radical) concept of being home on weekends after a 40 or 50 hour work week and on the holidays too. It was for health benefits for himself and his children. It was to make sure that the company couldn't force him to drive beyond human limits and that he was granted a proper amount of time to sleep, so to protect his life and the lives of innocent people on America's highways.
What have unions done for America? They have benefited us in more ways then we can count. They gave us a 40 hour work week. Vacation pay. Sick pay. Maternity leave. Child labor laws. Safer working environments. Fewer worker deaths. Fewer worker injuries. Fewer worker illnesses. Respect for the common worker. They raised the working class into the middle-class. They made it possible for the sons and daughters of common workers to complete their education, go to college and to then contribute to America in ways that are immeasurable.Without unions and collective bargaining, America as we know it now would not exist. If you are not a part of a union and never have been in America, you still owe a debt to the union organizers who fought, were injured and even died by the hundreds to bring proper working conditions to the American worker. Even if you were not a part of it, you still owe them for the working life you have today.
My father was a Teamster. His father was a Teamster. Even his father was a Teamster in that he drove horse drawn freight wagons in Canada for a living. My uncles were/are members of the UAW. My wife is a member of SEIU. There are other members of my family who belong to other various police and fire unions. I am more proud of them then anyone could possibly imagine. They were/are not just union organizers. They were American patriots.
So, I ask you. Is America better off for the union movement...or not? Has the union movement in America been an overall plus or a negative for this country? I know it's a simple yes or no question, but you don't get off that easily. If you vote yes, then you must state what you think are the reasons unions were/are good for America. If you vote no, then you must back that up too and give real reasons that unions have harmed our nation and our history.
Talk to me.