Monday, August 20, 2007

Teamsters!

I'm a union supporter. Yes, I know about the excesses of the national unions through the years and the corruption that has been there but I am still pro-union. I have seen the results of strong unions. I have also seen what happens when workers have no power.

I grew up in Pittsburgh in the days when steel was still king. The steelworkers had strong unions and that meant that Pittsburgh was a great place to be a blue collar person. Salaries and benefits were good. Pride was high among everyday folk who could provide a good living for their families by the sweat of their labor. My father was not in a union but he was blue collar. We benefitted from what they did. We also suffered when the shop owner who was my father's boss decided to break his word to his workers. They had no recourse as they weren't unionized.

I learned very early that a strong union is the only way that everyday folk can stand up to the power of very wealthy business owners.

Last week the unions won here in Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara News Press was prosecuted by the National Labor Relations Board for their lack of recognition of the vote taken by the newsroom workers to join the Teamsters. Last week the NLRB ruled that the Graphic Communications Conference of the Teamster's Union is now officially certified as the bargaining unit for the newsroom employees at the News-Press.

There is an ongoing fight regarding employees who contend that they were illegally dismissed for engaging in union activities.

All in all, it is an important step in an important case regarding the way newspapers function in our society.

2 comments:

Dennis E. McFadden said...

Roy,

I was also raised in a strong union home. My dad was a shop steward. In my industry, however, the union places seem to have less pay and benefits than the non-union ones (at least among those of us in the non-profit sector).

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Roy,

Let's hope that the union is able to get itself up and going. My fear is that the victory will be short lived and it will be decertified before this gets rectified! But this paper is now an embarrassment to the community.