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Thread: Life before unions

  1. #1

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    Default Life before unions

    I come from a long line of farmers and small biz people, no union members that I know of. All the same, the unions made life better for everyone who's ever been a blue collar employee and yes, for white collar employees too. Do we know what life was like for grandparents, great grandparents during the pre and evolving union era? Some do, some don't. We can still learn from those who were there, and from those who inherited the stories-by the books that were written in or about that era. Two I highly recommend:

    The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Written in 1906. Chicago meatpacking industry (there was a sharp recession around 1907 too). (could get an education here also on why we have food industry regulations too).
    The e-book is available here-read it for free.
    http://www.online-literature.com/upton_sinclair/jungle/

    Thunder on the Mountain. David Poyer. Grew up in Bradford, PA where the novel is set in 1936 oil and gas country. Quotes from 2 reviewers provided below: http://www.amazon.com/Thunder-Mounta...owViewpoints=1

    1)
    Set in the Northwestern Pennsylvania oil fields during the great labor conflicts of the Thirties, it details the struggles of the working man as well as the dilemmas facing management during the development of organized labor. The characters are finely drawn and the action and the suspense continues throughout the novel. I knew labor leaders from that era and lived through that period. The mood of this novel is absoluetly authentic. Both male and female characters are gritty, believable, and alive. An excellent read for all ages, will take you far into the night before you can put it down. Daily life in the Thirties comes alive here. Not simply history, not stuffed with technical material or trivia at the expense of character...
    2) I think an author has done his job when I want to enter the pages of his novel and talk to his characters. That's a testament to the complexity and realism of the personas you meet in this book, and to the vividness and high stakes of the struggles they face. Aside from that, no writer I know has a keener eye than Mr. Poyer for details that create verisimilitude. I was not alive in 1936, I have never been to Pennsylvania, never been to an oil field or oil refinery, and never participated in a hard-fought wildcat strike. But after reading this book I felt like I had been there.
    "life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards" - soren kierkegaard


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  3. #2

    Default Re: Life before unions

    No thanks, I'd just as well keep Sinclair's The Jungle at arms length. Better it gather dust at the local library alongside Karl Marx and the rest of their ilk.
    Last edited by OBGibby; 06-15-2009 at 01:03 PM. Reason: spelling

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  5. #3

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    Default Re: Life before unions

    Quote Originally Posted by OBGibby View Post
    No thanks, I'd just as well keep Sinclair's The Jungle at arms length.
    Too bad. My point was we CAN learn what people's lives were like when there were no unions. The horrific working conditions that drove people to risk their lives and even die to try and make them better. I don't give a rip about Marx personally.
    "life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards" - soren kierkegaard

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  7. #4

    Default Re: Life before unions

    Quote Originally Posted by alevin View Post
    I come from a long line of farmers and small biz people, no union members that I know of. All the same, the unions made life better for everyone who's ever been a blue collar employee and yes, for white collar employees too. Do we know what life was like for grandparents, great grandparents during the pre and evolving union era? Some do, some don't. We can still learn from those who were there, and from those who inherited the stories-by the books that were written in or about that era. Two I highly recommend:

    The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Written in 1906. Chicago meatpacking industry (there was a sharp recession around 1907 too). (could get an education here also on why we have food industry regulations too).
    The e-book is available here-read it for free.
    http://www.online-literature.com/upton_sinclair/jungle/


    [font=Times New Roman][size=1]1)
    Awesome Book..you beat me to the punch on suggesting it...

    Aah, those were the days back then in the meat packing business, eh?...No more finger sandwiches now-a-days because of them unions..Damn them
    A wise man speaks when he has something to say...A FOOL speaks when he just has to say something

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  9. #5

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    Default Re: Life before unions

    Quote Originally Posted by Buster View Post
    Awesome Book..you beat me to the punch on suggesting it...

    Aah, those were the days back then in the meat packing business, eh?...No more finger sandwiches now-a-days because of them unions..Damn them
    Buster-

    Better check it out-

    http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/aug...-s/news-metro/

    Yes, it still is going on....

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  11. #6

    Default Re: Life before unions

    Quote Originally Posted by James48843 View Post
    Buster-

    Better check it out-

    http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/aug...-s/news-metro/

    Yes, it still is going on....
    A wise man speaks when he has something to say...A FOOL speaks when he just has to say something

  12.  
  13. #7

    Join Date
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    Utah
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    Default Re: Life before unions

    Does everyone here on the MB know about the union that protects federal employees' rights and benefits? Countryboy introduced me to NARFE a while back. Their lobby efforts will become even more important as the law makers try to figure how to cut costs and start eyeing at federal employee and retiree benefits. (Think "high 5" rather than "high 3" for example.)

    If you have a moment check them out:

    http://www.narfe.org/home/

    Lady

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  15. #8

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    Default Re: Life before unions

    Quote Originally Posted by XL-entLady View Post
    Does everyone here on the MB know about the union that protects federal employees' rights and benefits? Countryboy introduced me to NARFE a while back. Their lobby efforts will become even more important as the law makers try to figure how to cut costs and start eyeing at federal employee and retiree benefits. (Think "high 5" rather than "high 3" for example.)

    If you have a moment check them out:

    http://www.narfe.org/home/

    Lady
    Um, last I checked, we can't strike, how can a union be taken seriously, if they have no recourse?

    Disclaimer: Born and raised in Ohio. Forced to join union. Paid them $40/week in dues. Asked to strike if we didn't get the $0.25/hr raise they were taking to the table. I said I wasn't going to strike for a quarter, but would for $0.50/hr. My steward took that to our rep. They asked for fifty cents, got the quarter, strike averted. I was 18 years old, joined the military 6 months later.
    THIS IS WHERE I WOULD PUT SOMETHING TO REPRESENT MY THINKING, BUT THEN THEY SHOW UP!
    Tracker =
    100%- I Fund

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  17. #9

    Default Re: Life before unions

    For those interested, here is another, fighting for Employees rights:
    http://www.afge.com/Index.cfm?Page=AFGEFacts
    see Agency-specific battles, here:
    http://www.afge.com/Index.cfm?Page=Agencies
    "That's as good as money sir, those are I.O.U.'s" - from: Dumb & Dumber


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  19. #10

    Default Re: Life before unions

    If you don't have time to read watch "NORMA RAE" about the textile industry or "MATEWON" about WV coal miners in the 1920's.

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