I have been on both sides of labor and management. I have been a member of two unions, grocery clerks and teachers. I have been part of the human resources team charged with “Positive Employee Relations” aka keep the unions out.

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

I love Facebook at this time of year because one of my youngest son’s friends is a strong Union member and his posts echo the strength of unions in the days gone by. Jason told me at a recent gathering that Facebook has told him that based on our posts, I might be a potential soulmate. I am, for the record, older than his mother. Jason is also happily married.

Jason went to a trade school and is a journeyman electrician and plumber. He is heating, ventilation and air conditioning certified. His job cannot be outsourced. He is the person who gets called by friends and friends of friends when the AC goes out at midnight and it is still 90 degrees. My youngest son gave his older brother a lecture for the books on not taking advantage of Jason. In addition to outlining Jason’s years of schooling and training and what his hourly wage was as a union member he asked his brother if he’d thought of offering Jason free financial planning. Older son of the midnight call is a banker and certified financial planner. He did call and offer his services free of charge to Jason.

The wonderful part of the story is that my sons know Jason and value his skills and his Democratic values. Too often, not enough people in professional jobs know and value the skills and abilities of union members.

The nurses at Alliant health services in Minnesota are going on strike today. The issue on the table is health insurance. The nurses want to keep their plan and management wants to roll them into the corporate plan. The corporate plan has lower premiums but much higher out of pocket limits.

My sister has been a regular user of Alliant at their heart clinic. She called me from a waiting room to ask what the Nurse’s Union wanted in a nutshell. I told her the above information. Before our call disconnected, I could hear her telling her nurse, “I’m on your side. The nurses here have been wonderful and have literally saved my life. Who can I call on your behalf?”

Unions represent a collective voice for workers. Once upon a time perhaps there were good employers who treated people fairly and respectfully. Today I think they are few and far between. We an each support labor today by telling stories of the value of unions and speaking out on behalf of those who save our lives.


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