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boondocks

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I came of age in the 70s and 80s when there was a lot of talk about how the unions overplayed their cards; how they were mobbed up; and how the officers were highly paid and pal-ed around with management too much. My grandfather, who started in the WV coal mines when he was 12 or 14 (I forget which) gave me the "other side of the story"--how they finally got a little tiny bit more money, and some basic safety oversight, once the unions came in. Before that, the owners would routinely weigh their loads short at the end of the day. Safety? No such thing. He volunteered one day to take the mine cart up to get lunches from up top (I think they'd been left behind that morning, or maybe they didn't take them down in order to keep them clean). As soon as he came up, there was a cave in and everyone he was with died. I still have some of his old scrip books. When I see how that man had to work like a %^$! mule loading tons of coal a day, for pennies, it makes me want to cry. He's been gone 10 years next month and my whole family rests on the backbreaking labor that man did well into his 80's....

There's a great American Experience documentary, The Mine Wars, about those times:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperie ... eminewars/
I highly recommend it to history buffs or folks that have mining in their history. It was very eye-opening to me to see how far into the 1900s, miners (largely Scots-Irish) were treated as property. Only about a half-step above slaves in some areas...
 

boondocks

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City Guy":2ta81wcx said:
Where is government when it's really needed?

Ironically, as I'm reading this I'm listening to the township snow plow plodding up my rural hill, spreading sand before the freezing rain coming in 3 hours (and so the public school bus can safely collect my neighbors' kids)...and I'm looking down the valley at the late-night traffic on the Thruway off in the distance....and on the far hill, 15 miles off to the east, the lights of the parking lot of the local community college...

While I'm communicating with you via a medium that was an outgrowth of government research...
 

City Guy

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Don't want to argue (there's a shock), of course governments provide many useful services and I am grateful.
Just irks me that government sometimes issues so many ridiculous regulations but had to be bullied into establishing safety regs in so many industries.
 

Caustic Burno

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Unions were a necessary evil brought on in a time when a companies philosophy was kill a horse buy another kill a man hire another. Much of our standard of living today including benefits we owe the union.
As with anything greed and corruption took control and they became their own worst enemy.
 

dun

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Caustic Burno":2x4jdr67 said:
Unions were a necessary evil brought on in a time when a companies philosophy was kill a horse buy another kill a man hire another. Much of our standard of living today including benefits we owe the union.
As with anything greed and corruption took control and they became their own worst enemy.
Pretty much my feelings on them. I remember as a kid when the RR would go on strike for higher wages. Dad would draw his strike pay and when it was all settled, the amount of the raise would just "almost" cover what had been lost while on strike between the strike pay and his regular pay.
 

Margonme

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Caustic Burno":387k4bb9 said:
Unions were a necessary evil brought on in a time when a companies philosophy was kill a horse buy another kill a man hire another. Much of our standard of living today including benefits we owe the union.
As with anything greed and corruption took control and they became their own worst enemy.

IMO, you captured it! Lots of my family were steel workers. As Boondocks and you say, they "kill a man, hire another".

But the pendulum swung too far. They cut their noses off to spite their face.
 

Clodhopper

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There are also stories like my neighbor's, who worked along side his dad in a Western Kentucky scab mine. They had to have armed patrols to keep the mine safe. Also, google the Herrin massacre.
 

Margonme

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Clodhopper":15kit7ve said:
There are also stories like my neighbor's, who worked along side his dad in a Western Kentucky scab mine. They had to have armed patrols to keep the mine safe. Also, google the Herrin massacre.

Read "We Be Here When the Morning Comes".

Hot dog. Harlan, Kentucky Coal Miners. It don't get any uglier.
 

JSCATTLE

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The job I took 3 years ago is union . Every time I've ever called on the union for clarification on a issue they say there's nothing we can do . I'm a hard worker and don't see any reason that I would lose my job unless it's something I do to deserve to lose it .. The union had its good points and was once necessary. Now in my mind it's just to protect the lazy unproductive members of the work force. I'm tired of paying 130 dollars a month for nothing..
 

Bestoutwest

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I think unions definitely had a place in America, but I have seen them be destructive as well. I lived in Old Town, Maine (famous for Old Town Canoes). We had a paper mill that in 2000 was paying guys $17/hour starting out because the union was so strong. Three years later they wanted more money and went on strike. Owners told them they didn't need said mill and if they went on strike they'd shut it down. Well, the idiots went on strike and the company padlocked the gates shut in less than 24 hours. That was the end of that tiny town. Hurt a lot of folks and businesses and if the University wasn't there, there'd be no jobs.
 

Dave

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Read up on the Centralia massacre. A battle between the unions and WW1 veterans on November 11, 1919. It is pretty amazing the people were treated and the lack of basic civil rights. My grandpa told me they treated the pigs better than they treated the men in those 1910-1940 logging camps. One big outfit here had a reputation that they killed a man a day. Sign over their hiring office said, "if you can't fly don't light here." Someone got killed they just drug him off out of the way and kept working to quitting time. Same thing if a man got hurt. If you got hurt bad you had better be able to survive on your own until quitting time. One of my old neighbors broke his arm working for that outfit. Compound fracture. He had two choices, wait 6 hours to quitting time or walk 6 miles out of the woods. He said it was a long walk. One old boy I worked with was raised in a logging camp up on the Olympic Peninsula. He said the school house was on the woods end of camp. When the speeder came down at the end of the day with the crew the last car would carry the dead and injured. The school boys would make bets on how many men would be on that last car. He said nobody ever bet zero because that was a losing number. It was rare to have nobody killed or injured.
 

Caustic Burno

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Margonme":1hqxa2xd said:
Caustic Burno":1hqxa2xd said:
Unions were a necessary evil brought on in a time when a companies philosophy was kill a horse buy another kill a man hire another. Much of our standard of living today including benefits we owe the union.
As with anything greed and corruption took control and they became their own worst enemy.

IMO, you captured it! Lots of my family were steel workers. As Boondocks and you say, they "kill a man, hire another".

But the pendulum swung too far. They cut their noses off to spite their face.

Been on both sides of the fence the union lost its way when the forgot 8 hours fair pay for 8 hours work.
 

sim.-ang.king

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Unions had their time and place, but killing strike breakers, and running companies, like GMC, into the ground isn't it.
My preacher's father was a mine worker during the 50's, and he would always be complaining about the unions. Like how every second Saturday in November everyone would go strike so they could go deer hunting...
Safety unions did a lot of good, but money hungry bosses, and members, wanted their cake and eat it too.
 

ez14.

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well my opinion my not be to popular here (and i know i'm young and haven't seen as much) but a employee has no right to tell a employer how much he will make or how much he will work they were not slaves they could leave if they didn't like the work or the pay! i don't like unions now and i don't like what the were back then either
 

Margonme

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ez14.":5e5p7kps said:
well my opinion my not be to popular here (and i know i'm young and haven't seen as much) but a employee has no right to tell a employer how much he will make or how much he will work they were not slaves they could leave if they didn't like the work or the pay! i don't like unions now and i don't like what the were back then either

It is never that simple. This is a complex social subject that has a history you have not had exposure to. There are two sides to a coin. There are four sides to a square. This subject has four sides.

It strikes at the very heart of mankind. I suggest you read some books of the sociology of the labor movement in America. This country has a unique history. The United States paved the Industrial highway much of it with the blood and bones of hard men whose only aspiration was to feed their kids.

You might change your tune when you know that white men in this country had it just as hard as any black man did.
 

Caustic Burno

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Margonme":3o3vd0of said:
ez14.":3o3vd0of said:
well my opinion my not be to popular here (and i know i'm young and haven't seen as much) but a employee has no right to tell a employer how much he will make or how much he will work they were not slaves they could leave if they didn't like the work or the pay! i don't like unions now and i don't like what the were back then either

It is never that simple. This is a complex social subject that has a history you have not had exposure to. There are two sides to a coin. There are four sides to a square. This subject has four sides.

It strikes at the very heart of mankind. I suggest you read some books of the sociology of the labor movement in America. This country has a unique history. The United States paved the Industrial highway much of it with the blood and bones of hard men whose only aspiration was to feed their kids.

You might change your tune when you know that white men in this country had it just as hard as any black man did.

You got that right many a man owed his soul to the company store.
The system didn't change out of a change in heart. Today's working conditions and lifestyle was paid for in blood
 

Bestoutwest

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ez14.":36eusq5c said:
well my opinion my not be to popular here (and i know i'm young and haven't seen as much) but a employee has no right to tell a employer how much he will make or how much he will work they were not slaves they could leave if they didn't like the work or the pay! i don't like unions now and i don't like what the were back then either

Watch The Mine Wars from PBS. Read some books, maybe The Jungle. At one point in this country businesses owned everything, your house you rented, the store, etc and paid you just enough to live. Most people were in debt to the company they worked for. As for moving, or finding a new job, speaks to your youth. I'm not trying to be mean, just stating that the world was a much different place back then. Sometimes, literally, there was only one game in town. If you're in debt to them, how can you afford to move?
 

TexasBred

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Margonme":9wccrt39 said:
ez14.":9wccrt39 said:
well my opinion my not be to popular here (and i know i'm young and haven't seen as much) but a employee has no right to tell a employer how much he will make or how much he will work they were not slaves they could leave if they didn't like the work or the pay! i don't like unions now and i don't like what the were back then either

It is never that simple. This is a complex social subject that has a history you have not had exposure to. There are two sides to a coin. There are four sides to a square. This subject has four sides.

It strikes at the very heart of mankind. I suggest you read some books of the sociology of the labor movement in America. This country has a unique history. The United States paved the Industrial highway much of it with the blood and bones of hard men whose only aspiration was to feed their kids.

You might change your tune when you know that white men in this country had it just as hard as any black man did.
BUT ..... the could walk off never to come back. It was there choice to be there !!!
 

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