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justafarmer On February - 14 - 2011

From a union worker family standpoint…

I really want to know what the right wing and the Tea Party has against unions?

Is it so bad that we can’t make little children work in sweatshops? Is it so bad that we are human enough to ask for basic safe and healthy work conditions? Is it so bad that we do not want our coal miners to die in mine accidents because the companies want to save money on safety standards? Or that our farm workers can have porta-potties so they don’t have to relieve themselves from dawn to dusk in the same fields where they are picking our fruits and vegetables on corporate farms? Or that our meat is not crowded into feedlots or cages pumped up with antibiotics, steroids and hormones to “pump them up”?
Is a starting wage of $12 an hour outrageous? Is a wage of $24-$30 and hour for experienced power linemen outrageous? (disclosure here, my spouse is a power lineman who was union for many years, but the IBEW jobs are gone, so he works non-union now at age 55 for $24/hour, but there are benefits!)

So, let’s do the math.

Starting wage is around $25,000 a year. Spouse, after more than 30 years, is doing comparable with the IBEW job less the union dues (which are only about $35/month, but his less than impressive IBEW vested-pension is in limbo for now) but he’s bringing home at least $50,000 a year now (as opposed to relying on my steady job here on the farm with my own pension and part-time journalism job that altogether grosses about $12,000/year and we struggled but made it work with just that).

The Republicans and Tea Party people want to make us feel guilty that we’re “raking in” $50,000 a year while my spouse is away from home working in all sorts of horrible weather keeping their electricity on or restoring it when it goes off?

And gawd forbid that we have some sort of a retirement nest egg?
Oh, and did I mention that spouse’s job is one of those stimulus jobs that the Republicans claim don’t exist? After being laid off during GWB’s tenure, he’s out there now as of this past October in all weather upgrading the electrical grid in Greater Cincinnati and it IS a stimulus job paying his wage.

Thank you President Obama, and I really REALLY mean that!

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