Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Worker Without a Union

My son graduated from high school with a construction trade license. He went right to work as a low level worker paid very little with a private company. He would come home covered in dirt and exhausted. He said its cool I'm paying my dues and learning. Finally the plumbers union announced 50 spots to become an apprentice and union member - thousands applied. My son couldn't get in. He then started welding and the welder's union announced openings and again thousands applied, he didn't get in. Then he started doing electrical work and they announced a few union openings, again thousands applied and very few got in. Now he's learning another mechanical trade, got a 97 on the NYC city test and his number 5000, meaning 5000 will be called before him. He recently pulled his back out lifting boilers and is currently in a lot of pain. He's 25 years old, lives with me, is mechanically gifted and can't get a decent job - in large part because he's not a union member. They just can't let many in because they can't find their members decent paying jobs. The jobs are going to those who are desperate that are forced to work for much less.

    In discussing the UFT situation with my son, he said teachers are incredibly lucky. "You guys become automatic members with all the perks of membership. You don't have to go to different schools begging for a job and then hoping to get one for $10 an hour." I said you're correct and I'm sorry your in pain and anguish over your future. He said 'my friends who went to college have it much worse- they're not working and have a hundred thousand dollars worth of debt. I hope to become a union member some day and get a decent job'.  I'm very unhappy with the way the UFT is representing us, but I will continue to pay my dues regardless of what the Supreme Court decides. I urge all teachers to do the same.

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Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.