Monday, November 17, 2008

the evil union helped some artists

Reading about the evil of unions and the UAW has me thinking about how my husband, a member of UAW, was the silent partner in so much of what I did. Without him, there would have never been a radio show or podcast which exposed all of those artists and which helped facilitate dreams.

I have never received health insurance for any gallery I have worked in. It was UAW. People in the middle and upper classes, those in the snooty art world, may think that UAW are way beneath them, but without that union, they would not have had those shows. Hell we did not even have a gallery phone or gallery computer for a long time – my husband helped in so many ways. And that computer manifested so many press releases with those artists' names on them - hundreds in this town, a union member helped make that happen.

What I see is that people seem to feel very disconnected to what is happening now to the American worker. They think it has nothing to do with them. But they're wrong. If it wasn't for the union worker getting more wages and benefits, the nonunion people would not get them either. And that goes for all the benefits that white collars enjoy too. They brought up the standard of living for everyone.


CAP said...

Right on Eva!

The right wing dogma for extreme individualism has led to this sorry state, where any kind of collective action is seen as threatening the 'personal freedom' or 'privacy' of a few privileged and powerful interests.

Unions are routinely portrayed as the enemy of 'big business' - as if unions were not in business themselves! Unions do business on behalf of their members just the same as other corporations. In an economy that REALLY allowed 'free trade' collective bargaining would be recognised as valid trade. The only difference is the benefits go to better conditions for ordinary citizens, not greater luxuries for a lucky few.

Sheree Rensel said...

You are preaching to this choir now! Oh my, oh my. I am a Detroit girl born and bred. I totally understand what you are saying about unions and the UAW. I have never worked the auto line, but I have worked in a number of factories of the same ilk. The jobs were icky, but the pay was great. Even when I became an exhibition coordinator and education coordinator at a suburban Detroit art center, it was obvious to me that the unions raised the standard. I asked and received raises for our artists on that principle. There has been a trickle down effect for all of us who work hourly or salary jobs. I understand how important the union has been in our history.

namastenancy said...

Yes, yes and again yes. When I read the right wingnuts screeching to let the auto industry die, I know what they really want - to kill the last viable unions in the US. Then, they will have their wish to turn us into a third world state where they live in the castle on top of the hill and the rest of us live in the garbage dumps and bow down as the Masters of the Universe ride by. I have never understood why the ordinary American worker is so clueless about the value of unions - or maybe I should say, the Average American Worker of a certain age. Those in my generation understand very well what the unions did for us and how our standard of living has deteriorated since unions lost their strength and power.