As a Zonie, I don't think I realized unions really existed and/or had a purpose past the 1930s. The Knights of Labor, the International Workers of the World, and all the other unions I learned about in history class are dead. Long gone. (Though I still like to make Wobblie references from time to time.) I figured it was safe to assume labor unions were dead by the time I graduated college. And in Arizona, where if you're not conservative you keep your political preference under wraps, we don't talk about unions. If there was a teamster union thing going on in the factory areas around town, who knew! Actually, we don't have factories. There is no industry in Arizona. Which would explain the lack of a prevalent union.
When I moved to Washington, holy cow unions were everywhere. Especially the Boeing union. Those guys are so freaking spoiled, it makes me sick. I still blame them for the delay in the 787. Our economy could have kept moving, but noooo, they had to strike about not getting enough medical benefits. You have more than me (which is none), so get over it! Just do your damn job! Every other year I swear those people strike.
When I started getting into the local political movement, only then did I really realized the prevalence of unions in this state. We have a lot of industry, especially at the coast, so I guess it makes sense to have some unions still in existence. The Longshoreman and the Teamsters are probably the most important. What their actual union names are, I'll never know. But good for them! I contemplated getting in contact with these groups to help with the political campaign I was on, but that never happened. Because I sucked at being a political organizer. (When you don't care, you just don't care!)
I started hating unions about the time I started working for Macy's in Olympia and after my sister had to deal with them at UC Irvine as a lab manager. (Yes, UC Irvine unionizes their lab workers AND their grad students - lame) When I was working in Oly, I heard about the union strikes at the Tacoma Macy's. I heard they were losing business and how workers were not coming in, etc. I was a gift registry person, so we picked up a lot of their registries while they were off striking over god knows what. Seriously, what does a RETAIL UNION have to strike about? Olympia is a very liberal place, but I found it was easy to make fun of the Macy's union with my co-workers. I asked my manager why Macy's Tacoma was unionized and we weren't. She said it had something to do with them being an older store and back in the day, that's just what they did. There were even stores in Seattle that were unionized.
Which, unfortunately, I did not remember her statement until I was sitting in the HR office at a Seattle's Macy's, filling out new hire paperwork, and being presented with a piece of paper for a union. My heart clinched and my stomach dropped. WE'RE UNIONIZED? WHY? Why would a part-time employee want to be unionized? And why the f*ck did I have to give them $100 for initiation fees, plus another $25, plus $15 a month? WHAT THE F*CK?! That's money I can use to pay for my bus pass! THEY ARE TAKING MY MONEY!
When I talked to my sister about the initiation fees, she laughed at me. She said I am now a voting member of the union. F*ck that shit! I don't want to be part of the union! That's going to look terrible on my resume.
Do you know what I get for being part of this union? NOTHING. Ohhh I have the choice of taking either a 30 min lunch or an hour lunch on Sunday. So exciting! I mean, what am I going to do with this benefit of being unionized? Apparently the union used to help people get the core schedule that they wanted if someone left their department. But guess what. We no longer have core schedules. Soooo, basically, there are no benefits to having the union. Except for the lunch thing. If I'm working 6 hours, I can take an hour lunch instead of the 30 min lunch you're supposed to take. Or, you can take 40 mins. Or 50 mins. Oh my god! I'm so glad I have a union to help me get a longer lunch on Sunday.
The only thing I get out of this union is seeing the name of the union pop up on my pay stub and getting $15 taken out at least once a month from my measly paycheck. So awesome.
Tell me you'd like unions after being unionized as a part-time retail employee. Go on, I dare you.
In conclusion... UNIONS ARE DEAD! They serve no purpose in our modern society! It's like they take you back in time. It's like living in 'the Pajama Game'. It's like they don't want you to succeed and would rather take your hard earned money instead. Which I always thought was wrong. The union is just a more organized way for a foreman to get rich while the workers die trying. It's bullshite!
(I know I'm missing facts, but this is just how I feel based on personal experience. So, don't get upset or anything. At least I'm not completely misinformed like Republicans.)