Monday, May 2, 2011

Union Steward (conclusion)

I was in the yard playing with the dog when the phone rang in the kitchen. I ran in to catch it—this was pre answering machine. It was Ernie, sounding a little nervous. First the good news—the Op Manager had been fired. Then-and I’ll never know how this was worked out-- he said that my back pay would include severance pay, but that I really wasn’t being fired, I could just call it a leave of absence and after a year or so I should call him and he’d fix me up with something. “Finish school, travel, have fun. Hell, you’re not even twenty-one yet. Why work full time?” I decided in a second that I’d had it with the airlines. I must have been mad at Ernie but that’s not what I remember most—I remember feeling relief, and a funny kind of pride. I’d been blacklisted. A real revolutionary!

I decided to drop out of school and travel until the money ran out.

My last act as a lame duck was to call people and strongly suggest that my friend the Brit anarchist be elected the next steward. She was, and she raised hell, from what I heard.

The crew threw a nice goodbye party for me and I was presented with something that I kept for years—God, I wish I could find it now. Why didn’t I frame it? Someone in middle management—I think I know who, but she never copped to it—had broken into the personnel files and found my application for employment. Scrawled across the front, in red letters: DO NOT REHIRE! UNION TROUBLEMAKER!


  1. Owen:

    I worked for the US Govt for 27 years and was a union member the entire time. They saved my ass three separate times: Once when they wanted to transfer me to an outstation where I would be whipped into shape; then when I applied for a year's leave (in preference to a resignation) to accompany my wife to her foreign work assignment in Japan; and finally when I had a nervous breakdown due to family and work pressures (they got nearly my whole lost year's pay and a clean record to boot). Without unions, workers are dead. And America has been shutting down unions for 75 years. Kids today don't realize the sacrifices their grandparents went through to secure the rights we have today, but which are being steadily eroded.

  2. Hi Curtis--

    Thanks for reading. American workers are especially dumb re unions. Work against their own best interests. Strange.