Letter: Unions’ value
September 15, 2017
This letter was written on Labor Day.
Unions seem to have fallen out of favor these days. Every time workers vote on whether to organize, the union is shot down.
To a great extent, the unions themselves are responsible for their current unpopularity. They have been corrupt, sometimes directly tied to organized crime, inattentive to rank and file needs, and in collusion with management to the profit of both.
My father was a Republican lawyer who was the workman's compensation appeal agent for district 31 of the United Steelworkers in the Chicago area. He met with union representatives every month, and it was the favorite task of his profession.
I was a steelworker for a brief period before I was promoted to management, but even then, the impact of the union was felt. I was extremely well paid, had Cadillac health insurance and retirement plan, and all because union men fought for those benefits many years ago and the company would not give them to the bargaining unit without giving them to management.
Living in the Roaring Fork Valley has it all over the Chicago area, but one feature that is lacking is unions. When my father's home was being built in Glenwood Springs, the contractor's crew walked off the job and he had to put together another crew, one phone call at a time. It took forever and the house was six months late being built. One call to a union hall would have gotten him a qualified crew the next day.
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In my own experience, getting tradesmen to come out and do home repairs has been fraught with problems. They show up when they please and, sometimes, don't have the faintest idea what they're doing.
The day will come when the workers will realize again how much they need unions. Having seen the situation from both sides, I know profits are No. 1 with management and the welfare of the workers is way down the list.
Fred Malo Jr.