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Sat Nov 17, 2012, 02:42 AM

I worked for the Postal Service for almost 33 years in Employee & Labor Relations.

I was always on the ER side and the last half of my career I dealt with labor climate. During my years USPS had a pretty combative relationship between management and the unions. I dealt with both, and with employees as well.

As big as we were, our rolls were a reflection of the diverse population we served. I saw some slackards - they exist. But 95% of what I saw was hard working people trying to do a good job. I saw the unions be unreasonable sometimes and I saw management be unreasonable sometimes. But every day I thanked God for those labor contracts, because if we hadn't had them, some managers would have mopped the floors with those employees. The unions were the only line of defense even the best one had.

I have a lot of former coworkers on my Facebook, mostly from Labor Relations. One bozo who promoted up to a District Manager for Employee & Labor Relations makes derogatory remarks about unions all the time, even though all non-union managers made better pay because of those contracts (written into the law) and he himself made a better salary. He posted this a few days ago: "Of all the bad things unions have done in recent years (they were once necessary), leading Hostess to go bankrupt and quit making Twinkies tops the list! Look at all the folks who are now out of jobs. Way to go bakers union!" Things I've read recently indicate there's much more to the Hostess mess than greedy bakers and their union (which I won't go into here), but his line that blew me away was "...they were once necessary".

I think we need them more than ever. People died for the right to stand as one for fair wages and decent working conditions. Many in our corporatist state would love a workforce so desparate they wiill accept a Chinese payscale. Many authorities say Reagan slayed the unions when he fired the FAA employees. The assault continues. The GOP is well on its way to privatizing the Postal Service right now. With that blow they will eliminate almost 500,000 union members and get to profit by privatizing USPS as well. All the crap now about companies cutting hours or laying off or closing because of Obamacare? All to deny employee needs. The Walmart employees are being very brave - listen for the same kind of tune from Walmart - I'm betting it will come.

Oh, did I say I support unions? Mark me "YES"!

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