I sat on the edge of the small conference room, along with about twenty of my union brothers and sisters, while we listened to our union president, Becky, and vice president, Michael, discuss what leadership was proposing we do to save our employer money, and therefore save jobs.
Of course, unions being a democracy (the only democratic (small d) institution in the workplace meant that first, the union membership had to vote to approve any plans the union executive board put forth. That vote was early next week. And to our benefit, my union appears to be among the few in the county that are taking pro-active steps to save jobs; others have been taking a “wait and see” line.
The twenty people in this room, this one “brown bag” session, represented such a tiny fraction of the total membership, so I was unable to gauge the mood of the entire voting block from the mood of this handful of people. But the people in this room felt overwhelmingly pro-job-saving.
Except for one, outspoken, angry, defensive woman, who kept chastising Becky for not doing “more”, trying to get “more” out of management in this severe economic downturn. Like what? She mentioned more vacation time, more sick time, a promise to get the money lost back next year if things turn around…
I found her greed a bit overwhelming, and after the meeting, my friend Ken summed it up best by saying, “She sees it as the union vs. management, when in reality it’s the union and management vs. the recession.”