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Sunday, February 3, 2008

What, MeAngry?

This piece also goes back a few years, to when I was part of a Union drive at my former workplace and the Bush regime was gearing up for the downfall of the middle class. Which, to this date, is the only "Mission Accomplished" I can see.


I'm angry. I'm angry about just about everything. In the big picture, I'm angry about the dumbing down of America, about eternal poverty, about the Republicans in general. In the little picture, I'm angry about our community members who are too busy, entitled or uninterested to care anymore.
I don't exclude myself from my anger. There's a lot more I could do if I wasn't so self-involved. But since vacationing in Costa Rica is not amongst my options, I don't feel so bad. I live a really close-to-the-bone economic life. Just ask my landlord. I owe him a month and a half back rent, even doing my best. Still, I'm mad at myself for not living up to my contract with him. That's what I was raised to do. Live up to your responsibilities, keep your word. If you do your best, it'll pay off. Well maybe not anymore.
I'm angry at the management at the Co-op, first for hiring the self-proclaimed union busting law firm of DRM, then for the smarmy memos put out to the staff, then for the staff buying it, then for the justification that management has tried to promulgate. Deny, deflect, diminish. As Alex Gyori likes to say in his anti-union memos, Ask yourself why. Why are they saying that the organizing of \"some employees\" is equal to their anti-union committee? So many workers at the Co-op have been co-erced (some without their ever realizing it) that we won't say how many cards we have signed anymore. Yes, we have the 30% to go to an election. Those are the people who wear buttons, go to the meetings, make the phone calls and house calls. There's more. We don't want to go to an election until there are 70%. Less than that and it won't be a strong union. Management has been waiting for us to back off or go away. They're in for a long wait. The Management touts its organizing with other co-ops, and is poised to absorb the Putney Co-op. It knows what strength comes from unions, why would it so oppose its own employees doing the same? Ask yourself why?
Anger has been given a bad rap. In its best form, anger fuels one to action. Its worst form becomes violence. It takes humor, perseverance, and hard work to mold anger into productivity. But anger is powerful if we can learn to use anger for our own purposes. Don't be afraid of it, don't deny it, just find a way to let it energize you and use it to keep you up and have the courage of your convictions. Stay angry.

P.S.- Our Union drive failed, after almost 3 years. The union-busting tactics coached carefully to both management and then to some employees spread like a virus. Our complaints to the National Labor Relations Board were deemed out of date by the time we filed.

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