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August 24, 2010

Margie's Story Time: Labor Day

Margie's Story Time: Labor Day

By Me, Margie

I was going to write on the Mancini Book of Sextiquette, but the rest of these tarts have been sexing up the place, so I will save that one for later because if any of you think I am a follower, not a leader, you need to wake up and smell the espresso.  Plus, my cousins are still trying to put some of the rules in words I can actually use in this public type forum.  So we are going to talk about the upcoming long weekend and the reason behind it.

Okay, work is good. That is the whole point of Labor Day and obviously some stunads need the reminder because this reality TV bullshit where people get paid for doing nothing but doing dumbass stuff in front of a camera that they would normally do at home is a plague.

Labor Day started back in the 1800s - if you try to look it up, you will see they have conflicting stories about it.  Silly.  I know what actually happened, even though only a few of my own family were here that long ago.

Which reminds me that any of you asshole elitist WASP types who think the "illegal aliens" are to blame for everything from the syph to the Senate, you need to get your heads out of wherever they are (probably up the ass of someone you hate in public when you're at your KKK meetings, you down-low dipshits, but that is another story.)

My family is still coming here - and we are sending our own cousins out to your stupid fucking wars, just like you pricks did to the Irish when those poor schmucks landed in New York.  Hey, I saw "Gangs of New York" - I know the facts.  And if you would like to come up in my neighborhood and start asking my people for their papers, you are in for some unexpected answers.  Because unless you can trace your flabby-assed, pasty-faced roots back to the Mohawk, or the Sioux, or some other Native American tribe, you can kiss our mediterranean olive asses - if you can get to them while you're still ambulatory.  I just learned that word and I like it because it makes it very clear there is going to be EMTs if you're not nice.

Back to the story.

Once upon a time, right here in the US of A, where we claim freedom is sacred, the powerful (read: anglo saxon men) treated the less powerful (that would be the rest of the people) like shit.  Some Bosses were decent but most were greed-infested scum. They had the less powerful do all the real work. It was basically a massive slavery program - and I say slaves because even if they weren't in actual chains, they were treated as if they were and if you think that whole 'sold my soul to the company store' thing is just a song, wake up.  No offense to actual slaves, who will get their own story sometime soon, but for a general idea, check out my Passover Story.

Blog grim reaper miner The Worker bees died left, right and center, and were always getting hurt and none of the Boss families gave a shit.  All in the name of making money for the Boss.  There were no unions.  There were no safety rules. There was nobody checking on their fellow humans.  And the money kept coming and the men kept dying. Railroads, coal mines, factories, steel mills, banks, office buildings - all the things that built our country came on the backs and the blood of people who were barely paid enough to survive.  It's sickening and embarrassing and on everyone.

It took all the way to the late 1800s for these men to get enough swat together to start unions.  Know what kind of radical-assed ideas they were trying to promote? An end to child labor, work shifts that didn't last more than like 20 hours at a time, and actual safety rules.  The gall!  Commies!

Blog homestead PinkertonsYou can imagine the reception they got from the Bosses.  It did not include little crumpets, cucumber sandwiches, and high tea.  It included paid thugs with bats, clubs and guns.  At the beginning, the workers counted on the government to protect them - you know - the police and marshals and others who were paid and vowed to 'protect and serve'.  Jokes.  They only protected the people who paid them in cash behind the building and basically let the thugs beat the living daylights out of anyone who wasn't wearing a suit and tie.  The whole thing is a disgrace, and I spit upon them.

Then, some guys in New York got together and decided we need a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."  Which, in plain words means: "Who do you think built all this crap? Next time you walk down the damn street, remember it was this big crowd of people who built your shit, and we're not going away, so snap the hell out of it, jack."  New York was the first state to Labor Day adopt it, and other states began to follow.

By that time, some really bad shit was going on because the workers were starting to stand up for themselves against the Bosses, who, in typical piggish fashion, refused to even negotiate and continued to hire thugs and killers to try to stop them. I'm guessing that those paid criminals are probably the same breed who are making the same pig noises today about the 14th Amendment, but I could be wrong.  The message is the same: "I got mine, go fuck yourself you can't have any."

The President at the time - a guy named Cleveland - had a total freak and wanted to make sure the Gov didn't appear to be on the wrong side of this fight, so he pushed to make Labor Day a national holiday.  It was a nice move.  Maybe some federal and state mandates on gawddamn safety regs and union support would have been nice too, huh Grover? 

So now the first Monday in September is Labor Day.  And next week, we need to take some time to remember that, instead of just focusing on the sales, the unofficial beginning of football season, and back to school.  Because, get a clue - we wouldn't have stores or stadiums or schools or people answering phones without the workers.

The end.

Now it is your turn to tell your family's labor stories.

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Amen to that.

I was raised to be pro-union. My dad did legal work for the coal miners in Pennsylvania, and if there's a crummier job (and yes, the workers were the Irish, Italian, Bohemian and Slovak immigrants) I don't want to know about it.

Yeah, I know immigration is a big, complex issue, but if I were living in a poverty-ridden repressive country and my family was destitute, I'd be trying to cross the border to America, just the way my ancestors did, legally or not.

Thanks for the education.

My mother was a waitress. My father was a seaman. We lived with friend's in Marblehead, Massachusetts. My parents died young.

I lived with my grandparents. My grandfather was a seaman. My grandmother ran a soup kitchen for the union.

My great-grandmother was a loom operator at the Pequot Mills. My great-grandfather was a loom fixer at the Pequot Mills. They had 5 children who all went to work at the age of 8. They lived in the basement of a beautiful home on Lafayette Street in Salem.

The grandparents I did not live with were also factory workers, as were their parents. Before that all were farmers or on reserves trying to make a go of whatever opportunity they had there in Quebec and Nova Scotia.

Others came from Ireland, but I don't know what they did there. Nobody remembers.

Guido: It is incumbence upon us to give sinceriest greasings . . . make that greetings . . . to our colleagues in orgummized labors.
Luca: One time our labors got pretty gummy, so we hired some guys from the local to help out. Real profeshumnals. No questions. We was onna road in no times, accounta they helped us load a whole lotta . . . stuff. More'n we coulda handled so fast, capisce?
Guida: La boca chiuso, stunads! Yeah, thanks, ladies and gennamens of labors, youse built dis country.
(Pauletta: An' whaddabout me? You think stengongraficks ain't work? A little appreciation, maybe?)

I am only second generation American. When my Nana's family came here to work in the coal mines of Western PA, the 'locals' threw rocks at them and tried to burn them out of their homes. One of the biggest lynchings in the United States was of Italians. Comparatively, we had it easy.

My Irish forefathers also worked in the coal mines. My Grandpa Kennedy and his brothers - several of whom also fought in WWII and Korea, worked to help start the unions in order to establish some kind of safety standards in the mines. When the powers that be finally recognized 'black lung' was real, those men were already dying. Once again - they had it much easier than many.

My family came here for a better life. They worked hard to get it. They created jobs (my Nana started a company in 1938 that is still a solid employer in my home town); they raised big families of who became teachers, nurses, CPAs, doctors, lawyers, mothers, fathers, proud warriors in the Army, Navy and Marines. We fought in wars from WWII to Desert Storm and Afghanistan.

We pay taxes; we volunteer in our communities; we vote and we love this country even when our elected leaders make us sick.

I guess I should stop now, but believe me, I could go on, and on. Let me just finish with this:

We are immigrants and we are proud of it. And I have news for people who think we don't belong: we helped build this place, same as you. We're still building - maybe you should try that, instead of trying to tear things down.

My family is asshole elitist WASPs, so we don't have any labor stories (other than what questions to ask when you're hiring a new cook. Grandmama Read opted for "can you make angel food cake?") Except for my generation, pretty much. *We* worked and are still working our asses off. I started cleaning houses when I was in eighth grade--typed up a resume in typing class and put a mimeograph of it in every mailbox on my road. And I wish to hell I'd done some kind of work in my life that actually HAD a union, but no.

My father gave me a t-shirt last year that reads "Mayflower: Illegal Alien Since 1620."

My Dearest Cugina Margie,

I don't suppose this blog has anything to do with that memo I found in the supply closet last Thursday night from one of the author-ladies to another one of the author-ladies about your vacation time?

Not that I was in the supply room. Or if I was, not that I was with anyone. (But you really should tell the author-ladies that a little ambient lighting would do wonders. Overhead flourescents aren't always kind to men of the cloth.

Just saying.

Love,
Cousin Rosie

PS. Loved the blog, though I was counting on the - uh - other one. I have a big night coming up. I ran into Father Anthony again last week and we're going out again tomorrow...

PPS. Will any of the author ladies be in the office tomorrow night?

Margie, after reading Paragraph 4, all I could think of is the Tarts need to send you somewhere to work on your shyness. You really need to learn how to open up, how to express yourself openly, and share your feelings on a subject...:)

Cornelia, I want one of those shirts. Where did your dad get it?

Long line of Union family...railroad and steel. Again, western PA. Two major rights of passage when I was growing up (mostly for the boys, us girls were 'auxilary') getting your driver's license and getting your union card.

We are a union family today. I belong to 2, Steelworkers and OPEIU and work for a local maintaining their website.

I only wish we could stir the rank and file today to understand that 'union' is not a dirty word and that even in their anemic state a union still gives a worker higher wages, better benefits and more dignity than working without one does.

Oh...and my husband comes from Holland, where everybody has a union. Even the military. Even the hookers.

So, like, I read Margie's fancy story to my brother Dominick this morning. All the hairs on his neck stood up when I got to the part about somebody wanting to see his papers. That was something to see, but you probably shouldn't see it if you are trying to eat breakfast.

Dominick is so funny. He said, "Somebody wants papers? I'll give 'em papers. I'll give 'em a roll of Charmin with my left hand and a knuckle sandwich with my right." Then he laughed like an ape. I did, too.

(He's at my house three days, Margie. Three days. When's Angelina gonna stop being mad at him? We should go talk to her. Whatever he did, why am I doing the penance?)

Anyway, writer ladies and friends of writer ladies, like Margie said, the showing of the papers would not be good. Mancinis pack a lot of meat in their knuckle sandwiches.

Everybody should work hard and get paid right, and that means the girls get the same as the boys. If a Boss treats the workers like Family, they will work harder.

Love,
Cousin Rita

No unions in my family either, until I became a teacher. I thought my father was having a stroke when I told him I joined the ranks. But if you want to hire teachers who will accept the lowest possible wages, brace yourself for the results.

Writers Unite!!
No more stories until we get better working conditions!
I demand new jammies, with tiny pens and keyboards printed on them.
I demand free postage stamps for sending out my shit.
I demand agent and publishers explain to me EXACTLY why my work "isn't right for us."
I demand new coffee mugs, free of stains and chipped handles.
And movie contracts! Yes, I want movie contracts for my stories and I want free passes to "meet the cast" parties, limo service, champagne--Verve Cliquot, if you please.
I want. . .
I want. . .
I want. . .

Like Cornelia and William, my people came over as British colonials, only they came to the south, without a dime. And because it's the south, unions still don't have much clout here, unfortunately. We were dirt farmers and manual laborers for which there have never been unions or benefits. And you should have been around to hear the outraged cries when big farmers were first required to pay into Social Security for their workers in the late 60s, early 70s. You'd've thought someone had raised the hammer-and-sickle over the state capitol in Raleigh.

No Unions in my family, I'm sorry to say, because we sure could have used some.

My French ancestors from Nova Scotia did not come to America seeking prosperity. They *were* prosperous, but the Acadians refused to take a loyalty oath to the British king. They were rounded up like criminals, their farms and livestock seized and burned, and they were expelled from the country. Their only crime was their ethnicity. Acadian Expulsion, Le Grande Derangement--it all means ethnic cleansing.

The Acadians who migrated to Louisiana were political refugees. They prospered on the one hand, but were always held back by one thing: language. They refused to let go their native French. Many families wouldn't send their children to school, because children who spoke French in school were punished.

Acadians became farmers and worked in the seafood industry. In 1932, my grandmother was suddenly widowed. She was 27; she had 7 children. My mother was 9 months old. When my grandmother went to seek government assistant, she was told she should be ashamed of herself for seeking charity, that she was a big strong girl who could work. She got a job at a shrimp shed. This was about 15 miles from where President Obama visited this summer. Boats unloaded shrimp and unskilled workers peeled them. The shrimp went on ice, the shells went into a bucket. Pay was 15 cents for a full bucket of raw shrimp peelings. Workers had to buy and bring their own buckets.

My grandmother's other job was ironing and mending clothes for oil field workers, who lived in a hotel in town. She repaired broken zippers and holes in their dungarees. A zipper repair charge was 50 cents--and she had to provide the zippers. Sometimes the men tipped her. The relationship between seafood and oil goes back a long way.

Her oldest son had to quit school when his father died. My Uncle Joe worked on a shrimp trawler, out for a week at a time on the Gulf. His boss drank and sometimes beat him. Once he fell overboard and would have drowned had not another (sober) boat captain picked him up. My Uncle Joe was ten years old at the time.

In my hometown in south Louisiana, the population includes Vietnamese families who sought refuge after the war, as well as Hispanic workers who came after Katrina because of the manpower shortage. They work, they go to church, they send their kids to school and, as far as I am concerned, they should be allowed to speak their NATIVE language while doing it.

I'm sorry this is so long, but none of these *current* problems are really new, are they?

Ciao, Bellas!

This is a very nice blog, cugina. I guess that one we wrote on Saturday night was a little too rough for publication. We will tone it down so you can use it next time.

I don't have a union at my salon but then, we do treat each other like family, so we don't need one. Not that we don't have safety rules - I mean, did you hear about that salon that lost power and didn't get the bleach out of that poor girl's hair and now she is bald?! Plus, I mean, anyone who has read Bubbles knows the salon can be deadly.

Sigh. I miss Bubbles.

Back later - have to plug in all the wax machines, including the big one in the massage room. Talk about extra work for Labor Day!

I love waking up on mornings when She, Margie is on a tear. Brava, carina!

My great grandfather--Hungarian--was a miner, pre-union, in the early 1900's. There was a cave-in, and he was either killed, or wandered off somehow, but they never saw him again.

My paternal grandfather was German, and worked in the foundry, not union until he was almost too old to work any more. His three sons, though, all worked in unions: my uncle was in a trade, and my dad and his other brother both worked for the railroad. My dad was a telegrapher, for two different railroads, which meant that he was gone all day, riding between cities and working the telegraph on the engine car or the caboose, I can't remember which. The uncle ended up being management, for the Baltimore & Ohio line.

My first and almost only encounter with unions was when I was married the first time and my husband became a cop. Now there's a union!

Oh, Rocco. Honey, I feel for you on that big wax machine deal. Ugh.

Ick, really. Even cringe.

Oh, my life's ambition, for a while, was to be the lawyer for the Mine Workers Union. (I stood for the UMW of A, now who's gonna stand for me? Sing along..)

My grandfather was a store owner, he owned about 6 department stores and we all played/worked there when we were little, like 10, folding t-shirts. I loved it, absolutely loved it. But then he sold the stores before I was old enough to wind up in retail.

My stepfather was a lawyer, and we had a HUGE falling out one year, when I was 16. He was the lawyer for the ..well, it's too long. But let's just say he refused to give the hospital workers union what they wanted. I was so mad, at 16, that I yelled at him, saying--our family vacation is being paid for with the money those workers need. So I'm not going.

So my family went to Spain for 3 weeks,and I stayed home.

Solidarity.

Illegal immigration is not a new problem, Native Americans used to call it 'White People'.

My Grandfather saw the Statue of Liberty twice. Once on the boat from Russia when he was three and again 80 years later. My father was primarily an immigration attorney. We knew the world hot spots by the clientele. China fleeing the cultural revolution, India, Honduras, Cuba, Eastern Europe, Ireland and most of Africa. One of my favorite stories was when some bricklayers union toughs got upset that the owner of a Chinese restaurant was doing his own brick laying. He told them he learned brick laying during the cultural revolution. Chairman Mao didn't need gourmet chefs, he needed buildings. He learned masonry with an AK-47 pointed at him and since they didn't have one they could shove a brick.

Actually, after 25 years of the service industry (Do you know what Labor Day is in the service industry? Just another day that I labor.) I could care less about Labor Day. I learned all I needed about labor unions when I worked in a movie theater. I needed to carry the movies to the projection booth. The union says that is not the projectionists job. After midnight sixteen minutes into an hour means being paid for the whole hour. One projectionist managed to make the Rocky Horror Picture Show run until 2:18 am instead of 2:10. When the owner found out on his time sheet, call to the union, new projectionist the next day.

William, Dad had the shirt embroidered somewhere in Malibu. I'm not sure why he picked the font that looks like fakey-fake Chinese writing, though. He was kind of nuts that way.

I, meanwhile, seem to be the repository of all ancestral guilt--the people who actually did all the genocide and worker-exploiting never really seemed bothered by their own assholeness, go figure. I think that's why I write.

Good morning, TLC!

Great stories!

Yeah, I know some Unions are out of hand. Just like anything else, even stuff that starts with the best goals can turn to crap. But if there is anyone out there who thinks we never needed unions, go rent "Matewan" which my cousins and I found when we were totally crushing on David Strathairn, who is perfect.

Yes, Alan, and in the movie industry we have the same union goofiness, where an actor is not supposed to pick up a prop that falls, unless the camera's rolling and it's part of the scene, and no, you can't move the sofa a foot to the left, like a regular human being would when the director says, we need to move that sofa so you can cross around it rather than hopping over it. Because there are people whose jobs those are, and it's not you (and it's not one another, because props and scenery are two different things). I'm guessing every silly union rule is based on something that made sense at some point and was even meaningful and serious.

But if it weren't for the 3 actor unions I pay dues to and will until I die (because my union cards were too hard to get and I'm taking them to the grave with me) I, like most actors I know, would be working for love and waiting tables on the side.

The stars commanding the huge salaries? A fraction of the top 1%. Nearly everyone else you see making your favorite movies and tv shows is a working stiff, struggling to pay the rent.

Ladies and gents, I was a shop steward at the Newspaper Guild, possibly the wimpiest union in the nation. They caved in to the newspaper management and sold out their people for a two-tier pay system to avoid a strike: the newest got the lowest pay and therefore saw no reason to support the better-paid old-timers. Management pleaded poverty, but when the family sold the paper, they became some of the richest people in the country. And the newspaper is nearly dead. But that's another and much sadder story.

Back in the 80s, when I wanted to stop writing romance novels, my agent (at the time) told me to write the story of how my family came to this country. Everybody's fascinated by those tales--and still are, I think. Every one of these stories would make a great book!

Love Margie's stories!! I'll have to savor in depth when I get back from the Apple Store (how did retirement get to be such a busy time?) One major historical point, though, school is not supposed to start until AFTER Labor Day. It is just unnatural that my friends have been teaching for two weeks already.

I feel very honored to be able to read such insightful descriptions and comments on this blog.
You, my friends are brilliant!
Emigrating to America for a better life my DH and I found employment within days and weeks of arriving.
We worked hard because the work ethic was in our blood.
My father-in-law who was a lobster fisherman from Nova Scotia was my idol because he worked constantly to provide for his large family.
I myself worked in non-union jobs where I worked overtime sometimes without many breaks to serve the public.

I am now in the golden years and am proud to be an American. I hope to be able to contribute in my declining years with a spirit and determination to impart hope to my kids. I tell them that they too can work through whatever comes their way and they are willing to work for the life that they want.

Seamen.

heh.

People who don't believe in unions, or who like their unions toothless, need to go work in a factory in Bangladesh or a mine in China. A month will inform one's outlook just a bit. That's what it was like here before the UMW, before the AFL-CIO.
My grandfather dug coal in a non-union mine in central Illinois before WWI. One day as he was pushing a cart up the rails and out to the yard, the shaft behind him collapsed. No safety rules, no rescue teams or gear. No survivors.

Hijack! If it's election day in your area, please vote for the candidates of your choice, no matter what your party. Your family labored hard for that right. Exercise it!

Go Margie! Oddly enough, there was an article in The Nation's current issue (August30/September6, 2010) about a union in Williamson, New York. The article is titled "Rotten Apples, Core Values" by Ari Paul, and I urge one and all to read it.

Corporate America wants to eliminate unions. Period. Yes, there are abuses and silliness in unions (as in everything else in life). But I remain firmly conviced that to do away with unions would be to do away with the middle class.

My apologies for getting on the soapbox. My father belonged to a union, and I saw how the union helped him and his coworkers.

Thank you to all the teachers here... and to all those from or with wealth who really do "get it" and who support labor and unions and who do not generalize from urban myth or an unfortunate experience to labor-union workers as a whole. Thank you for not breathing that poisonous sigh of relief and for not saying, "... well, I've got mine."

Before I returned to school I was, and reamain as Harley does, a member of my actors' unions-- SAG and Equity. Yes, I have done lots of different things, and I am successful, but I've been around for a long time, and I am not controlled by fear of change or loss.

Perhaps I should clarify that I am not afraid of loss of personal advantage. I am afraid of any collective loss of worker and human rights.

How about a group book? So many of you have great stories...

It's so easy to sneer at hard-won rights, or forget what life was like for the average workin' stiff without them. (Yes, Margie, I said stiff.) Thanks for reminding us. My dad was an officer in a local AFL-CIO when he was a dye-maker at a box-making company, and my mom was an officer in a teacher's union. I was proud of them for trying to help themselves and other people. I thought they were brave when they either went on strike (my timid dad), or threatened to (my mom). Still feel that way.

There are silly and/or selfish elements in every worthwhile human pursuit. Best not to throw out the baby.

Thanks, Margie. I'm going to work on Labor Day, and I'm going to appreciate the fact that I have the choice to do so and that it doesn't involve bending over a sewing machine in a sweatshop or inhaling coal dust deep in a mine.


I fear that in today's society notoriety and glamorization of jobs might be clouding our appreciation for the actual hard work involved.
For instance, the title "cook" must now be termed a "chef" to be idolized.
Seamstresses and tailors have to make the leap to designers to be recognized.
Simple tasks may never be simple. They have to be intellectualized to gain merit.
Some peoples' dreams and avocations are just one step below actualization. If you love what you do and you are a "cook", bravo.
If you write and have yet to be a novelist keep on the path.
I say do not be afraid to recognize work but what it
truly is..work.

Seamen.
Yeah.

Storyteller Mary -- in Minnesota, it is a state law that school starts after Labor Day -- partially because of the Great Minnesota Get Together aka the State Fair and partially because of tourism. If a district has a compelling need to start early, they need special permission. Therefore my daughter doesn't start 10th grade until the 7th. She has been swimming with the high school team since the 16th of August and the first meet is on Sept 2 (as is the first football game)so we aren't really free, but are safe from homework for another two weeks.

As for me I have been a member of CWA ever since I started with the old Ma Bell over 30 years ago and when my younger brothers start in on how the Unions are wrecking business, blah, blah, blah, I blast them down hard. I also have excellent health care benefits, which means that my hubby's five surgeries in the past 18 months have only had co-pays to deal with. Without those benefits I'm sure we'd be in bankruptcy now.

For the first time in my working adult life I am concerned about my employment future. My employer is merging with one that is headquartered in a part of the country that isn't really union friendly. I'm trying not to fret about it since it's out of my control, but it is a challenge.

Good points, marie.

My mother began working as a clerk for an insurance company after my younger sister was born, towards the end of 1953. When my dad died in 1969 thank heavens she was still working, but her annual salary was still less than $3,000. The men in that company were all management, no matter how young or inexperienced, and women like my mother, some of whom had been there for decades, were expected to take any nonsense those young whippersnappers dished out.

We grew up with babysitters, or with Mother walking us to my aunt's house, from which she would then walk another mile or so to work, and we would either walk the couple blocks to school, or stay with our aunt all day. The single thing I most remember from that time is Mother saying "Hurry up; I can't afford to lose my half-day." If she was on time every day, and didn't take a sick day, she was allowed one half-day off a month. That day was especially important at Christmas-time, since it was her only chance to do kid-free shopping.

And if she was late? Her pay got docked. Can you imagine that now?

There were many attempts to unionize their office, all of them thwarted. Eventually the company got yanked into the 20th century, though. And nothing made me and my mom prouder than for me to sell insurance through that company for the nine years I was in the insurance business.

Margie, how many times I gotta tell you? That seamen joke quit being funny about a hundred heh's ago.

You been hanging around Rosie too much.

Bravo, Karen!
Your mother's journey was felt by so many mothers who are and were ridden by anxiety involving taking care of their young ones.
Many time throughout my kids' school years I would rush from a job to their school sites to pick them up hoping that I would arrive on time.
This ache in mothers' hearts and fathers also will always play in a balancing act between jobs and love of children. And congratulations, on making your mom proud..you are indeed a role model for many of us since you are so versatile and talented in a lot of ways.

My background is a mix of factory owners and factory workers, immigrants all, with just a few generations on US soil to distinguish one from the other. I'm English/Irish (with a touch of French thrown in). As conflict goes, I don't have to look much beyond my mirror to find some. And did I mention that I also have a few Salem witches hanging from my family tree? A union might have helped back then!

I wish I worked on a unionized university campus, but no go. I don't think I have any union members in my immediate family, even though Mom's side were factory workers in the Pittsburgh area. On Dad's side, my grandmother's family immigrated from Ireland and wound up on land stolen from the Blackfoot Indians in Montana :(

I've been a union supporter pretty much forever, though, and am saddened at how badly they've been weakened, silliness and all.

Hey Rita, Rosie and I say if anyone would know everything there is to know about seamen, its you!

Ohhhhhh! That seamen thing was a joke.... ohhhhhh! :)

P.S. We are taking Angelina out tonight. Bring lots of ones. Aunt Sophia told Aunt Teresa that Dom wants kids. Rocco overhead them under the old driers at the salon. Hell, the whole shop heard them - they keep forgetting not everyone is sitting under a jet engine when they talk back there.

Did he try to pull the goalie again without telling her?

Don't matter. We're going to get her primed and then call Dom to pick her up. Three days is too many days to have anyone's own brother at their house.

My mom was fired from her job at Le Bon Marché in Lowell, Massachusetts when she refused to wear an Eisenhower presidential campaign button. Her boss brought a box of large "I like Ike" metal buttons for everyone to wear. She refused. He fired her. That's when she turned to waiting tables.

What are the ones for????

We usually put larger bills into the collection basket at Mass, and you wouldn't want the nuns down at the convent to be talking about us, would you?

Love,
Cousin Rosie

I worked on Capital Hill where the congressmen made the labor laws but were exempt from them. My congressman made his staff work 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and one-half Saturday per month (with no time off during the week to compensate). Whenever I sat at a receptionist desk, I was expected to be there the whole day...no time away from the desk except to go to the bathroom. When I decided to go to grad school, I needed to leave 10 minutes early on the nights I had classes so I could catch the Metro and get to class on time. I had to deduct those minutes from my vacation time allotment.

However, when my dad was dying, I took my vacation for a week at Thanksgiving to spend some time with him. The administrative aide told me to stay for an extra week without dipping into my vacation credit and didn't deduct any more time when I went home for his funeral either.

So the congressman's strict rules for employment were sometimes a pain, but he loosened them when it really mattered. But I realize without unions, a lot of bosses would have said it was just too bad...you miss work, you get fired.

My father was descended from a long line of farmers in North Carolina. (The first of them immigrated from England to America in the 1600's.) Unfortunately farmers didn't have unions, and when my grandfather was unable to keep steady work after WWI, my grandmother took in boarders so they could stay afloat. They even took in some cousins because their families couldn't care for them.

My mom was descended from Scotch-Irish and German immigrants who moved into East TN in the mid to late 1700's. Many were farmers when they first arrived, but eventually several of her ancestors became business owners, journalists and lawyers. Her dad was a lawyer, her mom a teacher.

So as far as I know, no one in my direct lineage was in a union, but many of them could have benefitted from being in one.

My previous post should have said "...WHEN the congressmen made the labor laws but were exempt from them."

BTW, great post, You, Margie!

Rosie, I swear, sometimes I think you wore that wimple too tight. And don't go tattling to Nonna that I sweared.

I got a fistful of ones, Margie, and I'll be there in five. I'm already singing "Working for a Livin'."

Love,
Cousin Rita


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