Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Who Will Save The Working Class Hero?

Usually i save my political rants for my cat's blog. The Adventures of Zevo Calamari and Boo . Lately she has not posted anything. However i hear her typing in the living room...

Who will step in to help the working class heros of Wisconsin? So far only Michael Moore gas showed up to help. There must be someone who can step in and save these people. Isn't there a super hero flying around these days? This is still America isn't it? How can we allow a dictator to take over a state? Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster i do not have TV. Reading Huffpo is addicting enough.

The protests in Wisconsin have awakened my inner steel worker and rebel. I want to stand on a table with a UNION sign like Norma Rae- and i am not even in a union. Never was. But i worked in a steel mill, the Queen mother of steel mills... Bethlehem Steel. Even though i was considered "white hard hat" employee and not permitted to be in the union- the union protected me. No need to go into the gory details of the incident. I will be eternally grateful for the union rep who defended me from the Humpty Dumpty shaped boss who made my life a living hell. Norma Rae will always be my hero.

For the record i never wore red high heels and danced through the mill to a bad 80's soundtrack. Nobody in their right mind could ever wear heels in the North Yard Plate Mill nor near the Blast Furnace. I guess Jennifer Beals would have never been pursued by the oh so dashing boss wearing oversized metatarsal shoes and geeky safety glasses. And none of my bosses looked like that! However i must admit, the urge to spontaneously dance whenever i hear the Flashdance theme song playing in the grocery store is still overwhelming at times.

I was hired because i was a minority- a young white woman applying for something that was not secretarial related. White women were a minority in the steel mill unless they were typing in the main office and of course my father and brother worked there too. I am sure that helped. Then again almost everyone's father, brother and husband worked there.

It was not a job i wanted or ever aspired to do. I was unemployed, desperate, had left home and quit college. And the pay and benefits were better than anything available for a steel-town girl with no degree. (The pay was actually better than what i earn with my masters degree now!)

It was like living in a Bruce Springsteen song. Only blue collar workers can truly appreciate Springsteen. (And why isn't he in Wisconsin right now?) Bruce can sing in black and white. You can see the smoke rising out of the towers. Flashbacks of the train tracks with the red hot ingot buggy speeding by, in hopes that it misses your car. The whistle blowing to let you know your shift is done. Punch that time clock. Go have a beer with the boys and you are off until your next shift. Swing shifts. One week 11:00 pm- 7:00 am. Next week 7:00 am - 3:00 pm. Next week 3:00- 11:00 pm. Does it matter your body is confused? Why would you want more? You must be crazy to. Think of the money. The benefits....and you will regret this if you quit.

And so those of us who could not bear to live in a monochromic world quit and ran off to Oz or California.
Toto... i have a feeling we're not in Baltimore anymore... Click here to visit OZ.

Not everyone is brave or crazy enough to run off just because of the lack of color in their life. And who can blame those who stay and who opt for the sense of financial security, health benefits for the family and retirement? Those people who tolerate the boredom and abuse of the factory, and work in the mill an entire lifetime deserve security.

Who are these working class heros? The teachers who put up with wretched children, obnoxious parents and principals. The firemen and police who put their lives on the line everyday for a paycheck. The EMT workers who make the equivalent as those who work at the fast food chain Wendys. The airline pilot who makes $25,000 a year. None of these folks are paid what they are worth. These are the people who need the protection of the union.

Wall Street cronies make billions and get bailed out when they are irresponsible. How about saving those who actually contribute to society? Those who teach our children? Those who protect and save us? When your house is burning down who are you going to call? Wall Street? Your governor? Your mayor? (Don't waste a call on the Mayor of Salem.. she is way too busy and important to respond to anything menial. But that is an entirely different blogpost.)

Yes the unions can be corrupt- but until there is something better for the working class heros- leave the unions alone! And if anyone knows Bruce Springsteen tell him he is needed in Wisconsin now. The River Youtube

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