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Fatwa Arbuckle: Misanthropologist

Time to put away the white shoes and trousers, not to mention seersucker, ’til next year, GN…it’s Yoonyun Goon Placation Day!!1!collectivebargaining!!1! (And a hearty “up yours” to Grover Cleveland.)

Mac --

Olive teh thread GIF; is that an outtake from “Alien: Jones’ Story”? 😉

Hope things cool down in SoCal…’cause they sure ain’t gonna ’round these here parts; BBL.

Just Sven
10 years ago

Happy Labor Day!

I sure hope that cat learned its lesson…..

Just Sven
10 years ago

In honor of Labor Day, I’ll post my grandfather’s union retirement speech. I wish he were still alive so I could ask him what he thought of today’s unions and the labor movement in general.

Tonight is a most eventful one for me, perhaps the most important of my life. It is the night which marks the official separation between myself and the organization to which I have given the best years of my life. It is the night in which I part company with fellow workers, and it is the night which finds me taking leave of a past which has been my passion, my reason to live, the realization of an ideal which was, and still is, uppermost in my mind.

The separation is a sad one, but the memory of these years spent not only among you, in this city where together we fought bitter battles, but also among the comrades in Chicago, Cleveland, Rochester, St. Louis and Duluth, will remain indelible in my memory.

Our organization has been our life. This is why in a group such as ours, there have been established ties which are so strong that nothing in the world will be able to break them apart. Of the many memories that travel through my mind at this time, I want to remember an experience that will illustrate this fraternal bond.

Its setting is the 1915 strike in Chicago. The Royal Tailoring factory was the best fortified of fortresses. Hundreds of gorillas imported from New York were its defenders. One day I had an argument with the manager of the factory. He told me if I still cared to live, I had better keep away. Returning to the office after this threat, we mapped our defense. That evening, Brothers Kroll and Rissman with a small group of strikers stopped at Polk Street. I went on to the front before the main door located on Wells Street. A group of company goons immediately surrounded me, and one coming closer, threw himself upon me. We both fell. This was the signal for the battle. Brother Kroll and others joined the fight. Shortly after, the police arrived. When we untangled ourselves, Brother Kroll was unrecognizable; his face was covered with blood and his shirt was in tatters. My own ribs pained me terrifically. Our only satisfaction was that several of the gorillas had been sent to the hospital. As though it were now, I remember that Brother Kroll couldn’t even open his jaws. Later that evening, he couldn’t even eat. This is one of the many reasons why this organization is so dear to us; this is why we are jealous of it. It is blood of our blood. It is part of our life.

This is why tonight marks a turning point in the story of my life. The separation is sad, but I am happy that I am turning over my post to youth, which advances, rich with new energy, panting and thirsty with new ideals.

The labor unions are but reflections of life; they renew each other to live.

We have fought and through our battles, we have learned the toughness of victory. Through our defeats we have planned our strategy to do better and assure future victories.

We haven’t wavered; we haven’t known either fear or betrayal.

On leaving my post, I have the satisfaction to say that our workers have proved themselves worthy of their citizenship in industry. You are no longer the slaves of yesteryear; the downtrodden of a past now only a memory, but the builders of a new social structure which must assure the peace, justice and true democracy to the world, because, as you know, there is no real democracy where freedom and justice is lacking.

It is well at times to look back to measure the traveled road and thus to have a clear idea of the present path and to anticipate our future lot. It is at the closing of a historical period when one age is setting as another rises, that our curiosity makes us stop to ponder just at what point we have arrived in our long traveled road.

These rapid self-inventories which society takes from time to time; this self-analysis with which it examines its past and its present state, appraising the proper conditions and weighing the potentialities of the future are useful above all in these times in which the tide of discontent rises from all sides to batter furiously the dikes which it threatens to burst.

Modern man is now aware of the full responsibility of his actions and it is this responsibility, product of a new civilized era, which represents the capital factor in this modern society

Our happiness is part of the happiness of all. The day that men come to understand this simple and profound truth, social life will cease to be a working problem, conflicts will end and the work of destruction will be a sad record of the past.

Tomorrow when my train is taking me back to my home, I shall follow the example of another leader who bore the name of your city. I refer to Cincinnatus. When the enemies besieged Rome, Cincinnatus took over command of the troops and defeated the enemy, liberating his city from the invaders. When the battle ended, he returned to his little village, satisfied at having done his duty as a citizen. I shall return to my home, satisfied with my happy work as I think that our organization has established a leading position on the labor front, possessing the best leaders and worthy soldiers.

You, who are the builders and pioneers of a new social order, continue this march which will lead in the not too distant future, towards your complete emancipation. You shall do this not only to make this nation a better place to live but also for the redemption of all the peoples, which like yourselves, ardently desire peace and justice.

Paddy O'Furnijur
10 years ago

Good morning, Gerbil Nation!
As a representative of one of the most powerful unions in the U.S. let me just say thank you for the 3-day weekend (which I don’t get paid for) and that I’ll be celebrating this day by ignoring what it stands for as much as possible, while being as anti-union as I can.

Just Sven
10 years ago

I was looking at the minimum wage adjusted for inflation numbers. The first minimum wage was set in 1938 at $.25/hr. Adjusted for inflation, that comes out to be $4.07 in today’s dollars: federal minimum wage today stands at $7.25/hr--so much higher than just being adjusted for inflation if you compare it with 1938.

On the other hand, many graphs and articles in support of raising the minimum wage, point to minimum wage figures from 1968: $1.60/hr, which adjusted for inflation comes out to $10.56/hr: much higher than where it is today.

So how to lie with statistics.

Fatwa Arbuckle: Misanthropologist

I wish he were still alive so I could ask him what he thought of today’s unions and the labor movement in general.

I’d have been curious as well, Sven. Do you recall what year your grandfather gave that speech? (Which was a good one, despite my personal feelings about unions. They were sort of needed a century and more ago; alas, they were born in thuggery, learned just how successful that sort of behavior could be and continued using it when it was not an appropriate tactic.)

My first formal job started at $2.10 / hour in ’74 which, after checking several inflation calculators, would be worth roughly $10 in terms of purchasing power these days. (Plus, tax rates were lower back then and there were fewer “pretty much got to have” expenses like internet and cell phones.)

That having been said, the record store where I worked required a shirt and tie, a fairly high level of knowledge re classical music (and recordings) and expected excellence in customer service.

Paddy --



While I suspect it’s only until they get waivered, the Longshoremen quit the AFL-CIO on Friday:

In what is being reported as a surprise move, the 40,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they have formally ended their association with the AFL-CIO, one of the nation’s largest private sector unions. The Longshoremen citied Obamacare and immigration reform as two important causes of their disaffiliation.

In an August 29 letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, ILWU President Robert McEllrath cited quite a list of grievances as reasons for the dissolution of their affiliation, but prominent among them was the AFL-CIO’s support of Obamare.

Actually, I wish they’d descend on the White House with crowbars and baseball bats, but I rather doubt that’ll happen.

Too bad. 😉

Paddy O'Furnijur
10 years ago

Actually, I wish they’d descend on the White House with crowbars and baseball bats

I’ll bring the popcorn!

Just Sven
10 years ago

I thought it was in the 50’s, Fatwa, but looking at some other records, it looks like it was in 1948. The Hotel Sinton in Cincinnati Ohio.

The union was founded by a Jew from Lithuania, Sydney Hillman. Kind of an interesting guy--I have an autographed biography of him--but a committed socialist--as was apparently my grandfather.

I’ve asked the same question of my brother as to what my grandfather would think of today’s unions--he thinks he would have fully supported most of what they stand for today. I don’t know. I think he might have been a bit taken aback by some of their activities and work habits.