Thursday, May 19

Union Dues

The other day I was walking by my grocery store. I say "my" grocery store because New York is a town where you are expected to take sides, and not just Yankees-Mets or Giants-Jets. You find a grocery store you like and it becomes your grocery store and anybody who shops at another grocery store, well they are just displaying poor judgment. My wife wouldn't be caught dead in my grocery store. She prefers to shop at that other grocery store. I don't like that other grocery store. It smells funny.

Anyway, as I passed my grocery store I was handed a pamphlet informing me that I shouldn't shop there because the workers were trying to form a union and the management was opposing them. This created a dilemma for me.

I've always been a "Union man". I've belonged to several unions. I've griped about having to pay dues for what I saw as little benefit, but I've also defended the right of spoiled, overpaid athletes to prematurely end a season over a free agency clause. I even went on strike once. I've sung songs about the copper-boss thug-men busting the heads of noble miners when I've never been near a copper mine in my life.

Now I was presented by a real life challenge. Do I turn against my grocery store for the sake of some unkempt people I didn’t even know? On that day I chose to walk on, deciding my shopping could wait.

A week later the pamphleteers were gone and I tentatively went inside. Everyone seemed happy. There were no signs of thug-men or copper-bosses. Still, I couldn't help wondering what happened. Were the picketers arrested for not having a parade permit? Were the people, united, never defeated? Were heads busted?

I hope my grocery store did the right thing and let the workers organize.

If they did I can always think of it as "my" union.

If they didn't? Well, there's always that smelly store down the street.

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