The blue collar life

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This morning my husband got up at 5:00 a.m. to work outside in 7 degree F temperatures. He sat on the end of the couch, head in his hands sipping his coffee telling me how much he hates his job. How much it’s wearing him out. He makes $29.00 dollars an hour. Roughly $60,000 a year. He’s a union electrician. His health care premiums come out of his pay check; it is NOT subsidized by his “company.” His disability comes out of his pay check. It is NOT subsidized by his company.

I don’t think most people understand this about the unions. These men get paid what they do because they are subsidizing their own care. Men in suits thinks he makes too much money. Men in suits think he doesn’t deserve health care or disability, that he’s just a body to use and abuse.

They tell the men to talk about safety on their own time, not to take up time they could be “producing” to discuss “safety issues”. They don’t want to spend money on his safety or breaks for his aching back or freezing fingers. My husband worries if he takes too much time to warm up that they might lay him off. The men in suits know he is afraid, they even tease him about lay offs from warm offices when he walks through to take his 15-minute break. The high cost of labor, entitlement. The men in suits make you focus on the unions with their high paying jobs while they sit in offices pushing pencils making eight times the amount that my husband makes. Risking far less in stress and safety than my husband. And complaining about the high cost of labor.

My husband comes from a long line of blue collar workers. His grandfather was a World War II vet who gave part of his leg to the cause. His father a Vietnam War vet lost to alcoholism. My husband was a fatherless boy. In many ways he paid the ultimate price. A price that continues. He says repeatedly, “It’s the middle class that built this country, NOT the rich, and it’s the middle class that sends its children to war.” . . .

3 thoughts on “The blue collar life

  1. On this past Friday night–dark and fiercely cold, a car crashed into the house across the street from us. Lickety-split, there were police who blocked the area off; fire trucks, and firefighters that ensured that there would would be no conflagration, “unwiring” the car. Ambulances arrived to ensure that if there were wounded, these folks would be saved (happily there were none needing the effort). A tow truck arrived to haul the intruding vehicle away. Others too in a pattern of help came to ensure that what had looked like a pretty awful thing ended being, still awful for the family, a contained and manageable even. Two hours later, it all finished. It was a magnificent reminder of the caring choreography that is possible.

    I’m sure these were all “union” folks–totally those whom we “pay” in our community. And those being excoriated for being “over” paid. HAH. Every penny….

  2. If blue collar workers went Galt the economy would come to a halt. If all the hourly workers (including such people as administrative assistants even if the company calls them salaried) went Galt, the work flow would cease. If a bankster goes Galt, not so much. The pay scales are topsy-turvy. I’d like to see a bankster pull electrical cable up a few floors or across a ceiling. (My father was a electrician for 40-something years.)

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