Thursday, December 20, 2012

Political Action Committee Meeting Woes

Children splashing in their urine.  I'm sorry.  I'm not being charitable.  But that's what it felt like I was witnessing as I sat at a conference table for two hours at a meeting of my local union's political action committee (PAC).  People -- not everyone -- need to get their gun off; they need to hear themselves and they need to be heard.  So discussion rather than staying on point will digress and then circle back and then digress again.

I've been active in my union off and on for over ten years.  Back in my salad days of the millennium I was something of a small caliber politico active in a variety of causes with an assortment of groups.  I was a union steward and briefly a central labor council delegate.  But I burned out and pulled back.  Then I changed unions and put in a nightmarish stint at a SEIU local before returning to the fold of the office employees international about a year-and-a-half later.  I began commuting two-and-a-half hours a day on the bus working as a dispatcher for a commercial carpenters local at the same time I was wrapped up in a doomed relationship with a massage therapist.  I couldn't spare a moment to volunteer, or so I thought.

After I parted company with my girlfriend I started to become active again.  First, I devoted what turned out to be an inordinate amount of energy to make a modest correction in our local's out-of-work list.  Next, along with a coworker ally, I set my sights on boosting PAC membership.  It's a work in progress.  Currently less than 2% of our local's members contribute to the PAC.  Woeful.  People are distracted, ignorant, while collective bargaining rights disappear in front of our eyes. 

There is nothing to do but try harder no matter how discouraging it gets.  Labor unions are precious no matter how imperfect; they are one of the great manifestations of Western rationality.

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