Why I need a Union

By David E. Mears (Retired), OSU Transportation Services

The other day, I noticed an empty tissue box on an office counter. I pointed it out, and the person behind the counter cheerfully replaced it with a full one. Not that I needed a tissue at that moment, or that the person who replaced the empty box had nothing better to do, or that I am always on ’tissue patrol’. I wouldn’t have even been aware that tissues were available at this counter if the box hadn’t been empty. A full box would have gone unnoticed.

What does this silly story have to do with the Union?

The benefits we all derive from our Union have a lot in common with that box of tissue. They are taken for granted and go unnoticed unless the box is empty. Or we have a runny nose. A living wage, fully paid health insurance, job security, workplace safety, and a quality work environment are sitting on our counter every day. Secured for us by Union members long since retired . . . did I mention retirement? . . . and written into regulations and contracts so everyone continues to benefit now and forever without needing to give it another thought.

It’s a good feeling, isn’t it?

Well, it’s all a lie! The harsh truth is that the benefits box empties quickly, and it takes constant volunteer efforts by many dedicated Union members to keep a full box on everyone’s counter. The worksite is riddled with an onslaught from pollen, cold and flu bugs. Our Union contract negotiating team is currently volunteering long hours to free your contract of managerial mucus. It is a thankless, stressful undertaking and they need your support.

That’s also a lie! They don’t need your support. YOU need THEIR support. They need your encouragement and a small token of your time. Wear a Union button. Ask your co-workers to wear one too. Attend a Union meeting and offer a few minutes of help. It’s the right thing to do, like covering your mouth when you cough.

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