Sunday, March 29, 2009

Free Democratic Trade Unions ~ Yes ! Essential to Democracy !

Free Democratic Trade Unions...
By : Anonymous

12.4% of the work force in America is union and all I hear is that unions are the cause of the United States of America’s companies for going broke or moving to Mexico NAFTA or other off shore countries. Let’s see if all or not all public workers are union Teachers, police, fire, and other types of Government jobs are Union, what does that leave about 11% 12% that are other trade union workers such as lazy ass plumbers, electricians, roofers, pilots, engineers aviation, and even some lazy ass farm worker unions. Yet the whole world is crashing and most of the workers of world are non-union.You always claim its lazy ass auto workers and tire workers that destroyed the US of A’s economy.You’re telling me that if everyone was not union and had lower pay they would have saved the USA from all these terrible problems caused by Banks and other financial institutions and upper Management corporations and their Greed. Oh! By the way Banks and other financial institutions and upper Management CEO aren’t they non-union, and they are the main cause of this financial meltdown in America that destroyed everyone’s 401k most likely yours too, not the auto workers not the unions.My question is why, is it ok for a company to make as much profit for CEO’S and others, yet it is wrong for workers to make as much profit as possible too? So if banding together to get what we can is bad because it hurts companies, then the banding of the colonies hurt the companies of England and the King (CEO). This must be a bad and terrible thing using your logic. I guess only evil men band together whether it be for creating a country, company, or union. Those men must have been out for personal gain or profit evil greedy men.Is it bad if a person tries to get profit or gain through the stocks?Is it bad if persons (workers) band together to get profit or gain?Everyone knows trickle down does not work, why because each person does not want to give or pass down any profit or gain they receive, to those that may be below them even if you make very little income.Whenever Goodyear came to the workers and asked, we need this or that done because it will save the company and workers jobs. The union always tried to do the right thing most of the time, at what point did Goodyear ever say good job to the workers anywhere and here is profit for you, were going to trickling it down. Never without a fight did this happen and don’t tell me the union sets wages they only set a temporary bottom that wages can go. Goodyear or any company could pay more to its employee’s but for some reason the rule is always pay them sub-minimum wages why is that?Money it seems to me is used to have power over others. The last depression caused more unionizing of labor ( that's history). The banding of all workers is again starting to take hold. The greed of Wall Street has once again set this in motion, so I thank all of you in the high world of finance you soon may have nothing. Too much greed killed your golden goose.

"Thanks Buddy" ! ~ for this one, I wish, I knew who wrote this ? They were reading my mind !

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Great Bear Hunt ! Or "Rip & The Bear"!

"Rip & The Bear" !
By : "Dad" Don Jones

I rarely write about my family. Having said that, I`m going to write about my youngest son affectionately called "Rip" ! Rip is the last of the good guys, a real treasure. I say that with all sincerity and much love. His word is is his bond. He says what he does, and does what he says. In today`s world that is almost unheard of. I do not say these things in idle time phrase`s. I do not say them, because he is my son. I say it because it is true. Having said these praise`s, I now move on to the real reason for today's blog. Rip is a great wild game hunter. at one time, when I was younger, he and I would travel to South Dakota to pheasant hunt, we had a great time ! Every year in early autumn, Rip travels to Colorado to hunt large game. Elk, mule dear and bear ! He has been very successful in his hunts thus far. One year he killed a huge, almost royal elk. He has traveled to a island in the pacific to hunt rare large game and killed a large mule dear. Then one year he got the "Bear Fever" he wanted to bag a bear. he bought his bear tag for a couple of years, but alas no bear ! So, one summer he went to Colorado and stayed a month and tracked bear, to learn their habitats and habits. He took still cameras and placed them in strategic areas where he would find bear signs. He really got some great pictures. He was learning the way of the bear and he did. Then this past season in Colorado, he went hunting again, without going into great detail, which he would be glad to do for you, I will just tell you he killed a monster bear ! This bear weighed in at 551 lbs. 7 ft. 1 inch. from nose to tail ! A huge Brown Bear specimen. He is having this bear mounted in a full life-size mount.To say that my son was elated would be an understatement. He called me from atop of one of those mountains to tell me. He thought this bear would go in the Boone/Crockett book of world records. It did not. His friend Mark, lives in Henry County, today an official from the (Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency) was coming to Paris Tennessee to a place called Hulmes Sporting goods, for the specific purpose of logging in official weights and measures of wild game, Mark picked up the skull and jaw bone of this bear and took it to Hulmes to be measured officially. I`m sad to report that this bear was 3/16 of an inch short of the record book. Rip, was disappointed, but not as badly as you might think, He had missed going into the record book by 3/16 of an inch. There will be other seasons and other game. He loves the hunt and the outdoors so much. He is a hunter and conservationist. As I said earlier, he is a rare and extraordinary man !
The pictures at top are (1.)Rip and the Bear (2.)Pete, Russell,"The Bear" Rip and Mark, his friend`s (3.) Cary, The Bear & Rip, Cary is referred too, as his second Dad !

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Union Matters...We Do Not Learn from our Past Mistakes

The New York Times Magazine
June 26, 1938

The Background of Mountains and Hill Folk Against Which a Dramatic Trial is Being Held
By: F. Raymond Daniell

Technically and legally the coal operators, corporations and peace officers of Harlan County on trial here at London are charged with a criminal conspiracy to nullify the Wagner Act. Actually, however, it is the political and economic system of that rich soft-coal field which is at the bar. For in Harlan County, as nowhere else in the county, except possibly on the cotton plantations of the Deep South, the visitor encounters feudalism and paternalism which survive despite all efforts to break them down. For years the county has been known as “bloody Harlan.” It is feud country, and last year there were sixty murders within its precincts. But Harlan has no monopoly on violence and bloodshed; its designation is due rather to the fact that much of the bloodshed has been directly connected with the struggle between miners and operators and with union organizations. Because of the national interest in that warfare its troubles have received more attention than other outbursts in the feud belt. Within Harlan County, which lies in the southeastern corner of Kentucky on the Virginia border, are some 70,000 inhabitants. From 16,000 to 18,000 men work in the mines and produce from 14,000,000 to 18,000,000 tons of coal, worth $45,000,000 each year. This is more than a third of Kentucky’s total bituminous production and, while only a drop in the national total, it is of sufficiently high quality and is produced so cheaply under existing labor conditions that it is a strong competitor with the product of other fields. It is that fact, more than the hope of swelling its treasury with several thousand new members, each paying dues of $1.50 a month, which is responsible for the determined effort now being made by the United Mine Workers to organize the Harlan miners. Unless this effort succeeds, the union fears it will lose its recognition in neighboring coal fields, where operators are complaining that they cannot maintain union standards unless Harlan County’s operators are brought into line. Prior to 1911 Harlan County was a quiet rural community of small mountain farms. The chief industry was agriculture and logging, with a little moon shining. Even then it was known that beneath the ridges lying between Pine and Black Mountains, along the forks of the Cumberland River, there was wealth in the form of soft coal such as was needed for the manufacture of steel. There was no way, however, of getting it out to the Great Lakes. Then the railroad came. Overnight the characteristics of the countryside changed. Here and there the beautiful green hills were defaced by the winding conveyors over which the minded coal is carried from the drift mouth or mine opening in the hillside to the tipple, where it is broken and sorted and sized alongside the railroad tracks. Great piles of black waste and excavated earth began making their appearance on the hillsides, and from neighboring counties there came a swarm of farm boys and men, lured by the hope of high pay. There were no towns, no houses for the miners, except those the coal operators built, and thus there came into being the company town and the company store. As the coal industry grew in Harlan County, local capitalists got in on the ground floor. Among them was R. W. Creech, a patriarchal old gentleman with mustaches which spread a full eight inches on either side of his nose. He had been a lumberman before the railroad came, floating his logs down the river. To him his employees are like children, to be cared for and kept in order. He is one of the defendants in the conspiracy trial. Others among the defendants flocked into Harlan County in the early days of the industry. Among them were many who went there to escape labor troubles in other fields. They brought with them a bitterness against Unions that has never died.The camps they built for their laborers had moral standards on a par with the standards of the environment. Red liquor was drunk in Homeric quantities and fights were common. The county disclaimed responsibility for policing the mine camps, and there grew up the practice of hiring a special policeman and having him deputized by the Sheriff to lend the authority of law to his six-shooter. Even now the mining camps of Harlan County are no week-end resorts for sissies. The industry of the peace officers in rounding up drunks on Saturday night is prodigious. The fine, usually amounting to $19.50, is often paid by the company employing the prisoner and then deducted from his pay. In the four years ended last Jan. 1, the records show that 14,000 persons went to the lock-up at one time or another-a profitable guadrennium for the jailer, who is allowed 75 cents a day for feeding each prisoner. A good manager can do it for considerably less.
For years the operators had everything their own way. But Harlan’s position in the coal business and the number of unorganized miners there were not over-looked by the Unions. There were repeated efforts to Unionize the district, and for years the Unionized miners and the operators have been engaged in a bitter feud, with not all the violence directed at the miners. Back in 1931, when the United Mine Workers made an abortive effort to organize the Harlan field, there was competition for members among several rival unions, including one said to have been dominated by Communists and members of the I.W.W. In this period there was an epidemic of burglary of company stores and thefts of dynamite and copper from the companies, which was blamed on union members and organizers. The company put Sheriff’s deputies on their payrolls, and the killing of such deputies in a battle with strikers led to the “reign of terror” which union men say has been set up against them. With the passage of the NRA, the Guffey Act and, finally, the Wagner Act, outsiders came in to organize the miners, and agents of the Federal Government stepped in. The world of the Harlan County coal barons began to topple. The United Mine Workers have succeeded in negotiating contracts with ten of the forty-two mines operating in Harlan County, and today the union has a office in the town of Harlan, and its field workers travel about without molestation as long as they stay off non-union company property. Although only about a fourth of the county’s population works in the mines, nearly everybody in the county is dependent, directly or indirectly, on them.
Only about 12,000 live in free, incorporated towns, and even there the influence of the coal operators is strong. The other 58,000 live in company towns, occupy company houses, walk on company streets, shop in company stores, go to company churches and send their children to company schools. Illness is treated by company doctors and justice is often administered by company magistrates, who hold court on company property. One of the big companies, until recently, had its own private jail. The company towns range in size from little settlements of 100 or 200 houses, to cities like Lynch, owned by a subsidiary of United States Steel, where more than 9,000 miners and their families live under rules and conditions laid down by a board of directors instead of a Common Council. Here the streets are surfaced, the houses painted, and, though plumbing is almost rare as elsewhere in the county, living conditions appear reasonably good. There is a private police force and a private fire department, a smart-looking new motion-picture theatre and a department store which might be a branch of a New York or Chicago store. Lynch, where a higher proportion of workers of alien stock are employed than elsewhere, has the only Roman Catholic Church in the county. In contrast to this tree-shaded little city, with its neat lawns and flower gardens, are the more typical towns of the smaller, locally owned companies. There the muddy, rutted streets swarm with pigs, raised to supplement the family larder when the cold weather comes. The dilapidated houses, standing in pools of stagnant water, and the vacant faces of the inhabitants present a depressing picture to the visitor from outside. Yet shiny new automobiles, in improvised garages underneath the houses, washing machines on the back porch and electric refrigerators in the living room are as common as in the camps where housing conditions are better. In the middle of the county is the town of Harlan, a rather shabby county seat of wood and brick buildings, hemmed in, almost squeezed, by the surrounding mountains. It is one of the three incorporated towns in the county, the others being Cumberland and Evarts. Harlan’s Chamber of Commerce claims for the town a population of about 7,000, and Harlan is the shopping center for all the people in the county who have managed to scrape together enough cash to trade away from the company store. Even here, however, mine operators or their kinsfolk control most of the mercantile establishments in the town. A man can’t even buy a headache remedy without patronizing the operators, for they own the drug stores, too. Many of the county’s people are mountain folk, quick to anger and quick to shoot. Men think no more of toting a gun than Englishmen do of carrying an umbrella. For a time, until the quaint inconsistency was corrected a few years ago, the Kentucky statutes provided a stiffer penalty for the man who merely fired at someone than for the man who wounded his enemy. Outside a little church in Harlan on Sunday night the writer saw two boys, not more than 12 or 13, with businesslike .38-caliber revolvers in their overall pockets.The people tend to resent intrusion in their affairs by “furriners,” much as they would resent a stranger “messin’ around” their women folk. During an inspection tour of the mines the writer ordered a photographer to take a picture of a “Tobacco Road” family – a mother sitting beside her cabin with a nursing baby and an old miner resting on the back stoop and was about to ask the woman’s permission when the local photographer intervened. “Ask the man, not the woman,” he said. “He might shoot if you ask her.” And then on our tour of the company towns our driver stopped suddenly in the road at High Splint and began backing up. At first the reason was not apparent. Then a boulder, the size of a cabbage, rolled down the road in front of the car. Four boys stopped playing ball and retreated to the sidelines. From between two houses there came a man, his shirt torn and bloody, wielding an axe handle. Retreating before him was a man with a rock which must have weighed ten pounds. He threw it and the man with the axe handle had at him. When it was over the stone-thrower was unconscious in the road and the club-wielder was leaning against a fence, blood pouring from a crack in his skull. No one interfered or seemed especially interested.The feud tradition is a strong factor in Harlan’s way of life. For generations it has been the custom, when a man is killed by a member of a rival clan, for all the victim’s family to go gunning for the killer and his kinsfolk. Honor is not considered avenged until the mortality score is even. Interference by the law and the courts is bitterly resented.
Relations between miners and operators have a similar directness. In the company towns, the homes of the operators generally are alongside the three and four room dwellings of the miners, who pay between $1.50 and $2.50 a month per room. It still is a common thing for the children of the operator to go to the same company school as the children of the common laborers until they have reached high-school age. As a matter of fact, it is said with some justification that mine children in company towns get more schooling than the children of incorporated towns. The county provides only seven months’ salary for the teacher, but the company town usually pays the teacher for keeping school open another two months. The schools are built by the company, but the teacher is appointed by the Superintendent of Schools.The owners of the mines dress in khaki work clothes, go in and out of the mines and sit in an office, usually on the ground floor of the commissary, unguarded by secretaries. Any worker is free to come in with his problems whether they be financial, domestic, or legal, and he usually can count on receiving help if he has kept clear of the United Mine Workers.The mines pay off every two weeks in cash, and when times are good the miners of Harlan County make relatively good money, receiving from the open-shop mines a little above the union scale, but working longer hours than union men and having no means of checking company figures on the amount of coal they dig. Most of the financial transactions between the miner and the store are carried out by means of scrip issued to the employees against credit they have established by their labor under-ground. This scrip is non-transferable, and, generally speaking, can be spent only in the company store, where prices are slightly higher than in the cash chain stores downtown. Everything from the finest quality meats and canned goods to the latest in overstuffed furniture can be bought there. Many of the commissaries sell liquor, which is legal in Harlan County. Credit is available in almost unlimited amounts to regular employees of the mines, whether the mines are running or not. When they do run, the operator knows his men will dig coal and he will sell it, deducting the amount he has advanced from the pay due the miners. Most of the company stores now have about an average of $20,000 outstanding in over-drafts of miners, but they are not worried. In one camp this correspondent was permitted to inspect the ledger in which the miners’ accounts are kept. One entry showed that one of the miners, after all the credit advanced to him had been deducted from his earnings for a month, came out exactly even with the company. Closer inspection showed that he was paying a lower rate of rent than the other miners. When the treasurer of the company was asked about this, he explained that the amount this man had earned last month was a little less than the credit that had been advance him so the company cut his rent by a few cents to make it come out even. In Harlan a miner who “keeps shet” of union activities need not worry about keeping a roof over his head, nor need he concern himself much with where the next meal-or, for that matter, the next drink-is coming from, for the paternalistic employer provides a kind of social security. Harlan’s leading citizens are anxious that this side of the picture be presented. Such are the setting and the background for the drama in the court room here in London which the whole county has been watching. Harlan today sees what may be the climax in the struggle between two sharply differing ways and philosophies of life.
Talk to the operators of the mines and you will hear that they want to protect their miners from being forced to join a union which they do not want and which, they say, for all the dues collected, cannot give them anything they do not now receive without the necessity of paying dues. You will also understand that the operators want to run their mines without outside interference.
Talk to the union leaders and you will hear that they are fighting paternalism of the operators. They charge that the one thing a miner may not do on company property is think for himself or speak out in public. They are fighting, they will tell you, to free the miners from an archaic system in which liberty has no place.

Editorial : Today, things have changed a little. But, not as much they should, we are still fighting the same old archaic system of those who do not wish for the workers to have a voice in their work place. Today we are trying to get the "Employee`s Free Choice Act" passed, and the Republican Senate are doing all they can to disrupt and defeat this basic right bill. As the title of this blog says, it seems we do not learn from our past mistakes ! With freedom to Join free democratic trade unions, perhaps Harlan and the United Mine Workers of the past can lead the way. Remenber this was written in 1938, one year before I was born. Workers need the "Employee`s free Choice Act" Passed !