When our food is less
Because you fill your treasure chest
When our health declines
Because your will is "more be mine"
When my children cry
Because only YOURS can touch the sky
So when you say
"It's business, sir"
Please look behind
The calloused words
For the hurting blows
You proudly place
They hit MY family
Each child's face
And remind ME, sir
As you wage your war
That's it's business, yes
But it's so much more
Normally I would just watch the Labor Day parade (usually accompanied for the last two decades or so by a candy-hoping child) but this time I was actually in it.
You see, I am, among other things, a Steel Worker. And THIS year there's a genuine battle going on concerning the new "contract." In years past there would be some nominal give and take (mostly give on our part) but THIS year it seems like there is a concerted belief and effort to hurt the Union; bad.
Oh, in one sense I see the logic. The steel industry is suffering due to a variety of variables (currency devaluing, foreign steel, lower gas prices) and that would give the "owners" an advantage at the table. After all, if the company isn't making much money, neither should the employees expect to.
But, there's something different here. It's not just a body blow we're getting (using a boxing analogy); it actually feels like a knife has been smuggled into the ring and has been thrust into our side. Some of the demands are so outrageous, so over the top, so "I can't believe it;" as a result they have pushed us not simply into the ropes--into a defensive posture--but they've pushed us into a survival mode.
Listen, I won't drag this out. I'm a Union supporter, but I haven't surrendered my heart and mind to the USW. I'm actually quite conservative in many ways and there are times when I am genuinely grieved at the ever leftward leanings of the leadership. But, concerning the contract, we are in solidarity. And, it comes down to this: for whatever reason the high-priced strategists are giving for their actions; the result is that I feel my family is being directly...threatened. And that shared belief (by my Union brothers and sisters) means sacrifice--even great sacrifice--is the order of the day. I'm sure the "owners" would do the same if their families were threatened. But of course...that will never happen.
Following is a clip from the movie, "You've got mail," that seems appropriate.