there is power in a union*

For those of PTSD's readers who live in our vicinity in RL, here's a shoutout to the working class. The DC Labor Filmfest is on for the next week, 14-19 September, to be precise.

More information, including nifty summaries of films, is available here.

Not that either of us are working class, which is why PTSD can and does give them a shoutout every once in a while, just to nip any potential rebellion in the bud by ensuring they know we care. After all, as has been documented, life without a (working class) Mexican would not be pleasant at all.

* or so the song goes. Do they even have unions here? I used to belong to one, once, in my younger days.


At 9/15/2006 10:26 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...


Do they have unions here? Seriously, my whole family's going to come kick your ass. My grandfathers worked the railroad and my dad was a shop steward. Do we have unions. Pfft.


So now I've got to go worry about the perils of leaving the working class and stuff. Instead of having the the nice quiet fannish day I was planning on. Great.

At 9/15/2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Priya said...

My point exactly--they might have had unions here (though you don't make it clear whether they belonged to a union or just worked--there is a difference, you know!) but those seem to have disappeared from visibility/current usage.

For instance, where is the students' union? Or, if there is one, what does it do since no one's bothered to come inform me/talk to me about it in all my time here so far? Or, the teachers' union, now that I am one?

Everyone should have a union...not just the so-called "working class" :-)

At 9/15/2006 12:48 PM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

The idea that I wouldn't know the difference between a job and a union job is either hilarious or terrifying, given that I've worked both. I was researching the Triangle Factory when I was twelve, thank-you-kindly. (Not that my history teacher appreciated the effort, mind you. Seems I was supposed to write about important history, not the impact of strike-breaking on safety laws in NYC.)

No, I assume that "worked the railroad" means "were active in the union that ran the hiring process." The chances that you'll spend your life working in transportation and not be a union member are very small even now, and weren't even a possibility when my grandfathers were hired in. Even when he was injured and had to go work for the county, my granddad joined the local union first, and applied for the job second.

And to be a shop steward (as in, local union rep for the shop you work) you had to be a member of said union. There was a big kerfluffle when my dad moved over to management (in part because he was a good rep, and the company preferred its shop stewards incompetent) because you couldn't be in the union and a shift supervisor, too. Handy way of moving the most effective leadership right out of the union and into management, that.

Unions are still very visible where I come from, given that Marcy Kaptur's been my parents' US Rep for approximately forever. It's still a union town, even if the role that various labor organizations play in local politics is up for more debate than when I was a kid. We assumed that we'd graduate from high school, go to work in a union job, and that would be that. Now, it isn't so clear, and not everyone assumes that unions are a good thing.

You'll find teacher's unions for everything but postsecondary education. PhDs in the US are professionals, and so the question of labor organizing is a touchy one in academia. Same with student unions (generally buildings with student services here), because, no offense, but being a student isn't a job, and in the States unions are inextricably tied to employment.

Whether they're a working class issue is up for debate--I'm of the opinion that almost everyone should be unionized, but that could just be my own experience talking. Certainly, the film festival is about working, rather than working class or unions.

And did you notice? The transgender cow movie is on the list of films!


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