My [redacted] Journey

A teacher's search for inner peace.

Union Strong

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May 16, 2015

Dear Readers,

Dad was a union plumber from 1964 until his death in 2001.  Dad believed in the brotherhood.  The values Dad instilled in his children are the values he honored as a member of UA Local 469 Plumbers and Pipefitters.  These same values I have passed on to my children and my siblings have passed on to theirs.  And even though the state of unions in America have taken a hit, the tradition Dad cultivated and handed down, continues to this day.

I’m not about to debate the merits of belonging to a union.  However, I think it’s time to give credit where credit is due.  I cannot speak for all unions nor all union members; I wouldn’t want to.  However, I can speak from experience.

These are the values with which Dad instilled in me.  These are also time-honored union values, American values:

• LOYALTY Dad was one of those rare individuals who walked the walk.  In today’s ‘Keep it real” society, loyalty is a rare commodity.  Too few people embrace this old-fashioned value.  However, everything old is new again, right?  Loyalty is a man sticking to his word.  Loyalty is paying homage to those who came before you.  Loyalty is also paving the way for those who come after.  Loyalty is a lifelong commitment, it’s a 40 year marriage, it’s a 35 year stewardship.  Loyalty is dancin’ with the one that brung ya.  
• FAIR PLAY If the balance is tipped in favor of one over another, chaos ensues.  This applies to things great and small:  employer/employee, men/women, dogs/cats.  Americans love to root for the underdog.  Why?  Because of our sense of fair play.  In today’ssteroid-induced, get ahead at all costs world, fair play is due for a comeback.
• DECENCY, HONESTY, CHARACTER If you only live once, these three values should be included on everyone’s checklist.  Unfortunately, YOLO has come to define a generation of decadent, dishonest persons of suspect character.  Today’s youth would do well to remember what Clarence Darrow once said, “[Unions] have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men.”  Agreed.

Although some may not agree, I know I am in the company of men and women I both respect and admire.  This short list not only includes my dad, it also contains my brother Alex and my brother Daniel.  Though my dad is no longer active, Alex and Daniel have continued in the union tradition.  The above values epitomize who they are and what they bring to a society bereft of values of days past.

Readers, this post is in honor of all the union men and women keeping with tradition and time-honored values.  Specifically, this post is to honor my brothers, Alex and Daniel, whose lives and families have been blessed and, dare I say, cursed to hold such high values.  Alex, Daniel and their families are about to embark on a life changing journey; from Arizona to New York.  Work is scarce in Arizona and so are most unions.   However, loyalty and the need to provide for their families trump familiarity.  I love you both and I wish you and your familieshappiness.  I am proud of you, Alex.  I am proud of you, Daniel.             

Unions:  Rank has its privliges.  Peace, ~v.

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