Hi readers. Thanks for coming for a visit.
My biological father, Raymond Waxey [Red] Purcell, was a union organizer for 45-50 years. [One of the Fascinations of Christian TV]
I can’t think of a single thing I admire about him. In fact, I sincerely believe in a well-ordered, well-meaning, sane world he’d never have been allowed to reproduce. And most especially not allowed to combine his gene-pool with the gene-pool of Alice Eugenia Hudson.
However, I can thank him for a lot of what I know about unions in the United States. During the years I knew him it was mostly the only thing he cared about, generally the main thing he talked about. And I do believe he cared about the workers he organized, their dismal wages, long hours, dangerous working conditions. He was a fighter, and he fought hard for them at considerable physical risk to himself.
Especially during the early years getting thrown in jail, beaten up, harassed by cops and company goons was a way of life for him.
I’ve been a union member myself, longshoreman, construction worker, taxicab drivers, teamsters, and I’ve seen the sweetheart contracts, the corruption, the sellouts, and I’d want nothing to do with unions if I were a member of the work force today.
So when I was eavesdropping on a couple of Texas geniuses in a restaurant the other day explaining to one another how the unions have driven all the industry out of the US I found myself asking myself,
“Could any US worker make a living on 13 cents an hour? Would the multi-nationals have kept the operations here if only workers would work for the wage they’ll be paying in the country where they’re sending the jobs?”
To suggest organized workers have ruined this country is to turn a blind eye to the sacrifices and risks they chose to take to organize, and why they made those sacrifices, took those risks.
Jeanne’s granddad owned a lumber mill in Oregon during the 1930s. It was burned down by unions, it’s said. She says she was talking with her cousin about it and he explained it was at a time unions where at the pinnacle of corruption.
“But then of course,” She went on, “He was a man who didn’t care anything about anyone, or anything but himself.”
That probably just about sums up why we had unions, why workers organized. What it doesn’t explain is why, having done it, they became so corrupt so pervasively.
The nearest Red Purcell ever came to getting actually homicided as a result of his job, he often said, was when he was hiding under the table in a locked house with union goons from a competing union trying to get in.