Monday, December 25, 2006

 

Ho. Ho. Hum.



Wendy and I don't have the kids for Christmas this year. Hailey is with his mom, Willow and Liam are with their dad. We'll be having our family Christmas on the 29th.

The up side is that Wendy and I were able to go to Midnight Mass last night. With everything that's been going on, I've just not been in the Christmas mood at all this year. Midnight Mass changed that last night, and had me all yuletided up. Briefly.

Is there anything that sucks the joy out of Christmas more thoroughly and irretrievably than spending it … any of it … with your extended family?

We went to my sister's house today, and I should have known better. My sister and her husband really are good people, and I'm crazy about their son, my nephew. My mom and my step-dad were there, too, and they're good people, too … but …

Well, I didn't expect to have time to post anything today, but here I sit.

Here's the thing. I've written before about my mistrust of the union where I work; how I differ with them on philosophical issues and on specific local issues as well, and how I finally got fed up and got out of the union. Well, see, my brother-in-law works at the same mill where I work, and my step-dad is a retiree from that mill, and both of them are fairly staunch unionists.

I'm always the weirdo in my family. I'm a fiscal conservative, they probably don't spend much time thinking about it (and embrace a mixture of pro-entitlement beliefs and support for lower taxes). I'm a Catholic, they all go to the same Baptist church. I'm a hard-core music geek, they're "whatever's on the radio" people. I'm fat, they're skinny. I say toe-MAY-to, they say toe-MAH-toe. Let's call the whole thing off.

Of course, I had no intentions of bringing up the pending strike at my workplace … but somebody (I think my step-dad) decided that the subject just had to be broached, of course.

So there I sat, the one steadfast capitalist in the group, arguing with my sister, my mother and both of their husbands about labor issues on Christmas morning. I swear to Heaven I didn't want to talk about these issues today. I just hoped for a nice, light Christmas visit with my extended family. All I really wanted was to spend some time watching my three year old nephew playing with his toys, to be honest. That's the one thing I was looking forward to. Instead, I find myself fending off attacks from all sides because I refuse to blindly believe everything that the local labor union preaches as gospel.

I am so damn sick of being told how we'd have nothing if it weren't for the union. It's just BS. For one thing, all I've heard for the past five years from the union people at work is how much they hate the contract we've been working under. They hate the current contract and they want me to thank them for a contract that they tell me is awful? WTF? I can't define "double standard," but I know it when I see it.

Beyond that, my grandfather worked at the same damn mill that all of us work at and he worked twice as hard for half the money. Why does my generation think that they deserve to have so much more simply handed to them? Where did this entitlement attitude come from? What the hell? Why does damn near everyone under the age of 70 seem to want the world handed to them on a silver platter?

I take some comfort in the fact that one of the last things my grandfather ever told me about our common workplace was that he'd never had any trouble out of the company … but that he didn't think the union could be trusted. If he were here, I'm sure he'd at least understand my point of view.

It comes down to this: I have a business relationship with my employer and, until I got out of the union, I had a business relationship with the union, as well. My employer has never encouraged me to see our relationship as anything more than a business relationship. The union, on the other hand, wanted me to see them as a family, wanted me to blindly follow everything they said like a religion, and wanted me to think of the company as my enemy. The company is just that, a company. The union is a cult.

The only two things in the world that I believe in are Jesus Christ and the free market system. The union wants to replace both of them in my life. I ain't havin' it.

Look, the only reason that I work where I work is so I can support my family. It's not a personal thing, it's a simple business relationship. If I couldn't support my family with my current job, I'd look for another one. I don't see my job as an entitlement, I don't think that the company owes me anything more than what I earn, and I'm not interested in a fabricated family with people who I have nothing in common with other than a shared employer.

That makes me the odd ball at work, and that made me the odd ball at my sister's house today.

Wendy and I ended up leaving early and coming home … and I still have to go in and work the second shift today.

Man, I'm really looking forward to this family's "Christmas" on the 29th … because with the exception of Midnight Mass, this year's "Calendar Christmas" has really sucked.

By the way, everything is still up in the air as far as the pending strike at my workplace. I still hope that something will be agreed on, but the first contract offer was voted down and the strike vote was a landslide sweep ... so I honestly expect to have a strike called at any minute.

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Comments:
Actually, I love my extended family and respect my union but you're still the guy I wouldn't miss reading.

I'd love to see pictures of your family Christmas.
 
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