Thursday, August 23, 2007

Scared and Mad

I am so upset. My husband just called from work. He had to hang up earlier to deal with an emergency and was calling back to touch base about our children's taekwondo testing tonight.
He told me that someone has be sabotaging their safety equipment and rigging. He is a welding contractor and is doing repairs out at a chemical/fertilizer plant. Things keep blowing up out there, hmm... weird....
Anyway, dh was a member of a union, which basically acted as a job placement agency and backs you up with safety concerns and organizes benefits and such. It was a good thing, and he made some good friends there. Last year he decided to start his own company, right now it is just him and his equipment and he subcontracts to other larger companies. He tries not to do work that his union hall did, he doesn't want to step on toes but he has still taken a lot of flak from union members. (mostly the old, crusty guys who have been in for 40 years as did their fathers before them) I really don't understand why people have issues with other people who want to better themselves and their lives, but apparently some do.
At the site he is working there are union workers and non-union workers. The work my dh is doing does not fall under the union's type of work, but ever since he started this job, he has taken a lot of flak and been called a scab etc. He and other guys were harassed a bit and there was graffiti on the subject on the bathroom walls, etc. He was told he was too entrepreneurial. wtf?? since when is being entrepreneurial a bad thing????
Unions, on the surface, are all about everyone being treated the same, so I guess I understand why certain people feel threatened by someone who steps away from the pack. But honestly, my dh missed out on a lot of work when he was a member because he was not a lifetime, generational member and did not drink and smooze with the right people. grr, I digress.
back to my story.
So today my dh is working under some stuff ( I didn't understand what it was) and a guy he knows from the Union comes down and tells him that he was coming down to warn the safeties about some awful violations he spotted. He tells dh that the stuff he is working under is not tied off properly. Lines and tethers have been cut, slings compromised, all sorts of obvious sabotage! He tells dh that he needs to be really careful, he knows he has a family at home and some people really have it out for these contractors.
Dh also found out that another company on site reported similar circumstances yesterday.
My husbands life was directly endangered! Because of some sort of male pissing match! I am so enraged right now. I am terribly frightened for my dh. Honestly is someone's life not worth more than this? I really don't get it.
I have nothing against unions. The union played a very important role in our lives. Without union presence on industrial sites workers lives are much less safe. When you work under the union umbrella you can feel free to report safety violations without fear of losing your job. You have the complete right to refuse work you find unsafe. And you can receive a good wage for your efforts. There are many issues with unions that I won't go into here, but overall I think they are a good thing.
The only reason I even mention the union as part of this post is that these idiots who are putting my husband and many other men in grave danger are using the union as an excuse for their inexcusable behavior.
I get that these members may feel that their jobs are endangered by non union workers on the sites. I understand that they feel threatened by those who go against the grain, who leave the fold. But my husband and the men he works with are not doing anything wrong. There is no strike, they are not crossing picket lines, they are not taking jobs from union members. They are filling gaps, they were called in to help do emergency repairs because either there weren't enough union members available to do the work or the work did not fall under the unions' mandates or there were not other qualified people to do the job.
These men are trying to make a better life for their families and do something proactive with their live. They are not trying to screw anyone over.
Please, if you have complaints, take them through the proper channels. Vote for pro-labour government, support your brotherhood and fellow workers in whatever positive way you can.
Please do not take daddies away from their children, husbands from their wives, I beg you. Unions were created to protect the working man and woman. Please don't endanger the safety of your fellow man.
God please protect my husband and the other people he is working with. Please let the offenders be found, so as not to cast a black shadow on the rest of their fellow members and to keep everyone safe.
I need to go have a shower and a good cry. My chest is all tight and my teeth are clenched in anger and fear.


  1. Oh, Kristen. ((Hugs)). That's really scary, and really sad. I hope they resolve the issue and that your hubby can work safely from now on.

  2. What a load of crap!

    Not your tale, but that someone would mess with your husbands equipment in effort to scare him and his colleagues. That kind of stuff pisses me off, as a unionized employee who just doesn't get the concept of a union in this day and age.

    Is there no way for your hubby to put his stuff under surveilance and take that issue up with the union. There must be a way before someone gets hurt.

    I don't understand why unions try to hold people back, as they clearly object to your hubby's drive. I giess it is the union motto to all work together and never leave anyone behind.

    Just don't get too much forward or they'll bring you back.

    I hope this juivenile behaviour stops.

  3. Gee that really is wrong! I can't believe anyone would put someones life at risk to make - what? a point? so so sad :(