It only makes sense that the closer it gets to the anniversary of my dad’s passing the more the memories start washing over me all over again. I always have them with me, but they this time of year they surround me and at times over whelm me.
My sister and I were talking last week how my dad about 10 years before he died made the comment ” The union is going to be a big part of what brings down G.M.” and for the Janesville plant in particular it was. Please do keep in mind that my dad was a college educated man. He graduated with a degree in education, mathematics. I only bring this up because it irritates me when some make the comments like ” Over 20.00 dollars an hour to work there. How hard can it be. No skills required.” Really ? Check your facts before you start talking. There were many college graduates who worked there. For some they could not find a job in their field and they landed at G.M. and never left. For others it was like my dad he did not care for the politics in the school systems. He did tutor on the side to help some local kids he did that for years.
My dad taught for 3 years before moving on to G. M. Because yep you guessed it he made more money. HE also had the same vacation times off as the schools . He worked there for over 30 years .
But my dad could realize the unions were causing harm in the end. I WILL ALSO ADD that my dad and my mom had strong work ethics. They did not just depend on his income from G.M. , they also farmed. In this day their farm 300 acres and milking 60 cows would be considered a hobby farm, but not then. . My dad worked nights, came home slept until about 10, went out and did chores and field work until 2, then went back to work. MY mom did all the milking along with us helping her.
My parents also owned the bakery that used to be in the basement of the Grange Mall here in Evansville. ” It’s only Dough” There are not bakery’s like that anymore where most everything was made from scratch. They did extremely well with that bakery, until Blue Cross Blue Shield wanted the space and the big man in charge told my parents sorry Blue Cross Blue Shield can pay a ton more money for rent than you. Get Out! O.K. not in those words but that is what it came down to . Think back twenty years.. who owned the Grange Mall then? I will not tell you I will let you guess. But it did back fire on him as B.C.B.S. closed up shop five years after that, and he never again was able to fill that mall.
My parents did not know what it meant to work a 40,50,60 hour week. But we were in Church every Sunday and my mom taught the Bell Choir and Sunday School.
They did not depend on what the union could do for them. IT was because of their work ethic they had many options.
In the end I think my dad was embarrassed by the Unions because he could see the down sides of what they were doing.
There was never a ounce of attitude or ideas of entitlement from my dad.