Wednesday, September 03, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 48:
the strike of 1975

in bout the middle of october of 1975, the ocaw called em a strike. as i menchunned back in chaptur 23, i dint git a invite to that union till the day i wuz permoted upstairs, n by then twuz too late. so whenever the strike cum along, i eethur had to cross the picket line of lose my job.

that brangs me to a sore point that i havent been able to splain to my ownself my hole life, n that is unions. lack mos thangs, theys gut good n bad about em. tiz good that they wont to stand up to the owners n try fer fair wages n decent hours n trainin n so on. tiz bad that the man who sits on his ass gits the same pay as the man that busts his ass.

also, everthang is deecided on the basis of senyorty, witch that means ifn ye show up sober n dont git in a fite, after ye been thar a while, aint no way of lettin ye go. n that means that sum of the sorriest wurkers never leave n otherns leave furst chants they git to make more money by bustin thar asses.

i shore as hell dont know the anser, tho tiz clear to me that ifn we shared the wealth a lil more than we do, then our economy wood be a lot helthier n stronger on a counta more people wood have a lil extry money to spend on thangs, n thats whut makes bizness wurk. but as ye kin plainly see, the cuntrys headin in tuther direckshun.

even tho i wuznt let into the union, i did a union job fer my furst six munths at carbide, n thay wuz one effort that splains mos everthang that seems to be rong with unions n the way wurk is set up.

them injuneers wuz in charge of cummin up with new prototypes of machines we wuz a'gone use, n fer that ye had to git one bilt n tested. i got to hep out in the testin, n heres how it went.

furst, ye had to have a member of ever craft thar, witch that mint yer maintenance mechanix n yer instrumint mechanix n yer lectrickull mechanix n yer operator, witch that wuz me in this case. n fer each of them, ye had to have a supervisor on hand. n ye needed all them injineers that had fought over how the prototype wuz a'gone be, n they wuznt dun fitin even when thar wuz a prototype bigger n a house bein tested.

twuz one of the most borin weeks of my life on a counta ye couldnt hardly do no wurk. furst, everbidy wood sit round smokin, witch in them days ye could smoke everwhar ceptn gas stayshuns jes about. n they wood chat bout whut kinda weekend ye had n whut ye wonted to do fer thanksgivin n all that kinda thang.

then they wood git reddy to fire up the prototype to see wood it wurk. that mint the operator had to climb up on top of the machine to whar the on button wuz while everbidy else gatherd round to watch. i went up n when they sed they wuz reddy, i pushed the button. the prototype tuck to makin noise n then ye could see twuznt doin rite sum kinda way on a counta they started hollerin rite away bout turn it off.

i looked n looked, but thar wernt no off button up on the platform whar i wuz. i hollerd down to em to ast whar wuz the off button. n a couple of the injuneers gut into a fite bout thisn, only the one that sed the on n off buttons should be in both places gut my vote, n purty soon sumbidy sed i should cum down n go to the frunt of the machine. i did, n thar twuz, a big red button marked 'off.' i pushed it, n everbidy tuck to smokin n fussin n fitin bout whut went rong.

purt soon the injuneer who sed thar should be on n off buttons in the same place won out over tutherns, n they spent the next day n a half puttin the on n offs in jes rite. i wurked that spot a hole week, n fack is, we dint run that prototype moren a total of bout five mints, n most of that wuz the furst time whenever i dint know how to turnt off.

so i could see whar them folks thats down on unions fer thar inneefishuntcy has points, n ifn ye kin read, ye kin probly figger the same bout the manjers of them big cumpnies that downsizes n gits a quick buck n then leeves everbidy else hangin with no savins n all.

simple fack is, folks is greedy n whenever they git power, they tend to git used n abused by it more'n they make sumthin of it.

n the strike wuz over sumthin i couldnt unnerstand. seem lack they wonted more'n the nine per cent the cumpny wuz offern fer a raze, n after they had dun been out a munth, they cum back in when the cumpny changed a claws in the contrack to let em brake up two weeks of thar vacayshun sos they could take em a day at a time sted of jes one.

during the strike is when i gut to know whitey, n i gut way ahed on my skool wurk n on my job wurk. i saved up five projecks so no matter whut, even if i dint do nuthin on a given evenin, i wood have wurk to turn in. that proovd hepful whenever finals cum along.

tuther thang i dun durin that strike wuz to take a nap ever nite on a counta thar wernt much fer me to do once the computer went down n thar wuz no instrumint mechanix to brang it back up.

i dun tole how i mite take a lil nap after dinner, but this wuz sleepin n they wuz sum strange thangs that happent. mayhap they wuz all dreams. yew kind deecide.

one evenin, i had dun everthang ye could do thar, all the homewurk n extry readin n programmin, so i figgered id see could i set an alarm n really git to sleep. so i set my watch to wake me in two hours, jes in case. then i found a corner whar i could git my chair jes rite, n i went rite to sleep.

the corner i wuz in wuz one ye couldnt see too clear thru the glass of my office. i also kep the door locked whenever i wuznt in thar, witch wuz speckted of everbidy innywho. so i wuz sleepin one evenin n i herd footsteps echoin thru the hallway leadin to my office. i tride to wake, but my body wood not move. i wuz in a near panick, n then sumthin happent. i saw twuz strang cumin by, only ye couldnt see him frum whar i wuz sleepin. i looked down n saw i wuz standin behin my desk whar i could see out, only i couldnt member movin. i looked over into the corner whar i had been sleepin, n thar i saw myself sleepin away.

that happent two or three times, n i gut to thankin ye could leeve yer bidy, only i could never make it wurk ceptn when i dint speck it to. but it hepped me bleeve sum the thangs i wuz runnin into with the lacks of the witch name of gail n turthern name of erin.

i also had a cuple of dreems that led me to the same kinda thoughts. in both of em, i wuz bein led on by a dark woman n i couldnt never see her face, but in one, she went into a cave n called me to cum in. i sed i dint thank twuz wise, n she sed i woodnt know wize frum foolish till tuther abby cum up pregnunt.

n that shook me a bit, only i figgered twuz jes my mind playin tricks with thangs i had dun herd now n then.

the strike lasted almost egzackly a munth, n whenever it ended, they gut the computer a'goin agin, n fer the rest of my time on graveyards, i wuz ahed of the game on a counta the wurk i had stored up. corse, the wurkers never caught up to the wages they had lost in the munth thay wuz out.

n purt soon, ye could see them same guys who dint do much a sittin n drankin coffee n watchin the computer lack twuz gonna try to git away. corse, ye knew ifn sumthin wuz needed, they wernt the ones to call. i wood chat with em now n then, but if thar wuz a problem, they wuz only good fer gittin the ones who wuz busy on a counta they wuz the only ones knew whut to do.

n thang is, i bleev in unions. i know they are the only hope we gut fer a fair wage n decent wurking condishuns. i jes wuznt cut out to be in one.

No comments: