Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Labor Day Is An Excellent Day To Recall Flint Sit Down Strikes—Working People Need To Stick Up For One Another

Happy Labor Day.

The picture is from the Flint Sit Down Strikes of  the 1930’s

Auto workers at the General Motors Fisher Body Plant #1  and at other plants sat down on the job and demanded the right to organize.

Imagine today, rather than some of our working brothers and sisters listening to Glenn Beck and other hucksters who tell us to be powerless in the face corporate control of our antion, that these same folks would instead stand up for their rights as working people.

What a better nation we would be living in today if this were the case.

People motivated by anger and fear don’t have the self-respect required to truly look out for themselves and to look out for others.

What they know is anger and fear instead of concern for others and concern for their nation.

Liberals and progressives need to show compassion for such troubled persons. Yet at the same time, we must fight back all the time before these people help ruin the future by handing the county to huge corporations and elected hate mongers to an even larger extent than is already the case in America.

The Detroit News has a site up on the Flint Strikes that you see a small example of in the  picture above.

From that site–

“Before the Depression there were 470,000 auto workers. The number fell by half, as did the wages, which had been reduced from $40 per week to about $20. Because these harsh times still haunted the workers, job security was an important issue. Another bone of contention was the hated “spies” informing on union members. The workers could be fired by any foreman anytime. The work itself — dangerous, difficult, and boring — caused many injuries, often for simple reasons such as lack of gloves. Exertion caused the families extreme exhaustion, which distressed the workers’ families, who shared the fear of possible job loss….”

Historicalvoices.org has an audio gallery recalling the strike and the strikers.

In the end, the strikers got a raise and United Auto Workers was recognized as the bargaining agent  for the workers. This was a victory for all American workers.

Here is a history of the United Auto Workers.

(Below–National Guard outside Flint auto plant during strike. I doubt the strikers had similar weapons.  )

September 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Support Of Loans For The American Auto Industry

I support the extension of loans by the United States government to help save the American auto industry. What the auto companies are looking for are loans and not handouts.

The United Auto Workers union has agreed to major concessions to help the big three car makers and to help gain approval in Congress to pass the loan package.

Republicans in Congress would love to see the UAW go away as payback for its support of Democratic candidates. Revenge is not a suitable justification for endangering the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people.

One poll suggests the American people are currently opposed to what is being termed–incorrectly–as a “bailout.”

One can understand the fatigue with government money for private concerns. But where are we going to work in this country? How are we going to live? Where are decent jobs going to be found?

I think most people understand–on some level they understand–that what is at issue in this current economic downturn is not simply “when will it end” or “how will I get by for the next few months.”

Rather, the issue is that when the recession has passed as determined by the so-called economic experts, will we as individuals, as families, as members of a community, have viable economic futures? What jobs will be left with salaries and benefits able to sustain us?

I’m not going to oppose this loan package because of private jets, or political calculations, or pointless resentment over what UAW workers are earning. Instead, I’m going to support the future well-being of American workers.

By advocating for other working people, we are advocating for ourselves. By supporting this temporary assistance to the American Auto industry, we are backing the long term economic prospects of all Americans.

December 4, 2008 Posted by | Politics, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Johnny Castille Was A Union Member And A Liberal Democrat

I am sad to report the passing of my friend Johnny Castille.

Johnny was proud of his longtime membership in the United Auto Workers as a General Motors employee in Indiana.

He often referred to himself as a “liberal Democrat.”  

Johnny had also fought in Vietnam.

He was a member of St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Houston.

Johnny was one of the first friends I made after I moved to Houston in 1998.

Waiting for his full retirement benefits to kick in after leaving GM, Johnny took a job as a bagger at a local supermarket.

He and I struck up a friendship in the once or twice a week I would see him at the store.   

I’m sorry to say that after Johnny’s health no longer allowed him to work at the store, I did not do a good job in keeping in touch.

He left the store within the last six months or so. I made one effort to call him at home.

Johnny did not have a cellphone or a computer or an answering machine. 

I just should have kept calling until I reached him.

If you have someone you value in your life, try keep in touch with them as best you can 

January 30, 2008 Posted by | Good People, Houston, Relationships | , , , , | 2 Comments