Sometimes we don’t appreciate our parents when they’re alive as much as we should. Ten years after my mother had passed away, I remember reading Katherine Graham’s autobiography. Katherine was just like my mother, although on a National scale. My mother was a Republican and Katherine was a Democrat, but the one thing they had in common was they both inherited companies from their fathers. Katherine inherited The Washington Post from her father, Eugene Meyers (who was a Federal Reserve Governor) and my mother inherited her father’s printing company, Hart Printing, which was certainly no Washington Post, but it did do major advertizing for big companies like Anheuser Busch, and Brown Shoe.
I won’t go into the details of how remarkably alike they were but to say that, in one chapter in her book, Katherine talked about the most difficult time she ever had: How proud she was that she managed to keep the Post in business when the printers went on strike, in 1975. Katherine explained in great detail how the few people left in the building, herself included, and various managers and secretaries, had to try to get out the Post paper all by themselves: run the pressed, manage the paper’s delivery, etc…and how they work like dogs until the strike was over. There was a happy ending in this, because The Washington Post, is still in business, due no doubt in part, because of its political connections.
The 1975 strike did not break The Post.
My mother’s company did not fare so well when her printer union workers went on strike around the same time. My mother and father both had to work 18 hour days to keep the place running and open. The worry and heartache took a toll on her as I remember, and it was hard for a daughter to watch. The only thing my mother couldn’t do was lift the paper and feed the presses…but she did everything else. She did the estimating, accounting, receptionists, ink, layouts, all the photo department, and bindery. Like Katherine, she did it with her intellingence and will power. My father ran the presses with some help from some friends.
The whole city of St. Louis was never the same after that printer’s strike of 1975. Most of the printing business left St. Louis because of the strike, and went overseas and to other cities. The one sole Republican newspaper here in town, The Globe, folded, eventually leaving The Post Dispatch the only press standing. The Post Dispatch is very liberal and now begs for customers in grocery aisles.
My mom kept the jobs for her union employees for as long as she could, but not one of those men realized how lucky they were to even have a job to come back to. They had no idea how much money she sacrifice in her own salary…to keep the plant going. They should have thanked her…but not one of them did.
They all retired and lived great lives…and all traveled the world.
While they all had guaranteed early pensions and healthcare, my mother lived off of her SS checks and Medicare for the rest of her life. She couldn’t afford to give herself a pension because all her money went back into the company…to keep it going. After the strike getting work was a daily struggle.
I was thinking about Katherine and my mother the other day when I read these two passages in Mark’s Steyn’s new book After America:
“Obama, faced with a US automobile industry that so overcompensates it workers it can’t make a car for a price anybody’s willing to pay for it, the president handed over control to the very unions whose demands are principally responsible for that irreconcilable arithmetic. Mrs. Thatcher took on the unions and destroyed their power. In Detroit entire blocks are deserted, and the city is proposing to turn commercial land back into pasture. This is America and no bombs fell. And the physical decay is a nothing to the deterioration of human capital.. 44 percent of adults in the city have a reading comprehension below grade six level. Nearly half could not graduate from elementary school.”
“At number 27 is a lady who retired from teaching in the local school at the age of 59 and lives on an annual pension of $78,255 exempt from state and local tax with gold plated health benefits and everything inflation proofed. At number 29 is a guy exactly the same age who owns a hardware store, can’t afford to retire, has health issues and crummy provision of amelioration thereof, yet will be working till he dies, while his neighbor enjoys a lavish two decade retirement that he paid for in his taxes. This is a recipe of civil war and no gay hedonist or fire breathing mullahs need be involved.”
Unions have ruin this country….and most of Europe. All unions. Look what the teachers unions have done to our educational system. And ironically, all the major American companies because of the unions and their outlandish benefits, have taken their manufacturing to China, where there are no unions, and people work with hardly any protections. Add to that, the state pensions which are breaking the state budgets and it’s a no brainer…something has to give. People that have never had their own business give no thought to the work and money that is involved in keeping a business going. We have become a spoiled and ingorant nation in so many ways.
Back when Henry Ford decided to pay his men a nice salary so they could afford to buy his cars…it was a great idea, and money was plenty. But then the union bosses got greedy. The hourly wage of a union man went way over market value price…and the price of everything else went up.
If the dollar collapses (as many predict) or if Mitt Romney is elected and he somehow manages to do what he says he want to do: cut all federal pensions and pay scales down to the private sector level, there will a lot of mad people.
If Obama gets reelected and the pay for government workers keeps going up, there will also be a breaking point among the people who just can’t afford to pay for someone’s else’s wonderful retirement anymore–and those people will start getting pretty angry. So, what side do you think will win?
Nobody Knows…but I’m sure Mark will not reprimand my saying: it’s really FUBAR. Unions: if you belong to one, you love them. If you don’t…you hate them.
Nobody Thinks they should all be busted…starting at the top. What have we got to lose?
And on another note: Both these women ran those companeis for years…they were…the top bosses, and this was way before Gloria Steinem put on her little bunny tail.