I FOUND THIS ONLINE AND THOUGHT I WOULD SHARE.
I am making a point, these days, to only purchase products that are made with American Union-Labor. I am trying my hardest to do this, because so much of what we have around us is made with overseas sweatshop labor.
I am also thinking about not purchasing specialized goods from abroad. For example, I am a big fan of German and Czech beer. Its very much possible that the more foreign beer I drink, the less money American brewers make and that this will hurt American labor.
Thus, I will drink American beer, but only the tastiest kinds.
Here are some good links on how to buy Union-Made American beer. Remember, not all American beer is brewed by Unions.
This issue is important to me. My working-class, German-American family has been involved in the Labor movement for well over 100 years. My paternal Grandfather was an apprentice brewer from Germany. When he fled the massive poverty and anarchy of his home country in the 1920s, he immediately went to work in the Rheingold brewery and joined what would become the International Union of United Brewery, Flour, Cereal, Soft Drink and Distillery Workers. Ths group would merge with the Teamsters in the 1970s.
My Grandfather made good money with the Union, had two sons and was able to buy a house---something he would have been unable to do in Germany, with his poor, peasant background and family's high level of farming debt.
My maternal Great-Grandfather was was a proud, Portuguese-American, World War I Naval Veteran. His family came from Portugal and the Azores and they immigrated to the United States for the great fishing-fleet opportunities. My Great-Grandfather spent his early years fishing, grew to hate fish, but still loved the water. When the war came in 1917 he enlisted and served on convoys in the Atlantic. After the war, he spent some time in France, and took many pictures, all of which I still have. Alot of these pictures concern captured German siege-guns, POWs, and American soldiers marching around on the parade field. There are some pretty ladies in those photos, too...
When he came back from France, he returned to his home town in Brooklyn, NY and joined the Teamsters. He began to drive a coal-delivery wagon, drawn by horses, in the winter. This wagon was converted for ice delivery in the summer. It was a tough job, but you got to interact with lots of people, learned about your neighborhood and became a part of your community. His job was based only 10 blocks away from where he lived. Every morning he would get dressed, put his boots on, and walk to the Wagon-House, where the horses were being bridled and attached to the wagons. Then he would spend 12 hours a day hauling ice and coal all over his and neighboring towns in Brooklyn. Throughout his life, he remained a strong American patriot and Union-supporter. He never trusted Wall-Street, and refused to cross a union picket line. He taught his daughters to do the same.
My Great Uncle was in the US Army. He served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. He also took part in the second wave on Omaha Beach, during the Invasion of Normandy, in 1944.
He saw much action during the war, but never really spoke about it until Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan," came out. Then he started talking to us about the war. He basically kept his mouth shut for 50 years prior, only occaissionally letting us know little tidbits about his war record. He saw many good buddies die, in close proximity. Guys he spent alot of time with, joked around with, played baseball with during R&R.
When we were younger, my cousins and I would try to get him to tell us war stories. We were raised on action films and were obsessed with the tales of combat and heroics he could share.
He would kindly try to oblige our youthful interest, and would begin to tell us a classic "war story." However, he would sometimes hit a tough point and tear-up. Then he would either go out for a cigarette and have a beer, or he would turn-on the TV and change the subject.
Often, when we wanted to hear a "war story," he would start going into some funny baseball story about him and his war buddies. Apparantly, soldiers had lots of down-time and they spent this time forming deep bonds with one another. I think this made the carnage and the death that much more unbearable when it eventually came. It made you refrain from getting close to people, after a while. Made you bottle your feelings up and build walls up around you. By the end of the war, alot of guys, my Great Uncle said, were just sort of empty.
Anyway, my Great Uncle was born in an orphanage. His parents died in a fire when he was young. He had no prospects when he came back from the war and he wasn't the college type. He took a job at a gas station and joined the Teamsters. He worked there, diligently, from 1946 up until the 1970s. He never ditched work and never took a sick day. He was so tough, and had such a work ethic, had such a miserable, horrible time during the Depression and World War 2, that he could simply not fathom taking a day off from work. He was greatful for his job, loved his job and would go out of his way to go above and beyond his duties as a gas station attendant. But he never got promoted. This never bothered him. He was just happy to be married, have children, and to be able to use the local municipal golf course on the weekend, which he frequented with religious zeal along with his buddies from the VFW. They also drank alot of beer while playing on this golf course. But you know what? He fought at Normandy. He earned it.
In the 1970s the gas station changed owners. The new owners promised everybody that if they left the Teamsters they would be given an immediate bonus. The new owners tried every trick in the book to get all the employees to leave the Union. My Great Uncle and 2 other guys refused. The remaining 10 guys sold-out, and quit the Teamsters. Within 2 weeks they were fired, which was management's intended plan, my Great Uncle told me. Well, he stayed in the Union and now "had the number" of management, so to speak. Eventually, the neighborhood Teamsters Local did something to intimidate the gas station owner and he sold the station. The new owner was pro-union and everything was fine after that. My great-uncle kept his job until his 60s and retired with a full pension and benefits, from both the gas station and the military.
I have many other family members with union backgrounds. My mom was in the SEIU, my brother-in-law is a Teamster. I support the Unions and so should you.
What's interesting, though, is that many Union folks in the 1950s-1970s were military veterans. Today, I get the impression that few in the military join Unions. What's your sense?
In any event, Buy Union!