Saturday, October 30, 2004

Don't forget to vote 

I said I was fed up with all the election campaigning, but my union, the Graphic Communications International Union, is forcing me to comment again. I accept the political aspect of labor unions as a necessary evil, so I don't really mind when they try to tell me how to vote. However, the other day I got a letter from my local telling me that I really should vote for Don Barbieri for the U.S. House of Representatives. Don Barbieri, you see, strongly supports investments in public schools. He supports prevailing wages and will battle to protect overtime pay. I was told all this by the letter. What I wasn't told, however, was what district Don Barbieri is seeking to serve. Democrat Jim McDermott has held the congressional seat in my district for as long as I've lived here. Until I read this letter, I had never even heard of Don Barbieri. A bit of internet research revealed that he is running somewhere out by Spokane. Why my local union is intimating that I, a resident of Seattle, should vote for him, I don't know. I suppose I could write him in, though I doubt that would do much good. McDermott is one of those guys who seem to have their office for life.

Another electoral irritation came from the international union office. The powers that be are seeking to merge with the Teamsters union. This is a big step and the rank and file have to vote whether or not to take it. The powers that be dutifully published the text of the agreement in our union newspaper, for us to read and consider. Then they published it again, incase we missed it. Then today I received in the mail a booklet containing the text of the merger agreement. Sheesh. I know I should be happy that my union siblings are getting a lot of printing work out of this, but if we have to pay for all this printing of stuff I've already read, couldn't they print internet jokes or something?

Anyway, I think when it comes to political advice--be it public or union elections--I'll take GCIU recommendations with a big grain of salt. But I will vote. And I hope you do to.