Hello my name is is Miles, and according to the governor of New Mexico I am a big union boss.
A couple days ago a reporter called me and told me Governor Susana Martinez was planning to end New Mexico’s decades-old process whereby voluntary union members’ dues are deducted from paychecks and mailed to our headquarters. I was a little surprised.
This practice of dues deduction is no different than the process used to deduct health, dental, and vision insurance, charitable deductions, taxes, etc.
After hearing the reporter out, and spending a few moments decrypting Governor Susana Martinez’s bizarre monologue, I commented that such an action would be a declaration of war on organized labor.
I could hear the reporter hammering away on a keyboard, and knew at that moment that I had either said the absolutely perfect, or utterly worst, thing possible. Probably both.
Less than 48 hours, and full fledged media shit storm, later the governor launched her social media campaign gathering signatures to support her wicked penchant to smother the labor movement out of existence.
On the petition site, I was tickled to find myself referred to as a big union boss.
So, I know everyone is wondering, “what is life like for a big union boss?”
Well, it’s pretty glamorous.
I awake early to a very chilly house. The furnace has broken in early March, and there’s never quite enough money to justify fixing it, especially since the Deep Freeze months are behind us.
My wife is already awake, doing battle with the refrigerator, in a campaign to force some semblance of school lunch from its perpetually empty innards.
If I’m lucky, and have been good, I may be rewarded with a cup of coffee for my drive to school and work in the big union boss ’07 Honda Civic.
After dropping off my little socialist protege at his public school, I dash off on the morning commute to my palatial office where I will pick up where I left off 10 hours before, waltzing my way through another 80-hour workweek.
You see, us big union bosses like to work long hours, and late into the evening, as we strategize and respond to fantastic nefarious decisions by elected leaders, like Governor Susana Martinez, who seemingly has nothing more pressing on her schedule then to focus all her attentions on making public service employees’ lives a living hell.
Anyway, back to my big fun, big union boss lifestyle. After a fun little 12-hour workday, I jump back in the Cadilla…Civic, and drop by Allsups to fill her up. At the end of a workweek this always seems to plunge that checking account into the negative territory I’m so fond of.
On the drive home, I may take two or three more phone calls from state employees wondering where the #!@$&*!! their five years of back pay is.
In a jovial tone, and with a chuckle, I explained that the governor’s pay plan team is still working to figure out the math.
Anyway, children collected, I at last reach my palace, chop some wood, make a fire, say hello to the stranger that is my wife, wolf down some pasta, and settle in to answer a couple more hours of crisis emails or phone calls.
I tell you, the life of a union boss, it is grand.
Make no mistake, I wouldn’t change a thing. The fight for social justice, labor struggles: it’s the only life for me.
Governor Susana Martinez would like you to believe that it’s all shits and giggles, but standing up to her anti-worker, pro-low-paying-job-businesses, corporate kowtowing, wishing-there-was-a-forest-fire-photo-op, tax cutting, outsourcing, immigrant-hating, tea-party-ball-shining, environment ravaging, 3rd-grader-commodifying, blaming-anyone-under-the-sun-other-than-her-failed-policy leaning, smoke and mirror million-dollar spin machine, I’m-gonna-be-vice-president-one-day-damned attitude … it takes a toll.
But, as Susana says, “Bring it on.” Madame Governor, I’ll Be Here, ONE DAY LONGER than you.
Miles Conway is communications director for AFSCME Council 18 in New Mexico. This article is reposted with the author’s permission from his Facebook page.
Photo: Miles Conway. Via author’s Facebook page