In view of recent events involving public employee unions in New Jersey and Wisconsin, it seems that a couple of definitions are in order. Rhoda (short for Rhododendron), friend of IFO’s, recently sent an email showing lack of basic background on union lingo and history.
So, here’s a little background on terms some readers may not have heard of or understood properly:
* Union bug – the little sign at the bottom of printed materials indicating that the materials were printed by a company whose employees are members of a union. Very important in places like Detroit and San Francisco, which have a big union presence.
* Union shop – a company whose operating (not managers) employees have voted to be represented by a union. The union contracts with the company to supply trained employees and negotiate wages and working conditions for the union members.
* Public employees union – represents mainly public workers – police, firemen, office workers at agencies, mail carriers, such as SEIU, AFCSME (American Federation of County, State and Municipal Employees), etc.
* Craft union represents craft workers – carpenters, painters, printers, plumbers
* Industrial union represents workers in an industry – steelworkers, miners, teamsters (truck drivers now, they used to drive teams of horses or mules)
Now that the AFL (American Federation of Labor – mainly craft unions) and the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) have merged, there is less of a distinction among these groups.
BTW, these groups have a long, fabulous, exciting history. John L. Lewis and Jimmy Hoffa are just two names that come to mind. And we only know the half of it! IFO could go on for pages and pages of union history, which she learned at her father’s knee.
Later, Rhoda also misinterpreted the meaning of the words “white collar crime.” She thought it meant any crime committed by someone who wears a white collar – managers, etc. But no, it actually refers to the crime – accounting or bookkeeping fraud, corporate crime, business scams, identity theft or credit card crimes. Wikipedia has a great discussion of the topic.