Coming off of a lay-off in a Sptbg. SC plant back in '76, I put in for and got a job at then Firestone Steel-Sptbg. I had a bil who worked there and other friends as well and knew from the start that it was part unionized. To each his own. BIL was in the union and said at point that the union was only about 39% and falling apart. The plant had recently been on strike for a number of weeks, don't remember how many or even if the year I went to work there was right. I may have missed it by a year as far as being absolutely correct. I do remember being approached by different union members and being asked if I wanted to join the union. I was advised by the man who hired me to refrain from joining the union. Now, I was not treated adversly on my job and neither did the union members target me for not joining. My job was easy to learn, just hot and tedious as you might imagine. I performed every task including buffing chrome parts for trucks and cars, annodizing(chrome plating bumpers)spray painting same parts, assembling same parts for regular as well as service packaging of extra parts, welding fenders, tv lines work, welding pressurized cans(type used for milk or other beverages) re-processing returns or damaged products (called repair line) and even drove hysters to keep supplies to lines. I loved the job but it was boring so I went from one job to the next, always getting my quota for the night. I finally came across an ad on the bulletin board one night for supervisor and thought I may as well put in for that-i'd done about everything else I could do besides go to a different dept., or put in for waste water treatment facility or maintenance, which I didn't think i could do at all. Well, about 75 signed up to interview of which 45 -50 were dropped when they found out they would have to be tested. Little did we know that there weren't really hard questions on that test, just a physclogical test to make sure that you weren't some kind of nut that would go off on people. To start with, you couldn't be a union worker. Only one other woman besides me showed up to be tested. There were two jobs available and I got one of them and a man got the other one. When I got settled into the job there were a few instances of my not handling a situation correctly, as should have been expected because I was new to the tasks involved. All were worked out easily, nothing major. Know who the complainers were? Right, union members. I didn't know who any of them were except the ones who had asked me to join before. Seems like all of them drove hysters, four of them was in my shop which consisted of the different assembly area that I worked in and all drove hysters. i was told that this gave them better access to the different work areas in order for them to adequately monitor the employees work and the ethics of supervision. For instance, one and probably the most important aspect of any job in the plant was that of achieving quotas, as we were time managed. If you didn't know the ropes, you stayed in the office half the night explaining some incident that the stewards came up with out of this little book that they all had. Why didn't I have one of these books? I had to learn the hard way what they wouldn't allow me to do. My boss was the arbitrator for me but he did keep me out of trouble. We had more tattlers on those lines but the bad thing was that most of these weren't even union members. For instance, I was a numbers pusher and my aim was to make a failing line keep up and get their quotas. I could direct, advise, delegate, relieve or train but unless I was relieving or training, I absolutely could not get in there and work by running a station to get my quotas. The tattlers made sure of this. To me, time could have been better managed by the folks that sat around all night and looked to make trouble instead of helping out a struggling employee occasionally.
I had a bad taste in my mouth when the union had its strike before i came there. My bil didn't work for a number of weeks at the time and my sister didn't have a job at the same time. They lived in one of my Dad's houses or they would not have made it thru that time. He didn't charge them rent at the time. There was no such thing as food stamps or wic for babies either. The strike had to end when it did but there was alot of rough stuff in that strike. People were being hindered that showed up for work and there was alot of fighting. The first and only incident of its kind that I ever knew about in my state.