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Wednesday, August 29, 2001

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Labor unions

Biking to work today I saw another lady on a tandem with her husband. Tandems always look so cool but I have a feeling that I would always be cycling in a different rhythm than the other person. I suppose you learn.

At noon the AFSCME was outside organizing employees of the UofA. This is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFLCIO. They are just trying to get enough interest to try to get permission to organize on campus. There were even cheerleaders to entertain us. Not very professional ones but they certainly had the enthusiasm. When I was a member of Teamsters we didn't have cheerleaders, but we were invited to send a christmas card to our union president, at Leavenworth, Kansas.

I am very ambivalent about labor unions. I know they have been very important in getting decent working conditions and better pay but they also tend to become very corrupt within a very short time. Not only do the officials become corrupt but the members want everything to stay the same while they keep getting paid more to do jobs that are no longer needed. Still, unions were very important in pulling vast sections of workers out of dangerous and pitifully paid working conditions. Well, we are pitifully paid but don't really have dangerous working conditions.

I went to yoga tonight and my neck and upper back muscles are sore because I tried to do a headstand and my neck just wasn't ready for that much weight. I just strained my muscles but I guess I'll have to work up to headstands. I feel so stretched out and great. I sweated like a pig the first part because we started at 5:30 and only had not very effective swamp coolers. When we finished and were relaxing on the floor the sun had gone down but it was still light outside and cooler. It was so relaxing to lie there with the light slowly dimming.

Riding home I had to put the lights on my bike and rode slowly home through the twilight and an incoming storm. It blowing so hard that it nearly blew my bike over a couple times and I could hardly see when I rode an area that had a lot of dust. It didn't help that I had to keep my eyes practically shut. I thought we would get some rain but it's been almost a couple hours and still nothing. It was beautiful with the dark clouds in the east and a window of clear, darkening blue in the west with just a tint of pink behind the mountains.

I realized today that this is Labor Day weekend. I had actually forgotten, probably because I have nothing planned. It's cooler in the mornings now so maybe I can get up early a couple days and get some nice walking or biking in.

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Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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