Sarah Palin, Proud Union Member?  

crossposted on Dailykos
So, there’s been a lot in the press lately about Palin. From her poor interviews and inability to answer voter questions to her responses to Troopergate, you know, by avoiding it entirely. Oh, yeah, then there are also her “credentials”. As a woman and as a former Teamster and SEIU member and current Freelance Union member, the idea of Sarah Palin being a member of a union, well, it just makes my skin crawl.

I know what it’s like to sign a union card; to attend a meeting ahead of a strike, to feel that twinge of fear and anguish over a strike vote and current negotiations. Governor Palin hasn’t been through any of this, because she is only an “honorary” member.

No, seriously, I shit-you-not!! She’s an HONORARY member!

Governor Palin received an “honorary” membership in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Not because she’s paid dues or been represented by the union, but because she pushed for a pipeline that benefitted the union’s membership. So, the IBEW did what it’s done before, it made her an honorary member. And I totally get that. I’d have done the same, and I’d have voted for doing such. But that doesn’t make her a union member.

You see, there’s a difference between people who claim they are good union members and those who actually work for union issues. In terms of Republicans, they are not friends of labor, especially, not John McCain. In fact, they are not friends to the mere concept of solidarity. In researching this story, I ran across a Lineman thread on Cheney’s insistence that he was an IBEW member for 6 years.

Didn’t realize that Vice President Dick(wad) Cheney was a member of IBEW?

Well, let me shed some light on this rather dark figure in American politics.

During the 2004 Vice-Presidential debate, Darth Cheney noted his involvement in the IBEW:

CHENEY: Why I am different from John Edwards. Well, in some respects, I think, probably there are more similarities than there are differences in our personal story.

I don't talk about myself very much, but I've heard Senator Edwards, and as I listen to him, I find some similarities.

I come from relatively modest circumstances. My grandfather never even went to high school. I'm the first in my family to graduate from college.

I carried a ticket in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for six years. I've been laid off, been hospitalized without health insurance. So I have some idea of the problems that people encounter.

So I think the personal stories are, in some respects, surprisingly similar.

Well, his note of “carrying a ticket” for the IBEW and was noted by the many lineman who talked about it over on the powerlineman forum site:

Yeah, I've heard and seen reference to that. I remember one documentary that interviewed some of his friends. One said. "It was grueling work in the hot sun when he was building those power lines in Wyo." Ha!

Another in newsweek said he was a "utility lineman". Why those ya hoos don't check their references a little closer, I don't know. The time frame given when referencing those things make me doubt if he would have even have had time to complete an apprenticeship. I'm sure he was just a grunt. I worked in Wyoming for about 8 years and never heard this mentioned until after he became VP

SBatts goes on to say:

And to think 1 Lineman up a pole could have saved 3,000 plus American lives and 20,000 wounded not to say 100's of thousands of Iraqis by dropping a large wire grip.

By the way why wasn't this **** drafted with 5 college deferrments when he flunked out???? More republican scum.

Wudworker51 went on to say:

When the 32oz. hammer was about 5ft. from Old Dickhead's skull I'd yell HEADACHE, knowing that being the dumbass he is instead of moving he would look straight up and take it right between the eyes. As far as what I do is what I have always done, linework. A self made man, I didn't need daddy or daddy-in-laws help to succeed. No I'm not a CEO or a millionaire I'm just an old JL living life on the line and I would not want it any other way. Any working man who supports the republican'ts like Dubya and Dickhead need their heads examined. These so called entitled assholes are out to destroy working class America which will in turn destroy America.

I like the quotes because they are heartfelt statements of men who work as lineman and who don’t believe for a second that claiming IBEW status is the same as working as a lineman. This of course was one of the main failings I also have with Todd Palin. He and his wife, note they are proud union members but when it really comes down to it, they aren’t, it’s just another weapon they use to lie to real union members so they can get them to vote for a ticket that wants to eliminate collective bargaining (McCain, when he votes, votes against first responders’ access to collective bargaining rights)

From the United Steelworkers:

“It is important to realize that while the governor’s husband is a member of a union, this does not automatically qualify her for an on-the-job training program to become a heartbeat away from the presidency.

And while her husband is one of 850,000 dues-paying members of the steelworkers union, it does nothing to absolve Sen. McCain of his long history of anti-union sentiment and anti-worker actions, including continuously pushing an anti-working family agenda that:

- Opposes giving workers the right to bargain collectively;
- Jeopardizes retirement security by privatizing social security;
- Further threatens job security by signing more job-stealing trade deals without the regard to human rights and environmental abuses; and,
- Erodes the ability of working families to secure quality health care by taxing their employer -provided coverage for both active and retired workers.

But this isn’t just about her using unions to claim she’s pro-worker, she also uses her husband’s Native American ancestry, while still dissing Native Americans:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin routinely notes her husband's Yup'ik Eskimo roots. But those connections haven't erased doubts about her in a community long slighted by the white settlers who flocked to Alaska and dominate its government.

Since she took office in 2006, many Alaska Natives say they've felt ignored when she made appointments to her administration, sided with sporting interests over Native hunting rights and pursued a lawsuit that Natives say seeks to undermine their ancient traditions.

And if you thought Troopergate was just about firing her ex-brother-in-law or the rape kit funding that Monegan was pursuing, think again:

When Palin this summer fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, a Native, she replaced him with a non-Native. His successor resigned after 10 days on the job, when a previously undisclosed reprimand that stemmed from a sexual harassment claim against him came to light.

The Monegan firing is the subject of two state investigations. Palin is accused of firing Monegan because he refused to fire her sister's former husband, a state trooper.

Two weeks after she was tapped as John McCain's running mate, Palin named a Native to Monegan's old position.

Despite her behavior toward the Native population, she continues to use her husband’s ancestry as if it excuses her behavior and links to her “outdoorsmanship”:

But the mother of Palin's husband, Todd, is a quarter Yup'ik Eskimo. Each summer, he heads to his birthplace in Western Alaska to work in the Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery.

Palin's family ties would suggest she would be more sensitive to Native issues, said Stephen Haycox, a University of Alaska Anchorage history professor. But in her 21-month tenure, the governor has used those ties mostly to highlight her experiences in commercial fishing, moose hunting and general outdoorsmanship.

"She has not manifested, so far, any extraordinary measures on behalf of Alaska Natives," Haycox said.

Alaska Inter-Tribal Council Chairman Mike Williams of Akiak said he's been seeking an audience with Palin to address tribal concerns ever since she was elected governor, but her staff keeps telling him that her schedule is full.

"She's so busy that she doesn't have time for the tribes. There needs to be respect and a dialogue," said Williams, who is also Yup'ik Eskimo.
This time of year, Williams is busy putting away meat, fish and berries for the winter — supplies that are critical to survival in cash-poor rural villages — and he said he wants to explain to Palin how increased pressures from sport hunting and fishing as well as oil and mining have eroded native hunting lands.

Tonight, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin debate. She will likely bring up again, her status as a member of the IBEW and her husband’s status as a member of USW, but I’m here to remind you that there is a difference between being a union member and being a UNION MEMBER.

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