I got the news about Fox running an anti-UAW story about the union's purchase and running of a training facility called Black Lake. It really didn't rate high up on my radar because not only is it not news, it's really just a distraction at best. But you know how the right wing is, all a twitter with negativity when it comes to working folks and their unions. So, Nathan Newman wrote a DKos diary on it and damned if it didn't make me take a minute to take note:
Essentially, local union leaders and activists are asked to use a week of vacation to sit in union training sessions for a week; in exchange, the union covers lodging and food costs and keeps their kids entertained. The union, like every union, has an ongoing need to train its activists, most of whom are volunteers, and Black Lake is used as an attractive venue to provide that education and build that sense of solidarity among members. How many venues exist for training people in labor values while providing a day camp for their kids? The cost in the open market is no doubt many multiples of what the UAW has spent on Black Lake in the last few years.
This newest attack on the UAW is a basic attack on the idea that unions should be able to engage in the kind of staff training and community building that is common with every other institution in the world that holds conferences and retreats in this world. In fact, we have cities and states subsidizing the building of massive convention centers for business meetings around the country on top of the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on conventions. Yet the few million spent by the UAW on its training meetings is actually worth column space?
He's spot on, you really need to head over and read about Black Lake and get a feel for why it's important to provide these sorts of training sessions, it was a real education for me. You know, I think it actually made me care about the topic.