union politics 101

i get so far away from home at events like this – trapped in a hotel for three days stretched into infinity, free liquor and all the poor male behaviour that goes on with that – you lose perspective at convention, what with all day meetings and a lack of sober sleep so that every small slight becomes a federal case and you can see the meanness in people, the desparation for company, the need to be accepted.

and what of that need to be accepted? i certainly want to be part of the *in* clique in my union – while at the same time wanting nothing to do with the male-dominated power politics that seem to be de rigueur here. just to highlight how gender imbalanced it is – only one of our convention committees (which have between 8-10 members) as more than one woman on it. the room is a virtual sea of white faces, mostly male… and there are men who still laugh (though carefully, privately) when the issue of equal representation is brought up (“women aren’t interested in union politics in my workplace” i keep hearing)….

now of course there are other factors at play – 1) is that women can play the same shitty games as men, though they tend to do it in a different way and alcohol doesn’t play so great a part, and 2) there are of course some really excellent people here two – a couple from my region who i have gotten to know bit by bit and really am enjoying hanging out with (none of us are really involved in the power politicking… so that helps)

so it’s not all miserable – but it is alien to me… and the need to be *on* and upright and smiling and friendly every minute i interact with people (even people i can’t stand, or who are sliming me) – wears me out. being a shop stewart is about a million times better than being a union politician – but if i want to run for my local presidency next year (and i do) then this is what i have to do.

and now for my favourite line from the last couple of days (and why i love working with environmental workers…)
person 1 (pollution control specialist): without adequate legislation, how are you going to protect your groundwater supply from contaminants?
person 2 (hydrographer): simple – with a sniper rifle


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