A Deeper Look at the Western Service Workers' Association
by B.J. Delas Armas
on 5/17/2003 05:07:00 PM
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Cross that last spiteful post about Western Service Workers' Association out ! Don't take that into your minds !
Take this post in !
OK so last time I exaggerated millionfold. I fucked up majorly, Shaq-style.
Let me just say that even though those who work for the Western Service Workers' Association may not be the most affable people in the world, I respect them for going balls out from 9A-9P EVERY. . .FUCKIN'. . .DAY. . .just for the cause of severely underpaid service workers (fast fooders, farmers). I was wrong for neglecting to look at where they came from and attacking them on this blog space of mine based on my own selfish bad experience. I failed to look at things in context because I just wanted to write something.
Today, Erwin, Jenny, Raj, (Community Activism group) and I along with about seven other Western Service Workers walked into these "shotgun" (three rooms in a row) apartments with roads consisting of rocks, mud, and puddles in a little farming town of Pajaro. They carried a strong belief in the Lady of Guadalupe, cars, and television but none for any form of organization. I thought that they thought, "who are these young, privileged, college kids to tell us what we need ?" But that initial reaction lasted all of 2 minutes, and so it goes that as long as we can help them, they can be happy. We walked in and listened to stories about how a man supporting his family got fired because of an injury, or how a woman in a house the size of 2 dorm rooms owed $6,000 because she couldn't keep up with house payments. No one's there to stand up for them.
Except for Western Service Workers Association. Western Service Workers Association is an extremely unique organization. It provides all unionized benefits like health care, legal service, food and clothing to those who can't join unions. They keep the integrity of the workers by simply giving them a hand with material needs, rather than giving them handouts. They're not officially a union so that they don't get the workers in trouble, and should the workers get in trouble, the whole organization will shoulder the blame. But they avoid too much publicization so as to avoid as much legal trouble as possible. Membership fee is 62 cents a month and $7.44 a year or whatever they can give, yet the residents are extremely strapped that they barely commit money even though they seem really engaged. Sound all good right ?
And I haven't even gotten to the most important thing.
The most important Western Service Association provides those service workers is protection so that they won't get screwed by the big guys. These residents don't want to get fired because a lot of them have young mouths to feed. They've got bills to pay.
So basically, Western Service Workers puts its neck on the line for people who may not be able to help them down the line. . .and I respect that. You should too.
Labels: Activating the Community