This Thursday, my mom is going in for back surgery. With her 12th and 13th vertebrae basically gone, it is her only option left to quell the excruciating pain she has suffered for years. It is a daunting experience for anyone not to mention expensive. With mom ineligible for disability and too young for Medicare, it could easily bankrupt her and dad.
Luckily, dad worked for John Deere for 31 years before retiring and belonged to UAW Local 838. Because of smart union stewardship, dad was able to retire with a respectable pension and lifetime health benefits. Without those benefits that he and the union worked so hard for, mom and dad would be looking at mountains of debt and the possibility of passing up the surgery.
Without the UAW, dad wouldn’t have his pension or the health benefits that will be used to help an incredible woman. John Deere came very close to bankruptcy during the 1980s, lowering its workforce by 10,000 at the Waterloo sites alone. But the union worked with the company while protecting the workers the union represented.
This is what unions provide: Peace of mind for when it is needed most. I find it extremely troubling that there are those who choose to demonize unions, representative of both private and public employees, instead of acknowledging their benefits to all.
I thank the UAW for helping to make sure that mom and dad don’t have to worry about the medical bills and can instead focus on her long, comfortable health.