An appropriate and all-too-rare acknowledgment of the importance of labor unions was published today in the Rock Hill Herald:
Read and think on…if you are in a work place that could use a union, join one. If there is a labor council in your area, get involved.
South Carolina American Federation of Labor: http://sc.aflcio.org
SC AFL-CIO on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SCAFLCIO
When Marc McQuillen is not working at the General Motors’ plant on Westinghouse Boulevard in south Charlotte, you can often find him at his Rock Hill home growing roses, or cycling through downtown, or caring for his 91-year-old mother, Isabelle. He volunteers his free time to causes as diverse as the Second Harvest Food Bank and efforts to allow Sunday alcohol sales in York County.
When Tom Ayers is not at work at the Abitibi-Bowater plant in Catawba, you can find him volunteering his time with Scout Troop 132. He has also been a volunteer firefighter and teacher at York Technical College.
“Whenever someone is in need, I try to help them,” he said.
When Bill Wise is not at work at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, you will likely find him outdoors, camping with his family or in the forest hunting, particularly from October to January when it is black powder hunting season.
Today, like most people, they will be celebrating Labor Day.
They are regular guys, your neighbors, the people you see at church or at school or in the line at the grocery store.
But unlike for most people, Labor Day is not just a way to mark the end of summer. McQuillen, Ayers and Wise will stand with pride today, marking the holiday’s roots as a day to honor labor unions.
McQuillen, Ayers and Wise are not only union members. They also are, or have been, local union presidents, representing, respectively, local employees for the United Automobile Workers, United Steelworkers and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
Their union jobs don’t come with big paychecks or perks.
McQuillen serves without pay as president of Local 2404 Amalgamated at the GM site, which distributes replacement parts to more than 700 General Motors dealers.
Ayers served as the president for the maintenance union at Abitibi-Bowater for 12 years before stepping aside this year as he nears retirement. The president of Local 9-925 makes $200 a month.
“You might as well be unpaid because of the amount of time involved,” he said.
Wise is not only president of Local 1725 at the airport, but also is the president of the Catawba Central Labor Council, a group composed of union workers and their local stretching from east of Spartanburg to Florence to Winnsboro and all of York County – between 12,000 and 13,000 workers.
Combined they have almost 100 years of union member experience. Each said having unions in York County and the region makes the economy stronger for all workers.
The presence of unions, they said, helps increase local wages, makes sure people are fairly treated and compensated and helps keep companies operating.