Who: Sallie Caufield
What: Opinions and some junk
When: Whenever I have to scratch an itch
1. The Title: I'm a member of CUPE. So, why isn't the title "CUPE Doll"? There are enough CUPE blogs out there for affiliated locals; this ain't one of them. I am a member, but my opinions do not necessarily toe the party line. I believe in solidarity, but I am old school with an idealised notion of what that means. My definition of unionism, solidarity and all those lovely labour movement buzz words tends to the old-fashioned,original grassroots trade unionism variety.
Somewhere out there, a "CUPE Doll" already exists. She doesn't have a blog, but she may one day. Unfortunately, when I searched for a blogger address, "qpdoll" was taken. So, I defaulted. Sorry, CUPE Doll, whoever you are.
Since I am a fan of Latin,QP has remarkable potential.
For the "Q": "Quid" (this); "Quasi" (as if, just as); "Quod" (but, now, because, whereas).
For "P": "Puto" (to clear, consider, think, believe, suppose, judge); "Presto" (perform, display, fulfill, offer, present); "Perdo" (ruin, waste); "Pendo" (value, consider, judge, esteem); "Proficio" (assist, help, aid).
So, at any point in time, the QP may stand for Quid Perdo or Quod Pendo or Quasi Puto or any other combination. Labels are open to interpretation and change in nearly every context, including this one.
2. The Blog: Years ago, I attended a series of weekend workshops on Women in the Union. Basically, where the heck were they all? Women make up a huge percentage of CUPE, but are under-represented at higher levels. CUPE National created a task force to investigate and make recommendations.
I didn't feel it applied to me. I didn't feel marginalised or excluded and counted myself lucky to be surrounded by labour brothers who seemed immune to such nonsense. They supported and encouraged my efforts and I shunned the notion that this could ever change. "Old Boys Club"? Pffft!
I was wrong, of course. Interpersonal dynamics in a political environment can change on a dime; blocs form and close ranks without warning. That is the nature of the beast.
Men lead differently from women. They process and react to threats differently, too. There are exceptions, of course, but they are far more rare than I'd imagined.
In any political situation, women are often encouraged to "act like a man", but when we do, we may find ourselves suddenly outcast. Men may say they like a strong woman or want you to act as they do, but a step too far into their world may constitute an unintended threat; or you may have given a strong, honest, differing opinion when it wasn't what tHEy wanted to hear; or perhaps you expected fair and equitable treatment across the board at precisely the wrong moment.
Whatever the case, suddenly the phrase "she brought it on herself" is applied to questions about your sudden disappearance from the Table and you may as well tie a bell around your neck to warn others to stay away, because they will do all they can to keep you and yours out of active participation despite your years of service to the cause.
Yes, it's wrong and it is counter to all the union movement stands for, but like any system of beliefs, those who pay lip service outnumber those who do not. This is not unique to human experience, alas.
But I DO believe.
When abuses by priests started coming to light, I didn't stop being a Catholic -- my faith wasn't in the priests or even the Church itself, but in the Catholic interpretation of God. (Generally speaking, of course. My mother and I have many lively discussions about my being too tolerant, but that's another post. Perhaps.)
Just as my faith in God was not altered by the actions of representatives, my faith in the labour movement has not been altered. The speed bumps may have slowed me down, but I'm still moving forward.
Before I was cast out, I did not blog. When you are an active participant in a group, consensus is necessary. I held my tongue more often than I am proud of in order to present a unified front for the good of the membership. I allowed the continuation of practices I did not agree with in the interests of maintaining a strong leadership to serve the greatest needs.
Unfettered now, I can state my beliefs and opinions openly. When you are voted off the island, they no longer control you.
This is my island. I have the talking stick, tho' I am willing to share.
Discover hope, all ye who enter here.