Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sympathy for the devil, the line workers at GM

There has been a lot of disappointment in GM, cf., which gets directed at the Union, the UAW. I have a patient who served in Cambodia with the Army; then was traumatized by seeing blacks killed in Detroit in suppression of the 'MLK' riots. He was with the Army unit that participated in part in this. I won't go into his righteous heroism there, and the support of his black comrades for him here. He carried this with him into working 'the line at GM.' He was a tough guy, would walk 2 blocks on his hands. He saw a guy have a heart attack, fall out on the line, only to be dragged off, later reported dead; and the line never stopped. 'It would cost them $$$ to stop the line,' he said. His experiences at GM and probably those earlier led him, in my opinion, to feel 'the line' as near almighty and himself as nothing unless he supported 'the line.' By working hard he got himself to a spot on the line that he wanted. One day a cable that attached to a magnet on the vehicle door got wrapped around a fixed object as the line and the cable moved. He didn't run. The cable snapped and whipped him. It gave him spinal injuries. He is in chronic pain. He can no longer display feats of strength, doesn't have it. He can't work. GM is building some good cars; I plan to buy one next time I'm in the market. Maybe management will even let them stop 'the line.'