Sometimes in our effort to stand tall in the midst of a sea of giants, we tend to pick out what and who we perceive to be our smallest and weakest.  This is why I chose to speak out about our inhumanity to one another. 

There was an incident that happened in my office that made me recognize the need to expose our mistreatment of one another as proof that the powers that be [the giants] have succeeded in their system of division and suppression of our minds and influence of our actions.  

A few years ago, the corporation that I work for(stating it’s name  is unnecessary because they all basically do the same things) advised us (it’s workers) that they would no longer supply us with bottled water.  Instead they put water fountains in the hallways.  They never took into consideration (perhaps they did but decided that the value of human life was not as valuable to them as the amount of money that they would save, similar to the strategy of BP) that we are two[2] and three[3] levels below ground and right next to the rebuilding of the World Trade Center Towers.  The constant smell of the Hudson River and when it rains the constant smell of the waste and the Hudson are obvious reminders that no matter how pretty they make it look, we are still in the bowels of Manhattan.  I said then that we should fight this decision.  Water is basic. Confidence in clean water is indispensable.  How would this change [in where we access our water from] alter how often we drank water?  Well no one wanted to take on this fight, instead we started a Water Club-purchasing our own water by contributing a certain amount (7 dollars for us) a month.  This seemingly went along okay for those who chose to participate.  For those who didn’t want to pay for their own water while they sat working on the corporation’s Property, talking to their customers until parched,  were never monitored as to how their water drinking habits were or were not altered and were never asked.  Not drinking enough water can become a medical problem for some.  I have never been much of a water drinker, but as I age, I understand that I must drink water so I chose to participate in the Water Club so that I could help keep something so essential to everyone that I worked with, essentially easy accessible to everyone.  For those who chose not to pay for something that they and I believe should have been supplied by the corporation, I concur,  and would never deny them access to the water that the Water Club kept in the office.  There was plenty of water, because all of those who paid for it could not drink it all. There were and are days that I forget or get so busy that I don’t get a chance to get water.  There are days that I am not there to get water.  And as I stated before, water is basic.  But for the days that I and others in the Water Club did not drink the water, no one came and offered nor did I request a rebate for those days.  In addition no one requested or charged any of the Water Club members,  including him,  any additional monies for those who drank water and were not a member of the Water Club.  The fee was still 7 dollars[$7.00] a month.     

Just as with BP, a crisis occurred, a flood happened, water from the Hudson and raw sewage water rained down from the ceilings.  Just like BP, the managers bought in fans and said the next day it was safe to return.  Four days later (fans still blowing) we found it was not safe.  Bacteria from raw sewage (being constantly blown) was in the air.  All those who were drinking from the exposed water fountain were getting additional risks of contamination.  We were moved to another floor until the clean-up was completed.

But in the midst of the crisis we somehow managed to gain a Water Police.  We didn’t have an election nor was there a notice posted.  He decided we needed one and he had the best qualifications for the job-PETTINESS.  This is a person who never challenged the decision made by the corporation, but wants to police who is a member of the Water Club and do they really deserve to get a cup of water.  This is a person who is not a steward where he can monitor what management does,  but quickly became adept at monitoring his fellow union members drinking of what became his water. 

When we step out of humanity into acting inhumanly, nostrils flaring with indignation at the revelation that I hadn’t paid for water since November(because the collector hadn’t collected yet as they have always done with me), that I was stealing water and threatened to call Security on me.  In doing so he is also assuming that when the collector collects, that I would refuse to pay or that the collector had complicity in my stealing water.  I then realized that he had a hole in his soul.  He wanted to bend me to his will and when he couldn’t, he threatened me with a report to Security.  Me who he had nothing to gain from, I don’t employ him, I don’t pay him, give him benefits or job security, but he chose me to challenge.  I can’t offer him a pension, medical benefits or any retirement packages, but he chose to challenge me because he saw me as small and weak and decided that is where his attack should take place not with the corporation who denied him conveniently accessible water.

I am here to tell you that we have a much bigger task at hand.  For when he chose me to fight, I who am his sister in union, I who could and would stand up for him and union, he showed me that he had no commonality with me.  He chose to disrespect and abuse me as if I were the enemy.  I realized that my job as a union member and our purpose as union members has not been defined, nurtured, and implemented in a way that serves our cause. I who wanted the corporation to not only give me clean and safe water while I am doing their work, but him also.  I know that I deserve to be treated with respect because not only am I a human being but I am an American citizen as he is also,  living under the American Constitution.   In the Preamble to the Constitution  it states in order to promote the general welfare to ourselves(we the people).  That general welfare to me includes clean and easily accessable water for him and I and anyone who is there doing a job.  If  7 dollars[$7.00] is a hardship for him while working for this corporation or any employer, I am not the problem.  The Preamble to the Constitution speaks about securing our Liberty and Prosperity.  We have work to do.

If we do not understand as of yet that we are our brother’s keeper, we have a lot of work to do…. so let’s get started.


  1. Let me get this straight..You are now personally trashing the water police because you see people are defending him. Next time DO NOT blog about STEALING!!!

    • No, you did not really get it straight…no theft took place; there is no reason for anyone to steal water. You are relying on sound bites (as so many do), possibly you should check the facts with the original person who started the water collection, before drawing such damaging conclusions. But most importantly, it is so sad that after this website has been up for over 6 months, this is the only thing that gets your goat. I will not engage in this juvenile ranting about water, but applaud the author for bringing intelligent articles and issues about the state of unions in the present workforce. I sincerely hope you continue to blog, but please use this blog to spread the word about union issues.

      • Logical Thinking

        1st – There IS a theft that took place.
        … If you refuse to pay a monthly water-club membership fee, and STILL take water — IT’S STEALING !

        2nd – If you haven’t paid in 7 months, and claim that you are ” doing a lot of other things and that my mind was full ” — and yet, you’re still taking water — IT’S STEALING !

        Does a gym let you use their equipment, if you haven’t paid their membership fees in 7 months?
        Does Costco let you purchase anything if you haven’t paid their membership fees in 7 months?

        What is it that you don’t understand? How much clearer can people be ? It’s not Rocket Science we’re dealing with here. It’s basic logistics.


        And Yes, this does “get people’s goat” because the AUTHOR of this article fails to realize common sense, fails to respect the fact that a water-club has its paying members, and fails to respect the club’s paying members !

        Show some class & Show some respect to your co-workers!
        PAY then drink! It can’t get ANY simpler than that!

  2. I see the race card has now been played. Just for your information, the water police came to me to pay up, I am a White Male.

    According to the water police response, you owe $63 that means you have not paid in 9 months. How can you forget to pay? I am sure you do not forget to pay your rent, gas and electric every month!

    I am sure the water police went over to the person in charge of the water, before came to your, to confirm you have not paid (that is what he did to me). Obviously that person said you have not paid, and did not say anything to him about any special arrangement you made.

    There 3 sides to this story.. yours, his and the truth.

  3. Hello Again,

    I think you should remove this article (and all its comments) from your website. You’re now criticizing people’s comments & and you’re making yourself look even WORSE with all your psychobabble & metephoric terms.
    Is it petty that the water police & its paying members have a problem with you taking water, even though you havent paid (a measly $7/month) ??? — probably…
    What makes it MORE petty is the fact that you’re still refusing to pay, and criticizing the current PAYING members on YOUR WEBSITE, as if to say, ” What the hell is your major problem????”

    The bottom line is, you’re taking your co-workers for granted & now you have a problem with it because they called you out on it.
    Look — We all get the idea you’re generous & contribute whatever you can. Thats Great! Fantastic! Again — it’s a fact you DO NOT NEED to throw back in our faces.

    I really don’t think we need to spell this all out to you in layman’s terms.

    What you’re doing is STEALING and writing or blogging about it cannot cover it up!

    RESPECT your fellow co-workers!

  4. Steve
    This is all the more reason for the membership to get INFORMED, EDUCATED AND MOTIVATED. Can you explain how a few could rule so many? The membership should NEVER mistreat another member on anyone’s say so. If any of the ELECTED officers are acting in an arbitrary manner, the member or members should speak out against it. Corruption within any organization only benefits the corruptor and cripples the organization. We need to learn that when we get greedy for money, power or both, we always get less than what we could have if every one worked as a unit. You not only get less, but you degrade the value of and eventually destroy the organization. Anyone that follows an order to inflict harm, whether verbal or physical to another member has a weak mind and does not understand that they are in good standing with that person only as long as they do what they are told. They are a slave. They don’t understand that the person or persons giving them the orders sees them as inferior and are using them for their own distorted view of things. The elected officers of the locals can come to believe that HE is shrewd and that makes him powerful. He doesn’t understand that his power comes from his members (consent of the governed) and somehow the members don’t understand that either. The many get intimidated by the few instead of standing together to protect one another. That’s where your power is.
    All of us are diminished by the selfish and ignorant actions of a few in groups that we are a part of and support. This is why we must be forever vigil. The union belongs to us and we must make sure that it is a proper representation of who we are. For as history has and still teaches us, it can be our ENEMY or our ALLY. If we allow corruption and greed to become a menace to OUR union, then we haven’t done what we were supposed to do as members and we have to FIX IT. We can only do that when we have the same goal and purpose.

  5. Kevin Baynes, Bill Marshall and others:

    When we settle for what they expect, that is exactly what we get. Thank goodness that there were people like me who fought and walked that picket line because we did NOT accept their expectations. It is because we fought that you are sitting at that desk working, in these hard economic times, while others were laid off. It is because we said NO, that you have healthcare benefits and a pension. It is because we knew that we deserved better and did something about it, that you are making the salary that you make and are being paid overtime, instead of minimum wage with no over time. Remember the Amish Market workers? Remember that they just re-instated unemployment, after denying it to the millions who needed it, simply because they felt that after being used to making a certain salary, people were not taking the low paying jobs that are now available to them. These staples are under attack, your benefits, your pension, your social security, your wages and your job security. Is that expected also? I can leave with all of the above intact, can you? Yet I am willing to fight for you. In the meantime while the company has stop giving you trusted water, their profits for this quarter are as follows: $9.8 billion in cash flow from operations during 2Q 2010, up 29.8 percent from 2Q 2009; $5.5 billion in free cash flow (non-GAAP), up 76.7 percent.
    We must understand that our democracy cannot survive without the middle class. Union is what created and maintained the middle class, and we are being assaulted each and every day. When they get us out of the way, they will have total control of our economy and our government.,GSPC,SPY,MCD,WMT,XRT,DIA
    We have been reduced to fewer than 7% of the work force. We are in dire straights and need to be unified, educated and motivated in order to be able to stop the onslaught. The unnecessary disparaging of someone’s character is a diversion of the issues that we need to be focused on and on one accord with. Divisiveness can only be a feather in THEIR cap and cancerous to us.

  6. I’m excited to see that you guys finally found something on this site that you found important enough to comment on. However I want you to have all the facts when you give your heartfelt opinion.
    First of all, I never owed any of the members of the water club except ______ (the person in charge). When she first approached me about joining the water club, I then told her that I would not remember to come and see her each time about the payment because I was and am doing a lot of other things and that my mind was full (active with outside organizations, just went to D.C. and spoke with my senators). She told me that it was okay, that she would come to me to collect. When she doesn’t get the chance to collect from me because of her new added duties, and she needs to order water, she puts my share in and will come to me for HER MONEY when she gets a chance. She does this because she is very very busy now, and she knows the kind of person that I am (very charitable). She knows that whenever an envelope is circulated for collection for anyone (usually by her), I do not hesitate to put in at the minimum $10.00 (when I haven’t gotten to the ATM yet) but most of the time it is $20.00 or more, including the one for the water police when he got married. I was fairly new, didn’t know him very well but I still gave. I never say no. That is certainly more than I can say for him. I am also the person who has been giving the retirees a party when they leave. The members usually will act as though the person is going on vacation instead of retiring. So I plan and collect for the party to let them know that we do care and appreciate them and their service. And simply that it was nice knowing them. If I don’t collect enough (some people don’t like to pay what they consider too much and some just can’t afford it) I will make up the difference in the amount + the cost of my ticket so that they can have a nice party and a gift. I am also the person that together with my Chief Steward, who contributed the refreshments for Movie Night at our local. We show documentaries that inform and teach about issues that are important to our lives and what we can and should do as Union. Perhaps had a few more attended, they would not be wasting their time and energy on trying to slander people for drinking a cup of water.
    I believe that the problem is his approach. I bent over to get water and he planted himself behind me so closely that when I straightened up, I had to step to the side just to turn. He then demanded to know with presumption “are you a member of the water club”? My response to him was “are you”? This seemed to make him even more irate and he shouted “are you a member”? I then dismissively told him to “go ask ______ (the person in charge). I then went to break. Over an hour later, working without noticing his approach, he then shoved something in my face so close that I had to back up to see what it was. And he shouted with all the venom that he could muster, “I asked ______ and she said you haven’t paid since November. Now do you want to join the water club”? Now he’s distorting the facts to make it more legitimate that he is standing at my desk with a sticky shoved in my face saying I haven’t paid since November. The person in charge DID NOT tell him who owes what….I am the FOURTH black female that he has done this to and also a black manager. Each time, finding it silly, she told him to check the list, she was busy. She advised me that the list has not been updated because we were displaced for months, because of the flood, and she is very busy. As soon as she updates, someone pays and then she has to do it again and she doesn’t have time to keep updating so she holds the money and updates when she can. One of the other females that he did this to was told to get the water by someone who is paid up for the year but NEVER drinks the water because he brings his own big frozen bottle. But none the less, she was treated in the same contemptible manner. She advised me that she might have joined had he not spoken to her with such hatefulness and disrespect. The manager had just come back from a 2 week vacation. He filled up his jug and went out. When he returned, strategically placed declarations of his thievery, were placed about the office. He then went to the person in charge, paid the 2 weeks owed and dropped out of the water club.
    I am very sure that he would not like anyone to approach him in that manner for any reason. Had he walked up on any male in this office and did what he did to the females need I say what the results might have been? It seems that he is under the assumption that black people in this office needs to be watched, because they steal. I buy candy and put it out on my desk so that anyone has access to it and is welcome to it. When I come in each and every day, I say good morning to everyone and I say it with a smile. When he comes over to my section, I always ask him how he is doing that day. I don’t know why he would speak to me in such an agitated manner. There are those who would say he is stealing when he collects a check each week for a job title that he cannot do, so the thieving females pick up his slack while he sends out silly cartoons and police water drinkers. But we would never be so mean and contemptuous to say that to anyone, especially over a cup of water. And for those who still believe that anyone owing the water club, which I did not, should be a target of a members rage and belittling, when he/she has not been asked kindly to catch up, then there is a hole in their sole. If he felt the water in the hall was safe to drink, I can assure you that HE would not spend a dime for the water club. He would be drinking the water in the hall. So if he thinks that you have not paid the full bill, he is banishing you to unsafe water? What kind of person is that? Everyone deserves respect and a chance to correct the facts BEFORE they are attacked, not during the attack.

  7. Someone told me to check this out….I see this is not a union site….a waste of my time…….

    • Teisha,
      Give the website another try, there are some really well written, interesting articles on it. Do not let the nonsense keep you from some of the really informative issues.

  8. How would you feel if I took your personal stuff from your desk, you would say I am stealing. That is what you are doing to your fellow workers! They paid for the water out of thier own pockets.

    I see this blogger on this website, is trying to be a leader. I personally would not follow a thief.

  9. Mr. D. Hydrated

    First of all, who wrote this lame diatribe? Second of all, who is the thief? Third of all, who is the water police? I want to give “him” a medal for stepping up and confronting the thieves. How many people stand by and watch a crime commited and do nothing? That, dear friend, is what’s wrong with society. Bravo to anyone who confronts and stands up to what is right. And you can write all the crap you want to try and justify a wrong doing but in the end if you take what you haven’t paid for you are a theif.

  10. All these metaphors & references to recent news topics, because you refuse to pay or become a member of the water club is QUITE COMICAL !!

    Never in my life have I seen an individual try so hard to convince a union-brother/sister-hood that a “WATER CLUB ” is inhumane LOL

    Perhaps you’re missing the point. Regardless of WHO organized a “Water Club” , whether it be union members or management, the bottom line is — IF YOU HAVENT PAID, THEN IT’S CONSIDERED STEALING !!!!

    Its not about union-busting, cruel inhumanity, etc., etc., etc. Its about BEING A HUMAN BEING and realizing that if you haven’t paid for something, then you’re NOT entitled it!

    If you feel so strongly about this, then why aren’t you outside protesting to the Poland Spring delivery-man about how its “inhumane” that they could charge us for all those jugs of clean, purified water they bring to the building every 3 weeks? Better yet, lets form a rally and take this to congress to protest that every human being deserves FREE & clean bottled water.

    I do in fact have one question for you — Do you feel it’s right that you could walk into any supermarket or convenience store, take bottles of water, then walk out because you feel you’re ENTITLED to cleaner water? NEITHER DO I !!!
    And why is that? ITS CONSIDERED STEALING !!!!

    Honestly, this website has the potential to be very knowledgeable and quite helpful to a lot of union members, but I’m sorry — This blog is nothing more than a bunch of BS with fancy words on how you want to get out of paying for bottled water. It’s quite petty! In my opinion — makes you look CHEAP !

    Respect your co-workers and respect the fact that they’ve formed a “paying-members” Water Club.

    No one is denying your Water Club membership what so ever — PAY like everyone else in the club does, and enjoy all the clean, purified water your little heart desires. =)

    Don’t feel like paying? Then there are plenty of water fountains & sinks in the building that provide you with FREE water !

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