I had a dream that I was a film actor. We did not have a union. One day, somebody made us be in a highly unpleasant movie. The director spoke to us only over loudspeaker. It was a war movie and they didn’t have money for special effects, so the bombs and the guns were real!
They started the shoot, and we all did nothing – paralyzed by fear. The director cut in and said that if we didn’t start shooting, he was going to have to activate random bombs all over the floor.
We threw down our weapons and went on strike. No way! This is not what it should be like to make movies, yo! Right then and there, we formed a union. They elected me the steward.
Flash Forward! It’s a couple years later. Our union decided that its goal was to support its members in the best way possible. We decided that film was not the best industry for us to be in. Rather than work to make the best for ourselves in an unfit industry, we transitioned the focus. We took our dues money and bought a bar and operated it. (btw, this is not an international-sized union. This is like one shop’s worth of people).
I was still the steward. At this point, it’s like being the facilitator of meetings and secretary and stuff.
But I had a terrible secret. I knew who it was that had put us up to that movie that time. It was an actual demon from hell! How do I know this? Because I’d not known a moment’s peace since that day. My dreams were plagued with horrible, foul things. Things no man should see. Each night, this demon demanded that I disband the union and give the it what belonged to it, and what was denied to it that day.
Of course, who would believe me that our union was plagued by a demon? Better to keep my mouth shut. Besides, if I told them about the demon, they would have to suffer with this knowledge as well. As it was, the demon haunted only me. I felt that it was my role as steward to shield them from this evil. And so, I was an empty shell of a person.
Finally, one day, when the demon was haunting me, tormenting me, threatening me, I broke down. I told the demon that I would de-certify the union if it would stop tormenting me. The demon agreed, and gave me some peace.
Of course, I could not enjoy this peace, because I knew that I had sold out my friends. I knew that this was a false peace, because we were now all exposed to his torments, with no recourse.
With a heavy heart, I drove in to work.
But on the way, I had a thought: What I said to that demon meant nothing! I can’t personally de-certify the union. That’s something that everybody would have to decide together. I’m just a steward. That doesn’t mean I have personal decision-making power. So, to stop this cataclysm, all I’d have to do is not tell anybody what had happened, and it wouldn’t have happened.
I got to work. The night manager (who I was relieving) met me. “Oh man,” he said. “You’ll never believe what just happened. There was this demon here, telling us that it owned us and that you had decertified the union. Of course, we fought it and won. Whaddya know?”
I was stunned. That’s all it took? I had borne this burden alone and in silence all these years, and the defeat of the demon was this easy?