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Minutes: The One with the Unions

April 1, 2013

President David Velarde called the meeting to order.

It’s Joe day!

Invocation: Andy “Joe” Doerr
Flag Salute: Dana “Joe” Goba
Raffle: Steve “Joe” Kalley had a certificate for kayaking at Lake Casitas and a haircut and head massage.  Bill “Joe” Abel and Gary “Joe” Jensen were winners.

Visiting Rotarians: Johannes Beverungen
Guests: Daniel Ramirez,  Maddie Hunkele, Dana Litton, Victoria Gower, Nelson Lichtenstein


  • Group 8 Zoo Day will be at the Santa Barbara Zoo on May 3 beginning at 4 PM.
  • Golf tournament: Monday, May 20 is the golf tournament this year. The new brochure will go to press next week.  Please start asking potential players and seek silent auction items.
  • Dental Clinic: We are signing up to participate in the Free Dental Clinic on April 19.  Rotarians will be teaching dental hygiene in two-hour shifts.  Training will be provided on Thursday, April 18 from 5 – 5:30 PM.
  • Rotary clubs in New Jersey acknowledged the donation from our club for assistance with Hurricane Sandy.
  • International project: We have a $9,400 project where our club is contributing funding along with some other clubs for a hands-on project in July.  A District grant will augment clubs donations.  We will learn more about this project.
  • Mentoring program: The program is doing very well.  The students in the Guardian Scholars program are participating in the senior life stories project.  The students are interviewing the seniors and the stories will be uploaded on YouTube.
  • Annual contributions: For individuals who have not yet made their Rotary contributions, please put it in an envelope and give it to Janet Napier.
  • Interact student: Maddie Hunkele, a visiting Interact student from Oregon, spoke about some of their club’s projects.
  • Potential Rotary Leadership Seminars (PRLS): The master public speaking course is well represented by members in our club.  Daniel Ramirez, a spouse of a Rotarian, took the training and received a certificate of completion this morning.
  • Chris Baxter was recognized as a multiple Paul Harris fellow.

Program: Dr. Nelson Lichtenstein speaks about unions

  • Unions are voluntary organizations.
  • They have been in place for about 200 years.  The modern trade union movement began in the 1930s.  This was a time when government was small and unions were a way to raise purchasing power.  Unions were also seen as a way of helping to democratize the nation.
  • Unions are weak in numbers and political influence today.  1 of every 8 Americans are in unions.  Membership is lower than any time since 1925.
  • Walmart is the biggest private employer in the U.S.  There are no unions in Walmart.  Walmart is setting the wage standard.
  • We do not have strikes in America anymore.  That is a big shift in this country.
  • Why are unions declining?  Globalization is an argument that was put forward 20 – 30 years ago.  Today most people don’t work in manufacturing, but in service in this country.  The smaller unions get, the more they are disliked.  Unions assure a more predictable life at work (e.g. defined benefits).  There is a resentment that is generated by those who don’t have the defined benefits.  There is also an ideological view that the market is the best driver of growth, unions fight the market.  Entrepreneurs are highly valued in our society today, more so than security.
  • Unions are perceived as corrupt.  The financial climate today has also impacted the view of unions.
  • Dr. Zichtenstein is in favor of unions, especially for workers at the low end of the wage spectrum.  Increasing wages for those at the bottom end of the spectrum will not change with new tax policy.
  • In honor of the speaker, 15 dictionaries will be donated to 3rd graders in his name.
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