[OPE-L] The ("irrational"?) symbol of the inflatable rat, stateside

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Fri Apr 21 2006 - 15:36:30 EDT


They don't have them inflatable rats here in Holland. But then, "blowing"
has a somewhat different connotation here as well, among other things,
"blowing" is a Dutch term used for smoking marihuana. But people do know
what a "blow-up baby" or "blow-up doll" is and so on. We do have all kinds
of ludic actions, and bands etc.

But guess what, you reminded me to join the public service union. I wasn't a
member for some time, because I was out of work and out of pocket a while,
but I aim to rejoin (it's about 12 euro a month, but you can get quite a lot
of service for that if you need it). The other thing was, I read about the
terrible financial mismanagement of the secular union federation, and then I
thought, well if they cannot manage union finance properly, then they're
unlikely to be able to do much for wretchy old me either. But generally I am
pro-union, they've cleaned up the act, so I should make the effort. In the
euphoric job-hopping 1990s, the Dutch unions had a terrible time, but I
think there's more awareness again that they are necessary. I tend to think
if it hadn't been for the socialists, then there would be little left of the
secular union movement here. Generally, the socialists tend to take a more
long-term view of these things, beyond the moods and fashions of the moment.

"In March 2003 more than 1.9 million people in the Netherlands [[there were
6.8 million employed workers in 2005, in a population of 16.3 million - the
labour participation rate is a worry to some)  were members of a trade
union. The number of women members has risen by more than 40 percent since
1993, while the number of men fell by nearly 4 percent. In spite of this,
women still account for less than 30 percent of the membership. Young people
are showing [less?] interest in trade union membership, which means the
unions are ageing. The number of trade union members increased by 9 thousand
between March 2001 and March 2003. Ninety percent of the 1.9 million members
are members of a union that is affiliated to one of the big federations FNV,
CNV or MHP. The FNV is the largest federation by far, with more than 1.2
million members. The CNV and MHP are much smaller with 355 thousand and 169
thousand members respectively."


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