Nov. 20, 2020

Don Crosatto - IAM

Don Crosatto - IAM

In this episode of Unionist, Don Crosatto, the Assistant Directing Business Representative of IAM District 190 talks about the IAM, this political cycle, football, and the Spanish Flu.

Episode Drops:

IAM District 190

In this episode of Unionist, Don Crosatto, the Assistant Directing Business Representative of IAM District 190 talks about the IAM, this political cycle, football, and the Spanish Flu.

Episode Drops:

IAM District 190

Unionist is hosted by Phil Ybarrolaza in Oakland, CA.
This episode was recorded at the IAM District 190 in Oakland California..
Unionist is a proud member of the Podifornia ( podcast network.


Don Crosatto



  Phil: So Don Crosatto, what's your title? 

Don: Uh, assistant directing business representative for machinists district one 90 of Northern Califia 

Phil: and the district. What's the breakdown on the district compare to that. 

Don: Uh, so the machinists are they, we still use this 19th century terminology. Cause that's we go, 

Phil: I'm a teamster and we have the similar structures, but different names.

Don: Yeah. So it's, it's all this Masonic stuff that goes back to the 19th century, but, uh, So district lodges are generally wide geographies. Locals are locals. Um, so most of the area director for local 1546, which is, uh, Oakland and Richmond, San Pablo and country Costa 

Phil: County. Gotcha. Yeah. How, how long have you been doing it?

Don: A bit area director. Now this is year 20, actually last month started year 20 year 21. Pardon me? 

Phil: Jesus. Yeah, I know. 

Don: A lot of punishment, 

Phil: but you weren't a gear head. Like a lot of these guys. 


Don: No, I'm not. I came into this, I came into this through politics actually, which is kind of weird. I was a machinist lobbyists, one of the two lobbyists in Sacramento, but working out of this office here in Oakland and, um, Mike Day, who was the area director at the time, saw something in me that I didn't see in myself at the time said, you know, I think he'd be a good organizer.

Phil: How old were you? 27. Yeah. Wow. 

Don: And, uh, Thought about it. And at those days, if you remember those days, and you're not that much younger than me, um, the Democrats had a majority in the legislature. You had George Deukmejian as governor 

Phil: Duke, 

Don: so you'd have, um, so you'd propose all this. What we thought was good legislation.

It would pass you do all this work, passed the assembly, passed the Senate, get Senate, get vetoed. Hit the repeat button. And then the next year hit the repeat button again. And it's like, okay, three, four years of doing this. This is getting kind of tiresome. It's like, why are we bothering? I mean, it's none of this.

Stuff's going to get past. So I'd rather do something a little bit more practical. Um, 

Phil: now that, that was before the California. Initiative process, right? 

Don: Oh, no. He had initiatives 

Phil: has initiatives, but I mean the, where the general public could vote in. 

Don: Oh yeah. The initiative process goes back to like 1913.

That was one of the progressive reforms we've had them for literally over a hundred years. It seems like it's well, no, in fact, it's getting old 

Phil: in those days. 

Don: Um, You get, you know, you get to a certain age when you start thinking back in the day, uh, like an eighties, 87 or 88, we had props 59 61, something like that.

It was about, uh, putting CalOSHA back because Deukmejian had zeroed Cal OSHA out of the budget. And that was a big deal. Cause he had to go to federal OSHA. That was in the Reagan days. You're kidding. Gutted federal OSHA now. So he's zeroed him out of the budget and their budget at the time was a whopping.

I want to say it was like. 12 million bucks or something, but it was a really symbolic thing. So he put it on the, um, we, I mean the California labor Federation, all the unions got together, got it on the ballot and it passed overwhelmingly and reinstated Cal OSHA. And that was kind of the first time. 

Phil: And there it's been 

Don: in there.

It's been, since that was I think 88. 

Phil: Yeah, no, in my experience too, Cal OSHA is fantastic compared to the other guy 

Don: compared to the feds. I mean, 

Phil: nobody's perfect. 

Don: No, no, there's, there's a lot that could be done there, but, uh, 

Phil: are you happy that, uh, Trump lost. Yeah. Yeah, 

Don: yeah. To say the least, I mean, obviously it would have been nicer if, uh, you had a majority in the Senate because it's an again, there's a huge backlog of potentially progressive legislation that could be right.

Phil: Well, do you think that, cause obviously he's acting like a toddler. Um, but it just dawned on me, you know, which everybody else probably has already figured out, but he could tank Georgia. Yeah. And flip control of the Senate over to the Democrats. 

Don: If, if he really wants to throw a tantrum, that's a possibility.

I mean, 

Phil: to keep those, you know, to keep McConnell basically, because McConnell would, you know, 

Don: sit him dancing. Yeah. 

Phil: He would, you know, knife his own children too. 

Don: To stay in power 

Phil: and power. 

Don: Yeah. That could, that could be the ultimate FIU. Um, I don't it's it's if you look at the history of those Georgia elections though, cause they got this goofy January and it's always like right after new year's run off.

Right. And you know, it's typically it's the hardcore voters, which tend to be more conservative, conservative over votes. Oh folks, I've got nothing else to do with their time. They're the ones who will troop to the polls on like January 3rd, or I think it's January 5th this year, 

Phil: but still like Biden winning for us, for union people.

It's going to be a big difference. I mean, just looking 

Don: at the NLRB, the NLRB, I mean, although again, you got to remember in all our B appointments are for terms, so it's not like it's not like with the secretary of state. Okay. You go ahead and fire them immediately. Labor ward people. This was true. The first, the first year of the Trump administration, you know, we knew it was going to be bad, but the labor ward didn't do anything bad because it was still all the Obama holdovers as their terms expired.

They let them sit for awhile. And then they appointed like attorneys from littler, Mendelson, and Morgan Lewis and other wonderful law firms. But 

Phil: I thought they always left, like, like there's always been like a vacancy or two. 

Don: There's always a vacancy. 

Phil: Nobody appointed, 

Don: somebody will quit or whatever, but, uh, and there's, I think.

Two of them are up in calendar 2021. So probably by the end of 21, but again, you got to get somebody that's confirmed through the Senate. Sometimes they'll do a package. They say, all right, look, we'll give. And McConnell had done that deal with Obama and Schumer. We'll give you a, we'll give you your crappy management liar.

If you write our progressive lawyer in, we'll do a one for one, and there's always, cause I don't believe there's anything explicit in the statute. It's more by custom that it's it's, you know, You've got three from one party and two from the other 

Phil: God, the norms in the last three years, just seeing norms get decimated.


Don: Well that, that norm I read some, you know, it shows you how bored I get was reading some NLRB history. 

Phil: It's boring, it's 

Don: nerdy, it's nerdy or stupid or whatever. But anyway, apparently when they originally conceived of the board, the idea was that. It was not going to be this partisan thing where you'd have like pro union lawyers and management liars duking it out.

The idea was it was going to be maybe like nerdy, academic, labor, academic types, who would kind of come in and think about, okay, what's the best, you know, what's the best approach to solving these things. Labor law problem. 

Phil: Oh, that'd be nice. 

Don: Yeah. And apparently the first decade or two to of its existence, it was kind of like that.

Then it was like, Oh no, we got to get. People would kind of like the Supreme court, we got to get people thoroughly vetted. We know exactly how they're going to vote on controversial issues. And I mean, both sides have done it. 

Phil: Yes, sir. It's right. And it's funny, you know, just relating to that is how, you know, arbitrator, arbitrator selection has gotten so 

Don: right.


Phil: So politicized. Yeah. 

Don: Yeah. I mean, although again, the good arbitrators they leave you guessing they'll. You know, cause if you're an arbitrator, you know, if you're an arbitrary or the reputation, always ruling for management where the labor guys are gonna strike and vice versa. So you better throw some decisions.

Phil: But the funny part is the decisions right. In a perfect world and the world's far from perfect, but in a perfect world, it's the merits. And maybe they just got a lot of employer side cases or, 

Don: yeah, that's. That is possible. 

Phil: They get branded. 

Don: Yeah. But you got to think about it as nine times out of 10. It's the union bringing the arbitration.

Right. So it's usually, it's usually going to get terminated or a contract interpretation things. So, you know, more often than not, it's the union that's seeking the remedies. So if you're voting most of the time for the union, even though the merits may lie that way and they certainly don't always, but if.

Phil: Oh, I did send an arbitration over our friends over at the store here. 

Don: Sell Fords. 

Phil: Yeah. Yeah. 

Don: It was a wholesale victory. Really excellent. 

Phil: It was a really poor management decision. Okay. And they dug in, in a principle things get weird when people get principled. I know. Yep. But, um, yeah, no. So, I mean, what's going to happen.

Don: Do you want to talk about the election? Cause I have, since I got a forum here compound, so let it go. Here's a, here's an interesting thing on the 

Phil: election being the presidential national 

Don: thing in California. Oh, because there's been a little bit of gnashing of teeth. Um, Amongst the Democrats, they lost a couple of seats in orange County that they flipped two years ago.

And it's like, Oh, well, you know, Cal. And of course the affirmative action thing lost, which wasn't really surprising you saw. What was interesting to me was, um, none of the commentators have touched it. How much of the opposition came out of the Asian American community? Oh really? Yeah. I live on the peninsula, which is in some pretty heavily Asian.

American neighborhoods and you'd see all sorts of no on 16 signs and there was huge opposition. And 

Phil: so sometimes the 

Don: property tax. No, no, that was the affirmative action one. Oh, 

Phil: gotcha. Okay. Okay. 

Don: Um, so there's a lot of those and that, and the fact that 22 past 15, the property tax one lost, you have a couple of, of these demos that got elected in these formerly very red, orange County seats.

Like, well, you know, maybe California is starting to swing back. The other way is like, nah, um, Aye. I, again, doing the nerdy thing, go into the, go to, you can go to the secretary of state's website. It's all right at your fingertips. Right. And I'm looking at these results and it's like, okay, there's potentially, there's 53 congressmen in California.

There are, um, I think there were eight Republicans going in. It looks like they're going to flip to maybe even three seats 

Phil: in the state house, 

Don: not a state Congress 

Phil: for Congress. Oh, okay. So you're talking about like a 

Don: house of representatives, 

Phil: right. But I mean, who went down. 

Don: Uh, it was Harley Ruda who was in, uh, Southern orange County.

That was the old Dana Rohrabacher seat. And then Cox, TJ Cox in, uh, um, like, correct.  

Phil: Russia's favorite Congressmen's 

Don: yeah, he got defeated the last go round. Now he got beat by, uh, um, the guy who replaced him was a guy named Harley router. He got beat by, um, a woman on the orange County board of soups. Oh, okay.

And there's another seat in orange County, but I ain't looking at all the stats on this stuff. Of all the Republicans who were either winning or compete within arms length of winning the highest margin of victory in any of these seats is 58%. And that was Kevin McCarthy. And, and there was only one other guy over 55.

So the remaining like eight seats that they're either winning or on the verge of winning. 52 51 53. So if you're in and again, these seats are kind of, this is the, like the remaining sort of hardcore Republican parts of the state. Uh, if when, when Barbara Lee wins an election by like 54% of the vote against an underfunded Republic and an Alameda County, that would really be saying 

Phil: something right.

Don: Well, Nancy Polosi barely wins against the Republican in Sanford. That would really be saying, so you wouldn't, 

Phil: you would know this, like when you get to a lot of these States controlled with the re you know, Republican state legislatures, they're so heavily gerrymandered. Yeah. I mean, how bad were or lack there of, of Jeremy gerrymandering is there in California?

Don: Remember they got rid of it and, uh, I forget the prop number. It was like one, it was before they started reading. 

Phil: I remember cause my guy, they, they redrew the district. I live in completely. I think we're one now. 

Don: Yeah. So no, they, uh, after that, uh, and it was funny, the Democrats opposed it, but it was sort of one of those good government things.

Phil: You don't have a lot of congressional races that are like between 50 and 55. Yeah. 

Don: So, so they, the Democrats opposed a Pelosi and all these people, they threw money against a bit still passed and it was like, get rid of the gerrymander, have a, uh, objective body. Uh, 

Phil: Oh, so we're legit. 

Don: We're legit. These are legit districts.

So they, cause I was going to say if 

Phil: they're that close, 

Don: none of that. If you look at, if you look at the old maps from like 20 years ago, you'd have all these weird things that snaked in and out and bizarre crossing multiple key, you know, there's no connection. So there's a commission that there's an independent commission.

If you look at the districts now most of them make pretty good sense. They used to have to, to get some of the Democrats in the Valley competitive they'd like throw them over a Hill and pick up pieces of. Antioch or, or, you know, find a way to sneak it into South Sanders. There was a district was in Modesto and they had a figure, a way to get a piece of South San Jose into it to make it competitive.

And they don't do that stuff anymore. So these are like legit districts. 

Phil: So it's competitive, 

Don: it's competitive, which is how it should be. But then again, you look at if I'm, if I'm a Republican, I'm really, really nervous. You look at this, um, this is one district, um, That's the high desert Victorville, that area, that Eastern parts of SA, if you're going to map it's huge because it takes in like the whole, the Mojave desert and Inyo County and these huge places it's hardly to be living there.

Hardcore again, these are areas and it's like the orange County ones 25 years ago. Cause I got all the state FLC out conventions and endorsing people. And it's like, what are, who are all these people run out? These are just like the democratic sacrificial lambs and orange County and San Diego County. So it's 

Phil: like they find people to run against sometimes.

Don: Yeah. It was probably some guy who was the head of the central city council guy, school board guy, uh, head of the democratic party in the County or whatever. So they put the guy up, he gets the, you know, the 30% hardcore Democrats will vote for the guy. He has no money. So his opponent wouldn't even break a sweat.

I mean, it's the same thing the Republicans do in a lot of these Bay area districts, they find somebody 


Phil: how do you get somebody to run against bar really? Or 

Don: somebody will go up or whatever. Get their name on the ballot and nobody pays any attention. It was the same thing down there. And then all of a sudden it's like, Oh, okay.

I got 40%. Oh, he got 43%. Now. It's like, Oh, the guy won the district. So these districts are in it's a lot of it's demographics. So anyway, this antelope Valley district, that was the last election was two Republicans running because it's that jungle primary thing. Right. This time, a Democrat. I'd never heard of guts on the ballot sheets.

47% of the vote. 

Phil: Wow. Yeah, I forgot. We got the open primary suit, 

Don: right? So, and you do the same thing. Now, the Democrats in the state Senate, there were like four Republican districts, Putin. They're still counting the vote. Three of them could flip. So there may, they may be down to like seven Republican.

They're still counting Senate. Yeah. There's still like a million ballots out there. 

Phil: I know, 

Don: wait, think about it. The whole state vote by mail, whatever happened to Tom 

Phil: McClintock. Uh, he's still running around. 

Don: Yeah, he won again, but again, he was another one 53% of the code. Yeah. We have our state council machinists.

We had a virtual meeting for obvious reasons and uh, the, one of the speakers was the woman, uh, running against him who. I don't believe it ever held office. I think she she'd made a few bucks in some technology business, lived in the area, decided she wanted a throw her hat in the ring. And the, the woman who ran against them last time raised some money, made a little bit of noise, still lost.

So this, I think people are figuring the demographics of this district are not, it's not very favorable for a Democrat. But I think she got 46, 47% of the vote or something. So that's solid. That's solid. It's a, you know, it's not a win, but it's not that far from a wind. So two, four, maybe six years from now is certain, you know, the population base of the area changes gets a little more diverse or whatever.

Phil: Well, a lot of this goes back to w I mean, at least the conventional thinking is prop one 87. Right, right. Yeah. And really kind of 

Don: flip, flip the Hispanic vote, big time 

Phil: and California forever. 

Don: Right. You know, so large parts of Southern California that used to be competitive for Republicans are now like the no goes alone and, and Trump's nativism and xenophobia and all that crap.

I mean, you figure, okay. A lot of Asian-Americans, you know, a lot of them can be kind of socially conservative. I mean, they're very much, you know, against stereotyping, but it kind of, you know, by the book law and order. Education is huge, um, with the kids. So they tend to be more maybe conventional that way.

So you'd figure out the Republicans like, Oh, these, you know, this is, this is going to be like our new base voter. But yeah, some of the 

Phil: polling I'd say pulled, it pulled the China flu shit, the 

Don: China flu stuff. Yeah. You know, the anti immigration. Cause even though most of these people are over here legally, they can still sympathize with.

People that aren't or they see other immigrants getting exploited. And so they're voting demo, you know, 65, 70%. Um, and is that PO you know, um, 

Phil: so how, you know, because. I was hopeful of blue wipe out in the, in the general election. And, uh, I'll tell you what, man, that Trump, he turned out a lot of the hate. 

Don: I want to say the 

Phil: wacky buddy.

They really brought everybody down out of the mountains. 

Don: Yeah, no, they did. But it's like, and it's honest, if we're honest with ourselves, a lot of our folks, they find the appeal are union members, union members, and certainly non-union members. Uh, they let their, there's a certain appeal to the guy that's, you know, politically incorrect.

Uh, who just wants to give her everybody the finger they like to they're pissed at the system. So here's a guy saying, screw the system and flipping everybody off and kicking over the furniture and he's doing what they feel like they'd like to do. If they had the wherewithal and the authority, it 

Phil: sounds like a Raider fan.

Yeah, exactly. Are you a Raider fan or 

Don: no Niner? 

Phil: Oh, no, that's fine. I'm a Raider fan. And like, w we got so many grievances, like about the refs in our schedule and the 

Don: league. Oh, I know. It's always whining plain. It's all rigged, man. It's all rigged. Yeah. Now, even in Vegas, you're still a Raider fan. Yeah. 

Phil: Okay.

You know, as a member that a member of mine, cause I was, I figured you got three choices as a Raider fan when they moved to Vegas. Right. Uh, you could stay with them. The dolphins became an option because they voted against the move, the only team to vote against 

Don: that's right. That's right. 

Phil: Or you could become a 49ers fan and a 40 diner fans would never.

Th th they're not humble enough accepting of anybody. 

Don: Well, you can pick up a free agent. I mean, you get rude, you know, the Packers have fans everywhere. Right. I, you know, 

Phil: so I was talking to this guy and he, and he told me, he said, Hey, you know, Raider nations worldwide. 

Don: No, I mean, they've got families. Okay.

Phil: So I could, I could go to the Packers. I could stay with the home team, you know, even though the home team's gone, gone. Yeah. 

Don: It's just something about the home team, you know, being deserted. I mean, not once, but twice 

Phil: they stuck it to us. 

Don: Yeah. Stuck at the Oakland. And, but I, I think payback's going to be a bitch.

We're really divergent here. I realize that, but yeah. 

Phil: Figured, okay. That's what, that's what we do. 

Don: They sunk a gazillion bucks into this stadium that I think they're largely on the hook for. And of course no fans, so no money. Right. Mark Davis is not independently wealthy. He's got the haircut though. He doesn't have the guy.

Well, he does. He saves a fortune on the cuts. When you do it yourself, you don't have to spend that kind of money. Uh, and eat at PF Chang's all the time. So he's those economize, not a good 

Phil: person, 

Don: but, uh, you know, so once obviously at some point they're going to let fans back in and all that. And if they're lucky, the team will be good, but if not, and they're just sort of, so, you know, Vegas likes a winner, 

Phil: biggest likes of winter in Vegas, you know, you're competing, you know, so the call it the football crowd or the market, or, 

Don: yeah.

Phil: Although the other thing is, is that we'll become the, the road destination for any football fan. 

Don: Well, yeah, but 

Phil: the army dolphin fan, and I'm going to go to a road game going to go to the 

Don: Vegas. Yeah. Yeah. But again, how does that build your fan base? When two thirds of the stadium is there to root for your opponent, right?

Oh, you play the Steelers olden black. Yeah. But think about it. You're where you really make the money as off the season tickets. Yeah, that's true because you know, okay. If you're a cowboy fan or Steeler fan or. Chief fan or whatever. Okay. Yeah. You'll pay the bucks to get a decent seat once a year, once every couple of years and make a big road trip Vegas.

Phil: But Brittany Spears will buy a box and yeah, the town friends will see it play out. But what happened to grapple up, man, 

Don: uh, was hurt, man. 

Phil: All right. 

Don: He's hurt. 

Phil: I don't know. I, for me and football. Football to getting into the, kind of the social justice part of it. Um, I'm so over football compared to the NBA and even baseball now where the players can express a little personality and have an opinion.

Don: Football football is still football is still very regimented. It's still that. And then, and as it becomes more Southern oriented, I mean, it's like, you know, I kinda like college ball too. And you see the se as the sec, we should talk about that. So as the sec is kind of, you know, not too many years ago, it's like, okay.

You know, SES, Alabama's been good. Yeah. I remember watching bear Bryant as a little kid, right. I mean, Alabama has been good for him. A hundred years. Right. Um, LSU, I mean, all those Florida, all those teams. Okay. But you also had, I mean, there was some con you know, a little bit more, you know, not only Ohio state, but Michigan, you had the Midwest teams.

USC was, you know, USC won a bunch of national championships on the West coast. Now you look at it, it's like the pack, it's the pack 12, but it's really. Kind of an also ran a yeah. It teams like Nebraska, Oklahoma is still good, but Texas Nebraska schools that they were always in the hunt every year.

They're really not in the country.  for the national championships. So other than like maybe Ohio state, well, 

Phil: I still don't understand the playoff structure in the Sudan. 

Don: Yeah, no, there's still a bit objective element to it, but I mean, other than say Oklahoma, Ohio state. Pretty much all the teams that you know, are going to be in it at the end for the championship are the sec teams.

So it's like, is that really healthy for, you know, as a sport? Yeah. It shouldn't be just a Southern sport. It shouldn't be your national sport 

Phil: and here's something I know you have an opinion on. What do you think about paying the players? 

Don: You mean college players? Yeah. Yeah. I think it's, it's general con you know, if you just say in general concept, I don't like it, but then you think, okay, this, when it was true, the student athletes, not it's a bad idea, but when it's like, this is an industry that's billions of dollars.

And you have coaches that make, 

Phil: what the hell did Harbaugh get for going to Michigan? Oh, 

Don: God, millions. What's the guy, uh, Davao, uh, uh, Davao Sweeney and, uh, Cleansing gets like 7 million a year. 

Phil: He was saving 

Don: millions and millions. And then the number of, I mean, they've got 30 assistant coaches and they got these palatial stadiums and all that.

It's like, all right, this is just, I mean the X and the, what they charge for season tickets. And it's like, okay, all this money. Billions into TV and the poor guy out there beaten his brains out on the field, gets 

Phil: nothing. And the other thing is they are, you know, they are paying him somehow 

Don: under the table.

And  these guys, the guys that are good at they really getting an education because, um, you know, even the guy, you know, a tiny fraction and will ever make the NFL and the ones that make the NFL, the average guy washes out in like three years, four years. Right. Um, I went to, uh, uh, I was trying to think there was an 

Phil: NLRB.

They had somebody, 

Don: Oregon, Northwestern university and the trainer be squashed it, but, uh, it was kind of interesting. I went to a few years ago into a thing. It was kind of a best practices. The international foundation of employee benefit plans that I'm involved in. They do a, um, They do a whole bunch of stuff, but one of the things they did sort of a best practices in promoting, um, retirement, retirement security, retirement savings, financial literacy, and they had a couple of exemplars of really good.

Uh, it was a real mishmash. It was like SunTrust bank out of Atlanta. The Alberta boiler makers 

Phil: union. 

Don: Oh, like a panel. Yeah, it was, it was each, each one show. This is what we do. And it was, it was media. It was, um, like websites and little, um, you know, podcasts and videos and things they did for their members to get them to think about saving.


Phil: saving. So that, by the way, we'll just say, save, save, save. 

Don: Yeah. So, you know, the, a bank in the South had one message, a construction union in Canada obviously had a very different message. A lot of it geared around like, okay, you're a new apprentice and you're moving up rapidly and you're making way more money than you're used to.

Don't like blow it. All right. And then one of them was the NFL players association. And what was kind of funny was the, um, there was, uh, uh, two women that worked for the NFL PA and they. Do this, we have this whole financial literacy thing and it's like, yeah, you got, look, we're real different from everybody else.

Here's the typical earnings curve for a player. And you can't see this, but it's yeah. Imagine like a graph with like a line going straight, straight, straight, back down, essentially. That's it. The guys, most of them have nothing. They get more money than they ever dreamed up for a couple of years. And then it's back down to nothing.

Phil: I think it probably, you know, at least I, you know, I had landed a couple of good jobs in my early twenties. I thought it was going to be forever. Bruno and it was gone as fast as you got it. 

Don: Yeah. And this is just that on steroids. So they said, you know, look, um, and there are all these horror stories about athletes going.

Yeah. They blow it all and jewelry and cars and their 

Phil: buddies. 

Don: Vincent Young. Yeah. Uh what's JaMarcus Russell drank. 

Phil: Yeah. Now let's talk about, 

Don: so, so anyway, it was funny, Marcus. Yeah. So it was funny about this was, um, to Marcus Russell. So they got a, uh, They passed out these business cards that they use when they're visiting the teams.

Cause you know, they go out there and during training camp, this is a hundred plus guys, right? So there's literally a couple thousand potential quote unquote customers. So they're handing out these cards and it had a woman's picture on it and she wasn't inappropriately dressed. It was a pretty hot looking woman and it's like, hi, call me for good advice or something.

That's number. And the audience is about half, half women and several of them took. Sort of took umbrage at, at, you could tell him like scowling at this card and somebody put her hand up and said, is this really appropriate? And, and it was a woman handing him out. He said, Oh fuck. Yeah, it's in the general population.

No, but again, we're trying to reach a specific population. It is 100% male it's all men. The average age is like 23 or 24 there. Fleets, you know, they're full of testosterone. You want to get a guy's attention, show them a picture of a pretty girl. That's the way the world works. You may not like it, but that's what we're trying to get these guys' attention to set aside, at least some of this, these gobs and gobs of money that they've got for just a short period of time set it aside.

So they're not poverty 10 years from now, 

Phil: so they don't get diamond encrusted statues of themselves. JaMarcus yeah, exactly. I was thinking it, Chris Washburn too. He was 

Don: another, there was another one. Yeah, 

Phil: go into basketball. 

Don: Yes. We can have a sports talk show here. 

Phil: I know I let her, um, let's get back to the, I am sure.

So. How, so it's interesting because we've talked about this at other times, but, uh, trying to find apprentices or fill some of these, these, these mechanic jobs, uh, not only just at auto dealers, but everywhere because kids nowadays, you know, they're into like video games. And because even when I grew up, um, my first car was a Datsun five, 10, and I mean, I was tearing that thing apart, putting it back together and not anymore.


Don: You can't even, there's 

Phil: all this, you can't even find a screw that's pointing out. 

Don: Right. You can't even get inside the damn thing. And that, there's a reason why I used to have every, you know, every strip mall had an auto parts store. You don't see that. Right? I mean, people aren't working on their own cars.

Phil: Yeah. I mean, Just growing up for me. You were lucky if your car started half the time. 

Don: Right. So, I mean, there's certainly, I mean, by any measure, better built, more efficient, uh, cars are 

Phil: cleaner. 

Don: Yeah. Uh, you know, they've got, I forget what the latest 

Phil: thing, they still need service and work, 

Don: but it it's like five times the computer capacity.

Apollo moon launch. Right? So now they still need, they don't need as much service or as much work, and they're certainly more reliable, but when something goes wrong, you ain't doing it yourself. You got to go to somebody else. No, it was how to do it. But the traditional Indian three points to the industry that existed, uh, you know, 30, 40, 50 years ago.

Phil: Well, so, so yeah, so to just to kind of set it up, set it up a little bit is you've got to know. An aging workforce. Correct? Right. So they're retiring or, 

Don: um, thank God for immigration, frankly, for all the, for all the yowling on the, on the right about immigration. We look at our younger membership. If you struck out the either immigrants or children of immigrants, almost entirely Asian and Hispanic, there would be nobody.

Oh, I wouldn't even know, but I used to get that  I know that's apt. It's just interesting sort of willingness to work to do this kind of work. 

Phil: Oh, that's right. Cause people don't want to get their answer. 

Don: Well, you think about, okay. We're where all the white kids live in now in Alameda County, Pleasanton, San Ramon is not an Alameda County, but you know, that whole area.

The Valley, the Tri-Valley area, the Hills, and all that. They don't have auto shops. As kids are not playing around with their own cars or whatever, the kids that still do that stuff tend to be a little bit more inner city, you know, Hayward Oakland that. 

Phil: Probably cause you got to, to cause you 

Don: some much, you got it, you got an older car that needs work and whatever.

And, and if you grew up in a, a lower income family, this can still represent a step up, 

Phil: but your, your members do really well. 

Don: I mean, by and large, uh, it's it's, it could be a lucrative profession, but it's, you know, it's not an easy profession. And again, that, what I was going to say is the traditional entry points, for instance, 40, 50 years ago, almost every high school of any size had an auto shop.

No, they don't, they haven't gotten rid of all of them, but they've gotten rid of, most of them, um, used to have a gas station on every corner we were talking. It was absolutely commonplace for a 16, 17 year old, almost always a guy to go down there and you'd want to make a few bucks. He liked playing around with cars a little bit.

You get a job. He pumped some gas change, a tire changed some oil or whatever. And it's like to say, you can still change oil. It's just fry oil at am PM. Cause none of the gas stations 

Phil: I've shopped that are all gone. 

Don: Those are all gone. Um, He used to have a lot more of these little mom and pop independent shops and a lot, one of our, um, a lot of our members, 

Phil: the gas stations used to be able to get your auto repair.

Don: Raj was in the back. If you look at it and you look at a lot of the stations that were built more than 20 or 30 years, convenience store, now the convenience. So you'll look at the ma, but it used to be, you can tell it was a, it was a sh. You know, like a, typically a two Bay shop and they've blown it out.

Some of them were using it for storage. Some have just gutted it and turn it into a convenience store or a bathroom or whatever, but they're not doing auto service. So obviously you're not going to get that job doesn't exist anymore. Uh, we had a lot of folks that were, um, would start working dealerships and they do it for 10 or 15 years.

And they'd maybe got a little bit of wander lost and a little bit of ambitions it strike out on their own and they'd find, uh, All over Oakland, find some old little brick building, like all three Bay shop that may be buy it from some guy who's retiring, hang out their shingle, they'd buy it, you know, borrow a few bucks to buy some basic equipment and boom there.

They had a clientele and they're in business and maybe they'd stay in business for 30 or 40 years. Get to the point where maybe they even hire a couple of people. Um, they exist, but you know, I'm trying to remember what they used to 

Phil: my dad. There was always a shop and, uh, Well, I want to say all those are endos or I don't know it was around, over here somewhere.

Don: Okay. Yeah. There were places that, uh, uh, everybody went there. That 

Phil: was the 

Don: shop. There are places that, uh, that I go to a small, independent shop in Berlin. It's actually one of the oldest businesses in town. The guy, the guy who runs it, it's a union shop. His grandfather started it, uh, in like 1923. But he isn't, as Gary's in his early sixties, when he hangs it up, that's going to be 

Phil: it.

Well, and that's the thing. So you're so it's, so it's a lot of these 

Don: immigrants. The immigrant kids are going into these older places are going, bye bye. So you would figure that my God we'd be in the catbird seat, right. These guys can just write their own ticket, right? But yet, uh, when it comes to the car dealerships, which is where we represent a lot of folks more and more have been bought up by these big groups, the days of the, sort of the single point dealer, where the guy, the owner is like in the front office there, and you see him every day and he knows everybody.

Those guys are going away in the Bay area. They're almost extinct. 

Phil: It's gotten really corporatized, 

Don: all corporates 

Phil: and tiles and 

Don: the van tiles, the Hendricks, the Sonics, the auto nation Berkshire Hathaway. He's got a Berkshire Hathaway bought van tile. It's actually Berkshire Hathaway automotive. So some of these are public.

There's like six public companies, but some years and a little crazy. Yeah, no, it is. But it's, you know, it's a cash cow. So they've got like 90 dealerships and they're private right there. Well, actually that's not true. It's like burglary farmer. Not none. A Berkshire is actually public, so that's, but, but the automotive is just one item in that vast umbrella, but there are a lot of large private family, you know, it's a family running it, but they're billionaires now because they own like a hundred car dealerships.

So it's all very corporatized. So you talk to these people you want to, or about organizing and, you know, hang onto your hat. You're in for a two or three-year ride. We're having some success in San Diego of all places, which is really interesting because 

Phil: it interesting 

Don: San Diego has never historically, you know, they're you quote unquote union town organizer too.

We'd have a good organizer, but, um, but again, the best organizer, you know, the, the, the seeds have to fall on fertile ground. Right? Absolutely. So in San Diego, historically, it's never been a strong union city like Chicago in New York or San Francisco or whatever. 

Phil: Oh yeah. No, San Diego. 

Don: Yeah. It's always a very conservative Navy town.

It's a military town, basically. Every town, uh, the machinist union has always had a strong presence there, mainly because of the aerospace industry. So when you had conver at one point, Convair when they were really going, they're like 30,000 people now that's all gone, right? All, uh, uh, completely shut down.

It got people in the shipyard and all of that. So not much of a presence there anymore, but lo and behold, about 10 years ago, I got a call from a guy in a Mercedes dealer, and these guys are all fired up. And one thing leads to another. When an election, the co it's owned by Penske, which is one of the largest chains in the country.

And it's a six year battle to get. To negotiate the contract. They fought the certification all the way to the Lake, through the labor board, through the S the courts everything's frozen during that period of time, you can't do anything. Fortunately for us, normally, what happens in those situations is people just get disgusted.

They leave, they go, I'm not going to stick around for this crap forever. Right? Give it a year or two, and then I'm going to go find something else. 

Phil: Now. Mercedes cars. Th, you know, I think a Mercedes, I think of like recently there was that a, they were going to build that plant. Well, not recently, but back in Tennessee was 

Don: Mercedes or Vida's that's well, VW has got a plant in Chattanooga.

Mercedes has got a big plant outside of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but that's been there since the late nineties. 

Phil: But, you know, you think of Mercedes, obviously in Germany, they're wall to wall union, and very strong. And I guess when they get out of town that the opinion change or how much does, in other words, how much can the factory 

Don: influence any of that?

Well, the locals, well, they, the factory can influence the dealers at all, but even when it comes to the manufacturing, which they can influence, um, there was a guy, it was one of the, um, I want to say it was Cole bear or one of those guys did this great parody of a, um, And it was like a German executive talking to various like, yeah, you are our Mexico, basically.

Right? We come there, we come to runaway to the United States. We can set up this non-union plants and abuse the workforce and get away with murder. Um, we had a Kia, right? Swedish companies. Sweden's one of those strongly unionized countries in the world and they set up, um, 

Phil: furniture. 

Don: So they set up a, uh, they set up a furniture manufacturing plant for building furniture in Southern Virginia.

And the place was a total sweat. Shop. I mean, they were paying like barely above minimum wage people were saw in their fingers off. It was just a train wreck man. And they organized with our sort of our woodworker side of the machinist union and they fought it tooth and nail until they actually got the, the Swedish government actually got involved and kind of beat them into submission and they ended up getting a 

Phil: cut.

These guys get out of there. Yeah. The values kind of 

Don: stop at the border stop at the border. So yeah, it's whatever they can get away with. So, um, So anyway, the, but to your earlier question about, uh, the factories have essentially no influence cause dealerships are, they are independent businesses. They're franchise.

Yeah. So, but let me go back to the San Diego thing. Cause it's interesting. So six year battle, the guys stick with it. 

Phil: By the way, kudos to that group of people. 

Don: It's a really good group of people. So they ended up getting a contract a year or two. So we figure, okay, Penske has an Penske. This is big auto row down there.

And Penske has most of it. And they're all big dealerships. So we figured we were talking. I figured, well, this is probably going to be a one-off because, um, these people aren't stupid. They're not, you know, they, they set the table for this buy. Treating them poorly handing out raises very intermittently and all that.

They're going to kind of clean up their act. Well, they did. Two years later, the Acura store comes knocking. Now Penske does. They don't really go fight it that much. And within a year, year and a half time, we actually got a fairly good contract. So now they're really going to clean up their act because they don't want us organizing their whole operation, 

Phil: which I think some employers have this.

Deep seated fear of unions, right? They, they hear all the scary bedtime stories. And then they realize if you get a good cooperative relationship, they can get a skilled workforce. 

Don: Right. Keep it. Well, you would like to, you'd like to think that way. And this is a corporation by the way, Penske has union stores here in the Bay area.

They've got union stores in Chicago. They have the truck leasing company, which has, you know, Penske truck leasing, which has a lot of Teamsters. Who's their law firm. Oh, God, they, uh, they use Fisher and Phillips. They use, uh, they, they kind of bounce around a little bit. 

Phil: That's helpful too, 

Don: but, um, you know, the Penske truck leasing is mostly in United between the machinists and Teamsters.

So Roger Penske certainly knows about unions, uh, and has for decades, but that doesn't necessarily change their opinion. So a couple more years go by. Now the Lexus guys that are down the street come knocking and it's the same issues over and over again, goofy pay plans. Discipline 

Phil: was the same manager, just getting rehired 

Don: down the street.

It's different managers. So this is a cultural problem here. And so we win the election by, with like one descent, like 23 to one. Was it a racial thing at all? No. No. Nope. It's just, it's bad management. So, um, when the election almost unanimously, they file completely frivolous, ridiculous charges and we funds.

Okay. You know what, um, rather than go through all that. We'll agree. We'll have. Cause the, the, when, when the employer files a charge against the union for misconduct and election, if the board finds they can order a new election overturn the election or a new elections said, you know what? We know, we think we got the people's confidence.

Let's have a new election. Well, we didn't plead guilty say, well, we're not going to contest it, 

Phil: put it in the microwave and let's do it. 

Don: Let's do it again. Having had a second election, when it unanimously flipped the one guy or he may not be, I don't remember what any of that was like 23 to nothing.

They're still protesting it. So now we, uh, um, we had a couple of guys go down. Penske has, is huge auto mall. High-end auto mall. This is all, again, this isn't Fords and Toyotas. This is Lexus Mercedes BMW rolls Royce and, and Jesse, he was down. So he decided causal mischief. So he goes 

Phil: down, Jesse, 

Don: not just Jesse, whereas.

Phil: Yeah. Anyway, 

Don: so he goes, he goes, and this auto mall, they get around a golf cart. That's how big this place is. Scottsdale Arizona, where there's a lot of money, right? 

Phil: Yeah. Scottsdale's yeah. 

Don: Big bucks. So he's running around this place and they're not expecting them and they don't know what he looks like.

Anyway, of course everybody's wearing masks because of COVID. So he's out there handing out flyers and business cards and all that. Within a half an hour, he gets a thing on his phone from the company's attorneys, a stay away order. But in the meantime, his phone is already pinging with these guys calling him and texting him saying, yeah, we'd like to talk.

And so he talks to one of the guys in the Ferrari dealership. She's making 25 bucks an hour. They think about that. You're you're mr. Megabucks real in Scottsdale, Arizona and your $4 million mansion. 

Phil: What's an entry-level Ferrari cost. 

Don: 130, 150 grand, something like that. And the services are outlandish. So this guy, they're probably charging 500 bucks for an oil change in this Porsche mugs getting, you know, 25 bucks an hour.

Right, right, right. Are you kidding me? So, um, yeah, capitalism. 2020. 

Phil: I changed the oil with the oil of, you know, blood of children. 

Don: Yeah. Right. So, uh, so it'll be, so again, this is an area and to go back to the San Diego thing back in organized labor's heyday in the fifties, when it was 30% of the poppy population, all that stuff.

Far, as I know, there was no union shops, no union automotive dealers in San Diego. There certainly weren't any, any at any time after that, the best evidence, not like I've researched it extensively, but actually the Teamsters tried organizing a, um, It was like a Toyota store in Escondido. About 10 years ago, it fell apart.

Right? So it's like, okay, once a decade, somebody picks up the phone. So 

Phil: it's been happening. 

Don: So they got, you know, two places under contract, a third one that if we ever get to the table, we'll get them under contract. And, and there was substantial interest out of some of the other ones and they were throwing.

They were literally, you know, again, they ignore these people for years. People call the union. And they were literally throwing five and $7 an hour raises to people. And again, these aren't people that make a hundred bucks an hour. 

Phil: I know I've, I've run 

Don: it like 25, 28 bucks an hour. And somebody offers you a 25% rate.

Phil: No, I've, I've run into that. And it's pretty disgusting actually that when, uh, when an employer, you know, you think about it, Oh great. They're thrown $4 an hour at these people, but you know, they've been withholding it for so long until they, until, you know, until somebody made them do it right. Yeah, 

Don: it's unreal.

We did that at Mercedes of Pleasanton. They built a, probably 30 to $40 million new store. They, uh, after the recession and I'm sure we weren't involved with it at the time, but I'm sure their business got hit like pretty much everybody else. 2008, 2009, they like cut off the 401k match and they froze wages and all that stuff.

Well, they didn't, the wages were still frozen in like 2014. So five years, five, six years later, when somebody finally called us, it had enough let's organize. Okay. We went into election, three-year battle with them. Um, and they're ha and in the meantime, they're, they're wanting to hand out like $8 raises to some people.

Uh, we had wage and hour violations, by the way, it's 

Phil: hard to not. 

Don: You take that kind of 

Phil: put that money in, fuck everybody. 

Don: Yeah. Which is what ended up happening. We had, we found these wage and hour violations educated already on it told the employer that it was going to be, um, this is probably gonna run them by 80 grand, a pop.

So maybe we ought to sit down and negotiate seriously. And literally, while we were. Traveling to a conference on the East coast of Landon at Newark airport, phone's blowing up and they had gone out and we'd met with them the day, but met with the employer of the day before they'd gone, running out into the shop, called people in one at a time, said, you know, we found a mistake on your pay and we've got to check for you.

We just need you to sign this release. So they were paying people between 20 and $40,000 to sign a waiver of any future, you know, 

Phil: claim. Yeah. 

Don: Amen. So somebody doesn't know any better. 

Phil: Where do I sign? 

Don: Yeah, so guys, Hey, congratulations on your 40 grand. You know, if you'd, if you'd actually stuck around or asked the question beforehand that you could have doubled your money, cause you were actually entitled to 80.

And they blamed us rather than the employee. 

Phil: It's always, if anything bad happens, they always blame the unions. Eh, remind it. And you know, and we're here. I want to, I'm I'm interested in, maybe you want to talk about it. Maybe you don't, but like Tesla, what's the deal with Tesla? Because I mean, there. It seems to be in California.

I don't know, or anywhere there's nobody more anti-union than Tesla. Yeah. Tesla. 

Don: I think he Musk is one of those species. What a weirdo, always weird, but I mean, above sort of this appeals to the, sort of the limousine liberal set that, you know, we got to holier than that and the environment and Hey, I like.

Hey, Hey, I like arrows. 

Phil: I like electric cars to raise my hand. 

Don: Yeah. Um, so it's like, okay. Let's 

Phil: drag people out of that factory. 

Don: Yeah, the factory. I mean, think about the impact on the workforce, the people building it as well as on the environment. I mean, I think he's of that, uh, um, You know, kind of the mentality.

I mean, I'm sure he would blanch at the comparison, but like the, you know, the, so in the Soviet, when they're building the Soviet union, we need to sacrifice your body for the greater good of building the right, the Soviet Republic op right. So even sort of make your, the state for the state. So even though it's supposed to be the worker's paradise, you're going to work like 22 hours a day.

And so it collapsed because it's for the long-term good of the state. So think his philosophy is for the long-term good of the environment. We got to sacrifice like thousands of people's health building these cars for mediocre money. 

Phil: And not only that, but I mean, how long until the, you know, the real car manufacturers, I don't want to say Tufts is not a real car manufacturer, but until they just 

Don: swamp them.

Well, I mean it to their, to their credit, I mean, they built by and large build a pretty good product. And I think a lot of the manufacturers they're throwing billions and billions into R and D they're putting up. Yeah. So far, most of the 

Phil: car Tesla's cars are great. I just don't know that they're too.

They're very good at building cars. 

Don: No, there's a pair of a lot of fit and finish issues. Um, 

Phil: and just mass production, 

Don: right? Yeah. Right. And, and the higher end, you know, and, and again, the ones they started with the model as the model acts that they've okay. They update them over the air. They don't have model years, but it's like, okay.

Those things came out about seven, eight, nine years ago. Exactly the same at some point it's like, okay, what's your next. Yeah, updating the software is great, but people still want to still have to look at the car every day. And I think that the other thing that's weird about them is their sales fit. You, you don't know what their sales figures are, right?

Every other manufacturer, 

Phil: they do a lot of smoke and mirrors, 

Don: smoke and mirrors. They're sitting out the sales are up and they're comparing it to say Ford or Toyota where they're comparing their global sales to Ford. And Toyota's us sales. 

Phil: Who is, who is the biggest auto manufacturer? The Toyota world's Toyota.


Don: Yeah. Although arguably Toyota Volkswagen, because Volkswagen has about 15 brands under the, you know, you got Porsche, you got Audi, you got a bunch of  in Europe, Skoda. Um, they got some,

say that three times fast. 

Phil: I think we just did. 

Don: Okay. 

Phil: Oh, who's that 

Don: secretary treasurer just wandered it. 

Phil: Oh, nice. 

Don: You want to put him on the air? So now, who is it? Brad long? Um, Coca Cola. I don't 

Phil: think I met Brad. 

Don: Yeah. Reyes Coca-Cola bottling company of San Leandro, California. 

Phil: Excellent. Well, a lot of people think of that.

So did you guys have any guys at Berkeley or were those. All those 

Don: Berkeley farms. Yeah. Yeah. We had a, when it closed and we had four guys left that left 

Phil: because somebody is going to keep the conveyors going and stuff, 

Don: right? No, we were the, uh, the, the, we did the trucks, the inside guys were stationary engineers.

Phil: Oh, okay. 

Don: So yeah, Berkeley farms, that's the sad, you know, the last sort of conventional dairy of, well, less dairy really in the Bay area other than I guess, Safeway. Um, yep. Yeah, it's too bad. A lot of people work there a long time, but they'd been swirling the gurgler for a long 

Phil: time and struggling. 

Don: That's the dairy.

I mean, that's a tough industry. They showed us a chart and I guess there are proven, right? It's like milk consumption. Like, uh, if you don't count milk for production purposes, like cheese and ice cream and stuff, that's like 

Phil: kind of this goofy net milk shit and 

Don: right now, but I mean, milk, just like fluid milk that you drink.


Phil: Oh, you used to be, 

Don: I think every, they showed a chart. It's one of those, again, it's the bar graph with the line's going pretty much straight down every year. Since 1975 consumption has dropped. It's like, wow. A 45 year losing stores probably more. People's still 

Phil: smoking the drinking 

Don: milk. Yeah, exactly.

Well, the thing about when you were a kid, did you have milk home milk delivery? Where they brought the bottles and all that stuff? No, no, no. So, okay. You're younger than, yeah, we used to, I was in one of the lacks. It was 

Phil: still kind of around, but I, you know, I think, I, I think I caught the tail end of that. 

Don: I was in one of the last areas where they still did.

It was peninsula Creamery. It's 

Phil: been a beer guy the whole time and born 

Don: and raised. Yep. Um, yeah, there was delivering into the probably early eighties. Maybe I was still, I was in high school. I'm going to put you put the milk box out the silver box and they'd be like four bottles in it the next morning or whatever.

And it be a heavy glass bottles with a, with a foil cap on top. 

Phil: Yeah, the foil cap, the foil cap. So 

Don: what do you use did that for beer? 

Phil: Right? I think they can 

Don: buy growlers and stuff. 

Phil: He's COVID talk about it. Upending and industry the whole liquor distribution. And 

Don: what's that been like? 

Phil: Well, I dunno, I'm not involved in it much, but I know that, uh, you know, restaurant business has gone.

Don: Yeah. So yeah, restaurants, bars, I mean more, more to the stores and stuff. I mean, the liquor stores are doing a land office business. 

Phil: Right, right. You can do direct liquor delivery now, which was a no-no before. Right. So, so what is going to happen? So I'm looking forward to 2021 because. I think the consensus is the verdict's in on 2020.

Don: Yeah. That's a bomb not to be repeated. I'm not sure that magic suddenly happens on new year's day. It's going to feel like you want to hope that it's like, you know, it's just like making your new year's resolutions. Is the world really look that different on January 3rd than it did on December 27th.

Phil: Well, what's interesting. I've been talking, so I've been talking to people and the people that seem to fall into two camps and I have fallen into the camp of right out COVID, um, you know, wait for the new normal, because things are never going to be the same. Um, and then there's another camp of this is the new normal.

And life goes on and I'm going to keep on keeping on. 

Don: Yeah, I, I think I fall more into the first, I, I think, uh, certainly are there going to be 

Phil: changes? You've been distance learning too, right? 

Don: Yeah. Our kids are distance learning and they hate it. Uh, they're more than sick of it. 

Phil: Everybody hates it. 

Don: Well, uh, just hating out my out my wife here, she's a speech therapist.

She works in the schools. And so she's got a well office set up in the house with a green screen and she's doing all the therapy on zoom. 

Phil: Well, that's great. 

Don: It was a little clunky and stuff. Then he can't really do the group thing with multiple kids with the single one. She's got a really good intern and she's actually liking it.

And it's like, just, don't go telling people that. Okay. 

Phil: I think in a certain, for certain kinds of services, Um, I think it's better. Where's my phone ringing. I dunno. Um, I think it's better for certain services because now you have like speech therapy. For example, now you can, you know, for a place that may not have a speech therapist, 

Don: right school, 

Phil: that doesn't have one.

Now they can do it 

Don: remotely. What were some of them, you know? And you probably couldn't a lot of this stuff you couldn't do before, because there's all this stuff around confidentiality and we don't do it that way or whatever now sort of circumstances of forest your hands. So that's, that's probably a good thing.

Um, but I still think, you know, Man is a social animal are social creatures. So, you know, there are certain, certain percentage of populations introverted. They're just hugging people, man. Right? Shaking. When was the last time somebody gave somebody a proper handshake? I 

Phil: mean, just looking at each other kind of awkwardly and it's like, sorry, man.

Don: Yeah. I met two guys today in a business context. Uh, never met him before and we do this kind of weird, 

Phil: awkward fist bump thing. I know it's they're 

Don: in math. So it's like at the end of it, we're done, it kind of stood apart and pulled down the mask. I have a better, ironically, this guy actually looks kind of like you, Andy Spanish.

Okay. Good for him from inside the basketry handsome guy. Oh, he's a, he was a charmer. Uh, 

Phil: By the way, never get that. 

Don: I know I'm being, I'm trying to be kind of far too kind, 

Phil: but it's weird. Cause yeah, like when you end, like, and this will probably happen with you and I in about 10 minutes, it's like, okay, well I'm going to leave now.

Yeah. All right. 

Don: Good to see you. 

Phil: Yeah. There's no act of like. Can shaking or 

Don: yeah. Sort of an act of closure or whatever. Now we're talking about Thanksgiving. So I just do a big, my wife's family because it's big Irish, Catholic family. Right. So we always have over for Thanksgiving and it's, it'll be anywhere from 25 to is.

We've got as many as 40. Well, that's my house. Isn't that big, right? There's no way we're not going to be sitting there breathing all over each other people. Uh, we can fit 40 bits. It's not comfortable. We can do it. 

Phil: It doesn't sound very socially distanced brother. 

Don: Well, no, that's what I said. That's what we've done in the past.

We're not how are we doing that this year? Absolutely not. No. Right. Nobody wants to do that. We all, we all, we're not that crazy. So we're like, all right, what do we cause you know, that's a big holiday, right? You haven't seen the family, what are we going to do? So what we're we're toying with is like drive by Thanksgiving.

So I'll do all the cooking. We'll get them. Like some, uh, you know, get some foil trays or whatever, and it's like, yeah, come on by and pick up your meal. We'll say we'll wave and say, hi, how you doing or whatever. And they'd take it home and repeat reheat it. And then we'll have a zoom call. 

Phil: I know isn't this, like, that's a really amazing part of COVID too is, you know, you had this whole culture around cars, which I think we've been getting away from for like 20 years.

And that has been kind of one of those standout. Things during COVID, you know, everything's, 

Don: there's a lot of drive-through staff to drive through his stuff. Yeah. 

Phil: I mean the political rallies, you know, the 

Don: yeah. Honking. Yeah. Driving political rallies, driving churches, coming back to, you know, drive in movies 

Phil: to a certain of how sustainable 

Don: it is.

But yeah. Um, I worry about, I mean, I, where I really worried about is the restaurants and stuff like that, like in the city, I mean, we went up a Columbus day weekend at a friend coming in from Oregon who stayed in a hotel, which is, you know, they talk about out, have you been in a hotel since COVID so we, and we can't imagine, Oh, it's it is the gloomiest, uh, Their experience, they got half the lights side, cause they're trying to save money on electricity.

You know, the guys behind a glassed in thing and, you know, put your key in the shoot or whatever and pass them your credit card with a mechanical 

Phil: claw. I'm thinking of like the old, the old TV show taxi. 

Don: Yeah, right through this magic window. Yeah. Except you could at least see his full face. And then like the lobby is a ghost town, you know, there's no gift shop news standard.

That's closed. The bars closed. The restaurants closed. Uh, if they had any snacky things in the line, I stay at one hotel. I just had to stay in, was a Hampton Inn for night. Everything there, no breakfast, none of that. So it's all closed down. Dark. Yeah, they get on the elevator by yourself, go to the room.

It's like, no, you know, there's other people there, but they're like all in their rooms and stuff. And it's like, God, this is just a pressing, it's weird, man. This buddy of mine comes down from Oregon. So it's like, Hey, let's have D you know, socially distant dinner. So we'd go to original Joe's in the city, which is one of those great classic San Francisco restaurants.

And, um, He was standing by the, so we actually walked down and it was, it was an interesting experience because the wet weather was pretty good and everybody was out. I think people were just, you know, and again, they were almost everybody's wearing masks and they weren't being stupid for them, at least as far as I could say.

And most of these restaurants in North beach had already constructed the lout side boots. 

Phil: That's one kind of cool thing is that like, you know, people are really moving things outside. 

Don: No. And it's, and, and in the summer it's fabulous. Um, The winter is going to be, I guess you, if you put up a rough, yeah.

It's not like it rains that much around here and you get some portable heaters. I mean, I'm okay with it know outside in December, I got a jacket on, as long as the rain's not beating on me and the wind's not blowing my food across the. Straight or like drive, 

Phil: like now every place has a drive-through too.

Don: Yeah. But that means take at home. So, you know, you want to go someplace different. I'm sick eating at my kitchen table, right? Yeah. No, 

Phil: no, I think it's great. Yeah. So that's really, really, really good. But at home with the same people all the time. Yes, constantly. 

Don: So one of the, uh, one of the, uh, I haven't seen, I saw one guy, a pine on this and I, it made a lot of sense to me.

I don't know if you've heard this, but, um, yeah. He was connecting it to the weather saying, you'll look at that. He'll get the COVID outbreaks in Europe. Right. It hits Europe really hard in, in March and April and all that. And then it tapers off. And the, uh, the, the jerk governor of Florida is patting himself on the back and in April and pointing New York on neener, neener, neener.

Right. And then all of a sudden it explodes in Florida and explodes in Texas and all this other stuff. Well, this guy's theory was like, look, Europe. There's not a lot of air conditioning, right? Most people don't have ACS in their houses or they have smaller houses. And so they're used pretty in the Southern parts of the continent.

They're used to spending their summers outdoors as much as possible, eating outside, drinking, outside, dancing, outside, shopping, you know, walking in the town, square, all that jazz. So whether it gets warm there outside COVID volume. Shrinks now the Sunbelt of the U S it's fairly nice in the spring and the winter.

Yeah, but you get into may, June, July, August. It is beastly, frigging hot. And so everybody's hot muggy, nasty. You don't want to be out in that stuff. So a you're in an air condition, mall theater restaurant bar, or what have you COVID starts going nuts. It's like, that makes a lot of sense. And now you're now.

Again, it's kind of interesting because in Europe it's going back up, but in places like Texas and some of the Sunbelt States, it's still rising rapidly, rising 

Phil: everywhere. 

Don: It's rising every in the U S but it's particularly bad in, um, you know, in the upper Midwest, which is where it's getting colder. And I was on a call last week with a guy from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

And, you know, he's on this committee. So we had a couple of calls in the summer and he was kind of, let's say bragging or whatever, but, uh, opining on the fact that they'd had, um, Canada was taking a little bit more seriously. 

Phil: He was Canada bragging. 

Don: Canada bragging, which is not 

Phil: just healthcare in your face.

Don: Not of COVID bragging. 

Phil: Indians are always polite. 

Don: They're always polite, 

Phil: but they'll, they'll, they'll sneak it in there too. 

Don: Yeah. But this was, this guy was saying, he was like, Hey, you know, we've, we've taken on more seriously crossing provincial boundaries is almost like going into another country. You've gotta like show your papers or whatever.

So I don't and Winnipeg, which is a city of a million people or something we've had like. A hundred cases or some minuscule number and aren't we cool. Okay. Well good for you guys. Right? Well then they had their Thanksgiving and they do their Thanksgiving when we do Columbus day, 

Phil: their Thanksgiving. 

Don: It's the second it's like the second Monday in October 

Phil: Thanksgiving.

Don: Yeah. They, uh, apparently they do Turkey and the whole bed 

Phil: it's there in Canada though. So 

Don: they can't. They do it a month early 

Phil: Canadian Thanksgiving, Canada. 

Don: Yeah. This is called Thanksgiving. 

Phil: Uh, I did not know anybody else had Thanksgiving. 

Don: They have Thanksgiving. Uh, I don't know that they tie it. They certainly don't tie it to the pilgrims and point of rock, but I know they tie it to shock cardiac or whatever, but any event they have Thanksgiving.

Awesome. Second, but it's not Thursday. It's the second one. Then October. Um, Sonia, they have Thanksgiving and the same kind of shtick. Everybody goes to anybody else's house and eats too much. And. Passes out. And I guess they watch Canadian football or something 

Phil: curling or whatever they do. 

Don: Hey, whatever. Uh, but lo and behold, a couple weeks later, woo.

Coronas through the roof really ICU's are stuffed. Hospitals are stuffed tents out in the parking, the whole, the whole bet. Um, I know Rudy got together and it just went nuts. 

Phil: And that's the thing, indoor gatherings, 

Don: indoor gatherings, and now, and now it's getting really cool. Cause that's, you know, that's the Northern Prairie, right?

So it's like zero degrees, 

Phil: 150,000 cases yesterday. Yeah. I mean that's 

Don: and we were sitting there on 50,000. It was horrible. 

Phil: And that was the worst day. It's the worst day for cases. And that's when they're figuring out how to treat it a little bit better. Yeah. Uh, which is good news, but, 

Don: well, yeah, but if you, I mean, you'll look at it and it's, it was looking re this is funny.

There's not been that much written about the Spanish flu, which, um, if you think about it was kind of a world changing, but apparently it's the last big one, the last big one in 1918, 19, 19. And this is a lot of people just want to forget about it. So it's like, let's just. It happened. Forget about 

Phil: us. There wasn't a lot of 

Don: history on it.

A lot, a ton. When you consider how big an event it was, there's not like libraries of books written about the dam. 

Phil: They didn't study it after they didn't have the commission on the Spanish slew after taking this shit. 

Don: Do you know why it's called the Spanish flu? Now being of Spanish. I know wasn't Spanish.

No, the, the re the reason they hung the title on it was essentially, it was the first Franco or something. No, no, this is 1982 

Phil: to 18. I'm sorry, 1918. 

Don: Yeah. No, the reason they, they, they hung the name on it was the Spanish were publicizing. It. And the reason they were publicizing, it was Spain was one of the few countries in, um, in Europe that was not fighting world war one.

They were Spain was neutral. And so, because they were neutral, they didn't have military censorship. So it was running a muck in Germany and France and Britain. But the last thing any of those countries wanted to do is let the enemy know that people are dropping like flies. So there's military censorship.

So they're not safe. It's flu what flu is like a flu, 

Phil: like a free press thing then. 

Don: Yeah. So, but. But in Spain there wasn't, they didn't have that pressure. So like, Oh yeah. There's some flu running rampant and it's killing people. They're dropping like flies, right. And left blah, blah, blah. And it's like, Holy crap.

So then it became the Spanish flu, but they think the first, um, one of the first cases, or at least that had been sort of reported on, it was actually in Kansas. And it started spreading from there. You and this flu. Yeah. And they don't call it the Kansas flu, which they probably should. And that was another big 

Phil: misinformation.

Drives me insane. Um, but you know, like the New York hit and hit San Francisco getting hit early on the COVID is because they're, they're the international 

Don: ports of entry we're coming from all over the world. So of course it's not going to hit North Dakota first, but, uh, but not the Kansas. So it was spreading through military bases.

Right. You have all these guys at very close quarters. Stacked on top of each other and bunks are in their beds right next to each other, training together all day, working together the whole bit. And one guy runs rampant from barracks to barracks and they don't really know. It's amazing. How, 

Phil: how, how, uh, trans you know, what's the 

Don: easily transmitted.


Phil: There's a, the smart doctor. People have a name for that. 

Don: Yeah. 

Phil: Infection. Yeah. Its ability to infect a group of people know there's that choir in Utah. 

Don: Yeah. Oh yeah, exactly. 

Phil: Like 60 out of 80 people. Got it. Start Story

Don: so actually I could, I can say, Oh, my existence, the Spanish flu really genetic makes that possible. How is that possible? Yeah, I was not born in 1918. Um, So my mother's mother was, um, in 1918 was, uh, grew up in Walla Walla, Washington, Eastern Washington, um, and had married a guy.

Phew, well, some years prior because my uncle was a guy, a guy, well, a guy by the name of Charles Campbell. If you want to be specific and don't know much about him, but apparently. She was in her early thirties. I'm suspect suspecting. He was probably about the same age, maybe a couple years older. And she's out on the farm.

He ran a wheat ranch and, uh, I guess comes home a wheat ranch. That's what I call them his ranch. They have to herd the wheat. Uh, So they had a wheat ranch, uh, which wheat farming was a big deal even today. Wheat ranching. Yeah. Wheat ranching. So, um, apparently, you know, uh, otherwise healthy guy and, uh, what they said about the Spanish flu is that it, it didn't so much attack.

The old people it's acted like younger, healthier people and the 

Phil: inverse of what we're doing now. 

Don: Yeah, exactly. The reverse. So, um, Apparently dad comes home, not feeling good and a day or two later drops dead from the, from the Spanish flu. So she's 30, I'm going to say 33, 34 or something like that, which in those days was pretty old for all, you know, a widow with two kids.

One of whom was actually, um, mentally challenged was, uh, it was like a one-year-old or a two year old baby and a five-year-old. So not exactly the hot prop on the marriage market, but then she meets this bachelor attorney a couple of years later. Um, they hit it off. They get married couple of years later, they have my mother.

And so if I was, you know, if that hadn't happened, I'd be somebody different. Well, 

Phil: you know, it's and I was, there was some paper that just came out on time travel and they said, somehow, If time travel is ever possible, the universe does what it needs to do to make things work out. Like you can't go back and like 

Don: screw 

Phil: up the future.

Don: Yeah, that's a Twilight. It's not an episode. It's actually, it's a Twilight zone series, I think, 

Phil: but the Spanish flu. 

Don: So the Spanish flu 

Phil: killed. Your great. 

Don: Grandmother's not be my grandmother's first husband. Your grandmother's grandmother's first husband. Yeah. So, yeah, so, um, so I had a, you know, half uncle and half aunt and all that.

So which wouldn't have, uh, I have no reason to believe that she would have divorced them or married this other guy, if that hadn't happened. So, you know, world history takes weird, weird Switzerland turns. 

Phil: well, , Don, I gotta bounce, man. 

Don: Okay, good.

Phil: Thank you for talking. I appreciate 

Don: it more than you and me are listening. 

Phil: Hopefully I hope at some point. . Are you up for doing it again? 

Don: Yup. 

Phil: It's always fun. All right. Thanks dr. Sato. Thank you. Take care. 

Don: All right. .