Union strong: `And bring along a friend’

SEIU Local 236, 2When one of our mayoral candidates in Chicago was endorsed recently by the Service Employees International union, I was reminded that I was once a proud member of SEIU Local 236. . . The Vendors Union.

We joined this union mainly because of the status it afforded us at Wrigley Field, where the money was to be made. But the union staffed many other events, and it didn’t always have enough vendors. Thus, we would receive these postcards.

I recently found these cards while cleaning a basement storage room. I still enjoy that you could be fired if you don’t show up. . . and it would be peachy if you brought a friend. Nicholas J. LaPapa had a way with words.

These cards are from Northwestern football games. I never did report, and I never was suspended or fired. I did call the union office to with excuses such as, “I’m in  the high school marching band that day. Can’t make it.” The woman in the office was very understanding.

The only time I went on one of these deals was when I was ordered to report to Soldier Field  to be a vendor at a Special Olympics event. I was selling Coke. They were giving away Coke to anyone who went down to the field. Needless to say, it was not a profitable day.

I never went back–with or without a friend.

SEIU Local 236

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ABOUT: Herb Gould

Herb Gould's historical novel, `The Run Don't Count: The Life and Times of Frank Chance and His 1908 Chicago Cubs,' was published recently. A longtime Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter, Herb is a co-founder of TMGcollegesports.com, an in-depth and off-beat national college football website, along with Chris Dufresne (LA Times), Mark Blaudschun (Boston Globe) and Tony Barnhart (Atlanta Journal-Constitution). He remains a contributor of golf and college-sports commentary at the Sun-Times. Herb also is the author of Victory March, an account of Notre Dame’s 1988 national championship, and has written for many sports outlets, including ESPN.com, Lindy’s football and basketball annuals, Chicagoland Golf and other golf publications.

2 Responses to “Union strong: `And bring along a friend’”

  1. Herb Gould

    Nicely done, Mark.
    I heard about Frenchy. He was followed by Bumpy, who espoused the same green-handshake philosophy.
    The steward when I was a vendor was Luke, who did not, as far as I know, accept “gratuities.” And so, I was able to work my up from lemonade to peanuts to Coke to Red Hots. . . with paying tribute.
    There were other Chicago Way activities, though. If you sold Frosty Malts and you left a generous tip in your carry-box, you would leave the Wet Room with a generous supply of undocumented Frosty Malts. Some guys went through medical school on Malts, I believe.
    Vendors had nothing on Charlie Murphy, a long-ago owner of the Cubs. His chicanery with the 1908 World Series tickets . . very ambitious. I detail that and other strange but fascinating behavior in my historical novel, The Run Don’t Count, a tale about the Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance Cubs. It’s a fun read, I am told. Available at Amazon.

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