Withering Glance gets organized

  • Updated: August 31, 2013 - 2:00 PM
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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night. ...

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Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

CP: Most people would not mistake either of us for a couple of tough union roustabouts. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Teamsters?

RN: Card-carrying, baby.

CP: What, your touring musical-theater troupe was a closed shop?

RN: We should have been so lucky to have had union rules in that little sweatshop of the arts. No, I was a warehouse laborer. It was a summer job, and what I remember most about it — besides how much it made me appreciate my college education — was how we underpaid students were required to fork over sizable initiation fees and dues for 12 weeks of employment.

CP: My life in organized labor started early, too. At 16, I joined a collective-bargaining unit to work as a stocker at my local grocery store. I remember thinking it was totally worth it because I was earning $4.99 per hour. And there were many other union jobs after that.

RN: That’s right, starting, if I’m not mistaken, with your tenure in the Hairdressers Guild.

CP: Go ahead and laugh, but I’ve known plenty of hairstylists, and you would not want to cross them if they did put up a picket line.

RN: Theirs is a fierce tribe, yes, but that’s not exactly a hardship scenario when, like me, you’re bald. Anyway, I was also invited into what is now Education Minnesota, at least until I realized that the classroom was not my natural habitat. Weren’t you in the Aqua Follies or something?

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