in the news

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at
Mon Mar 1 06:18:18 PST 1999

Hello everyone, and Marta,

Look Marta, you are a fine voice for disabled rights. I speak from being a worker in attendant situations, and the fact I have been in a union, and gone through strikes. I feel strongly about those things, but you have a right to feel strongly about needing an independent life because the fucking system fucks disabled people worse than anyone else, and the discrimination is bad. I hope you understand that I get mad, but I care deeply about these issues because it is close to home both in terms of understanding what the movement has meant to me, but also the fact I worked in situations and have that perspective in it also. I am just speaking from my heart to you.

Maybe Tom Lehman is right that if you were in the union in some advisory position, which might be set up easily enough you could directly affect the sorry assed union officials and others with backwards view points directly and learn with the seat of the pants experience that unions represent a variety of people, and it is what everybody contributes that makes it something. There are business unions who will fight you, just as there are republicans who will fight you. I don't doubt that unions can be a bulwark against the best interest of workers, but there are reformers aplenty too. And that is what you are. People like you and I make a difference when we have practical knowledge of how things work in the union, and can unite with progressive voices to make good changes. We don't have an organized left. We don't have the muscle to get rid of quickly backwards people, but it is really about how people like you who make a difference when you reach out.

You write: Marta A quadriplegic who lives at home and has an attendant who comes daily to feed, dress, and help transfer them into their wheelchair cannot exist one day with the help of an attendant. The attendat leaving the job to strike would mean the quadriplegic would be completely stranded in their home. For how long one day, two days, a month??

Doyle My wife daily deals with counselling people in that kind of situation. I will give you examples I know of. R is aphasic from a stroke, and has severe arthritis so he needs a power chair. He had a live in attendant his sister set up for him. He thought the attendant was a pile of shit, and said so every chance he could to everyone, and yet it took six months to get rid of the bastard. Because like many situations with a disabled person, the fucking patronizing attitude over-rides listening. It took my wife and six other staff working in various ways that fucking long to get it done, and R went to jail once in that period because of the fucking shit that came down. Sure he made himself known, but he didn't have the power to make himself heard, and without a network of people that started with my wife he couldn't have got rid of the fucking bastard who was assaulting him whenever everyone's back was turned. And his sister meant well, but you can't toss her out, because he fucking loves her, and she is all he has in the world.

Doyle Another example, a guy who falls off his roof and breaks his neck and is high quad. He has severe depression because of adjusting to being a quad. My wife tries to get him to fight for his rights, because you gotta talk up for your self, or they will throw you away like a refuse, but the disability causes toxins that give him paranoia. Sometimes he can't figure things out, and others he is so depressed he can't act. Where is his voice for independence? In that case every fucking person who works around him in one of these VA type outlets is treating him like a sack of shit. I know it, my wife knows it, but he is too scared to act in his own right. His fear keeps him quiet. That is why they (business interests) can shape things, because little people become afraid to speak up for their rights. They take the little they are handed, and that is what they accomodate themselves to.

Doyle Another example, a guy with extreme add, totally able to work, but he can't cognate strategies that would get him out of trouble. He gets tossed from one job to another because the fucking system doesn't give access to his disability. The union he belonged to had a sorry untrained steward who sat on their thumb until the last fucking moment on the grievances, and he lost his job. But he presents himself as full of rage. What can he do to fight for his independent rights. He needs a network of support or he will get fucked royally. Well nothing is solved. My wife counsels him with no resources to give him what he needs. He is a fighter, but his strategies are shaped by his add. And ninety nine out of hundred people don't even credit add as real.

Doyle Everyone of these people is saying they need their rights. It cries out with injustice and I know how fucking shitty these things are. I have a good friend. A higher function quad. She believes like you that firing people is the answer. Right, having a little token power feels like you have a control. And surely these are real life and death stuff. She doesn't have to worry about someone turning her to prevent bed-sores, but she needs transfers to go the bathroom in all kinds of strange places due to her job of finding housing for disabled people getting out of board and care homes. And just using the bathroom is a life and death thing, because it can become a health issue for her much more than most people. My friend is a savvy as you, but she fucking will hire me, and lecture me about her right to order me around like a slave. She knows what the fuck I think. But goes from caring to "boss" in her attitude because she thinks having that power is what liberates her. Listen if I didn't care, I could fuck with her and kill her just like the example you cite:


No but also, there is a very real issue of workers being flakes, not showing up on time or not showing up at all. The sheriff's department is looking for an attendant down here suspected of tying up a woman with cerebral palsy and killing her. We have to be able to get a dangerous person out of our homes with out asking the union if its OK. The union DOES NOTHING to screen its members, so they cannot be looked upon to solve the problem.

Doyle But I don't because I need her friendship, I need to be paid, I need a decent society to live in, and I live in the world just like she does. I am just an imperfect human being trying to get by in the world. I do this kind of work because mostly that is all I can get. Sometimes like this very moment I am doing well, and I don't have to take any job. But I ain't above nothing. A union ain't heaven to solve my problems, but it represents some kind of structure to work on my social problems. When unions were strong in this country compared to now, we had social service rights that have been taken away since they crushed the right to strike. The union movement is composed of assholes, and good people, because society is composed of that. As sharp as you are, where are you going to be if people like Doyle aren't in your corner? Your right to fire somebody at will is just an ideal without a society that respects you. I talked to somebody you know last night, (Bill B.) He said without naming you, because this ain't about you, he thinks it is the peculiar American ethic that we have to be "independent" that shapes this sort of disability rights thinking. He says in Europe, there is a different take on things. Something like self determining. Where you function in a network of society and have rights in that situation. Instead of the individual against the world. I see you as very important. You are ten times more useful than most advocates because of a fighting spirit and the knowledge you have. But it ain't about having no strike clauses that guarantees your rights, it is about having a workers rights movement that is shaped by the knowledge that social justice demands.

I appreciate the words very much from Yoshie, and Tom Lehman. I get so mad and impassioned I don't always make sense. I hope you hear my respect for you. regards, Doyle

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