At one point in time, I belonged to three different unions. Can't remember all of them, but I do remember there were three.
I may still be a member ('retired in good standing') of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 149 (long story).
But I wouldn't really call myself a 'union' man.
Still, when I see the abuse that's being heaped on the United Auto Workers (UAW) union by right-wing commentators over the UAW's failure to win an 'organization' vote at Volkswagen's Chattanooga Tennessee plant - saying that it means the South won't be dragged down like Detroit was - I marvel at these people who fail to study history.
It's as if the UAW was to blame for all of Detroit's faults.
I don't think it was a Union man who decided that all GM cars should look exactly the same back in the 1980s.
And I KNOW it wasn't a union man who designed the Edsel or the Pontiac Aztek.
In fact, if you look at the half-century starting in the mid-1930s when the auto workers unions began, the United States and Canada produced by far the most cars in the world.
They were also the best cars in the world, leaders in design, in technology, in safety, in efficiency.
Not to mention constituting by far the biggest component of the 'Arsenal of Democracy' which built the machinery that won World War II.
After the war, this system allowed legions of hourly workers to make decent wages, put their kids through school, and look forward to a comfortable retirement.
Sure, both sides made mistakes.
But the major flaw in the system was that in the States anyway, the unions forced the manufacturers to provide the benefits their own governments were too stupid to provide.
Geez; they're still fighting over universal medical care down there.
Because the cost of these social needs was forced onto the companies rather than onto society as a whole, companies with ageing work forces were penalized compared to newly-established companies, like the foreign-owned 'transplants' that began arriving in the 1980s.
The 'legacy' costs of supplying pension and medical benefits to their older work forces meant domestic manufacturers had something like $1,200 in every car before the first weld was made.
Toyota can compete even-up, thank you very much.
Give them a $1,200 head start - at cost, not at retail - and they'll eat your lunch.
Opposition by Neanderthal Republican politicians in Tennessee was the main factor that derailed the organization drive. They were claiming VW would move all the jobs to Mexico if the workers unionized.
What? And walk away from a multi-billion dollar three-year old plant?
VW was remarkably neutral in all this. It actually allowed the UAW access to its facilities to talk to the workers. VW is used to dealing with the gigantic and powerful IG Metall, the union in Germany. Relations aren't always pleasant, but Worker Councils are part of the way things are done over there.
Now, some of my best friends are Americans.
But sometimes, you have to wonder if they'll ever make it into the twenty-first century.