At long, long, long (LONG!) last we sent the 2011 edition of Los Angeles Labor 411 to the printers (LATE!) yesterday evening.

Of course we had to celebrate. So, right before we sent our files over to the printer, I sent one of my assistants out to buy some beer to toast our success. Being a bit of a beer snob, he returned with two six packs of Mad River Brewing Company’s Steelhead Extra Pale Ale and Steelhead Porter.

I almost fell over. I snapped at him, “You’re expecting us to toast the completion of LA Labor 411 with a microbrewery beer! That’s not union!”

My designer laughed, “What? You didn’t get Budweiser?”

My assistant looks at me like I’d lost my mind, {Keep in mind. It’s been two weeks of 14 hour days getting this directory finished. I’m the boss. I figure I’m entitled to lose my mind occasionally} and says matter-of-factly, “What are you talking about? It’s made by IAM.”

There’s serial killer on TV who happens to be named after my dog Dexter. As many of you know, my dog Dexter is a 100 percent union dog because we adopted him from the West Valley Animal Shelter, a city run facility with union employees.

Let me be clear, Dexter is not a serial killer nor does he play one in our household. Yes, he has put a big hole in our dog food budget (thankfully I can buy union-made dog food!), but he’s really just a loveable lug. Recently, though, we’ve been having problems with Dexter – he keeps throwing up in the house. We think it’s because he’s eating too much junk. He has a bad habit of finding weird stuff on the street when we take him on walks and gobbling it down before we can stop him. I’ve scheduled a check-up with the vet next week and, no, it won’t be a unionized veterinarian. Sorry, no such thing (yet!), so, I’ll have to take a pass on the Buy Union! challenge on this particular issue.

The holidays were over and it was time to ship my daughter back to college in Santa Barbara. She’d never been on a train before and her birthday is coming up soon, so I decided to book her a ticket online instead on Amtrak (unionized) as a gift. The round trip ticket cost me around $50 – which is a pretty good deal when you consider driving there and back would run me around 18 gallons of gas. At today’s insane prices that would have come to about $63, maybe more depending on where you buy (actually it shocks me every time I go to the pump. I look up at the price and think, “Really? REALLY?” Urgh.)

Sometimes I complete my Buy Union! challenge without even knowing it. That’s always a fun surprise – finding out certain things we do regularly are unionized. For instance, travel. I had to fly to San Francisco on business recently with several members of the Senders Group team and I was delighted to find out the…

No, this blog is not about the post-election hangover. (California actually did rather well, thank you very much. The rest of the country? Not so much.) This is an honest-to-goodness post New Year’s hangover, following a wild night out of drinking, dancing and partying up a storm. (Whoo hoo!!!!) Okay. Maybe it wasn’t that wild,…

I decided to do an experiment. Since this Buy Union! challenge has started, it hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve been finding ways to save money. A lot of it has been buying what union-products I can find on sale and by using coupons. In fact, I got so excited during my research about finding so many coupons for union-made goods and being able to save all that money, I decided it would be a good idea to make it a regular feature on our www.LALabor411.org web site.