A Great Idea Gone Bad

Posted by Paula Paine on May 23, 2011 in Alumni, management, "School of Business", "The College" William Spencer, Jr. ’06 has gone to a great deal of trouble to become a bona fide authority in the field of modern unionism. Chagrined to find that thirty-five years as a dues-paying member of both the International Transit Workers Union and The Teamsters didn’t gain respect for his informed opinions, he went to work and earned the credentials commonly accepted. He became a published author and acquired not one, but two master’s degrees. At the age of fifty-nine, he earned his bachelor’s degree in management from Ottawa University-Indiana. He then earned two master’s degrees from Webster University. Using his dissertation material and hundreds of books as resources, he published his first book, “What Goes Up Must Come Down,” which calls on union members and leaders to “consider radical change in order to remain relevant in today’s global economy.” His book outlines the progress American unions made to achieve better working conditions, fair wages and honest competition for workers. But sometime in the 1970s, a corner turned where “greed shown by employees demonstrated that they didn’t care about their country, their states or their city.” Their attitude became, “If times are good, give me more; if times are bad, don’t take anything away from me.” His timely and even prophetic message, given the situations in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, is that if the unions continue to allow themselves to be dominated by that kind of greed, then they will no longer exist. “If there is not some form of strong union, all American workers are going to suffer for it. What is there to keep management respecting the average worker without the influence of unions?” Spencer has already started on his next book, which explores honest and genuine diversity in the workplace. He has volunteered extensively as a mentor of youth in scouting and church and hopes to teach when he has more time. OU turned out to be an educational “home” for Spencer where he was challenged to greater excellence than in the other college programs he tried. He dedicated his book to his final course instructor, Dr. Kristine Young, who challenged her students to prove comprehension of new knowledge through writing and speech. He says, “That’s exactly what I did by writing my book.”