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Old 03-20-2005, 05:12 PM   #29
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Someone down the line said this is going to be a long thread, I agree!!! I have a view that is completely different from any post thus far. The bottom line when it comes to this organization, regardless of "Creeds" or what you have been told, is that from the very BEGINING the purpose of WBCC was to PROMOTE THE PRODUCT. Of course it was fun for all involved but the idea was people would see a caravan or rally and want to get involved and that ment they had to purchase an AS to participate. Some where along the line WBCC brainwashed it's membership into thinking it is "about them", WRONG!!!! Harley Davison has a similar organization. They don't hide the fact that it gives owner something to do with their bike and at the same time promotes it's product. The similarity ends there. Hd knowing how important this is begins by giving every new owner, or owners who purchase another vehicle from them a years membership FREE. Realizing the importance of HOG, {Harley Owners Group}, they press their dealers into doing the club organization thing. The dealers sponsor their events organize and FUND the bulk of all activies. In return interest is generated for their product and more are sold. Like WBCC they have monthly local meeting, regional rallies, national rallies, and from time to time home comings. Again the bulk of the work and expense is footed by the dealers and manufacture, BECAUSE it is for them the thing is in existance in the first place. In most cases there is a small fee to attend these but with your registration comes a packet that has more than you cost in gifts. Yes there is a small yearly member ship fee. I have questioned in the past why AS owners have to pay $125. to go to a home coming at the factory. If you really look at WBCC, in my not so humble opinion it, no matter what you might think, is NOT YOUR CLUB. I personally don't expect AS to be involved in a change especially if it requires money on their part or the dealers. As it stands now they can't keep up with the orders anyway. They have no incentive to promote their product . There is one other thing I've seem in the motorcycle industry that is similar to factory groups like WBCC. From these there are other Ralleys and events that haves spawd off of them for one reason or another. Maybe that is the answer for those who enjoy events but dislike the Corporate structure of WBCC.----Pieman
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Old 03-20-2005, 05:27 PM   #30
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Buttercup----I beg to disagree with you about " holding together the root of the history and the vision of Wally". Yes "Wally had a vision", he was a busness man and his vision was to build a sucessful busness. Not a thing wrong with that, just don't think he was in it for the fun of it for himself or us. He was a busness man, that's the long and shot of it.----Pieman
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Old 03-20-2005, 07:53 PM   #31
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Wow.. Passion about Wally-cult!

Over 25 posts in less than 24 hours, so clearly this is topic of interest... Jack nailed so many good points, I'll just say an Amen... And as for Mike, be aware that Airstream does support WBCCI a lot, and gives free memberships, and presses dealers to sponsor, etc etc... That is where pressure for other non-AS brands by Thor came from.. I think they actually know that current surplus of demand is a cyclical thing, fueled by everyone from Paris Hilton to The Donald to fashions.. Combine some quality issues and over-aggressive price increases and a lot of dealers could be neck-deep in curvy aluminum almost no time flat... (Just count pages in Blue Beret of dealer ads offering 15 to 20% discount on new inventories right now in published price quotes..).

I really believe Airstream Inc gets it... Issues are senior leaders who worked 20 years to earn their berets, and want life to continue unchanged.. I bought my navy beret at local army surplus store as humor item, and will probably only be able to wear it to Forum rallies now.. Same idea as Jack with red numbers.. Won't be pleased to hear a long-term retiree telling me "You're not enjoying your vacation correctly!"...

Having joined and officer'd (bad verb.. sorry) a vintage Aircraft club chapter, sailboat club (sponsored originally by Macgregor as Mfr) and classic Japanese Motorcycle club, secret to all their successes is to offer what actual owners or interested potential buyers are seeking.. Jack and this Forum are doing a lot of that daily.. Rich and Airstream Life are doing it, as is Vintage Airstream Club, which is linked to WBCCI, but behaves differently... Failures or problems arose whenever leadership felt or declared: This is our club and our group of friends and we like getting together just like always.. Even the short local unit rallies begin on Thursdays here, rather than Fridays, which is just nuts for Silicon Valley where everyone but the retired members seem to work 50 to 70 hour weeks.. (and many retirees work 20 to 30 hour weeks to get by..)

Congrats to Stef and others who have responsive local units, or who are trying to drive change. I love Jack's "Left Behind Rally" in July for those not going to Missouri. Setting the alarm and waking up in the dark to make 7AM Rally breakfast just seems wrong.. Eating dinner at 5PM every day is a problem as well.. Shorter events, free time, really interesting places, mechanical repair and maintenance techniques... Whatta vision!

John McG
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Old 03-20-2005, 08:17 PM   #32
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Old 03-20-2005, 09:59 PM   #33
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Question And I thought

And I thought it was only Social Security that was broken
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Old 03-20-2005, 11:39 PM   #34
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I don't understand why people "don't" join. Maybe, I'm the crazy one, but I have a great time at the rallys. I've meet some great people and "always" have fun at a WBCCI event. Some would say it's because I'm a member of the Washington DC unit. We tend to be a very laid back group. The ages of my family are 41/40 and 3. My family joined the WBCCI three years ago, we hosted a hot air balloon rally this past fall, I'm now the 2nd VP (don't know that happened), went to the International in VT, been to the Florida State Rally, etc... We always have a great happy hour, get out and do things by ourselves and as a group. I feel the club is what you make it. And the WBCCI dues are just noise. People talk about the $65.00 bucks and then go buy two cups of coffee at a $4.00 cup of coffee at Starbucks. I know that some feel the WBCCI is a bunch of old folks. That is true to a degree. But we can learn a lot from people who at the age of 80 is still hitching up and pulling a trailer around the country. If you take the time to talk and listen to them, what they say "just" might be the info you need to make it to 80 and pulling a trailer. I also think if you look at the region you're in, you can find a unit that likes to have fun. This is why the WDCU is one of the fastest growing units in the WBCCI. I will say we are all young in the WDCU no matter how old we may be. I think if you look at your region, you will find the same. If you're not sure which units are fun, I'm sure someone on one of the Airstream lists can point you in the right direction. If nothing else, the Blue Beret can sometimes give you a good laugh if you look at it the right way. I will now get off my WBCCI soapbox.

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Old 03-21-2005, 08:08 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by rideair
I don't understand why people "don't" join. Maybe, I'm the crazy one,
You said it, not me.

In all seriousness, I think you haven't read most of this thread. I mean looking at the numbers alone (without getting into the why, because that's already been discussed), they speak for themselves.

I don't dispute folks of different generations can learn a great deal, but basically that isn't the issue. As for finding good times in various "local" units, this has also been discussed and again, the membership numbers say it all.

For that $4 at Starbucks, you are getting something for it that requires you only to drink it. Currently the $65 is a fee requiring you to go against the grain (in most not all cases) and fix things. Frankly, I have no desire to spend $65/year and spend what little vacation time I have trying to fix a club that frankly is too stale....and again, before you say I'm far on one side of the fence, tell that to all the 12,000 members that are no longer part of WBCCI in the last 20 years and also you could mention this to the thousands of new Airstream owners who have run, not walked from WBCCI, even when given a free year membership and see what they tell ya.......
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Old 03-21-2005, 09:22 AM   #36
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Paul,

I'd just come back to you and say part of it is that the WDCU is pretty exceptional. As you say, "the WBCCI dues are just noise." That's because you are in a kick-A group (and that balloon rally rocked)! For most folks, there isn't anything comparible within easy distance (a consideration, as you know, for families).

Speaking from a purely personal perspective, I don't know that I'd be as interested in attending the International, even if it took place next door. OK, I do have a thing for the berets (hahaha) but the religious ceremonies are offensive, the flag ceremony just plain boring, the teen queen thing frightening, the programming from what I could see, is mostly uninteresting, and the hookups typically questionable. From the stories I've heard told, it sounds like the vintage folks have a good time sticking off to themselves and ignoring the rest of the rally. However, that hardly makes the International a necessary component for an annual vintage Airstream gathering.

Personally, I think good units like the WDCU will provide better alternatives to the International. I don't know if this will save WBCCI, but it might be a way to get more manageable events that more folks want to go to.

Mary
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Old 03-21-2005, 09:28 AM   #37
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Post I'm with rideair

My husband and I really enjoy our membership in the Region One, New England Unit. Maybe it's because it's officers are younger folks (late 30s to early 50s) and still working just like us. It seems to me from this thread (and others like it) that our Unit is one of the more progressive ones in terms of keeping up with the needs of it's diverse membership. But then maybe it's an east coast thing as we attended the Region One Rally held by the Charter Oaks Unit (CT) and a joint rally with the Washington DC Unit last year and both events rocked!

Oh, and thanks to this thread I remembered that I need to contact our Unit President to let him know that two Airstreams from this family will be joining the NE Unit Caravan to Quebec for this year's Region One Rally. Yippee! I can't wait!
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Old 03-21-2005, 10:05 AM   #38
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And our 10 cents

Everyone knows change is difficult and when you are older (70-90) it is even more difficult.

Quite frankly when I become that age in about 30-50 years and my life span is just about done - I will want to hang onto every memory of my yester years as I can and more so with people that we have airstreamed with.

Activities done by people 4 generations apart are bound to have "conflicts" on the younger side - they are just not our cup of tea - so what is! make it know and take the steps to make them happen - how do you think all the other activities get done! - but on the older side of the slide rule those activities fit their lifestyle perfectly and who are we to force change on THEM! - and if in their shoes I would be afraid of loosing something familiar. Look at the North american society 30 -40 years ago and you will see it's reflection in todays WBCCI. Take away the club and you will have only your shiny reflection. People flock together - people like socializing at various degrees and no matter the change in a club people will meet - rules or no rules - and once big enough rules and order will be required and a club will evolve again. Sometimes it is just easier to do it within rather than complain from the sidelines.

And look at us! the new generation 30 year olds to 50 year olds - the pre retirees. What is with our fetish with "Retro" Vintage Trailers, bringing them back to life - and those with brand new ones - who band together here at this forum secretly following our progress as lurkers and thinking - that was cool what Wally did with those old (then NEW) trailers - discussing your own "quality control" issues of brand new products not quite working to your expectations - or you wish they did this or that with the kitchen or bathroom or wouldn't it be nice to have this plumbing gadget or that electrical convenience.

THAT was EXACTLY what Wally's Caravans and Rallies were all about. Good friends made via the purchase of an Airstream - getting together to pick the product apart. Experiencing life on the road and coming up with ideas of innovative systems, appliances and products to be included in the NEXT model off the line. And the same people were in the line up for the new models - and the same people - like those DIY's got to pick up the second hand Airstreams and put in those innovations themselves - or where inclined to be grateful for the systems that were there in the older models - which were luxury compared to other SOB's and primitive camping.

There is so much to do to change this club and it will not happen overnight - and for those hear expecting it to happen overnight - you really do live in a fantasy world.

Change happens within - not from outside - "people vote with their feet" - is a silly comment - people voting with their feet are quitters, sponge bottom feeders - waiting for others to make something better for them to RE- join and OR GO join something else to reap the benefits of others. A club is as only good as it's members THAT IS A TRUE COMMENT.-

If you are better and can do things better - have better ideas that will be interesting to fellow Airstream owners then why not stay in the club and GET THEM DONE! There is nothing stopping club members to meet in little pockets have small gatherings at various parks (just as these forum Rallies/gatherings) Whether they are sanctioned or not - makes no difference to the fun you can have. Nothing to stop you from doing anything in your club - if you have the support of other club members then just do it.

There are hundreds of ideas and things that can be done - as the other clubs are doing! - It is time for evolution of the club - but do it in a manner that respects the existing founders. Plan activities that can include both sets - but also allow activities to meet the needs of all club members.

We have the same issues in our club - at first impression we thought "Oh my God"! Oh Hell NO! (see just our lingo would set some of our elders into a tail spin - and rightly so!) Seriously that is what we thought but expressed it with a smile and hovered close to our rig for protection against the plight of the "dish bag" with mass exodus toward the "mess hall" with "sets" in hand (sets meaning your place setting for the breakfast, lunch, dinner) in typical "Disney" style as many people as possible in as big an area with as ease and orderly fashion as expected for a respectable generation. (But out of the 300 people you were lucky to remember a few couples names you had the pleasure sitting beside) So what would be the problem with smaller groups!

The ideas presented are tried and tested in the sporting world - Local, Provincial/State, Regional, National and International events. Ie. Olympics yep they sure do generate the hype don't they but it sure does take 4 years to get organized This change would be GOOD for the club - place the emphasis back to the Region who in turn would place the emphasis back to the Units - who in turn would take a serious look at their own membership status and activities to meet the needs of their members. Build on the INTRA-CLUBS the programs are lame and can be so much better if they had the true support of the "Club"

However the biggest flaw I see with this whole picture is the evident lack of cohesiveness between the "Product and the Users" and that was what drove the WBCCI" all those years - the tight relationship between the two - that is what built it for the first 25 years and the two entities have allowed the latter 25 years for that relationship to fall apart. Get the two back together and you will have the professionalism needed in the Volunteer Club. That brings an injection of funds to a desperately needed non-profit organization. It brings a much needed communication with new buyers to an existing club (under construction mind you- looking for new ideas and activities to meet the needs of the new members as well as the existing). This would result in improved communication avenues such as the Blue Buret.....
And stop kidding about those caps - how many of you Vintage owners scour the bins at rummage sales and e-bay in search of a "used" Blue Buret to top off the nostalgia of your coach!!!!!

I could go on and on about the club and all it's negs and all it's potential - but time will be better spent - doing some organizing within my own club! LIke trying to start the first ever - Friday night Vintage Airstream to Present Airstream Open House/entertainment to celebrate 75 years of Airstreams and 50 years of the WBCCI. Taking the Happy Hour to a whole new meaning - drinks, food, set out by your coach with each being their own little Bistro - chatting in yesteryear - and awing at todays innovation - sparking those with new Airstreams..."Dear don't you think it would be neat to get one of those old trailers as a "Project" and sparking those with Vintage Airstreams "Honey won't it be nice one day when we can afford it to have everything brand spank-in new and working all at once -for our first ever 4 week long Caravan"......

See you on the road - hopefully with a new left eye, and plumbing that does not leak! and an awning with no sags......
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Old 03-21-2005, 10:26 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
You said it, not me. ...tell that to all the 12,000 members that are no longer part of WBCCI in the last 20 years and also you could mention this to the thousands of new Airstream owners who have run, not walked from WBCCI, even when given a free year membership and see what they tell ya.......
Sometimes it is embarrasing to belong to this generation.

What are you people that stupid you can not see - look at the age and look at all the Widows!!!!!! now add up your "Stupid 20 years" and the number of the 20,000 that are no longer with us or look at the number of the 20,000 that can no longer participate due to health reasons and look at the number of vintage units that are now up for sale through estate sales, or the widow selling their pride and JOY or the people who are left these rigs that have no intention of "Trailering".

The new owners most today are buying "Campers" a product not a concept - why belong to a club that potentially has people like this bashing it all the time!!! We met some really nice people who have no desire to join the club as they prefer to travel and stay in one place for 3-4 months and enjoy their "product"! ease of towing, style of product and obviously the price was right for them.

And the second style of new owners - are those from that generation that as mentioned before - the bottom feeders - waiting for everyone else to make something good so they can then join it.

"Why join a club to spend time fixing it"

BECAUSE YOU CAN!

I.e our club does not have the Vintage Support we would like to see - so we join the club - have access to all the club members, Regional Members and the like. So we contact a few interested parties within our club and we have a couple of 5-7 trailer strong Vintage work weekends at our place. Then we decide to have something a little bigger and invite more people - then it grows into a fun and great weekend for all - word gets around and bang before you know it - we will be asked to join the big Rally but park together still - we say okay let's do it once a year......and this can happen with all types of activities such as mentioned earlier....rock climbing, Astronomy, maybe Kayaking, Canoeing, different hobbies - activities involving people with kids, how about people without kids you know the DINKS (Double income no kids), empty nesters but not retired and the list goes on. How about dog owner rallies/gatherings, caravans.

So go ahead bash me back - at least hopefully this will get some people thinking from a different perspective instead of me me me me and what's in it for me, myself and I.

Life is TOO SHORT! Just ask many of the WBCCI members today that joined 25+ years ago. Go ahead I dare you - you might just have a great chat!
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Old 03-21-2005, 11:23 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GT6921
There is nothing stopping club members to meet in little pockets have small gatherings at various parks (just as these forum Rallies/gatherings) Whether they are sanctioned or not - makes no difference to the fun you can have. Nothing to stop you from doing anything in your club - if you have the support of other club members then just do it.
Well we tried this and were admonished by two of the local unit officers for our gathering not being an "official" unit rally and secondly doing something outside of the normal unit schedule. We were told that this could lead to "splintering" of the local unit where people would rather go to our rally than the official unit rallys.

That's the kind of thinking that makes some want to throw in the towel.

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Old 03-21-2005, 11:33 AM   #41
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Back on the soapbox!

First, I don't want "anyone" to think I agree with all the by-laws and things that happen at an International Rally. Went to VT, the whole time never saw a teen contest, a Flag ceremony, religious ceremonies or anything of the such. I've never put a Blue Beret on my head, have never seen a blue book of by-laws. What I have done is go hang out with a bunch of people that like Airstreams, drink a few beer's (at the International rally a bunch)and even sip some home made sipping whiskey and have a cigar. I've found out how to fix things on my trailer, went to a meeting on how to polish a trailer. While at VT, I went with the vintage group to help build a house for some people that are not as lucky as we are on this list. I've had the chance to build an Airstream sand castle at the Outer Banks of NC, watch my wife and child have great time at the Florida State Rally and play on the beaches at Sarasota. I learned about how they made lights back in the day of George Washington at is home place and found out why the lights are call "lanterns".

For all this fun and even more that I will not bore you with, I have to pay $65.00 a year plus my rally fees. Along with fun must come work. For that I hosted a rally this past fall in Virginia. In the words of someone who was there, "(and that balloon rally rocked)! ". That did not happen by just showing up and saying "what are you going to do for me". I worked for many hours/days making sure that things would be ready for the people that were coming and wanting to have a good time. If you think for one second that you can say "I'll host a rally" and it go well without any work, you are wrong. I was not paid for this work, I did like others in the WBCCI, I volunteer! I did not sit around and wait for someone to do something for me. I'm making the change. Just because I don't agree with everything that happens in the WBCCI does'nt mean I hitch up my trailer and go home or to another campground with a bunch of SOBs. If I did that, I'd never go home, church, work or anyplace else.

My question to those so against the WBCCI would be:
How would you do it? Even if the club is only 8,000 members, plus their husband/wife and kids, so that makes about 16,000 people. How would you run a club with that many people? Oh, and by the way, the people who do most of the "work" free of charge are over the age of 65. Again, How?? What kind of news letter would you have? What kind of projects for the for the good of mankind will you do? How much time/money are you willing to invest? How much will all this cost per-member per-year? After you are done doing all this work at no charge, let me know, I may want to join. But expect me to judge you on my first and only rally that I go too. Not do any work and b*tch about how you are not doing things the way "I want you too".

I have found if you put 8 people in a room together they cannot decide on where to go to lunch, how to pay for it, who's going to drive and whose going to sit next to who at the table. Try doing it for 8,000 people.

I wish those who wish not to work with the WBCCI well. I hope that one of you or a group are able to do 1/10th of what the WBCCI has been able to do over the years. I also hope that you will be able to keep your group going for 50 years. But I do think you should start a new Airsteam club. Because from the sounds of it, you are the only people that know how to make everyone happy all the time.

I will tell you as my mother told me,
"If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything" and
"You can't b*tch if you don't help try to make a change
and sitting around b*tching, is not helping"

I have now got off my soapbox and put my flame suit on.

Paul Waddell
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Old 03-21-2005, 12:13 PM   #42
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Paul, whoa, whoa!

I don't think anyone was complaining. The issue here is whether eliminating the International will hurt the club. From what you wrote about this, I think you are pretty much on the same vibe (you mean you didn't attend the teen queen competition??? shocking! shocking!).

But the development of a group depends on appealing to what interests folks. Nobody's going to join in anything to do things they don't want to do. Think of all the clubs you are not a member of. The science of marketing says that you develop market share by satisfying what potential customers want. For WBCCI, I think there is a realization that they are losing market share. For instance the success of Airstream Life demonstrates that there are target audiences that other Airstream publications failed to satisfy.

Now, I don't know how many new members immediately want to get into organizing (and changing) local units. I can understand--joining, facing unappealing activities, and managing organizational resistance towards changes--is daunting. We can measure our mutual good fortune by knowing that we don't face that--but folks looking at other units might find membership unappealing.

In fact, last year we volunteered for a rally, inititated negotiations with a site and never got any response from WDCU. That's ok, it's the perogative of the unit and since we're happy with the status quo, we're not upset. We'll contribute in other ways. But if we were in a unit where we weren't happy, that might be disheartening.

I suspect that there may be more behind this proposal than simply what was written in the Blue Beret. Maybe they are losing too much money on the International. Clearly, it is becoming harder to organize. I laud the WBCCI leadership for starting to look realistically at what needs to change.

Listen, we can argue this at the CBR til all of Clayton's cows come home (heh heh), but I think we share more in our attitude to this proposed change to eliminate the International.

Mary

PS Berets can be oh so sexy, they just need to be worn with a bit o' attitude !
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