Al Gore committed one of his now famous "Gore-isms" when he claimed to have grown up hearing and/or singing that "Look for the Union Label" song. It turned out that he was already 27 when that song was written. I, on the other hand, could have grown up hearing and singing that song. I'm a lot younger than he is.Anyway, have you heard of a company called Union Friendly Systems? They distribute union-made computer systems and union-programmed software, both to the general public, and to union shops. The prices aren't too bad, either.
My dad was part of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The IBEW symbol was a part of my childhood. Eventually, Dad went back to school and got a desk job as an estimator, but he always knew he could fall back on the hall if times got tough. He said he would go back and work with his tools. But I digress. Union Friendly Systems sells systems to individuals, and mass quantities of computers to places like Daimler-Chrysler.
The prices aren't too bad, either. Here's a few of the basic lineups available on the site:
Intel Pentium III Central Processing Unit (CPU) Intel Pentium III Motherboard with 815 Chip Set 133 Mhz System Bus 128 Meg Ram Standard 256k Advanced System Cache 8MB AGP Video Card (32 MB Optional) 50x CD-ROM Drive Built-In 128-Bit Soundblaster Sound Systems 7200 rpm Hard Disk Drives 10/100 Lan Adapter UNION MADE by IUE Local 127 - ATX form factor Mini-Tower chassis 1.44mb Floppy Diskette Drive
Prices on this system range from $1395.00 for a 20 gig HD and a Pentium III-667 processor, to $2450 for a 45 gig HD and a Pentium III-933 processor.
Here's another that they call the Space Saver - less power but a pretty good price:
Space Saver Book PC Small Size 11-3/4 x 10-3/4 x 3-1/4" Intel i810 Chipset System Board Intel 500mhz Celeron Processor 64 Meg Memory CD-ROM Drive 1.44 MB Floppy 8.4 GB Hard Disk Drive Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers Built-in Graphics System with MPEG2 decoder & TV Output Built-in Lan Adapter Sound and Game System 56k V90 Fax/Modem Module High Speed DSL Ready Printer Port USB Port for additional devices
With a 15" monitor, this system is about $750, with a 17" monitor, it's about $850.
There are a few add-ons you can pick on the way out, like a Canon Bubble Jet printer for $75.00, a DVD-ROM upgrade for $125.00, or an additional 64 MB of ram for $95.00.
If you believe unions are of the devil, you might not want to purchase a union-friendly computer. But then again, you might not care, as long as you can get a good deal. In any case, don't shoot me! As they say, I'm just the messenger. Have a great weekend.
Author's note: I am available to respond to questions, comments, and criticisms. Please post your thoughts in our discussion forum -TG.