In a special investigation for The Philadelphia Inquirer, journalist Juliana Feliciano Reyes goes on Tinder to find out why so many people in Philadelphia list their trade unions in their profiles along with other traits such as height, weight and dating preferences. The fact that so many people were doing it meant something, she declares. "But what exactly?"
As reported in the Inquirer, here are a few highlights from her investigation:
Of course, there were guys (usually, it should be noted, from electricians union Local 98) who trolled: Is this really what passes for a story at The Inquirer these days? Others tried to parlay the interview into a date, or at least a few more pics.
But the guys who did talk to me — stagehands, electricians, operating engineers — most of them unwilling to let me print their names, told me this: It was a pride thing. “Going from non union to union, you realize you really earned something,” one electrician said. “You bust your ass for it.”
If her findings are any indication, unions are far from dead and a union job still carries a certain cachet that a person has a good paying job that can provide for a family:
“I always grew up hearing the word union and thought it pretty much meant you’d be taken care of,” said Evan Sanders, a member of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, whose profile read “union steel worker." He’s alluding to the fact that trade union members are paid well, have good health-care benefits, and get that most elusive of perks among young people these days: a pension.
But the real question is, does it do any good at securing dates? “I don’t think it has done anything for me,” she reports one user saying. Others find it may only add to the confusion of dating:
Bennett, 30, was touching on one of the difficulties of dating apps. You might think you’re communicating one thing, with a photo or job title or even your height, but that might not be how the reader registers it. As one operating engineer told me, “99% on here don’t even know what the union is, anyway.” Tong said that sounded as if these guys were interested in presenting “their authentic identity,” even if others didn’t get it.
Still, there is always hope. Read the complete finding's of Reyes' investigation at Inquirer.com.