Stand up for your rights
How do we gain in an ever increasing world of higher cost of living?
In our quest to enhance our own standard of living, our right to free decision making without government coercion is not without risk. We take for granted every day the rights we have been accustomed to. These rights affect us individually, our families and our communities. More and more we see the struggles of those around us. We know people who have lost their job, their retirement and so on, but because it hasn’t really happened to us, we tend not to put ourselves in their shoes.
As union members we stand together in solidarity. Standing together means just that, we stand together when our sisters and brothers are doing well and when they aren’t doing so well.
To be more specific, we are affected by what happens to those around us, those who are union as well as those who are not. Whether we think so or not, we are walking in someone else’s shoes; it’s only a matter of time before we realize it.
The question becomes, are you going to do what you can to make a difference or not? Either way we must move in a direction, be it positive or negative, as a group of people.
The direction depends on how many are participating in the process. Sometimes bad things happen because only a few negative people got involved, and even fewer positive people got involved or just sat it out waiting to see what the others were going to do.
By now I hope you are getting the point I’m trying to make. By now we should all have seen the negative effect recent legislation has had on our income taxes; some of us have had contracts expire which brought “right-to-work” into our workplace; some of us have seen the devastating effect to our budget because we are now paying for taxes on our pensions. Some of us have fought to stave off these devastating changes to our livelihood; some of us have sat back and let it happen. In the meantime we have been losing the battle to protect the rights of the middle class.
Collective bargaining is one of those rights and can exist only in an environment of political freedom. Every dictator in history either left or right has, as a first step, sought to destroy free trade unions. We are dedicated to freedom politically, economically and through private enterprise. This is what has made America the “Land of the Free.” No matter what side you lean toward in your beliefs and your convictions, freedom for those rights are held with the highest regard and respect. We have shed blood to protect those freedoms, not only for us, but for future generations.
Our collective bargaining rights will be in jeopardy unless we continue to pay our dues.
Collective bargaining is not a means of seeking a voice in management; it exists to protect the interests of the worker. It’s neither right nor left. Where in the past collective bargaining only included wages, hours and safety concerns, it now includes a whole host of items such as medical care, pensions and job security.
Showing our strength in numbers as dues paying-members who won’t back down because of “right-to-work” lets our legislators and our bosses know we stand as one, undivided.
We must think about those who have lost their ability to support their family through no fault of their own. Those who struggle daily to put their kids through school, pay medical bills, or put food on the table. We must put ourselves in their shoes and fight for them, ourselves and future generations of workers. Corporations have enjoyed billions in profits by stripping their workers of a voice, a vote and job security. It is our right, our expression of freedom, to bargain. Let’s not let anyone take these rights away.
If you choose to not pay your dues, not to get involved and basically not care, you send a message not only to the workers and retirees who struggle to get by, but to your legislators as well as your place of work that you’re OK with not having rights. Without unions, we are nothing but “at will” employees who can be let go for no reason. Standing up for our rights and the rights of others sends a strong message, but one that is only as strong as its participants. Stand with me, your co-workers, your family and your community!