ICYMI: An insightful letter from our Chief Steward Natalie Summerlin
The recent Supreme Court decision regarding unions has emboldened the anti-union forces of our country. Many of us have received emails “informing” us of the option to not be a union member. By reducing the number of unions, they reduce what unions can do to serve us and our communities. These corporation-back organizations know that the best way to kill unions is to starve them, and dead unions offer you no protection in the workplace, no voice in the halls of power, and no way for people to work as a group to ensure that workers have family wage jobs and enough benefits that one bad car wreck doesn’t send them to the poorhouse.
These organizations hope you don’t know your history. They hope you believe in the kindliness and generosity of the people at the top. They hope you think two-day weekends, paid vacations, and paid healthcare were a gift from above. And they really, really hope that you credit them with being able to send your kids to school instead of to work on a factory floor is something they agreed was a good thing out of the kindness of their hearts. But…
These workplace benefits were NOT a gift.
Weekends, vacations, healthcare, and all the rest became the norm in America due to the dedication, hard work, sacrifice and struggles of union members and their determination to stick together and demand their due.
That togetherness, that solidarity…that’s what a union is about.
These organizations really want you to step aside. Let their backers make your choices for you. Give up your voice in the workplace. Ultimately, they want to go back to the “good old days” when they could dictate working conditions without worrying about your opinion. And they know that the only way that can happen is if you agree to give up your power to join together with your fellow workers.
Every time one of these emails drops into your inbox, you have another chance to choose. If you choose to continue to support the work that our union does to establish and maintain a fair and just workplace, consider:
Support your union: Stay informed and as involved as you can with our local.
- Spread the word: Let other workers know that the “freedom” this group is working for is freedom to do your job in a potentially unsafe, unjust and underpaid workplace.
- Be ready: some people in other unions have had home visits or been ambushed as they were leaving work by representatives of these organizations. If they show up in person, ask for their names and who they work for, then let them know you don’t want them to contact you again. And please, let me know if this happens, so we can give everyone a heads-up about them.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns….and thanks for taking the time to read this.
Corvallis AFSCME Vice-President & Chief Steward