Fist in the air. Promoted by Rosi
Woe’s me. Woe’s us! Today, less than 10% of the American workforce is Organized, Obama failed to fight for the Employee Free Choice Act, the National Labor Relations Board is about to again be down to 2 members which will lead to gridlock, in Wisconsin and Ohio we lost public sector collective bargaining rights in spite of help and support from the Democratic Party, in New Jersey we lost public sector collective bargaining rights because of the leadership of the Democratic Party.
The economy is going to worsen because our elected leaders are doing everything wrong. Everything wrong! Cutting the public sector instead of growing it. Ignoring climate change instead of embracing the actions that would change it and would grow the economy as a result. Attacking and cutting our public schools instead of pouring resources into them to make our citizenry the best educated in the world. Not regulating the banking and finance industry – that is back to reaping record profits, giving out record bonuses, and ripping us all off. Leaving undocumented workers out in the cold while the temperature is dropping precipitously. Not doing everything possible to support and improve desperately needed National Healthcare, and let’s not forget the Elephant in the Room – continuing to support endless war all while pretending that it is cost free in terms of the budget, death, and our humanity.
So why get up each morning and face another day of this fight? Why not go through the motions, why not stop fighting Christicrats, play out the string, get a hobby, and watch Jersey Shore, instead of continue to live ones life as a part of this grand struggle? Why not . . . give up?
We didn’t choose to fight for Workers’ Rights and Human Rights because it’s easy. We didn’t make the decision to be Union because it’s a career. We are part of the fight for labor and human rights because our cause is great and crucial. We take up our task each day against the odds because without this fight, without a living breathing resistance movement, there will nothing left to the American Dream but a dream.
We are proudly fighting back. In Wisconsin, we waged a daily fight against not only the destruction of collective bargaining, but against the destruction of all aspects of the social contract – the destruction of the very idea of the public good. In Ohio, the Progressive Movement did the impossible – it gathered over a million signatures on a petition to put the question of public sector collective bargaining on the ballot. In these two states, we see our Movement at its finest: united, militant, fearless, and joyful. David vs. the Goliath of corporate control and crushing authoritarianism.
On the East coast, CWA and the IBEW just waged the largest strike in decades. And just in case anyone thinks that strike was any less a victory because we do not yet have a contract with Verizon – let me mention that the old contract has been extended indefinitely and for the first time in months bargaining is actually taking place. Best of all this strike and our current fight with Verizon has not been waged as organized labor vs. “the Company” but as the Middle Class vs. the poster child for corporate greed. In that fight, let’s all hope that the middle class wins.
In New Jersey, although we are still struggling to regain our traction after a horrible betrayal by Democratic Leadership, and are facing the conundrum of holding them accountable while staving off Republican Zombies, public sector unions are united. In spite a never-ending spew of nastiness by the Bully in the Statehouse, support for public schools, public school teachers, police officers, firefighters, public workers and public sector collective bargaining is growing, not shrinking. (We know – we’ve been polling it!)
Everyday, throughout this country and the world, a resistance movement is growing. Egypt, Tunisia, Wisconsin, Barcelona. The demand for good jobs is growing. More voices are being raised against unbridled corporate power. Students, workers, people with disabilities, forced retirees – speaking out and fighting back against the causes of our falling standard of living. We need to celebrate that resistance and find every opportunity to build it, embrace it, and grow it.
This Labor Day, I won’t make claims of false hope and ease. This is going to be really difficult. In fact, it may be the fight of our lives. It’s a fight for freedom and democracy and roses as well as bread and it is fight worth having. But don’t give up. Don’t hide. Celebrate by fighting back. Celebrate Labor Day: Resist!