We are in this together
Few things can compare to the feeling of solidarity. It is arguably the single most important element in a successful union. Doing what is best for the greater good for all involved circumvents any level of individualism.
Great union leadership and those that follow the agenda set forth by all members is designed to improve the lives of those who make America what it is today: a country built on the idea that, together, we can improve wages, working conditions and the morale of those who take pride in their work, those that roll up their sleeves and, without hesitation, submerge themselves on an assembly line or in the classroom. Dedicated employees whose ultimate goal is to produce something that will make them proud to place the union stamp.
It is without question right to offer credit to union members of years past who picked up signs, put wood in the burn barrel and walked endlessly to show others and themselves that things must improve. From the coal miners of West Virginia who fought for better safety measures to the female tailors’ strike in New York City in 1910, who equally demanded better working conditions, America was never to be the same.
The Industrial Revolution brought to light that the products we all enjoyed were not produced without the dire need to improve all levels of working conditions. Yet, union members arrived each day, punched the clock and worked tirelessly. Why? Because they were union members. And darn proud of it!
There is something to be written about the comfort level one enjoys knowing that an employee cannot egregiously be terminated without just cause. That very employee cannot be sent home because, once again, the union and its members are tirelessly monitoring the behavior of those who would union bust if they successfully could.
There is NO honor in unjustly targeting anyone for personal reasons. There is NO justification if the sole agenda from management is to place upon itself autonomy and use that level of power to converge upon an employee who is there to provide for his or her family.
Yet, without unions, this behavior would be common place. I would suggest that without consistent representation from union leadership, management and all its righteous agenda would decimate the working environment.
Being a union member is not a part-time hobby, rather it is an endless quest to preserve what is just and right.
I have been a member of one union or another for 30 years. Never have I felt so secure in knowing that others are watching out for my well being. In turn, I bring forward my unwavering support for those who have in their wallet a well-deserved union card no matter what local is stamped upon that card. We are in this together. Stay strong and never waver.
Jim Carr is an adjunct at CCRI in the law department.