You may wonder why I’ve focused my last few posts on the writers strike and why I also mentioned the current New York City stagehands strike that has brought most of Broadway to a halt. I mean, it’s just entertainment, right?
These strikes certainly don’t seem as important as the war in Iraq, the horrible cyclone in Bangladesh and others natural disasters, the political crisis in Pakistan, the mortgage crisis here in the U.S. plus the falling dollar and the impact of both on world markets, global warming, drought, hunger, disease, etc.
I care deeply about all of that, of course, but these strikes deal with something I also care deeply about. People standing up for what they deserve – in an environment where they have very little power on a daily basis – and I support that, whether I agree with each bargaining point or not.
Since President Reagan faced down the air-traffic controllers in 1981, unions here have gone through some rough times for sure. Many have been weakened. Add to that the decrease in factory and manufacturing jobs of all kinds and the powerful anti-union maneuverings of mega-corporations like Wal-Mart, and unions as a whole are not as strong as they once were.
And, while I admit some of their hard-fought-for rules can be quite impractical from the employer’s side and definitely need revisiting at times, we should never take our unions for granted. Especially in a time of spiraling health care costs, where too many people are left without any insurance coverage or protection of other basic needs. So much of what we have today comes to us because of unions and the courageous people who weren’t afraid to stand up and fight for their rights and the rights of others.
And so I am posting in honor of all of them.
We should never forget how lucky we are to be able to even form unions, and that we once had conditions here in the United States similar to what we gasp at in other countries today. And we should never forget that so much we take for granted in the workplace is there because of people who came before us and stood up for what we all deserve.