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Labor Day Forum

 

Following this morning's Sunday Service, please join us from 1pm - 3pm for this interactive forum.

Social Change requires Work. What can YOU do to pitch in on these - and other – current campaigns?

 

Question the proponents about their campaigns – their needs, your possible role.

 

Proponents of other campaigns are welcome to contact Bob Bender bob@benderworld.com for inclusion .Already committed in addition to the morning presenters are Brother Frantz Nerette on Fight for $15., and PinkSlip Duo for a few more labor songs.

 

Both sessions are open to the public. UUCFL wants to provide pizza for those attending both. If you might attend both, please inform Bob Bender, bob@benderworld.com.

 

 

An excerpt on Unions: -Rich Yeselson worked in the labor movement as a strategist and researcher for contract and organizing campaigns for over 20 years. Jonathan Cohn interviewed him last year in the New Republic.

 

OK, now pretend I'm your typical American, non-unionized and pretty wary of them by this point. Give me your elevator pitch on why I should care what happens to them—how their presence helps me .
 

It's like this. Whether you realize it or not, unions help you in countless ways. Union workers still hold a substantial wage and benefit premium over non-union workers. Basically, you're more likely to be paid better, have more vacation time, a better benefit package, than if you're not in a union. Your workplace is likely to be a lot safer (compare unionized vs. non-unionized manufacturing facilities—and coal mines.) If union standards for pay, benefits, safety and health didn't exist, there would be no pressure on non-union employers to, at least, try to approach them. Moreover, as the National Labor Relations Act states in its preamble, unions augment worker’s purchasing power and thus boost the entire economy.

An excerpt on Unions: -Rich Yeselson worked in the labor movement as a strategist and researcher for contract and organizing campaigns for over 20 years. Jonathan Cohn interviewed him last year in the New Republic.

 

OK, now pretend I'm your typical American, non-unionized and pretty wary of them by this point. Give me your elevator pitch on why I should care what happens to them—how their presence helps me .

It's like this. Whether you realize it or not, unions help you in countless ways. Union workers still hold a substantial wage and benefit premium over non-union workers. Basically, you're more likely to be paid better, have more vacation time, a better benefit package, than if you're not in a union. Your workplace is likely to be a lot safer (compare unionized vs. non-unionized manufacturing facilities—and coal mines.) If union standards for pay, benefits, safety and health didn't exist, there would be no pressure on non-union employers to, at least, try to approach them. Moreover, as the National Labor Relations Act states in its preamble, unions augment worker’s purchasing power and thus boost the entire economy.

























 

 

If you have any concerns about the danger of large, concentrated private power and money--from the Koch brothers to the oil companies to the insurance companies—unions, even now in their weakened condition, are likely to be the loudest, most powerful ally you will have. Unions, as the old saying goes, the folks who brought you the weekend. And fight for your Social Security. And your Medicare and Medicaid. And--despite a long history of racism, like the rest of America--the Civil Rights Act. And now, increasingly, LGBT rights. Meaning a bunch of issues that have nothing directly to do with unionized workers (the minimum wage doesn't either—and unions fight for that, too.) And safe workplaces. And on and on. At their best, unions try to make America a better place, not merely for their members, but for millions of others.

Unions aren't perfect--they are not a "countervailing" power when what their own workers do is itself anti-social (see the police unions, for example, in the past few weeks post Ferguson). But, if you read the news you understand that governments, corporations, and non-profits like universities aren't perfect, either. In the past several decades of democratic revolutions all over the world--from South Korea to Eastern Europe to South Africa and elsewhere--unions and workers are in the forefront of those struggles. And when those movements are crushed, it is the organizations of workers that are among the first to be destroyed or neutered.  In a democratic society, unions are a critical part of the political culture, at their best transcending the differences of race, gender, sexual orientation and much more that divide people from one another, providing a democratic space in civil society between the family and the state. That's what social solidarity is about—sometimes unions have to fight against the wealthy and powerful, but, in doing so, they bring people together.