To those who thought my allotted 30-second speech at the Democratic Labor Day picnic was a bit incoherent, I should explain. When I asked, “Who are or ever has been a union member?” I was curious how any real unionist could have swallowed the blather offered by the Democratic candidates without puking. When I offered to donate axe handles and pitchforks in lieu of massages for next year’s raffle, I was speaking metaphorically.
A follow-up question might have been: How many were members of the gentrified, polite, non-blue-collar “trades” who have benefited from outsourced factory, textile, and other consumer goods jobs? Think Walmart.
Those were the ones who lost jobs to NAFTA and the trade agreements given away by Democratic presidents and politicians who tried to curry favor and contributions from corporations. It is no wonder that unions are in disrepute among ill-paid workers who are taxed to support well-paid and benefited white collar union members.
It is time to unionize all workers and end the hostility between civil servants and the rest of the workforce. Republicans and their corporate contributors will try to drive a wedge between them, equating civil service unions with big government and in the end destroy all unions.
We will be back to the 1890s when Labor Day was given as a sop to the labor movement, which had lost members in the Pullman strike to the militia’s guns and clubs.
Those who know me may ask why I am a union supporter since I have spent the last 25 years in a wheelchair.
It is for my brothers and sisters in the United Transportation Union who have been supporting me all these years with contributions to the Railroad Retirement System (a model for Social Security) that was brought about by the blood and pain of many railroad strikes.
Now, in a small way, it is payback time.