Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Unions Need to Tell Their Stories

At a union meeting an AFL/CIO representative was trying to convince the union leaders there to educate their workers about how the GOP are going to attack them this election and with only 100 plus days left before the election I would call this crisis management. Why do the union leaders have to educate their workers for they should know what they’re up against and they should know themselves—their union history—for the Art of War says if you do not know yourself you will lose half of your battles; and if you do not know yourself and do not know your enemies then you will lose all your battles. I think that the AFL/CIO should spend most of its money on explaining about the unions and what they have done for the working people—whether they are union or not—and also we should show the faces of the new and old union leaders, which were the real heroes of the working class wage slaves and there are many. What the unions have been doing is giving money to promote unknown wannabe politicians who say they will support us. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly during the years, politicians come calling looking for support and money and once they were elected we, the unions, never heard from them again until the next election. We need more than promises. We need to promote our unions and when they, elected politician, show us first that they will support us by their votes then and only then should the unions support them but keep our money to improve the image of unions. What we can and will do for all wage slaves is to rebuild membership, which the heart of the union’s power is its people, and with this will come money and respect. The respect the GOP has spent years, at least 30-40 years, demonizing. The lack of education of our members is what we must begin to deal with the stigmatism of the union brand. If our members do not know their history then how are they to counter the ridiculous claims made in every day conversations by ignorant people. Some have started the education process. There is a new documentary on the Reuther brothers and their work with unionizing the workers in the auto industry. The Reuther brothers are responsible for starting union healthcare, vacations, pensions and middle class wages, which created the middle class. These brothers and George Meany’s story about the steelworkers, and the coal miners, railroad workers, mill workers and all construction workers are all part of labor’s struggle. The struggle is still being fought on the shipping docks and farm workers. All workers should know about the struggles of old and the price that was paid and the good that came of those struggles. We need television advertisements just like the propaganda the corporations are airing to protect their image; some like BP, Chevron, Bank of America, etc. We do nothing to protect our image in a positive light. How are we ever going to keep our members let alone organize new members? We must start spending our money and using our time more wisely. We are behind now so it is the time to draw a line in the sand and go on the offensive. The people responsible for expanding our base is our union leadership and they must teach our members and the public our history or maybe they don’t know it themselves, and this is why our members have not learned themselves. If this is true then the union members should vote them out for they are part of the problem and they will lose the battle with the anti-union GOP.