I've been struggling with what to say about the incestuous bias in the media against the UAW through the media's repetition of Right Wing lies, distortions and avarice. Problem is that I didn't really know how to sum it up. To boil it down to what I really wanted to say or maybe it was how I wanted to say it.
I was over at Dailykos and noticed a comment in a diary on the Bridge loan to automakers:
The lazy, overpaid autoworker stereotype is outdated and tiresome. Just like any other industry, we have our share of slackers, but the overwhelming majority of our workforce "bring it" every day.
You say the UAW needs to accept concessions to help solve this crisis. Apparently you haven't been paying attention for the last 20 years or so. The companies have been asking for and receiving concessions for the last several contracts. The most recent contract allows for a nearly 50% lower wage for the next generation of workers, while also removing health care costs from the company books.
Apparently that's not enough. You want to see us all out of work.
The bottom line is that while the UAW and management have played a part in the past mistakes, both have been working to ensure a solid future for the industry for years.
Over that same time the government has done nothing to help regarding affordable health care, balanced trade and tax incentives that reward companies for keeping jobs here instead of outsourcing. The middle class (led by the unions) tried to sound the alarm years ago. Unfortunately, nobody listened because of their anti-union prejudices.
The comment comes from a 29 year veteran of an assembly line, a UAW member, in the Detroit Free Press.
There is so much anti-union blather out there in the ether that it’s hard to cut threw it and make sense of anything sometimes. Here, on Uniongal, we try to do that. We try to find a way to remind each reader that there is something bigger than the ether, than the anti-union comments you read or the blatant anti-worker bias in the media. There’s something so much bigger out there, it’s solidarity.
This weekend, I read a similar thread on .UnionReview and commented:
We do fight back. Everyday you remember that there are brothers and sisters in your union, you beat folks like National Review. Everytime you talk to some random person about what it means to be in a union, what it means to have brothers and sisters in the stuggle are always victories against these jack asses.
Solidarity means that we come together and everytime we do, they are afraid and when they are afraid, they will take a brush and with broad strokes, they will paint us with the actions they themselves take.
So, when you read their comments and they make their statements, say what you have to, clearly, loudly and with the strength and honesty of those who have come before all of us. From the women at the Triangle Shirt Factory to Wesley Everest and to the current struggles for representation so many are fired for trying to obtain.
And when you do speak, know that you're not alone. We're all with you.
It was something small. Nothing I haven’t felt or meant to say in the past. It’s just that I don’t think I’ve really thought about it. About what it really means to fight for workers, I just do it. It’s a part of who I am.
Fighting for my brothers and sisters in labor is just something I do, naturally. I have never stopped to think about it and I’m sure many of you haven’t either. I don’t care about the infighting, the dirty laundry, the poaching from one union to another union; it just doesn’t matter as long as workers can bargain, collectively.
Then I met someone who made me actually stop and think about it. I’ve thought about the why and this came about not through the Big 3 or through the constant anti-union sentiments about the UAW or IAM (from the Boeing strike) or how Andrea Mitchell and Tom Brokaw shill for the anti Employee Free Choice Act every chance they get. I started to think about it on Saturday.
You see, I went out with a new friend on Saturday. He's really an absolutely amazing person, just being near him makes me feel this unbelievable electrical jolt, you know, that feeling, when you remember why you do what you do? That jolt from the passion that is taking on the system, or fighting the good fight?
He’d shared some stuff on being a firefighter and me, well, I’ve never been much of a fan of IAFF. On a scale from one to 10 and 10 being my love for my former union (you all know I was a Teamster, right?) and 1 being my feelings toward Right Wingers, IAFF was about a 3, okay, maybe a 4.
But this guy out of the blue had me thinking about stuff. I’m not a retrospective girl. I like things to be clear, kind of orderly and since I’d made up my mind on IAFF, I really just didn’t think of them in the same way that I did IBEW, UFCW, UFW, UNITE-HERE and many others, I just didn’t.
So, he’s read my blog and he and I have had a couple of side conversations about the IAFF. He's told me about the The Secret List.
and how he's seen too many firefighters injured due to new construction issues. He’s talked about how industry standards are so low now, that during a fire, you can’t always head into a building because the materials used in new construction are so flimsy that you fall threw floors or ceilings collapse and roofs as well. Just yesterday, a Firefighter on Staten Island lost his life while battling a blaze when the roof collapsed.
But this weekend for me was different. It started out like any other weekend, busy and then, he sent me an e-mail about solidarity.
IAFF is as much a brother in the struggle as the 29 year veteran of GM.
Today, I’m reminded of what it is I fight, for my brothers and sisters and there’s no rest on the horizon for any of us and yeah, I also mean you right wingers who idolize the likes of Rick Berman. Be prepared to fight, because I am.
I am now, more than ever, clear that what we need is just a little concept called solidarity.
To my brothers and sisters in Labor, Uniongal Salutes you. And yep, I mean you all in IAFF, too. You’re now a 10 in my book.