Labor Unions Are for Safety and Creativity
I do not go around asking people if they believe in God. But I frequently ask people if they believe in labor unions. I am genuinely curious about how people around me think about collective bargaining in workplaces. How do people who work for a living, or who have at some point worked for a living (meaning most of us) think about people being courageous, together, for the sake of the integrity of their work or the safety of their work or the dignity of their lives at work? Several men working for the fire department recently said, loud enough for people coming out of the grocery store to hear, “Oh, yes ma’am, we sure do need our union.” In a hotel elevator this summer, a man carrying a poster noting his retirement as an airline pilot said he is clear that people working in the industry, at all levels, need labor unions. He said it was a basic matter of safety.
Everyone Needs an ‘Equity Card’
The younger people in my life introduce me to songs they consider vintage but that are completely new to me. The Dead Kennedys, for example, are alive and well on my most recent playlist. And just this morning I heard, for the first time, "Work Bitch," by Britney Spears. As I listened to her sing "Bring it on/ring the alarm/don’t stop now/just be the champion," I added, in my best BritBrit voice "and get a labor union, get some collective bargaining." (This is what it is like to ride in the car with me.)
Make ‘Labor Union’ Sense Common Again
My daughter and my mother save things that might someday be useful or salvageable. So do I. I have used tea to stain white or pink things that I’ve accidentally spilled something on. My mother taught me to do this. Her mother taught her to do this. This way of saving something with tea is called, at least in my circles, tea-staining.