A guest post from AFSCME Council 61’s Danny Homan:
I recently saw a post online that was a great reality check. It read, “Thank God for a three-day weekend! No, thank a Union.” What a great reminder of how easy it is to let the accomplishments of the labor movement fall to the wayside. We wonder why, nationally, union membership is declining? Maybe it’s because the rights afforded to younger workers are taken for granted.
We don’t often talk about the sisters and brothers who gave blood, sweat, tears, and yes – even their lives for the workplaces we now know as “the norm.” Norms such as a 40-hour work week, benefits, safer working conditions, paid holidays, and so many more. They sacrificed so that we could live better, happier, safer lives, because they knew that together, we are so much stronger.
Let me be clear: the fight is not over. There is much to be done, and many victories to be had. Your rights as public employees and union members across our state and country are under attack. Whether it be failed privatization schemes, outsourcing gimmicks, or just plain union-busting tactics, politicians like Terry Branstad are hoping we don’t fight back, that we put up our white flag. Boy, do we have a surprise for them. You see, workers do just that – we work. We don’t give up; we never quit.
So how do we continue to grow and build our power? We build each other up. We go to the non-members and share with them what our union means to us, what our union does for us, and how each of us joining together multiplies our collective force. Together, as one voice and one union, our potential and promise is limitless.
This Labor Day, talk to your kids, coworkers, or friends about the hard fought victories of the labor movement. Enjoy the day off with those you love, and remember the sisters and brothers who earned it. Have a safe Labor Day weekend.
by Danny Homan
President, AFSCME Iowa Council 61