If Not Us, Then Who? If Not Now, Then When?
As Utility Workers, we face life-threatening situations on the job every day. Hurricanes, fires, mudslides, explosions, you name it we deal with it. That’s why we focus on securing collective bargaining agreements that protect us from the dangers of our work. And that’s why we continue to be the safest, most productive, highest skilled workers in the world.
We also face life-threatening situations resulting from decisions politicians make. We know that what we win at the bargaining table can be taken away with the stroke of a politician’s, or judge’s, pen.
That’s currently what is happening in our country. Laws that protect our rights at work, our safety, and our livelihoods are being shredded.
Now is the time to do something about it! That’s why we are putting every ounce of energy into electing labor-friendly candidates in these mid-term elections. Labor unions built the middle class and it’s up to us to do everything in our power to defend them. That means getting out to vote, and getting others out to cast their ballots on Tuesday, November 6 for candidates who will stand with us.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get involved. I am asking you to step up, do more than just vote. Volunteer your time through your local Central Labor Council, work your networks, your neighborhood, and encourage people to get out and vote.
The damage being done now will take years to recover from. Here are some examples.
The Supreme Court’s recent Janus decision says that unions cannot make public employees pay dues to support the cost of collective bargaining and day-to-day representation. The court ruling requires that unions provide the same representation to public sector workers who do not pay their dues as to those who do pay their dues.
This is completely unfair and throws out decades of legal precedents. Make no mistake, unless we stop them, those who want to take away the power of workers and their unions will use Janus to impose national right-to-work legislation on every worker in the country.
Health & safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is trying to get rid of a rule requiring large employers to provide detailed reporting of the types of injuries taking place in their workplace. If the new rules are adopted, workers, their unions, and the public will not have the information they need to protect themselves.
At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to use the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to roll back asbestos regulations protecting workers and the public.
These are just a couple of examples of things that corporate-backed politicians seek that directly affect us at work. And there are many, many more.
Hatred and bigotry must end
On a much larger scale, the hatred and bigotry emanating from many of our elected leaders is tearing our country apart. We cannot let this be the norm. We must do everything we can to stop it. As trade unionists we know, united we stand, divided we fall.
Our country is falling further and further behind our competitors. The lack of investment in human and physical infrastructure threatens our future.
These are scary times. Generations of workers who came before us fought and died for their rights. That’s how the middle class was built. Now, it’s up to us to do the same.
If not us, then who? If not now, then when?