Wednesday, December 19, 2018
I hope that everyone is looking forward to an enjoyable holiday recess and spending some much deserved time with family and friends. The New Year is the perfect opportunity to pause and reflect on all the events of the last 12 months, and although I feel very lucky to be part of such a strong union, I must admit, it's been a difficult year for union members as a whole across the country.This past June, the Supreme Court handed down one of its most ill-founded decisions in decades. The case supposedly centered on Mark Janus' right to free speech in the workplace, but, at its core, it was nothing more than an attack on working men and women in America. For the better part of almost 100 years, unions have remained the voice of common citizens. Organizations like the PFT have been the driving force behind improved working conditions, higher pay, job security, better health insurance, and quality of life benefits such weekends, holidays, and a secure retirement. These benefits in the workplace weren't gifts from a benevolent government or supervisor. They were the outcome from years of hard fought victories in both the courts and legislature.
So why are there groups of people in this country working equally hard against us? The answer is quite simple; unions have transformed many jobs like teaching into a job with respectable rates of pay and good benefits. Some people in middle class communities suffering from the unequal distribution of wealth in this country have seen their wages stagnate for years, and resent the salaries and benefits of unionized workers. Rather than organize and fight for their fair share of the American economic pie, they are led to believe that unions are the cause of their economic anxiety - that somehow if we get less, their lives will be improved. Quite to the contrary, unions have raised the living standard for all Americans in the country and their destruction will signal the collapse of the remaining middle class, not the redistribution of wealth to those who are suffering from wage and benefit stagnation. This current push for the Supreme Court to erase unions' well-established rights should concern every worker in this country. Janus was not the end, but merely the beginning of a long series of court cases that will seek to attack every aspect of union / workers' rights.
As we celebrate this holiday season, let us all never forget how, through the hard work of unionists, education became a respectable, well paid job!
I wish all of our members and their families a very happy and healthy holiday season! I look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming Wizards Event on April 3rd and The We Make a Difference Awards Night on April 30th. In Solidarity.