Friday, December 23, 2022
A Message from President Perry Fuchs
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Plainedge Federation of Teachers,
I hope that everyone is looking forward to an enjoyable holiday recess and spending some much deserved time with family and friends. As the new year begins, I always find this time of year to be the perfect moment for pause and reflection on all the events, opportunities, and blessings in my life. By far, I am most grateful for my wife Eden, my daughter Paige, my wonderful family, and all the friends I have in my life who have essentially become part of my family as well. Not very far behind, however, I am very thankful to be part of a strong union that protects my salary, benefits, and working conditions. Sometimes it might be easy to forget how good we have it here in Plainedge compared to many other sectors of society. While it's certainly true that every member of the PFT is an amazing educator and certainly deserves the level of compensation we receive, the hard truth is that many other educators around the country, who work equally as hard, are not compensated fairly because they are without union representation.
It’s not just educators, however, in which non-unionized labor is hurting; it’s essentially in every sector of our economy. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising at all that over the last two to three years, there has been a major push by workers across the US to organize and form a union. Whether it's at Amazon, Chipotle, Starbucks, or even Trader Joe’s, employees are realizing the only way to have a voice in the workplace and negotiate a higher standard of living for themselves is through a union. After decades of union membership decline, which has led to eviscerated benefits and wages that have struggled to keep up with inflation and the cost of living, unions are once again on the rise in this country, at levels that we haven’t seen since the 1960’s. According to a Gallup poll from 2022, 71 percent of Americans now approve of unions, and data coming out of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) shows that in the 1st half of 2022, union organizing drives won 641 elections - the most in nearly 20 years.
So what’s going on? Some labor experts credit the rise in union organizing to the pandemic, where many companies called their employees “essential workers”' but continued to treat them poorly in terms of wages, benefits, and even safety. Others simply say that the average American, once again, sees unions as the only way to elevate their standard of living and negotiate a fair wage for their hard day's work.
Whatever the reason driving this rise in unionism, it’s important for us to remember that a rising tide lifts all boats and benefits society as a whole. In addition, as union members ourselves, it's important that we do whatever possible to support our fellow Americans who are trying to make a better life for themselves in this great country. Therefore, as we head to the stores over the holidays to buy lots of food, drink, and gifts, please do your best to support our fellow union sisters and brothers by buying union-made items whenever possible. The lists below includes many well known companies who employ a unionized labor force. Please consider patronizing these businesses first as we celebrate and enjoy the many wonderful gifts of the holiday season together!
On behalf of the entire PFT leadership team, I wish all of our members and their families a very happy, healthy, and joyous holiday season!