Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

HOW DO WE WIN?  WHY DID WE LOSE OUR WAY?  We need to go back in order to move forward.  We need to reflect on where we took that wrong turn.  We need  to know why we continue to reject information that is vital to our strength and survival.  We need to be informed so why don’t we have the time or will?  Why is the Jets game more important than a Union meeting?  Why is shopping more necessary than getting educated about union issues?  These are the things we need to examine.  Why have union members become so detached from our wholeness as members?  Why do they only respond to union when they feel that they have been overlooked for overtime or wrongly disciplined?

We had a general membership meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 23rd, 2010, and for the first time we had standing room only attendance.  The membership attended out of anger and frustration.  How did things get so far out of hand where the membership is now drawn into accusations of corruption by the E-Board?  How did the E-Board get so far out of control where it no longer realizes that it speaks to its membership [its employer] with outright disdain?  When the E-Board loses respect for its members and the members loses trust in its E-Board, the only winner here can be the CORPORATION.  So why did we [the members] wait so long to get involved?  We got the right to vote line by line but only when the E-Board mails them out.  Why didn’t anyone ask the E-Board why it was insistent on doing things against what their members wanted?  We must answer these questions in order to move forward with purpose and an understanding of where we want to go and how do we get there.

I previously spoke of the role of the media and the information that we are not getting in order to make informed decisions.  We now need to link that with union.  Each and every day the pundits on the networks and cable stations speak of how displeased they are with union.  “The unions have to give back”, “the unions are the problem” and the best one is, “he’s strong, he stands up to union”.  Not one of them ever points out when it is said that [the “unions have to give back”], that the wages have been suppressed for years and now spends like the 1970’s when adjusted for inflation.  The union worker is now doing the job of 3-4 workers (due to downsizing and offered retirement packages) for less pay.  What more does he have to give?  Why must his lifestyle be diminished even more?  When they say “he’s strong, he stands up to union”, not one of the pundits ever asks what they are standing up to?  Are they saying that the union worker doesn’t deserve a living wage while the corporate CEO’s salary increased 400 times that of the union worker and is still increasing?  The New York Times reported that U.S. corporate profits hit a record high of $1.659 trillion dollars in the 3rd quarter of 2010, showing the growth chart.   Yet they require the unions to give back.

This is the biggest profit in the history of America yet they want UNIONS to give back. These profits are not being kept a secret yet each day they talk about what the unions need to do to help the economy.  They get away with this because they purposely want the non-union worker to believe that their trouble is not only the illegal immigrant and welfare queen, but it’s also the union worker who the corporations have to give too much in pay and benefits so that they can’t hire new workers.  Those same corporations own the media so they put this message out over and over again and the public (including union workers) believe it.  Those that don’t, believe some of it and feel marginalized.  Why do they keep attacking union?  They do it because union is the last barrier to totally controlling the public thought and actions.  Once they get rid of what is left of the unions, the non-union worker is totally at their mercy or [lack of].  They can then do away with minimum wage and health benefits.  They can even get rid of the 40hr work week, overtime pay and pensions.  These are gains that were done by union organizing.  Once they have the public believing that the U.S. worker [in order to be more competitive in the global market] must work longer more productive hours like China, Sri Lanka and now Africa, they have won this drive to complete globalization of low wage workers.  Yet we [union] are silent, and go about our day as if all is well or takeover is inevitable.

This is why I believe that we must arm ourselves with information so that we do not fall prey to the lies and distortion planned and delivered through corporatism.  We have to understand that the union and democratic policies represent our collective will.  We cannot blame others if we choose not to fight.  We cannot blame others if we choose  not to be informed, not to consciously seek ANY and ALL information that will allow us to refresh, restart and rebuild.  The public needs us to stand up and rise to the challenge.  Lets begin to channel the anger and discontent into a network of useful information and informers.  We must begin to learn how the system works, how it affects each and every one of us and how we can direct and construct a system that works for us.

Let us start the New Year with a commitment/resolution to create a union like they have never seen before.  Let’s begin by making a pledge to LEARN, TEACH and REACH the membership.  And never give up on our RESPONSIBILITY  to those who came before us.  For it was they who built and negotiated a way of life [middle class] which we SELFISHLY ENJOYED and never built upon, but let diminish.  [I] will make that pledge to you!

*************HAPPY HOLIDAYS*************

Penny McQuaig


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