YHB was trying to come up with something to write about Labor Day—I don’t really know enough about the lockout of the Long Island University faculty to express anything except solidarity. Which, you know, Solidarity! But follow that news elsewhere.
So, as I sometimes do, I go to Our Only President and the official remarks of his office. And he made some official remarks you bet.
You have the right to join together, speak up, and win a seat at the table. You have the right to talk to your coworkers about how much you make or how you’d change your workplace, as long as you’re not doing it while you’re supposed to be working. And the law says an employer can’t fire you, demote you, or change your shift because you’re talking to colleagues about advocating for yourselves, whether that’s through a union or through some other means.
History shows that working families can get a fair shot in this country—but only if we are willing to organize and fight for it. So whether you simply talk to your coworkers or supervisors about what matters to you, or take the step of joining a union, the power ultimately rests with you.
These are not good days for labor, for the managed rather than the management, or even for the management rather than the owners. It’s worth remembering that the only tools employees really have are each other. That means not only joining together in unions, but joining together in politics. When Our Only President says an employer can’t fire you for organizing, he means that obviously you can be fired, but our government can penalize that employer and get your job back for you. But those laws can be changed, and even easier than changing them is just neglecting to enforce them. Whoever is President, whoever is in control of Congress (and y’all know, Gentle Readers, that I think that matters a lot) those laws will only be enforced if there is more political pressure to enforce them than to neglect them. The employers have their money and their connections; the workers have each other. Solidarity!
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,