I have written previously about my Local's special relationship with the AFT Locals of L+M. They sometimes refer to me as the 5th L+M president.
I guess that makes me the "Billy Preston" of the group. (the 5th Beatle)
I hold this relationship close. Their members and leaders are special to me. Their presidents, Lisa, Harry, Stephanie, and Martha are my close friends.
Truly, if you mess with one of us, you mess with us all.
Recently, I've been meeting with the leadership of Windham and Natchaug Hospitals unions. We are all part of Hartford Healthcare and we are all AFT Locals. We meet to discuss common issues and solutions, so that we can better represent our members and care for our patients and students.
We have built special relationships with the other unions of southeastern Connecticut, with the other AFT Connecticut Locals, and with AFT Locals across the country, though our membership on the AFL-CIO Labor Council, the AFT CT Healthcare council and executive council, the AFT national Small Unions Task Force and the NFN welcome orientation.
We have also built friendships with political and community friends, like the Governor and the United Way.
Some may see their union's role as negotiating wages, benefits, and working conditions and they would not be wrong, but we must be more than that.
We must be the voice for the patient who cannot speak, the student who struggles with learning, the mother who works several jobs to put food on the table, the immigrant who seeks a better life for his children through the sweat of his labor, the person discriminated against because they are different in some way.
We must be the voice that says greed is not the American Way, that compassion and fairness are, and will always be.
To do that we must be strong, and to be strong we must be united with those who believe as we do, and we must speak with one voice.
We will never have the money that the priviledged special interests have, but we can have the numbers, we can have the votes.
That is why we reach out and form these freindships, because together we can do amazing good.