Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day Message

All work has dignity and meaning.
All workers deserve respect.

Labor Day is set aside to honor these two beliefs.

I salute all workers,  and in particular, I salute organized Labor.
The workplace protections we now enjoy are the result of many men and women standing together in unity and standing up for themselves.

Labor Day is also a time to look at were we have come from and where we hope to go.

This past year we won a major victory at L+M Hospital.  Locals 5049, 5051, and 5123 showed us what solidarity means. They also showed us how to work with other locals, other unions, and the community to build on that solidarity.
In the end, "right" won, "justice" won, and "greed" lost.
I am particularly proud that young Local 5149, the nurses of Backus Hospital, still in our first contract, played a supporting role.  Through it, we matured as unionists.

I see great hope for the Labor movement.  I see my members finding and using their voice in growing numbers. I see non union workers standing up for their rights in Walmarts and fast food.  I see Healthcare unions willing to do what ever it takes to put patients first. I see workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere, mobilizing to fight back against the Scott Walkers of the world who wish to strip them of a voice. I see unions in Florida, and other right to work for less states enrolling members because workers see the benefit of standing together. I see Locals such as the teachers in New Haven and Meriden and the public employees of Connecticut, with the self confidence to work with employers when possible for the common good.

I see these things and I am excited about the future, anxious to be a part of it, ready to redouble our efforts.

This is why I said yes to that first phone call four years ago when a fellow nurse asked would I be willing to talk to a guy from a union.
I was tired and I felt hopeless.

I may be tired now, but it is a good tired.
I have a voice and I use it.
I can advocate for my patients and increasingly, for students and the public my union serves.
I have friends who feel the same way.

My sisters and brothers, enjoy your holiday if you are off.
If, like me, you are working, know that the work you do has meaning and makes a difference.
Rest if you can.
Tuesday begins a new year in the workers calender and we have much to do.
We will do it, we will be successful, because we will do it in solidarity.

No comments: