Thursday, July 23, 2015

Answering the questions

I spent the last two days sitting on a hard bench in a courtroom at the National Labor Relations Board in Hartford.
I was there to support a group of courageous healthcare workers from Danbury Hospital.
They were there because the hospital broke the law and effected the outcome of their election to become a union, a vote that is by federal law is supposed to be free of management interference.

The truth of the matter is the hospital did interfere and hospitals and other corporations routinely do in organizing drives.
I won't get into the technicalities of the case, but if the workers are successful in proving their case, they will get another chance to vote.

I say "courageous" because when a corporation decides that it is willing to break the law, it also decides that it is willing to intimidate, threaten, and otherwise disrespect the workers.

It might be impossible to understand unless you have gone through it yourself.

Sitting there on the first day and listening to one of the workers tell a story of intimidation, I suddenly got a weird feeling in my gut.
It was almost like nausea, but different.

I realized that the story was bringing back feelings I had experienced in our organizing drive when I had been "spoken to."
It was an uncomfortable moment to relive those feelings but important because it brought me back to the reason we work this hard, the reason I feel a kinship to the Danbury workers, the reason Jan hung two large signs in our office.

The signs read:
What have you done to empower our members today
What have you done for the movement today

Jan tells us that if we can't answer those questions as we leave the office, then we're doing something wrong
My Danbury brothers and sisters.........
They can answer those questions.

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