Danny Donohue: Unionism is standing strong together

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I’m beginning to think I sound like a broken record, talking about anti-union forces trying to convince hardworking Americans that unions are bad for them. Their goal has always been clear: get richer on the backs of working people.

Unions are the main reason the middle class still exists. Our union, just like all labor unions, ensures fair and just treatment for all members, including a living wage, health benefits, retirement security, workplace safety and health standards — just to name a few examples.

Let’s be honest about a basic truth. We all know our own value, and we all believe we’re hard workers who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Every day, we fight to be treated fairly and it’s our responsibility to stand together and fight for our brothers and sisters who are not being treated with respect.

You may say, ‘I have a great boss and I don’t need my union.’ However, things are great — until they aren’t. The environment in our workplaces can change very quickly. You may have a worker-friendly boss today, but if that person leaves their job, you may be faced with a new boss who doesn’t value you as strongly.

While none of us want to believe that someone fails to value us, we can never afford to be complacent. This is one of the most important reasons to belong to a union.

We are always strong, but we are truly at our best when we’re facing challenges. When we successfully defend members who have been wrongly accused or targeted, it is a clear demonstration of our strength and the value of our union. You’ll find several such stories in this month’s edition that show just how powerful union membership is when a member suddenly finds the need for power in their corner.

Our strength doesn’t stop with defending our members; we fight for fairness and justice for all working people. As we are in the unique position of electing our bosses, we are invested in the decisions they make on behalf of our constituencies, whether that is New York State, our communities or schools. Our union remains heavily involved in political action for exactly this reason.

We are fighting to ensure fairness in the New York State Budget. While the budget proposal does show positive steps for working people, we are concerned about proposals in the budget that could jeopardize public services, retirement security and more. We are urging our state legislators to pass a budget that makes sense for all New Yorkers.

We are facing many challenges from anti-union groups, but we stand together and fight for every single member.

The more of us that stand together, the stronger we are, and the louder our voice can be. That’s at the very heart of unionism.

It takes more than just paying some money and getting a union card. It takes members to step up, get training and become activists. It takes members to be involved to demonstrate our power so that we can represent everyone. It takes each of us making at least just a small sacrifice of time and energy to ensure
our union continues to be strong.

And I’m proud to say that it’s working. We’re not losing members. We’re seeing more new members every day. That means we’re seeing more strength every day. We’ve got a louder voice every day.

So when one of you is unfairly treated, we can stand strong together.

When we identify unsafe working conditions, we can raise our voices together to prevent harm from happening. That means we can all go home to our families and loved ones safely and know that we are able to provide for them without fear.

To me, that’s worth far more than any small amount our union would take from my paycheck, and I sincerely believe it’s the same for all of you.

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