My father is no longer with us, so every Father's Day reminds me about how much I miss him. He was a guiding light in my life who worked on a GM assembly line for over thirty years. He was union and proud of it. He knew that his union, The United Auto Workers was looking out for his best interests.
His union was a true manifestation of "Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself", it was every co-worker looking out for each other's well being by speaking out in one loud, unified voice. The benefits and wages that they gained in hard fought negotiations let my dad give his family a middle class lifestyle. He took great pride in what his union job allowed him to do for his family. He had close ties to his union brothers and sisters and many of his fellow union members were more like extended members of our family.
We were raised to respect unions and the wonderful things they do for working people and America. We were taught at an early age that one of the lowest creatures in existence is a scab, a person who crosses a picket line during a strike. That person wasn't just crossing a picket line, he or she was showing every worker at that plant that his or her selfish need to make a quick buck is more important than their well being and that of their families. Luckily, scabs were a rarity in those days as everyone had respect for everyone else.
My father would not recognize or like today's America, a place that no longer gives working people a fair shake and where worker is turned against worker by corporate sponsored political TV ads. We have become a nation of mentally lazy, self-absorbed people who are willing to let the mainstream media tell them how to think and vote. Many of our unions find it easier to get in bed with a political party that is gradually killing them because the other party wants to wipe them out instantly. We have become a nation divided.
Dad, Happy Father's Day. I'm still here keeping the faith and hope that many more will join me!
There are some main stream Democrats who seem all too eager to write off unions as being a thing of the past. They say that Union membership is "down to 10%". They think that unions are cash cows that the Democrats can tap for campaign funds, but "have very little influence on Democratic policy". That kind of talk betrays the values that the mainstream Democrats profess, but rarely deliver. In short it, provides aid and comfort to those who would benefit if unions were to become as extinct as the dinosaur.
Unions were an integral part of the civil rights movement because they allowed and still allow working people to be taken seriously when negotiating with giant corporations. In short, unions are forces for social justice. Martin Luther King recognized that and partnered with organized labor. Organized labor made civil rights a top priority and partnered with Martin Luther King.
On August 28, 1963, I was almost 13 years old, my Dad and I went to The March On Washington with a contingent from The United Auto Workers Union.
I hope that the following three videos give everyone a clear picture of that march and Honor Martin Luther King and all that he represented. Let's not let the Becks and Palins of the world dishonor his memory.
Part 1 - The Preparations
Part 2 - The March
Part 3 - The MLK Speech