Human nature provides us a license to complain about our circumstances, no matter the quality of our life. As a retired union member my urge, to criticize, is muted by the economic security I enjoy.
We learned long ago that, without an opposing force, employers will short change our wages and our personal safety. The strength of workers is increased exponentially by the total number joining together. It is this opposing force or ‘union affect’ that tips the scale of power to a more equitable negotiation for wages and a safe working environment. This ‘union affect’ raises the wages and benefits of union, as well as, nonunion workers and is responsible for the economic survival of the middle class. Each generation of union workers must understand this important reality and we, the retirees, are the teachers.
We can describe, from personal experience, what being a union member means to us. It provides the resources to buy a home, a truck, school clothes for the kids, shopping for a nice dress or a nice meal at a restaurant. The peace of mind provided by job security, is immeasurable. Put more simply, the benefit of being union is economic stability.
The essential ingredient, for economic stability, is liberty and unions are the embodiment of liberty. The overall affect of unions is to facilitate workers control of their economic destiny. Union retirees are a living testament to the benefits gained and it is our responsibility to insure that each new generation of workers understands the interrelationship between unions and personal freedom. By joining together, with our sisters and brothers, we nourish and perpetuate this important connection to liberty.
The secure retirement of union members is an affirmation of what workers can accomplish by coming together as one voice. Solidarity is as valid today as ever. It is essential, to the survival of unions, that each new generation of workers understand the simple dynamics of unity and be vocal about it.
It is imperative that retirees actively emphasize the important relationship between liberty and the ability to organize. By reaffirming this significant dependency, we buttress liberty. My brothers and sisters, we may be retired from our job, but our work is not done. Get involved and take a stand for unionism and for liberty. We can’t have one without the other.
–Bill Wallace, IBEW 1245 Retiree and and Organizing Steward