Union Rights are Human Rights

 This was sent to me by a teacher/proud union member who was in Olympia last week at a rally specifically to support Wisconsin public union workers and to support unions and the right to belong to a union in general. 

It was an amazing and inspiring experience to stand at the capitol building in Olympia a week ago with workers from many different unions. There were firefighters, police officers, teachers, health care workers, pipefitters, and many others. We were all of like mind – our unions level the playing field. Without that leverage, our workload, our compensation and the time we spend working would all increase. These rights have been hard fought in the history of labor unions. These rights have been won through perseverance, through belief and commitment.

It has been demoralizing, at the very least, to become the scapegoat for all the ills of society in these past few years. It’s hard to believe it is teachers receiving such anger! All of a sudden, while standing with my union sisters and brothers, I felt that demoralizing cloud lift. Standing up for our rights – that’s what lifts that feeling of immobilization, of hopelessness, of sadness. Standing up for our rights – that’s what inspires me to go on working for what I know is right.

We felt it during the strike here in Kent: That feeling of being a team, of working together for something we knew was good. Standing together gives us the leverage we need to work for better conditions, for ourselves and our students. We still have much ground to make up. For many years in our district, there has been decision making without the teacher input that is needed for a workload that is reasonable, for the time needed to perform our tasks adequately and collaborate with each other, and for compensation that is respectful and competitive with other surrounding districts.

We need the human right to stand together in strength and hope; to stand together with strong belief that we are for children and their futures. We need the human right to stand together because our students need educators who negotiate contracts with them in mind.

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