Monday, September 5, 2011
My Baby Steps Into The Labor Movement
My first baby steps into the labor movement. I was about sixteen and working part time cutting grass at the cemetery for the town. We learned that we were being paid less than the minimum wage, under some obscure provision that we were considered as doing farm labor that didn't have to be paid minimum wage. My brother's friend was older than I was. He went to college and worked for the Park Department. He organized all the part time employees in the town and we marched right down into the town managers office. He had to answer some uncomfortable questions. A year later our pay had been increased to minimum wage while my brother's friend, who had no doubt been targeted for being the ring leader of this rebellion, was not hired back. What I learned is that one way of achieving things is to band together. I also learned that sometimes you can put your job in jeopardy when you play an active role in a movement. Since then I've always tried to make sure I've never been in danger of living too close to living from paycheck to paycheck. This is getting harder and harder to do, when we as a nation are in such financial distress. The key is together we have strength; individually you make for easy targets. Is it any wonder why the Republican governors want to get rid of collective bargaining?