Each Generation Benefits from the Union Values of Solidarity
With every new generation, the task begins anew: passing on the values we have acquired in life’s journey to those who are following us down the road.
We might have groaned and complained a little, but the advice we heard from our parents and their peers will keep enriching us long after they have gone. So, too, will the younger generations appreciate learning those same lessons from us.
No lesson is more important than the lesson of Solidarity: the idea we are made stronger when we work together toward a common goal.
“Solidarity Works” is the motto of UFCW 8-Golden State and it has been the guiding principle of the entire Labor Movement since its beginnings many decades ago.
Alone, a working person has no chance of negotiating the terms of her or his employment on an equal basis with an employer who has far more wealth and power. Without a Union, a worker is essentially forced to take whatever the company is willing to give, and it better be taken with a smile!
But with a Union, the equation changes dramatically. Through collective bargaining, the entire work force is able to negotiate a fair deal and receive a proper share of the benefits of its labor.
In this Voice of Action magazine, you will see examples of the many ways we benefit through membership in a strong Union like UFCW 8-Golden State: Not just better wages, but also better health benefits, better retirement benefits, better working conditions, better protections against discrimination and unfair treatment (see Secretary-Treasurer Kirk Vogt’s column on page 5), better vacations and much more.
These benefits were not obtained cheaply. Some of them were won through great cost.
In each round of collective bargaining, we never lose sight of the importance of protecting the achievements of past generations, not just for ourselves, but for generations to come. Just as importantly, we are committed to breaking new ground toward fulfilling the aspirations of generations to come.
Consider this: The United Food and Commercial Workers, which is the largest private-sector Labor Union in North America, also has the youngest membership.
Forty percent of us are under 30 — about 450,000 people who work in supermarkets, drug stores, food processing plants, medical facilities, offices and other work sites in the United States and Canada.
Please do your part to carry on the Union legacy. Regardless of your own age, take the time to get to know the young people in your workplace. Share with them the values you have learned about Union Solidarity and its role in securing our rights, our wages and our benefits.
Let them know how much your Union membership means to you. Explain to them how your contract works and why it is so important.
Teach the children well.