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The Art Of Remaining ‘Union Strong’

New York, NY – As a journalist, I have been taking note of the grumblings about of our unionized future. In fact, there is a common belief that, yes, we are in need of a stronger, unified and organized presence in the building trades. Workers agree that now is the time to strengthen our calling. Now, more than ever, our unity is the only way New York City will remain a “Union Town.”

Nevertheless, those of us with unified intentions find ourselves in troubled territory. These days, non-union and unorganized shops are a growing threat to our collective bargaining. But what does this mean?

First, it is important to address the gross misconception that, somehow, the unionized worker is against non-unionized workers as people. This is not so. Hence, the misperception. It is important to dispel this myth because our collective intention is not to weaken working people. The intention, in fact, is to strengthen the workforce of all kinds with fair rights and benefits. Otherwise, we risk the unfair backslide of givebacks and bargaining.

Secondly,  the need for unionized labor and skilled trades exceed far beyond the construction or building trades. More and more, the understanding of unity and collective bargaining is to ensure a fair share of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace for everyone. 

One fact which holds true, is that big business will always be here to stay. Therefore, it is only by the concentrated efforts of working people that big business stays in its successful right. More aptly, large organizations such as Amazon have pushed anti-union videos to dissuade employees from voting for a unionized shop. But why? Doesn’t their successful brand and service require the support of its employees?

Why would any organization that claims to care about their workers dissuade their employees from good benefits and job security? Why would a multi-billion dollar company take away the solidarity of a unionized structure? Where is the threat here? Why would anyone want to prevent the comforting reassurance of good healthcare and strong retirement plans? Why would any company want this, unless, of course, the company is not in favor of their workforce.

Why is any of this a threat? Is it safe to say that corporations like Amazon are more interested in profits than fairness, diversion, equity and inclusion in its workforce?  Again, the misconception is clear. As unionized workers, our aim is to maintain a strong, fair, and healthy work environment. 

The need to organize is vital to our collective bargaining and, therefore, without solidarity, the famous old saying rings true: Together we bargain. Divided we beg!

Meanwhile, our economy is in trouble. Workers are home. Unemployment benefits can only go so far. In turn, this affects the mental health of our great nation. Therefore, it is important to those who are organized. Be prepared. Stand up and be counted. Attend union functions. Vote. And see to it that the workers are never misused, mistreated or misrepresented. We’ve fought too long and too hard to give up ground. Stay strong folks —and when I say strong, I mean “Union Strong!”

Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on thewrittenaddiction.com, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate.  Ben can be reached at bennyk1972@gmail.com.

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