So, this is the Holidays, 2021… And we are approaching the end of another year… A year where supporters of a losing candidate took over the U.S. Capitol, Asian-Americans were given new reason to fear for their lives, COVID-19 killed Americans faster than before there were free, life-preserving vaccinations, and while a new President promised unity, ideological polarization made compromise impossible.
There’s been a conspicuous erosion of democratic norms. An escalating climate emergency. Corrosive racial inequality, a crackdown on the right to vote, rampant pay inequality, and finally, American democracy itself is at risk. As we saw after the Civil War, a minority party enforcing minority rule can succeed only with violence, and the January 6 sacking of our nation’s Capital is but a prelude. Yes, Sisters and Brothers, we’re in for the fight of our life, and it’s easy to get blue, perhaps discouraged, or worse, to accept this as “the new normal,” but, it isn’t!
Of all days, let’s remember today where we are. Not in any of our lifetimes has there been a political and social environment this favorable to working people and our right to organize! We have the most pro-union administration in the white house in over 75 years. This was the year the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO elected the most diverse leadership team in the history of the AFL-CIO, and more broadly, the face of the rank and file of Labor is changing across the country. Labor Unions are more broadly popular than they’ve been in over 60 years, and our youngest workers are our biggest backers.
This is our time! 2022 Is where we leave it all on the field and embrace the changing nature of the workplace, workers, and workers’ rights… When we fight for what is rightfully ours, like collective bargaining, the right to health and safety protections, a livable wage, universal paid sick leave and family and medical leave, protections for whistleblowers, an end to worker misclassification, health care security, support for childcare, and holding corporations accountable for meeting their responsibilities.
This is where we focus our fire in 2022. The foundational ideas and establishing principles that form the basis of this noble experiment we call The United States of America, is replete with the belief in common law and the common good. It is created upon the idea that human rights and human dignity or preeminent. And a time that is mired down by irrational and regressive individualism, Unions are the greatest hope for the collective good. We are the river that raises all boats!
In order to form that “more perfect union” we must continue harvesting, turning unorganized workplaces into Union Shops with Union safeguards. And we must also plant! We must put fresh seed into the earth and raise up a new generation of empowered workers so that all we have fought for and have struggled to win can be preserved and handed down to the stewardship of the next generation.
So today, as we go about singing “peace on earth, good will to men,” today, let’s remember that the same book that gave us that passage also says “fear not” 365 times — one for each day in 2022. Let’s be the force behind that peace on earth that we all keep singing about. It’s squarely in our hands.
We must seize the moment we’ve been given. The future is what we make of it, and I am more confident than ever that new, diverse thinking and leadership will win the day and usher in a better life and a better way. It will not be without struggle but as echoed in the Carol, “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day,” “The wrong shall fail, the right prevail.” That’s where my money is…
Have a blessed day today… May you and yours be blessed with hot food, cold drink and a warm bed, this and all days. And let’s get ready for a raucous 2022 as we become part of making the moral arch of the universe bend decidedly toward justice! I’ll see you out there!