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All Politics are Local

Having been a Union member since 1993 I have noticed a change in our membership. Perhaps it is because they have not had to fight the hard battles like their Brothers before them, but more and more Brothers are concerned about themselves and not the greater good. I don’t mean they don’t participate in their union, but they have chosen to deviate from the recommended candidate and vote their own choice. While it is understandable that it is difficult to vote for a candidate that may only support one issue you believe in, that issue is a fairly significant one. That issue is your livelihood and retirement. It is protecting your family and ensuring your safety.

This isn’t about voting Republican or Democrat, this is about voting labor. As union members, we need to go back to our roots and support those that support us. Every day we read about benefits being attacked, pensions being cut and labor unions being pushed to the edge. All of these things are happening because we are not supporting our candidates. 

What this boils down to is, who are you? Are you a union fire fighter? Then you need to support your union. We all do. 

Webster’s defines a union as “an act or instance of uniting or joining two or more things into one.” Our union needs to be of one mind and speak with one voice, whether the issue is conditions around the station or voting for political candidates.

You may feel like gun control or local taxes are the more significant issue, but where will you end up when the non-endorsed candidate attacks your job or your pension? We are in difficult times. Our government seems to be floundering at times, and many have lost faith in those elected to fix the problems. However, we are also faced with ever-increasing attacks on public employees, their benefits and their livelihoods. 

We cannot have it both ways. We cannot support a candidate that will attack the benefits that were fought for by our Brothers before us. It is time for us all to support those that support us.

-- Dave LeBlanc
Harwich, MA Local 2124

Comments (5) -

  • R Steffens

    10/8/2010 9:32:37 PM |

    I just retired after 32 years on the job, and came from the union hotbed of Pa. to the union battleground of Va. I too have noticed that today's workers feel that "they would have given that to us anyways" and are not willing to fight to keep what they got. I have also had deep discussions with my minority coworkers who see the same conditions with civil rights. All of our fights are "ancient history" to the "kids" and they have gotten used to having anything they want (not necessarily need). Our city is working to organize and even after job, salary and benefit cuts there has been no uprising amongst the rank and file to join a union. They view it as a waste of dues money and are happy to just get any kind of paycheck twice a month apparently.

  • Todd Begnoche

    10/8/2010 11:21:27 PM |

    Just a few years ago our Local tried to make a move to get a contract with our City. The non-union Firefighters made a big stink and intimidated most of our union members and our plans fell through. The non-union Firefighters stated that "Everything is just fine so why mess with it and possible screw things up". We said "That's when you want a contract, when everything is going good. Let's keep it that way." Now we are going on our third year w/o raises of any kind, our health insurance premiums are going up in 2011, our Police Dept. lost their uniform allowance this year. What is next? And now when I talk to the non-union Firefighters in our Dept., they have changed their tune. Now they say "Well, we're just happy to have a job".

  • Dave

    10/10/2010 1:32:18 PM |

    Great article, brother.  I'm going to lift it for our Local's newsletter. Hope you don't mind.

  • Dave LeBlanc

    10/11/2010 9:12:09 AM |

    Have at it brother.   If it changes one mind, that is a good thing.

  • Craig Russell (Crowley)

    11/19/2010 11:30:29 AM |

    Do any of you know what one of the rules to the boy scouts are? It's Always be prepared. If you think for one minute that this unsustainable "status quo" we are still relying on is working than we are no better than the bureucrat in the beltway who has come up with these unsustainable city funded retiremements. What do we do when it's crunch time in the family household? Do we just go out and spend the money anyways and hope for the best? Or, are we responsible Americans than can go without, have to work a little longer or harder, or cut out things we dont need. I for one will not ever rely on my sole state funded retirment. If you are worried about pensions being attacked, Be prepared and find some sort of way to save your own hard earned dollar. I have done this and it's working to my advantage. Separate retirments accounts is a great way to cusshion for the inevitable loss of pensions. If you cannot do that, well a simple savings account works. How about a universal lif insurance policy? These are all great ways to cushion your retirement. It's all about how you contribute.
      We are Independant. We are resourceful. And above all, Americans. Are we still willing to do the hard things in life so our children can have a better one. Let's not stick them with this debt. It is no longer about the greater good first. It's the individual and family that come first. Take care of that and the greater good will come of it.

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