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Solidarity with the Stella D’Oro Strikers

by Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez

Legal arguments and lobbying are not enough. The fully legal route is a loser’s game, because they can afford to wait. The people with deep pockets can wait it out, and the people lose faith. We have to push a lot more envelopes.

Look at history: social movements created laws, and we should be creating new laws and new social movements. These workers at Stella D’oro are giving up their livelihoods in the pursuit of dignity and decent wages and benefits. How do we, as a society, stand together with people who refuse to be treated as extensions of machines — cookie makers — and not as persons? We need to humanize the whole system.

What kind of a society are we part of? The labor movement has to make that decision. The fight for dignity is a lot bigger than crafting a new contract. And once we have a contract, what does that mean for people who don’t?  People have to start saying: what kind of a world do I want to build? What kind of a world do I want to leave to my children? Not treating workers with dignity is doubly destructive, because those who take away workers’ dignity also find that their own dignity and humanity is gone.

 

 Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, President of the Montefiore Hospital Chapter of NYSNA, is a member of the Stella D’Oro Strike Support Committee. The workers at Stella D’Oro’s flagship plant at 237th Street and Broadway have been on strike since August 13. For more on the strike, click here for their official website.

February 6, 2009

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