October 19, 2011
By Anthony Simon, General Chairman
United Transportation Union (UTU) MTA LIRR
Once upon a time… Federal, State and County workers were rewarded for serving the public and doing the jobs many of us had no desire or ability to do. While Wall Street executives, bankers, private business and professional firms were rolling in the dough… Union labor just got by. The rich got richer, while union workers were hopeful to negotiate cost of living raises and thankful for the health and welfare and pension benefits they negotiated and earned.
Then one day… the bottom fell out of our economy. Greed, irresponsible business, mismanaged finances and poor real estate investing caused the high flying, white collar “working” folks to go bust. All this while the middle class working people who are cleaning, repairing, building and providing valuable service to their respective companies, agencies or municipalities are scratching away to get to retirement. Union workers had and have no expectations of mansions, summer homes or a luxury life style. They just wanted and still want to keep their families healthy and secure for the future.
Now… the same politicians, executives and big business experts, who destroyed our economy, want to repair it on the backs of the same hard working families who carried this country through its history. They want to change the rules, take away what was already negotiated and rip us of what we have earned on the blood, sweat and tears they never had to give up. They claim there is no funding to provide what has been promised, while they still live luxurious life-styles. Huge and bloated management teams with big salaries and packages still exist across New York State and the entire country. They are earning a living planning ways to cut and save at all cost. Services are being stripped where ever you turn. The safety and security of the public is being sacrificed. ENOUGH!!
Labor Leaders throughout this country need to use their manpower, resources and muscle to take back our economy. We need to fight every fight to protect worker rights. We need to help elect labor friendly politicians with the intelligence to create innovative ways to repair the mess we are in, while preserving what has already been promised. We need to oust the lazy, arrogant politicians that look for the easy fix of changing the rules after the game has started.
Labor Leaders must unite and support one another during this attack on labor. If we fight as one, we will win together! Let it be known… You are either with us or against us!