Democracy and unionism go hand-in-hand

Posted Jun. 28, 2022 by

In order to maintain our political autonomy as a nation, workers must continue to fight for economic autonomy: control over their own economic well-being. “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence,” said Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt when trying to introduce an economic bill of rights in 1944.

Unions participation is one of the very last examples of American democracy at work, detailed the Economic Policy Institute in their study released in late 2021. Union membership gives members a vehicle to have a voice at work, and also to have a voice with elected leaders for improving circumstances in their communities that goes beyond just voting every two or four years.

And Americans are taking notice of the power of worker voices, with 65 percent currently approving of labor unions. The Covid-19 pandemic and other political and economic factors are likely responsible for this increase in support as well as the rise of national unionization efforts from retail, tech companies, media and more. As of May, 100 Starbucks stores in 25 states have voted in favor of unionizing, with hundreds of stores awaiting union votes. Also this year, workers at the Staten Island, NY Amazon warehouse won their historic union vote, which their employer is aggressively fighting at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) despite a solid vote for unionization. Their efforts are encouraging other Amazon shops to fight for unionization.

And hundreds of OCSEA members saw what democratic action can look like when they rallied at the Ohio Statehouse on June 17 at the Rally for Respect. Together public union members, with their supporters, demanded recognition of their efforts during the pandemic and real compensation for their sacrifices. But the rally was just the beginning. OCSEA activists are now taking their efforts back to their locals, reminding their union co-workers that there's a lot we can do if we strongly band together. And they are reminding community members about the importance of public services that keep our communities going.

Interested in Keeping the Solidarity Going? Go HERE to learn more about what you can do to build on the power of union democracy.