Today, my co-workers and I conducted our second strike this year. I don’t have time to relate anything but my elation right now, since we’ll be on strike again tomorrow. Later this week, I’ll be posting a summary and analysis.
There is literally no feeling better than marching to picket your workplace with your co-workers and being greeted by a cheering crowd of supporters. After picketing our company for three hours, we went to Brighton Park, another Chicago neighborhood, to support striking McDonald’s workers who are also part of the Fight for 15.
It’s hard at this point to even process what is happening, but it’s an important project. Perhaps because I study history, I get the itching sense that I’ve seen this somewhere before. It stirs something within the past I’ve read about, which I’ve studied, examined, and tried to learn from. We’re on the verge of something historic.
But in the most immediate sense, what we’ve already done is powerful. For low-wage workers to go on the offensive in the austerity economy was a huge risk, but as the labor leaders we’ve been learning from have said, if you want to win in these times, you have to be willing to bet it all.
Today, a journalist asked me what I would say to workers who were worried about being fired or otherwise retaliated against if they joined the union. Here’s what I said:
If they can scare you out of organizing, they don’t need to retaliate against you. They’ve gotten what they wanted in a quiet way, and you never had a chance. But if you fight, there’s a chance you can win. And if you fight together as an organized force, the chance of winning becomes much greater. If you link your organization to a social movement, victory is on the horizon, however far away it seems.
Join the fight for 15. We are worth more!
Join Chicago pickets tomorrow in the Loop and Mag Mile. Check fightfor15.org