It seems to me that since the 1980s unions have lost power, but I believe this year they’re starting to turn around.
Politics plays an important part in union organizing and we have to be able to elect people who support the union philosophy. If we can connect politicians with the electorate it serves us very well. If we elect people who are friendly to us and who see our side of the story they will push for legislation that will support us.
I think more union members should take the time to volunteer for our endorsed candidates. It’s good to learn about the relationship between the parties and the electorate. The power of the union comes from being able to influence the politics and I don’t think all union members understand that.
I learned a lot by just going to Lobby day, and understanding that we do have an influence and that politicians do take the time to listen to us.
We have to go where our strength is. When we go out and talk to voters we find out that they identify with the union.
I joined WINS when it first started because I’ve always been sympathetic with the union cause. My father was in the aircraft workers union and I was always identified with the situation. It seemed to me like workers were not represented in companies and that they were basically exploited if the employer could get away with it. I saw the union as a way to equalize that, to get the workers a little bit more power than they had.
As a member of the COPE (Committee on Political Education) Board, I’ve had first-hand experience seeing how important we are in the political process. After we had decided which legislators were going to support the union cause we had a meeting in which we actually met those politicians and handed some money to them to support their campaigns. I handed out one check myself. It was interesting, we got to talk to all of them and they were very polite and supported us.
I think it’s especially important for the retirees to be involved in their union. They shouldn’t be written off, they are volunteers and they can help. I’ve only retired this year, but for me personally staying active through volunteering my time is an opportunity to help the union organize and to maintain its position in the community.
Colorado WINS Retiree