May 2016 Issue
April 22, 2016


Source: NYSUT United

Unions need support, too

Before unions, job advancement, promotions, sick days, fair pay, workload, work day, compensation for injuries on the job, advocacy, representation and safe working conditions were not considered by business leaders to be necessary for their workers to have.

If a worker became sick or injured, they were released. If a person knew a business leader, they were promoted over the more experienced, competent and senior worker. Payoffs, bribes, kickbacks and cronyism were common practice to obtain and retain jobs.

The working hours could be from dawn until dusk, seven days a week and no vacations. Safe and healthy working conditions were not considered necessary or profitable by business leaders. Fair pay was never a consideration and bosses could cut your pay at will.

If you spoke up or asked for a chance to discuss job issues with a boss, you were demoted or fired on the spot.

The idea of freedom ended at the front door of the business. Even children were used and abused by working conditions in factories for long hours and cruel conditions.

After many decades of confrontations and united efforts, unions began to exert a positive influence upon the serious, inhumane, unjust adversities in the workplace.

It took long hard-fought campaigns to obtain fair pay; safe working conditions; sick days; protection if injured on the job; the right to be represented on issues such as working hours, holidays or work loads; seniority protection; health care; pensions and vacation times.

It is impossible to explain the horrible conditions to anyone who has never worked without union representation. The thought of having to drag yourself to work if you are sick or injured is saddening. The idea of working in an environment that is dangerous to your health, safety and welfare is disheartening. The reality of being fired on the spot because another person bribed the boss for your job is crushing. Few could withstand working from dawn until dusk, seven days a week without vacations or fair pay.

All the benefits and rights that unions have won were done so with great sacrifice, true courage and singular unity of purpose of the union members. No one can go it alone. Only with constant support, vigilance and unity of purpose will unions survive to protect, defend and serve members!

Francis A. Gentile | Dobbs Ferry
Yonkers FT retired


• As a teacher, an @nysut member and the wife of a striking Verizon worker, I support @CWAUnion all the way! @verizon #StandUp2Vz — MaryAnn Bailey

• @nysut Paul Pecorale knows it's all about fighting corporate greed & standing up for R communities #StandUp2Vz — LI Progress Coalition

• @nysut @CWAUnion thank you so much for walking with us in valhalla ny today. Your support is appreciated!
— Michele Capra

• Proud to support a resolution opposing discriminatory laws passed in NC and MS recently. #nysutra @LGBTQNYSUT
— Martin Daly

• I voted! Don't forget to vote! @ UFT @nysut @AFTunion @AFTNYSLC #ImWithHer — Susan UFT

• @HillaryClinton Your speech at NYSUT in Roc this weekend convinced my very cynical teacher friend to vote for you. It made my day.
— Christopher Gold

• #nysutra2016 @nysut schneiderman says the union fight is just beginning. Keep organizing efforts strong!!
— Lori A. Griffin

• We will not rest until testing and evaluations are based on what's best for kids: plain and simple @ NYSEDNews @nysut
— Ashli Dreher NYS TOY

• Eric Schneiderman, NYS Attorney General speaks to NYSUT fighting back and winning...STEP TO BULLIES! @NYSUT
— Tomia Smith

• @nysut members from Saranac Lake, Lake Placid walk with @ CWAUnion today. #Solidarity #verizonstrike
— Don C.