A good Brother once told me (and everyone at that Union meeting) that he was working hard in our Union to make sure his children and your children have a chance. He spoke a truth that night that should serve us well in our Union. What are you doing to ensure that our children to the seventh generation are better off than their parents?
Wiser men and women than me have laid the foundations for future generations. The seventh-generation philosophy was cultivated by our Native American Brothers and Sisters in the Iroquois Nation. Our ancestors, founding fathers, and Labor leaders have created the philosophies and principles that guide us in our collective decisions. We must carry on those traditions and look out for the welfare of our children, our children’s children, and so on for seven generations. We need to be mindful and consider that what we do now has an effect for years to come.
With an emphasis on instant gratification, the powers-that-be have disconnected us from the impact of our everyday decisions. We have become so focused on the “now” that we forget about the ramifications of our actions later. Amazon promises same day delivery while carrying out Union busting tactics and breaking labor law. China has a forced labor force that allows U.S. companies and consumers to obtain cheap goods. Nestle and Cargill were sued by former child labor slaves who say they were taken against their will and forced to work on cocoa farms in Africa. What is the REAL cost of these products? Those cheap jeans that arrive quickly at your doorstep are more expensive when you add the human cost. That chocolate bar doesn’t taste so sweet when you factor in the human suffering caused by corporations who reap ridiculous financial gains on the backs of modern slaves. Be careful or the next time you purchase cheap Halloween decorations you might receive a handwritten letter in broken English detailing the horrors of surviving in a forced labor camp/prison in China.
This is all overwhelming and it’s not entirely our fault. Mega Corporations have funneled us into what feels like a no-win situation. What can be done? You are already part of an organization that is making a difference – IBEW Local Union 520. By belonging to and participating in your Union, you are part of the minority of Americans who have learned important lessons from our ancestors. We learned to stand in solidarity with each other and help each other achieve better wages, benefits, and working conditions. We teach the tenets of the Labor Movement to the next generation and instruct them how to educate the next generation after them. We reach out to our current generation and strengthen our Union with more Brothers and Sisters so that we have a unified force bringing the concerns of all workers to the forefront.
We can do even more. I ask you to pick one or more of these challenges and complete them by the end of 2022. Support our Union Brothers and Sisters: Purchase 1 or more Union-made pieces of clothing and/or footwear. Use Union printers for your next wedding or event. Purchase 1 or more Union-made toys, sporting goods, knives, etc. When a labor dispute cannot be resolved, participate in a boycott. Support organizing efforts for places like Activison Blizzard and Amazon. Support our American Brothers and Sisters: Buy American and encourage everyone to join or form a Union. Assist our Brothers and Sisters worldwide: Support organizations and journalists who investigate forced labor issues. Trace where your products are made. Ask these questions: Does the company use forced labor? Does the company use Union-busting tactics? Can I purchase this item from a company that has workers under the protection of a Collective Bargaining Agreement?
Even if we complete only one of the above challenges in 2022, we are taking measures towards giving our children a chance. The actions we take today ripple through the generations to come. I ask each of you to take positive steps and make mindful decisions to look after the wellbeing of our children for seven generations.