Unions and Pushing for a Better Future

April 27, 2009

I went to my first union rally event on Saturday, April 25th. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 68 hosted Colorado Senator Michael Bennet to discuss the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) that is making its way through the U.S. Congress.

I was very impressed to see not just several unions, such as the AFL-CIO, SEIU, and IFCW, represented, but also hundreds of individuals. The unions’ goal was to encourage Sen. Bennet to take a stand on the EFCA.

Despite the Senator’s continued abstinence from taking a stance, the event appeared to be a great success. For about 15 minutes during the event, attendees were encouraged to write letters to Sen. Bennet and Sen. Udall to encourage their support of the EFCA. Hundreds of letters must have been written in just minutes. It was remarkable. (Think Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.)

On a personal level, my eyes were opened to the real use and purpose of unions. I saw hundreds of people who are working for their families and are concerned for their ability to put food on their tables, put roofs over their families, put clothes on their children, enable their children to obtain an education, and generally maintain a quality standard of living.

Sen. Bennet expressed concerns that the EFCA is still needs to be improved, and that it does not address and correct all of the concerns of unions and business interests. Unfortunately, the Senator is using the goal of perfection as a scapegoat for not taking a stand. Each time elected officials are scared of offending someone, they claim they are waiting for a perfect solution.

Perfect solutions, especially in government, are nearly impossible to create. With so many stakeholders and so many different interests, elected officials can only weigh the interests and fight for the most beneficial solution for the most people (along the lines of the greater good idea/cliché).

Unions represent hard-working, middle-class Americans, and they deserve an opportunity to have their voices heard and their concerns addressed.

I was inspired by the attendees’ sincerity, openness, and commitment, and I’m looking forward to being able to support Colorado’s hard-working families.