Labor Day: A Time for Action!
Dear Railroad Sisters & Brothers:
Whether you are off work or on the job on Monday, please take the time to honor, remember and celebrate Labor Day. This is our day! So much of what we workers take for granted today -- overtime pay, holiday pay, vacations, sick leave, workers’ comp and FELA, railroad retirement, safer working conditions, the basic 8-hour day, seniority and more – only came about because workers came together, organized and fought for these things collectively. If it were not for our solidarity, we would have none of the above, and there certainly would be no such thing as Labor Day itself.
But Labor Day has mostly become a day for picnics and barbeques, political stumping and speech making, posturing and "remembering" our heritage. All pretty boring stuff really. But what if we put some life into Labor Day? What if we called for joint actions by the various sectors of the working class? What if we showed the employing class that we are not simply going to "honor and remember" on Labor Day? What if we were to picket, to demonstrate, to strike and to occupy?
The fast food workers are pointing the way forward. As some of the most exploited, underpaid and disrespected members of our class, fast food workers are finally rising up against their wretched working conditions. They are demanding more. Their heroic actions point the way forward for the rest of labor, railroad workers included. The general walk-out by thousands of workers in 58 cities across the country last week was a spectacular display of the power of labor, the power of solidarity. This singular action has dramatically increased the pride and confidence of every single fast food worker in the nation. From this initial uprising we just might see a sustained and developed organization of fast food workers that is ready to take risks, ready to fight, and be ready to win in the months and years ahead.
Not only is it the job of every worker and every union member to get behind this struggle, maybe it’s time for all of us to do the same thing. Let’s stop crying and whining, bitching and moaning about our jobs. Let’s stop waiting for some politician, some government agency or union official to solve our problems for us. Let’s take the bull by the horns and using the example of the fast food workers, rise up collectively, make our demands known, and let our power be realized.
So on this Labor Day, you will see lots of American flags flying. You will hear lots of politicians bucking for your vote. And you will see lots of hot dogs frying on the grill. But please remember, all this has little to do with the true spirit of Labor Day. This day is really about working people and our struggle – through strikes, boycotts, picket lines, sit-ins, occupations and more – to further the cause of the working class. RWU is proud to be part of that proud tradition of working people fighting back against corporate power. We invite you to join us in the fight. Solidarity forever!
RWU General Secretary
“We need to have faith in each other. We are in precisely the same position. We depend absolutely on each other. We know that without solidarity, nothing is possible, and that with solidarity, nothing is impossible.”
Eugene V. Debs, Founder of the American Railway Union