I know of people who are in unions. One of the sayings related to one such union is “The Strength of the Wolf is in the Pack.” Even though I live in the South, where unions aren’t as strong, the people who are in unions receive higher pay, better benefits and a safer working environment than those who are not in unions. It’s also known that some organizations give good benefits and pay better simply because they don’t want unions in.
Unfortunately, not everyone who is in a union understands and appreciates the hard work and amazing skills union members had which gave them the present benefits they have. They simply do not know union history.
Now, union history is not my specialty. However, I did work briefly for Working America, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. While there, I was a field organizer. In addition to this field experience, I know of people like Mother Jones, who was more of an agitator than organizer, and who was called “the most dangerous woman in America” for her work with unions.
It’s ironic that some people in unions these days think of themselves as islands–they think their hard work got them where they are, with all they have. When, in fact, it was the work of people who believe in interdependence, community, collective bargaining and striking that got them where they are, historically speaking. It was literal blood, sweat and tears of brave men and women working together for a common cause that got them where they are.
One thing we can learn from unions is that the individualistic idea that we are and should be islands is not only false, it cannot hold up against an idea of collectivism, community and common cause.
No matter your station in life, you are, ultimately, dependent on someone. Even business owners are dependent on, not only customers (that’s why boycotts work!), but employees (that’s why strikes work!).
The strength of the wolf is, indeed, in the pack.