Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Don't forget the WOW in IN

Teamsters Rally in Indiana on March 10.
Mike Gillespie, business representative for Local 135 in Indianapolis, recently sat down to discuss the War on Workers with Rally Girl. Gillespie has been to every rally in Indianapolis since the War on Workers began in the Hoosier State.

Here is Gillespie’s take on the WOW in his own words:

Union people really understand what’s at the heart of these issues—this is about preserving our rights to bargain collectively, have minimum wage laws, and secure a strong middle class. Teamsters and other union members have been using their deep knowledge of these issues to educate the general public about why unions are so important.

This is nothing more than union busting 101. Look at the facts: Nine percent of the population of Indiana is unionized. Of those nine percent, one percent are public employees. We’ve asked Koch whore politicians time and time again why they are fighting so hard to keep only nine percent of the population from having a voice. They have no answer. They are simply sticking to a corporate-based agenda.

We’re scheduling members from Locals 364, 716, 414, 135 and 142 to be at the ongoing rallies in Indianapolis every day. Each day, there are no less than 100 Teamsters at these rallies. Our members are coming on their vacation days or their days off to support this cause. Teamsters understand just how important this is and what the end to collective bargaining could mean for our country.

I’ve been to a lot of these rallies, but a moment that will always stick out for me is being able to share the experience with my son and my step daughter. I took them to a rally one day that had 500 in attendance—they thought that was a pretty big crowd. We went the next day when there were 25,000 and they were just blown away. The experience allowed my step daughter, who didn’t grow up in a union home, to really understand what is going on. My son just thought it was great. It was a proud moment for me to see my children so involved in something so important.

I hope people realize that this movement is similar to the movement that took place 100 years ago, when 146 garment workers died from a fire because they were locked in the building where they worked. Of course I’m talking about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of March 25, 1911. The people had to stand up then and demand change. It’s really come full circle—it is now up to us to take the lead and demand our rights.