We're a little stunned, but we're going to be okay, at least that's what my cool-as-a-cucumber husband keeps telling me. I'm scared, a bit, sometimes, but mostly not panicking, although occasionally, in my weaker moments, my mind goes drifting off in that direction.
I told Tom today that I feel like a cartoon character, innocently strolling along in a lovely cartoon forest, blithely waving to all the fairies and furry forest creatures. Then, all of a sudden I look down—Ach! I am momentarily suspended in midair. I strolled right off a cliff! I look at my cartoon audience, my eyes wide with shock. Where did the ground go? <instant plummet earthward>
But no, really, there's every reason to be hopeful. Management doesn't have a case. Of course, the union (the American Postal Workers Union) is going to bat for Tom. But this is likely to take at least a few months to get resolved. For any time that Tom is off work, he may or may not get back pay. There are no guarantees.
I generally avoid getting personal in this blog, but in this case the personal is political, as it so often is. Tom and I have become a case in point. So I will do my best to present the case and make the point.
Tom and I are blessed with truly wonderful family and friends, who have kindly expressed their support and encouragement. A few have asked whether there is anything they could do. Why, yes, now that you mention it, there is one thing. Do it for us, and do it proudly.
Please support the Employee Free Choice Act.
First, educate yourself about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Find out what it is, what it isn't, who's for it and why, who's against it and why. Then write to your senators and representative and ask them to support and vote for EFCA. Ask them to make EFCA a priority because of all it will do to strengthen our economy and the middle class in particular. Sign the petition at I Am Progress, and then talk to your friends and family and ask them to do the same.
Unions are a threatened species in this country, and with the economy in such terrible shape, we need them now as much as ever. We have the Labor Movement to thank for so much in this country: the 40-hour workweek, the 8-hour workday, the middle class—to name just a few.
But big business is terrified of workers regaining their power and their solidarity and is determined to use any tactics available to prevent workers from forming unions. An entire industry has formed whose sole purpose is helping businesses prevent their employees from forming a union.
As a result, the power of labor has been systematically gutted, until even the best unions have only a shadow of the power they once had. That the middle class has shrunk as the power of unions has waned is no coincidence. Strong worker unions and protections lead to a stronger middle class, a more robust economy, and less disparity between the rich and the poor.
According to columnist Sharon Smith, Corporate America's anti-union crusaders have raised $200 million to combat the Employee Free Choice Act. "True to form, business leaders reacted with collective hysteria to the introduction of legislation in the House and Senate on March 10 that would make it just a bit easier for workers to unionize."
The Chamber [of Commerce], the National Association of Manufacturers and other anti-union corporate crusaders have raised $200 million to combat EFCA. And they have only just begun to fight, framing their defense of workers' "right" to a vote by secret ballot in a union election as if this were a struggle to preserve a sacred cornerstone of democracy--by preventing unions from simply asking workers to sign union cards if they would like to join the union."Big business is pulling out all the stops in its campaign to paint itself as the wronged party in workers' efforts to form unions. They're trying to paint themselves as the "populist" choice. But remember, workers in this scenario are David and Big Business is Goliath.
In reality, EFCA would maintain the option of voting by secret ballot, but transfers the decision to workers instead of employers, where it currently resides.
Big Business, whose success is a direct result of workers' productivity, is free to exploit workers, unless those workers realize that it is in solidarity with each other that they have a voice. Labor is the original populist movement, composed—oddly enough—of regular people who have thrown their lot in with each other, banding together to make their voices heard.
Here's Rachel Maddow's take on EFCA:
Support Tom and me, and workers everywhere in the country, by contacting your senators and representatives and asking them to support and vote for the Employee Free Choice Act. Our greatest hope in restoring our economy and rebuilding a robust middle class is in strengthening workers and restoring worker solidarity.