In some ways I am flattered. The first two motions presented to the members of this local by the new executive were direct attacks against me. First, after not posting any of my four motions as our bylaws stipulate, a motion of their own trying to essentially ban out of meeting motions was put in their place. Second, they are now trying to keep me out of meetings by banning my kids.
I should state up front that I can’t think of a better place for children than in a union hall during a meeting. Democracy in action is rare and poorly understood, mostly because we shelter ourselves and our children from seeing it. I am not raising hot house flowers. I was partially raised in the union hall my mother helped found at the Perley Hospital in Ottawa. I watched as issues were discussed and voted on with passion and intelligence. To deny children the opportunity to witness first hand this sort of grass roots activism guarantees the future will belong to the bosses, not the workers.
Put more simply, how does a person appreciate an organization, or it’s underlying ideologies, when they have no understanding or stake in them?
Anyway, let’s start with a few facts.
My kids have attended three meetings. In five years. Three. In only one of those meetings did all three of them attend. So to say I am impressed at their ability to agitate the anti-family crowd would be an understatement. I truly hope none of this sheltered bunch need counseling after such an assault on their delicate sensibilities.
For the record, the reason I brought them was to remind L.R. that not all his members were nearing retirement, and that a de-indexing of his salary, along with a massive pay increase, just before a contract negotiation might be a tad low class.
Myopic, if you will. 😉
Another rather important point. Shauna and I are, as far as I know, the only bus driver couple in this local who are currently raising small children. This motion therefore represents a direct and personal attack on our ability and our right to attend union meetings. Sitters cost a fortune, especially for young children. We live in Sooke, meaning we are paying for a sitter for at least four hours, usually five or six. That’s in the $100 range for those who haven’t paid for a sitter in a few decades. Does anyone think a $100 premium for the PRIVILEGE of attending a union meeting makes sense? I suppose it might if you don’t want us to attend, but otherwise it’s just … pardon my rudeness … small.
No motion should ever be allowed to get to a vote that directly limits a members ability to attend the meetings, and that’s what this is.
The fact the executive allowed it to get to a vote is saying something pretty harsh about their attitude towards members who they don’t like.
Finally, and this is the important one, what the hell do the people who put this motion forward think the purpose of a union is?
Unions were created to give working class citizens the hope that they could reasonably expect to be able to … wait for it …
… RAISE A FAMILY.
By divorcing ourselves from that massively important connection, we become blind to the reason why unions are even more important in today’s world. We are further insulating ourselves from the consequences of our collective actions, because those consequences don’t affect us directly. We won’t see the people who are most directly benefiting from our efforts, and the effects our decisions have upon them, because we have banned them from our very presence.
This motion should have been shot down while it was on the floor.