“My daughter and her friend work for Grub Hub and live off tips,” said Donna, “and they live with me because there is no way that they can afford to live on their own.”
Donna’s story hit me hard and here is why.
(Adrienne McCauley provided this photo of herself and her father, Kelley, a former UTU/SMART TD member, who was able to provide for his family thanks in part to union protections.)
My dad made a choice at 18 that if he was going to make a decent living, he could never do so off our family’s struggling cattle ranch in Arizona. So he hired out on the railroad, and with that he joined a union.
The first 15 years of Dad’s career were rocky. He was often laid off, sometimes for six months at a time (priority in scheduling went to railroaders with more seniority). Then Mom would get a job, Dad would create a side hustle — working for his father’s plumbing business, hauling freight in a semi-truck, working the family ranch, selling pipe for corrals as I remember — and my parents would nervously piece together their $250 weekly meager income to cover their bills for a family of five.
"A Right Christmas" by Rev Lionel Edmonds, Pastor, Mt Lebanon Baptist Church and Founder of Washington INterfaith Network
If you ask people what they think about organized labor these days, many - if not most - might respond based on the version of labor depicted in the recent Martin Scorsese film, The Irishman. The filmmaker points his camera at the link between the Teamsters and organized crime in the era of Jimmy Hoffa. So the image portrayed is of profoundly corrupt union officials in cahoots with habitually violent mafia thugs.
While that might make for a dramatic movie - endless as it is - it crowds out any other part of the rich and complex history of organized labor. I grew up in the Midwest and never ran across anyone who resembled the characters in the Scorsese movie. In my community of Fort Wayne, Indiana, organized labor was closely and publicly connected to organized religion. Your pew neighbor during Sunday worship service was often the factory worker next to you on the assembly line during the week. My father was a shop steward in his union and an usher at church. My mother worked in a parochial school and taught in Sunday School. Work and worship, labor and faith, were as married as my parents were. In fact, to my young eyes, the labor movement was another expression of religious activity, somewhat similar to singing in the choir, serving on the usher board, or teaching in Sunday School. We even had ministers in my city who worked in the factory during the week, and ministered to their congregational flock on weekends.
“For years this kind of collaboration between school and city officials has been needed,” added Brigid D’Souza, a parent leader from Jersey City Together, a local advocacy group.
"We still have much further to go, but we look forward to seeing working water fountains in all these schools in the coming weeks and months.”
500 leaders, from close to 30 institutions around the Denver Metro area, gathered last night for the Founding Assembly of Coloradans for the Common Good.
Candidates from Denver, JeffCo and Aurora showed up and committed their support to the organization's agenda.
... Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to start an impeachment inquiry is the first step toward a possible congressional indictment of the president. It can also be seen as an attempt to diagnose whether or not the country needs constitutional chemotherapy.
Braving the threat of rain and a thunderstorm, 120 Fox River Valley Initiative leaders, allies and neighbors gathered under a tent at 1212 Larkin in Elgin, Illinois on the afternoon of Friday, September 27, to celebrate groundbreaking for an affordable housing development.
The development will have 10 dedicated units for people with mental or physical disabilities with onsite case management. The other 38 units will be 2-3 bedroom apartments for people living between 30 and 60 percent of the area’s medium income.
Elgin’s Mayor Dave Kaptain expressed his appreciation to the Fox River Valley Initiative for organizing and bringing the vision of 1212 Larkin to Elgin. He observed, “My vision is to bring quality housing for every citizen of Elgin.” Under his leadership, the city council had voted 8-0 in support of the project.
Twenty years after the first living-wage law was passed in Baltimore, the campaign’s lead organizer warns that the model has been watered down. This prescient piece written by Jonathan Lange in 2014 for the Nation is an even more urgent read NOW.
The World’s Oceans Are in Danger, Major Climate Change Report Warns
Climate change is heating the oceans and altering their chemistry so dramatically that it is threatening seafood supplies, fueling cyclones and floods and posing profound risks to the hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts, according to a sweeping United Nations report issued Wednesday. MORE
Hundreds of people gathered on Chicago's West Side to talk with Mayor Lori Lightfoot about the city's most pressing problems, from gun violence to housing concerns. Community members and leaders representing a coalition of nearly 100 religious and civic groups gathered at DRW College Prep in Homan Square Sunday afternoon.
United Power for Action and Justice is the coalition behind Sunday's meeting. The group emphasizes offering pragmatic solutions rather than "pie in the sky" ideals. While the coalition said they appreciated Lightfoot's words Sunday, the group said it's time to translate those remarks into results. MORE