Voice: E.C. teachers must stick together

March 20, 2001

Unions or organized labor came about to protect workers from their employers. Substandard wages, long hours, child labor, harassment in its various forms has largely been eliminated because of regulation as well as the efforts of organized labor.

We teach our children about Cesar Chavez and Lech Walesa, yet some of us seem to have forgotten that their major message was solidarity. If these leaders did not receive a majority of support from their members, their causes would have seen little success.

Although we have it much better than the members of these men's organizations, the principles involved are still the same. Some of us may feel that we are retiring in the near future and therefore don't need to be involved. Some of us may feel we are making it OK, so why rock the boat?

Some may feel they can't afford to lose any of the money they depend on each month. Some may feel they will hurt an administrator's feeling toward them if they get involved.


Everyone has their own problems but in our situation solidarity is what is needed for the good of all of us and the future of our profession.

Would it take a 20 percent pay cut to decide that solidarity is important? Would it take elimination of paid benefits? Would it be having to punch a time clock in at 7 a.m. and out at 5 p.m.? How bad will it have to get until everybody takes a stand and says enough is enough?

Don't you think if we say, "Take what you want" this time, they might be back asking for more next year, and then again two years later? … Is there a point when our members who are still on the fence are going to say, "No more!"

I think Cesar Chavez and Lech Walesa would say that now it is the time to show we are together in our fight for "what's fair." If we work together we can bring these negotiations to a fair solution.

If we let ourselves be divided we will cause ourselves irreparable damage for years to come. Will you wait for the "take-aways" to become oppressive before you act or will you stand up and say, "No take-aways now or in the future"? That decision is very much in your hands: principles or apathy.


El Centro

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