Is Paul Ryan's voice more important than 44,000 working families?
When all 18 IBEW Local Unions who make up the Utility Labor Council of NYS traveled down to Philadelphia last Saturday, August 11th, we knew we were participating in one of the largest demonstration of labor's political power in recent years. The ULC represents 15,000 utility workers in New York State, and our value system is shared with many other trades, crafts and industries. By noon - 44,000 like-minded trade unionist gathered at Eakins Oval in Philly. We were proud and energized, but most importantly we had a unified message; that our political leaders, regardless of party affiliation should hold certain inalienable rights to be essential to our vision of America. As a labor movement we asked our elected officials to sign America's second Bill fo Rights. They are;
- The Right to Full Employment and a Living Wage
- The Right to Full Participation in the Electoral Process
- The Right to a Voice at Work
- The Right to a Quality Education
- The Right to a Secure, Healthy Future
The message was clear, the point was made, the union membership was energized and we knew that the right thing had been done prior to both major party conventions. Organized labor did this to once again serve the greater good - as we always have and will continue to do. But what saddened us, all 44,000 of us, was the lack of national spotlight, to have the pitiful announcement of Paul Ryan running with labor's arch enemy Mitt Romney for the Presidency.
You may have not heard from CNN or the National Networks that we mobilized and made an awesome statement to the political elite. The National Media may have done this by design. But the IBEW Utility Labor Council of NYS is carrying this message back to the Empire State and in every Town Hall in New York. Sign the Bill of Rights and stand with us, but most importantly practice what is preached in the halls of government and in your leadership roles in your community. Our Nation, our State and our communities are depending on us to create jobs, protect the right to vote, encourage union organization, educate our children and care for our sick and elderly. It's the absolute least we can do.
Paul Ryan may have grabbed your attention, but let organized labor grab your heart and fill you with the courage and fortitude to do what is right.