Steve Lomax - President
These days, it can be very difficult to sort out
conflicting claims of who is “truthin” and who is lying.
On our TVs, Democrats and Republicans duke it out, with tea partiers and
pundits asserting positions from left and right.
Anyone who has ever filed a grievance knows that it’s often hard to tell
fact from fiction. If you’re a Shop Steward in our union, or just a member
trying to stand up for another member, sometimes it’s hard to tell right
Often management at our stores, plants and facilities carry great
credibility with workers. After all, they sign workers’ paychecks!
Sometimes union members, wrongfully accused, have a hard time getting
fellow workers to stand up for them and simply “tell the truth.”
But sometimes members exaggerate, too. They tell their story and they
want you to believe it. It can be very difficult for a Shop Steward or Union
Representative to sort out conflicting claims and get to the bottom line.
Discerning the Truth
Being able to sort out the truth is not just useful in a grievance
procedure, it’s helpful for life.
First, civility helps. No one comes to resolution by yelling “You Lie”
during a State of the Union message, as Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC)
did at President Obama. You can’t get clarity by interrupting repeatedly as
Bill O’Reilly did when he interviewed the President prior to the Superbowl
game. Not only can you not get clarity, it’s disrespectful.
Listen This is mandatory when representing others in grievance
procedures. It’s harder to do with fast-talking politicos who repeat their
lies, which they call “talking points” in such clear terms that they’re almost
believable. We should know better.
Sort it out. Check it out. Read. Talk to opposing sides to get at the
truth. As union Activists, Shop Stewards, or just as discerning members,
it’s up to us to take the time to sort out myth from reality. Did the member
clearly know management’s rule and was it clearly communicated?
Which legislators are on the side of working folks - Republicans or
Democrats? Are tea party advocates really against government? Or do
they draw the line at the government program which benefits them
personally, like Social Security and Medicare?
It’s true… Being a union member or activist requires you to take stock,
listen, be cautious, check out fact from fiction.
But knowledge brings you power, and power for individuals and groups of
workers is what our union movement is all about.
More thoughts from President Lomax....
Attacks on workers today are not just deceitful. They’re outright
Recent comments by none other than the Speaker of the U.S. House of
Representatives, John Boehner, show disdain for workers.
Working people have already paid and paid again for the devastation
caused to our economy by Wall Street gamblers and irresponsible bankers.
Yet when asked about the loss of approximately another million jobs
from proposed cuts to the federal budget, Boehner said:
“So be it!”
Is that the best you can do, Mr. Speaker?
What our country needs is common-sense deficit reduction that won’t
destroy jobs, but instead will fund economic growth.
Here’s what we say, Mr. Speaker: “Shame on you!”
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