Sorry, Speaker Pelosi, But Congress Doesn’t Own This…
By Richard Cucarese, Rapid Response Coordinator, Local 4889, Philadelphia
With the outlook growing bleaker by the minute for over 800,000 Federal Employees who remained furloughed or deemed essential and working without pay for
weeks, a rare sense of elation occurred, if albeit temporarily when the U.S. Government opened for business again on January 25th after the longest shutdown on record.
And although a few media outlets gave coverage to the plight of AFGE members and their valiant efforts to flood Congressional phone lines and the streets of Washington D.C. with their Labor allies, it fell far short of the expanded coverage given to members of Congress who gregariously championed their paltry efforts in front of the spotlight’s glare.
Although Speaker Pelosi was the face of the battle on television screens around the world, this victory is not hers or Congress’ to own; victory belongs to Labor, especially since, at best, they’re paid minimal lip service by the majority of our nations elected officials. From Pelosi to Schumer to Hoyer and on and on…
While some may say this is sour grapes and splitting hairs, it really isn’t when you consider that Labors’ efforts to create a more autonomous workplace, barely registers a blip on the radar of the mainstream media as well and when a network voice champions us, it’s almost immediately drowned out, shifted away from its ‘prime-time’ slot and eventually rendered useless by corporate apparatchiks.
One way to have Labor heard is, with the help of allies in the activist movements around America, finally endear ourselves to the notion of a massive General Strike. Galvanizing the general proletariat petrifies vast majorities of print, television and cable outlets, as well as the bulk of the sitting members on Capitol Hill (think back to the railing against Occupy Wall Street by many in these groups).
Labor mustn’t waver on this issue anymore and instead become vanguards of a General Strike. President Trump caved in on the shutdown when unpaid TSA and NATCA workers reported off from their jobs and created near closures of major transportation hubs around the country. Sara Nelson, President of the Association of Flight Attendants quote is the perfect ignition source for such a movement. “Do we have your attention now, Leader McConnell? All lawmakers? Open the government and get back to the business of democracy.”
Do they have your attention now, Speaker Pelosi, Senator McConnell, President Trump? American workers are tired of your impertinent ways and America’s Labor Movement, not you, is ready to do the hard lifting to get America righted.
Labor happily owns this.
Contact Rich on Twitter @stlwrkr4889
USW Rapid Response Coordinator, Local 4889, Philadelphia, PA