I have recently heard the anti-union radio ads on WDEV. I am not sure who is paying for them. Could it be the Ethan Allen Institute, or some unknown corporate backer? This is another way the wealthy undermine the efforts of workers. Let’s look back to when there were no unions. Most people probably don’t give the 40-hour work-week a second thought — much less the hard-fought battle that came before it was law, not to mention safety protections or child labor laws. I may not have been around when unions were fighting for workers’ rights initially, but I want to remind others not to go backward.
I am grateful that I have union representation at the bargaining table when the state negotiates its contract with employees, often proposing pay cuts and large increases to our health insurance costs. These ads encourage people to leave their unions. If there are no unions, there are no negotiations. We get what we get, and that’s that. Don’t fool yourself to think that you might be saving money to opt out of the union. They are trying to erode the effectiveness of the unions in Vermont and across the country. It is an attack on the middle class. We have been doing the hard work educating our members about the benefits of membership and subsequently our membership has increased, not decreased as they might have hoped.
The writer is president of the Barre chapter of the Vermont State Employees Association.