Lauree Hayden a Service Employees International Union(SEIU) Staffer presented at the 2013 LGBT media conference explaining why it’s important for LGBTQI writers to cover union issues.
First thing Lauree did was to ask to see a show off hands of how many of us had ever been union. Approximately 30 of the 60 or so in attendance raised theirs hands including me. Lauree then asked how many of us currently belonged to a union and all but a smattering including myself lowered our hands.
I was fired from my first job after beginning transition at Walmart after “Our Walmart” organizers entered the store a month earlier. Seemingly a non issue at the time to me I told the store manager, in a meeting he asked for, that I once belonged to the Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. I wasn’t concerned partly out of a misplaced sense of loyalty to the store that had hired me when no one else would and after all hadn’t I had just received my third year review indicating I was doing a good job?
I should have been worried.
I was fired a few months later after they continually demanded that I do a job they were fully aware was beyond me physically to do. That was just a cover as they ended up quickly firing most of the other employees who were present or even employed at the times the organizers had entered the building.
I like untold thousands of Walmart employees were fired because we once had been or were suspected of having union affiliation even if it was years in the past. The rich are that scared of us organizing and demanding a fair share.
The truth is as the rich continue to profit at our expense at ever increasing percentage while we continue to make less in respect to what we made twenty years ago. Union breaking is and continues to be a leading tool of the one percent as evidenced by the lack of Union members present at our LGBTQI media conference.
Truly union, Cis-labor, and transgender people are meeting at the intersection of poverty, homelessness and despair. The LGBT media has a obligation to publish the map that will help guide our way back.