When I was a kid, growing up in the Central San Joaquin Valley of California, my dad was working his ass off bucking sacks of feed and seed, as the manager of a store connected to the dairy industry. I later did the same. Because the main company was essentially a creamery and also warehoused its goods–largely, bags of powdered milk and cases of butter–it relied on the trucking industry big time. All of its employees were members of the Teamsters union. My father was the shop steward for many years as well.
So I grew up with a genuine understanding of just what unions have meant to the working men and women of America. I, too, have spent most of my working life connected to various unions. I am very proud to be able to say that.
Here’s to Jimmy Hoffa–I remember my father proudly reading a book about Jimmy, complete with all the man’s foibles, and still smiling at the brotherhood of workers Hoffa represented in those days.
Here’s to Cesar Chavez, who remains an AMERICAN icon. I can’t tell you how many hateful things I heard about him while in my teens…from people who should have known better, then went to Confession at the end of the week, only to do it again on Monday.
I am thinking back to the strength of folk singer heroes like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, who never sold out the American worker.
To every goddamn protector of worker’s rights who has ever walked the planet, thank you! All one has to do is look into the faces of the Trumps, the Pences, the truly frightening McCarthyesque poses of people like Paul Ryan to understand we are dealing with the devil here in the guise of Republicanism. Shame on them, and shame on anyone who is still buying into these dangerous times.
Sorry. Sometimes even a poet has to react in prose.
Copyright © 2016 by Sam Pereira