By Dan Sullivan, APWU retired, Southwest Michigan Area Local
There are plenty of reasons for union members to vote in favor of the tentative agreement between the American Postal Workers Union and the Postal Service. You can find most of those reasons on the general comment and editorial pages of 21cpw.com and in the sales pitches put out by APWU national and local officers around the country, people who are more knowledgeable about the tentative contract than me.
I know only one thing about the proposed contract. And the one thing I know is the reason why I could never vote for it or ask any union member to vote for it.
The one thing I know is that it asks us to accept for future postal workers wages that none of us would accept for ourselves.
The principle guiding me is called the Golden Rule. Jesus put it another way, telling his followers to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Twenty centuries later American union organizers phrased it slightly differently, but they meant the same thing when they took as their rallying cry the slogan “An injury to one is an injury to all.”
Other cultures and religions have similar ethical teachings. It seems to be a universal idea.
If you wouldn’t vote yourself a pay cut, you shouldn’t be willing to vote a lower pay scale for new workers. That is if you believe in the Golden Rule and the union concept of solidarity.
The workers in Wisconsin aren’t locked in a life-or-death battle with corporatists and right wingers – and they didn’t take over the Capital building – just to save their own hides. They’re also fighting for future generations. And so are the unionists from around the Midwest and the nation who streamed into Madison to support them.
And the same can be said for the union workers battling right-wing, corporatist regimes in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Indiana and elsewhere.
Maybe some think it’s old-fashioned to stand on principle. Or just stubborn. But I can’t forget about the future generations of postal workers when I vote on the proposed contract.
I’m voting no.