Friday, September 07, 2007

The awesome power of a strike

AFSCME workers at the University of Minnesota went on strike Wednesday, and it has been awesome to behold. The University has been steadily moving away from the mission of educating the populace and into a role as leader in research and elitist training of the twit children of the middle class. Oops. That's not exactly the language used in the recruiting material.

So, along with the elitist goals, it should come as no suprise that the U of M feels it can treat its lowest paid workers, the clerics, the techs, the dental assistants, the parking lot workers, the sign language interpreters, the child care workers -- like the peons they wish for in their fuedlistic dreams.

Given that, it is just awesome when the workers say, "No!".

I've had the opportunity to participate in the Labor and Community Strike Support Committee and the events of the last few days have simply rocked my world.

On Wednesday, more than 1,500 workers and their supporters rallied on the U of M mall and I was totally fired up by so many of the speeches. Elizabeth Edwards, stopped by during a campaign swing through the state to say she and her husband were walking the picket lines in spirit. Union leaders from the UTU Transit Workers Union and the Northwest Airlines Mechanics Unions, whose strikes received support from AFSCME workers and the community, were there to pay back the support and more.

Today, about 150 of us marched into the Board of Regents meeting to demand the workers' be given a fair wage increase.

This was followed by a rally of 500 plus people who have been walking the picket lines for three days now and who are still standing strong and backing each other up.

It is impossible to be cynical or demoralized when days like today occur.