Our nation is a melting pot of different ethnic backgrounds, religious and political views and many other differences. We just completed an Election cycle that is part of our Democracy and outlined within the Constitution of our Republic. Regardless of the outcome we have new political leaders in Washington, DC and at our State and Local level.
Many of us including yours truly were very vocal about our own political views on Social Media in the past 6 to 8 months. My comments were never to make anyone wrong, but to merely state my own views regarding which candidates I thought might best serve as our elected leaders, based upon my own core values and ideologies as it relates to myself, my family and moreover the members of my own Union (IAFF) as well as my brothers and sisters in Organized Labor all across this great nation.
I participated in some spirited debates regarding my views on candidates and issues, but I always tried to be respectful of my friends, relatives and co-workers values and positions. If I offended anyone along the way, I tried to apologize and keep myself from losing a friend or making an enemy.
Some of my friends and family members accused me of being stupid, unpatriotic, a frickin’ liberal retard (Libtard) and many other names that are not worth listing. It caused me some displeasure to see that standing up for what I felt was right, caused me to lose a few friends along the way.
What truly hurt was to see some of the private things that were sent to me on Social Media that were down right hateful. I mean it really hurts to see people that I have so much respect for and value them as a true friend to see the hate and venomous things that they had to say about people: Muslims, Jews, Blacks, LGBT, Women, Liberals, Republicans and Democrats. I am sure that others can relate to what I am saying and that is why you have routinely seen me refer to the movement that followed Mr. Trump as the Party of HATE.
What I have known for quite awhile now is that the vast majority of members within my own union identify themselves as Republicans (62% to 65%) have conservative views. That is their God given rights to have those views and I respect them. This time around they were in the majority so it seems, but there will be some consequences as a result of the people that they helped get elected.
What I learned after the Election was that most of these brothers and sisters are so misinformed or out of touch with how these decisions will impact their working conditions locally, within our State and moreover by the US Congress.
Decisions in Washington, DC such as Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) will have a direct impact on the health insurance policies that our union negotiates for us with our employer (Active Members and Retirees). The appointment of a conservative minded SCOTUS will more than likely continue to give more support to corporations, and weaken unions throughout our country.
Here in Missouri, our Governor Elect Eric Greitens has promised to make Missouri a “Right to Work” State and pass “Paycheck Deception”. Most of my young brothers and sisters in the fire service naively believe that can’t impact me as a Public Employee. Well, you are so wrong and you are about to experience your worst nightmare.
Right to Work will eliminate Prevailing Wage Laws, which will bring down Skilled Labor in our State and drive down the wages for our brothers and sisters in the Building & Construction Trades, Teamsters and others. Those decreases in salaries will have huge financial impacts on our municipalities where we live and bargain for hours, wages and working conditions. You say how could that be? If our Earnings Tax here in Kansas City is based upon 1% of what individuals make that reside or work in our City, look at what happens when wages go down and jobs are lost due to Right to Work. The E-Tax in KCMO greatly impacts Public Safety Budgets and helps us comply with the NFPA 1710 Standard for Minimum Staffing Guidelines of a 4-person crew. Do the math and you can see at least 100 members being laid off, because their positions will be eliminated forever.
Paycheck Deception, lots of members are not fully aware of what that term means. The long and short of it: each year the union will have to get the members to authorize dues deductions from their payroll. If a member doesn’t want to pay dues, he or she can become a SCAB, and enjoy the same benefits; including hours, wages and working conditions of those who pay dues. There isn’t anything that the union can do to these individuals defined to be within the bargaining unit because it is the law.
What I have known throughout my 30+ years as a member of my union is that sometimes you have to get your ass kicked so badly to realize just how good you had it before you wanted change. I will remind some of you that wanted change a few years ago and how did that work out? No pay raises for 7 years, overtime pay went from time and a half to straight time, and now we have a 2-tiered pension system.
What I learned was this is the right time to say goodbye and I am truly blessed to have my time. I wish nothing but the best for my brothers and sisters of my union and the others within organized labor across our nation; however, I fear the worst is yet to come and if that happens those individuals who chose to vote the way they did will be faced with the facts that they did this to themselves. We have met the enemy and it is staring us in the face when we look in the mirror.