Some people don’t value democracy. But it is vital to union members.
Trade unions operate on democratic principles. Free speech is a necessity. The right to associate and to organize is essential. The right to stand up to economic power is irreducible.
And in society at large, union members participate in various organizations, groups, religious assemblies and other affiliations. Each of which associations is based upon the inherent liberties enjoyed by citizens of a democracy.
A look at history or, indeed, the present, shows numerous instance of democracies that fell into fascism, authoritarianism or totalitarianism. Germany, Cuba, Russia, China, Poland and Hungary are but a few examples of nations that had or have democracies that either fell entirely or partially into despotism.
The current issue of the Label Letter describes the activities of union busters. Union busting in undemocratic lands is a government project. Workers and their rights are confined in government authorized and controlled labor organizations. The interests of workers are a distant second to the concerns of the powerful interests in control of the government.
The recent triumphs of members of the United Auto Workers and the SAG-AFTRA in negotiations, to name but two, occurred within our democracy. Look abroad for similar victories in repressive countries and you will find none.
The world is imperfect and all nations face challenges. Democracy remains the best means to address the needs of a people in a fair and equitable way.