Brothers and sisters,
I’d like to take a moment to pause and reflect on the historic movement that swept through the streets of Los Angeles – and what it means for you and the future of our union.
First and most importantly: this is one of the proudest moments I’ve had in 40 years as a member of UFCW 770. Our members turned up in droves to stand with our teachers, literally, in the pouring rain no less (which is saying a lot in L.A.).
Many people thought this wasn’t our fight. But wherever working people are striving to make a better life, 770 members will be there. That’s a testament to your hard work and unbreakable spirit, and the powerful community you’re creating.
Make no mistake: our union brothers and sisters of UTLA have inspired Angelenos across the city to speak up for working people. But how did they do it? Here are some lessons we can learn:
1. Bargain for the Common Good
It’s a subtle shift, but potentially revolutionary: bargaining for the common good. As Steven Greenhouse from the New York Times pointed out, L.A. teachers didn’t fight just for wages or benefits. They fought for their students and communities. As we look ahead to our Grocery contract, we need to show how our cause can lift up our communities and improve the lives of our customers and the families we help feed every single day.
2. Go Public
The week the strike started, three-fourths of Angelenos were polled supporting our public teachers’ cause. That goes to show that when you stand up for the public good, the public stands up for you. We need to give customers, families, and supporters a reason to believe in our fight, and simple, easy ways to stand with us.
3. Strikes Work
Strikes are a very last resort, and they take organization, mobilization, and cooperation. But they can be a powerful way to rally people to our cause and force management to sign a better deal. We only take this path as a last option, but our teachers proved that with the public on your side, a strike can make change possible.
What are your ideas? How can we move customers to see themselves in our fight for a better deal? You work in your communities every day, so who would know better than you?
Drop us a line or simply reply to this email and share your thoughts. We need the wisdom of every store, plant, pharmacy, and dispensary to win this fight. Let’s get started. We got this.
And now we go,