I was reading this story about the devastating shooting rampage that left 26 dead in a Connecticut school. And I noticed a pattern.
“A custodian ran around, warning people there was someone with a gun,” the story said.
And I thought: In Canada, that would likely be a CUPE worker.
“A teacher went out to check on the noise, came back in, locked the door and had the children huddle in the corner until police arrive,” a story said.
Police, first respondents, and other medical and trauma support staff would represent a range of other unionized members.
And we keep electing public officials who vilify public servants and union members.
Who say ‘let’s outsource’, which is another way of saying ‘let’s pay them less’.
Who try to remove workers’ protection by suggesting the end of the Rand Formula.
Who go after workers’ sick pay, pensions, and job security.
Who try to remove collective bargaining rights long ago secured as a human right.
It’s an effective tactic when unions are presented as omnipotent inhuman entities.
It’s quite another matter once we see the human face of union workers. Connecticut reminds us of that human face.
There are always ‘teachable moments’ in any tragedy or crisis. The obvious is that gun control makes a difference in society.
Less obvious: The people in who are there for us in the midst of crisis; otherwise known as our labour movement.