The definition of solidarity: unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on a community of interests, objectives, and standards.
Pictured above are some of the Raffle Prizes!!
What Does Solidarity Mean to Me?
Last July, I had the privilege of participating in the 43rd International Convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). I was only one of more than 5,000 public employees and retirees from across the nation who gathered to deliver a message of strength and solidarity. It was an eye-opening experience. For an entire week, Rebecca Klare and I spoke to members from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii, listening to their stories of struggle and success in the shared goal of protecting public employees’ rights to fair wages, benefits and job protections. I spoke with subway workers from New York City, state workers from Illinois, young people just entering the workforce, retirees from long years of service, and the single greatest message I heard was the pride they take in keeping the country running.
We’re called public servants, sometimes disparagingly. We’ve all heard the stories and jokes about public employees getting rich off of taxpayers’ money. Here at El Dorado County, we’re told by the Administration that we’re respected, that our contributions matter, but words are easy and actions speak louder than words. 37% of us have been on the job for ten years or longer, even though we could earn substantially more for the same work in Sacramento or Placer County. We do serve the public, and each and every one of us can take pride in being the face of El Dorado County government. We are the ones taxpayers see when they have a problem, we are the ones they turn to for help, we are the ones who deliver that help. We can all take pride in the fact that we keep El Dorado County running.
And we deserve real respect and recognition for being on the front line every day. We deserve fair wages and benefits. We are the MOST essential County program, for without us, nothing would get done. From the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME to bills introduced in state capitals across the country, billionaires and corporate special interests are funding constant attacks on workers’ rights to stand together in strong unions. The result? Lower wages and fewer benefits for working families, and more power in the hands of people who rig the system against them. Solidarity is our only defense. I call on each and every one of you to stand up proudly, together, in solidarity, and demand the respect we deserve.