On Unions: From the mouth of babes

Last year, the AFL-CIO announced a campaign to target lure attract younger workers to the labor movement.  However, after watching the United Steelworkers strike for eight months in her town, one high-school student wrote a letter to the editor that demonstrates that union bosses have a lot of work to do before they can convince young workers to get in the car on the union bus.

I work in a local department store here in Sudbury, where a handful of USW 6500 workers were recently hired. I work side by side with them every day, and have gotten to know them very well.

I listen to them discuss, and complain even, about the Vale dispute on a daily basis, too. Therefore, I have come to hear a lot of their opinions and stands on the situation. However, what I don’t understand is why I am even working with them in the first place.

As a USW 6500 member who voted in favour of the strike, they voted not to work, plain and simple. This handful of Local 6500 workers that I work with every day are taking the jobs of other students like me, who need it more than they do.

As Canadians, I am clearly aware that they have the right to work. But as students, so do we. The Local 6500 members that I work with do not work full-time hours. They work the same shifts I do, after school hours, at minimum wage. Not only could this have been a job opportunity for five other students like me, as they are only working part time, but it also could have given me the extra hours that my job cannot give me because of the economy.


Where I work is not the only place this is happening. Many Local 6500 workers have been hired everywhere, taking jobs of students across the city.

Personally, I believe they should be serving their time as a striker. Supposed to work an eight-hour shift at Inco? They should spend it as an eight-hour shift on the picket line. Not an eight-hour shift working our jobs. It’s common sense.


If other students feel this way, the AFL-CIO has a long way to go to brainwash reach the hearts and minds of young workers.

“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

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Filed under AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, USW, Vale Inco

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