This week in Roanoke, one theme came up again and again from union volunteers- – they were out knocking on doors because of their children.
Dale Bare (USW Local 1023) brought up an issue that doesn’t always come up: workers’ rights to organize. Dale knows what it’s like to “have first hand, up close, personal dealings with a loved one who was terminated simply because he wanted to form a union.” Dale mentioned that his son was fired for trying to organize a union in his workplace and explained the importance of fighting for stronger protections for workers.
“I’m doing this for my children,” explained Melissa Anderson (UAW Local 2069), “I have an 18 year old daughter and I can’t imagine her working and making less money than her two brothers just because she’s a woman.” Melissa works as an assembler at the Volvo plant in Dublin and spoke passionately about how this election is “make or break for the middle class” and how without the President’s efforts in rescuing the auto industry, she felt her job was at risk, but now “our plant is booming and we have two shifts.”
Similarly, Chuck Simpson, President of CWA Local 2204, said “I don’t want to take a step back. I have a son who just started a new job. He has two kids and just got benefits where he can insure his kids. He’s been able to move forward and this is his first big stepping stone. If we don’t elect President Obama and Tim Kaine, I fear the Commonwealth will take a tremendous step backwards.” Chuck points to tax fairness and how if Romney gets elected more of the tax burden will shift from the wealthy to working people like his son who will have less in their paycheck to take care of their families.
Brooke Stephens, an AFGE Local 1739 member working in medical support at the VA Hospital in Salem, encouraged her fellow union members to participate in our democracy, “This is your country too. Everybody who is here has a stake in what happens. If you don’t use your voice to support the things you believe in and try and make things better, it’s not going to happen.”