President’s Corner November 2021

Publish Date

After years of chronic understaffing, and 20 months of nearly nonstop work, workers from Amazon to Starbucks are now saying they’re interested in joining a union. Workers at nearly 40 other worksites, including Kellogg’s and John Deere, have gone on strike over the past three months.

According to AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, “Essential workers are tired of being thanked one day and then treated as expendable the next day.”

These working people helped keep our country running through the pandemic and now many of their companies are making record profits. But most workers are not sharing in those profits, and many are even losing benefits. It reminds me of the movie “Network,” when the newscaster played by Peter Finch says, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.”     

The pandemic has made many of us rethink our priorities and values. It has also clearly shown us the inequities in our system and the need for collective action. I think all of the strikes we’re seeing around the country will encourage other workers to speak out for the fair wages, benefits and respect we all deserve.

That’s what’s happening at my favorite bookstore, Half-Price Books, which is where, I confess, I spend a good portion of my disposable income. I love to go there – I can read a book and then give it back. It’s a fun atmosphere. The people working there are always pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable. They’re also looking to form a union. Half-Price management is putting up posters throughout the stores and wants to tell workers how bad unions really are. Employees haven’t yet decided to strike but it looks like it’s becoming more of a possibility.    

MAPE’s strategic planning process is wrapping up its extended member engagement phase this week. Since September, more than 3,300 members have completed surveys and hundreds of others have participated in one-on-one conversations and small group discussions.

The responses we’ve received so far are positive and highlight a strong union, grounded in shared values and commitment to one another. Members speak highly of the staff, the contract team and the work being done in Meet and Confer meetings. While members are saying there is a lot to like, we’re also hearing that they want to hear more about some of the big questions facing the union, and there are strong opinions on both sides about the tough decisions ahead of us.

As the Board of Directors will discuss these questions in the coming weeks, we’ll continue to update you both on the progress of the strategic planning process and offer opportunities for you to dive deeper into survey data and keep making your voices heard.

I hope all voices will be respectfully heard around your Thanksgiving table this year. We may be divided politically but always remember we have much more in common than not, and we have even more to be thankful for. I am grateful to all of you for the opportunity to represent our union. I’ve been going to many Meet and Confer and HR meetings with members lately where I can go toe-to-toe with the boss. I learn something new every day, sometimes it’s painful, but every day I’m so grateful I get to do this and thankful for your support.

Best wishes for a relaxing and happy holiday weekend.

In solidarity,

Megan Dayton Signature