Dave Dell Isola, the son and grandson of union members, grew up grateful for the family-sustaining wages and benefits that organized labor won for working people.
But he never fully grasped the might of solidarity until he and his wife, Barbara, and their two sons lost everything in an apartment fire. Dell Isola’s brothers and sisters in the United Steelworkers (USW) rushed to the couple’s side with financial assistance and other support to help them through the tragedy.
“They had me in tears,” recalled Dell Isola, now vice president of USW Local 12012, which represents hundreds of natural gas and propane industry workers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The union bond is so powerful that corporate interests and their allies across the country desperately want to smash it.
In addition, corporations and their allies want to make another effort to ram the legislation through in Missouri, even though angry voters there rejected it by a landslide just a few years ago. And Republican lawmakers in Tennessee want to enshrine their anti-worker law in the state constitution, just to make it more difficult for wiser heads to repeal the legislation one day.
Working people only win fair wages, decent benefits and safe working conditions when they stand together. Solidarity also gives union members the grit to survive battles like the months-long lockout that Dell Isola and his co-workers at National Grid in Massachusetts endured during their successful fight for a fair contract.
Corporations want to rig the scales in their favor. They push RTW laws so they can divide workers—tear at the union bond—and exploit them more easily.
These laws allow workers to opt out of supporting unions while still reaping the benefits. Unions remain legally bound to represent workers regardless of whether they pay dues.
And just as corporations want, that erodes union activism and starves locals like Dell Isola’s of the resources they need to bargain with strength, enforce contracts, build solidarity and survive labor disputes.More ...