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Why We Wear Red

It has been a custom since 1989 for members of the CWA to show their solidarity by wearing red on Thursdays, but why and where did this day of red begin?

Red represents the color of blood that was lost in the strife to gain fair and equal rights for workers through out the years. The day of red is also specifically in remembrance of Gerry Horgan, a CWA chief steward who died as a result of being struck by a car driven by the daughter of a second line manager as he worked a picket line in August 1989.

In the time before unions there were no child labor laws, pensions, no medical coverage on or off the job, no medical coverage for family members, unsafe working environments, no forty hour week, no overtime pay, and no other “rights” and benefits workers have today. The American worker was totally at the mercy and benevolence of the employer. If you were to look back at the working conditions of the late 1800's to the 1930's, you would be appalled at the mistreatment of the worker. Fortunately, union workers trying to gain fair and equal rights in the work place also lobbied to get Federal laws passed; resulting in some of the protections we have today. In the old days, thugs were hired as “security guards” and were used to physically beat the workers into submission. This resulted not only in the crippling of some workers but also in the death of others. Today, the thugs are the union busters.

Union busting is a very real and very much alive strategy today. Their enemy is the collective spirit. From a union buster: "I got hold of that spirit while it was a seedling; I poisoned it, choked it, bludgeoned it if I had to, anything to be sure it would never blossom into a united work force.”

So what can be done? WEAR RED!

The red shirt brings together all of the CWA members on one day a week. It gives a visual statement to management of the workers solidarity. The red shirt gives everyone a sense of unity and fellowship. The red shirt is also a visual reminder that checks and balances in the work place have to be maintained daily.

So, next Thursday and even on other days of the week, WEAR RED.  If you are angry that your yearly performance evaluations are dictated by HR to a fixed number of 1's, 2's and 3's, and 4's, WEAR RED. If you are angry that merit raises are for a select few, WEAR RED.  If you are angry that you have little voice in the decisions that management makes that adversely affect you, WEAR RED.

Please contact everyone you know and ask them to WEAR RED.

Talk to your friends, neighbors, colleagues, and members in your department. On Thursday, let’s have a sea of RED in the work place. Just by wearing a RED shirt, or a RED dress, a RED hat, RED socks, a RED tie, or RED pants, you may be surprised with the results.

 

Based on an article from CWA IBM Poughkeepsie...

 

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