Thursday, October 23, 2008

From the Front Lines Part II

My days usually involve leafleting and chatting with members of our union at their worksites as they arrive for their shifts and going door-to-door talking to union members and their families. I had a classic labor moment today. I woke up at 5am while it was still pitch black. By the time I arrived at the Streets and Sanitation yard, the sun still hadn't begun to break. The trash trucks were idling and I was there to talk to our sanitation workers. With a stack of literature in gloved hands I met my first member of the morning. He was an African-American guy getting out of a late model Dodge.
"Who are you," he asked. "Never seen you around here before," he continued.
Admittedly, I didn't blend in very well, sorta like the organizer in Norma Rae (for the union movie geeks out there). I arrived in the rental car, a Hyundai Sonata with NY tags. I was a lot paler than the rest of the folks, and dressed a bit differently.
"I work for the union. I'm here to talk to folks about the election."
We chatted some more about the issues.
"If you just tell people you are here supporting Obama, you'll do just fine," he said as we walked into the yard. The yard is where the guys come, congregate, and enter the building in which they put on their jump suits and get ready to roll out.

When I entered the area there was a long-haried, bearded tough looking white guy leaning on his pickup truck, smoking a cigarette, and removing and restoring his trucker hat.
"Demographics are against me on this one," I thought to myself.
I announced myself, said hello and handed him a flyer. It was too dim to read the flyer well but he said "I'm a' gonna vote for Obama. McCain, uh, I just don't like him. He done good in Vietnam, but he's not for working people."
"Thank God! We may win this yet," I thought.
After going through a stack of 100 flyers, the sun was still burried behind the black sky.
One guy told me that he'd been waiting "60 years for this chance." I got slapped on the back a lot when I told people the union was supporting Obama. They loved it. I have rarely felt better about doing this sort of political work or more like a part of a workers movement. The trucks were rumbling and begining to roll out. I was out of material and workers had all reported for their shifts. I hopped back in the Hyundai and headed home to sleep a couple more hours. The sun was just starting to turn the sky dark purple when I hit the sack and went back to bed.


At 10/23/2008 , Anonymous Getzel said...

thats awesome man. Yasher Koach!


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