Voices of Wisdom: On the Waterfront’s Terry Malloy

“Don’t worry, I’m not gonna hurt nobody. I’m just gonna go down there and get my rights.”

-Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront

 

I love movies. I love good, smart movies. It’s something that’s severely lacking in today’s sequel machine they call Hollywood, so today, I say skip the theater and pick up a good old black-and-white classic, On the Waterfront.

Marlon Brando’s portrayal of a dockworker named Terry Malloy in Elia Kazan’s 1954 masterpiece still holds up today as one of the great performances in all of film. It is a performance that union and non-union workers today should take note of as the embodiment and personification of weathering adversity and standing in solidarity.

Malloy is the quintessential working-class champion.

This Halloween, Dress up as a Community Hero

Halloween is here again and I'm getting the warm fuzzies that only that sugar rush can bring on. 

Best of all, most of the candies handed out on Halloween are union made, so it really is a Union Holiday (Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Hershey’s Chocolate, Jelly Belly’s, Kit Kat,  Laffy Taffy, Mike and Ikes, Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) You can get a complete list of union-made candy by clicking here.

There's no doubt Halloween has now become one of the most revered American holidays -- especially for kids who adore the sugar free-for-all. Children marvel at the pounds of    candy they are able to collect, the costumes, and the culture that has developed around the holiday. Even adults are getting into the holiday these days. And college students, always looking for a reason to celebrate, have become just as enthusiastic and competitive as the kids are.

It's a Small World After All

We Can Do It!

In my real life, I’m a senior at UCLA, studying science. But my part time gig is as the web editor of Labor 411. You wouldn’t think it, but sometimes the two really can collide. For instance, last week I was studying for a math midterm with my friend Samantha. After 3 hours of hitting the books, we were dizzy from equations and decided to take a break and went for a bite to eat.

Over lunch, we started talking about our families. Turns out her dad was a UAW union representative. I looked at her in disbelief. What a coincidence. Two science majors at UCLA and we have labor parents in common.  She gave me a very confused look and asked, “Did I say something wrong?” I started laughing and said, “you’re not going to believe this, but what a small world! My mom has been a union activist for over 20 years now and this past summer I was the co-project manager of the directory, LA Labor 411.”

Voices of Wisdom: Getting to know Occupy Sacramento

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." 

-Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Everyone has that mental image of a protest in their mind; people standing on a street corner holding home-made signs and chanting in the name of some injustice. The Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread throughout the country like a wildfire certainly has its messages scrawled on pizza boxes, but as I approached the scene at Cesar Chavez Park in downtown Sacramento, I realized instantly that something was different about this campaign. 

It was the permanence of it all.

Ever walk into a stranger’s house and there is sort of an unnerving sensation of being in someone else’s nest, with its foreign scents and disquieting aura. I felt as though I had just intruded upon someone’s home when I stepped into that park.  Tents were pitched, a food table supported a massive bag of bagels and occupiers stood talking with one another, while some stooped to compose their latest message in bright displays only children’s chalk can provide.

Confessions of a College Senior: Where are the Jobs?

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College is a place where young minds come to be filled with grand ideas of worldly importance. Where intellect is sharpened and individuals are molded to enter the world as working adults. Unfortunately, in recent years, a college degree that once gave you a leg up from the competition, now merely keeps you afloat in the drowning American economy. Not too long ago, a college degree set you right into the job market with a good occupation and a fair wage. In this day and age, those that graduate college are not guaranteed anything of the sort.

Voices of Wisdom: Abe Lincoln on Labor

"If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool."

- President Abraham Lincoln

Let's be honest. I'm new to the labor movement and feel that as a reporter with a new beat, I have to tread lightly. I've read quite a few news stories on union activities and lots of information from the labor unions themselves, but finally I got a first-hand taste of that camaraderie that is so often touted on protest signs across the country.

I was assigned to interview union members about the value of union products for our Labor 411 directory at our recent Union Trade Show in September in Los Angeles. I was impressed. To a person, they responded with a genuine sense of caring for the cause, and for America.

There was a time when as a college student I saw picket lines and protests (and not just by union members) as little more than a photo op for certain causes. People waving signs simply because that was what they were told they needed to do to promote the movement; a kind of means to an end. This is the cynical attitude that often pervades my life and it was hard to believe any emotion other than anger drove such demonstrations.

Union Hospital Struggle

LA Labor 411 blog: Voices of Wisdomthumb_Nurses_-_Multicultural_
"Employers and employees alike have learned that in union there is strength, that a coordination of individual effort means an elimination of waste, a bettering of living conditions, and is in fact, the father of prosperity".                                  -Franklin D. Roosevelt

After working on Labor 411 all summer and seeing all the hospitals that were unionized in the LA area, I noticed that the hospital I volunteer at is non-union. I decided to ask one of the nurses if the hospital had ever tried to unionize. My simple yes or no question turned into a long, emotional story.

Car Wash Heroes

thumb_Puddle-copy"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."

- Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

My earliest memory of a picket line was back in 2003. I was 13. My mom, a registered nurse working for a health insurance company, decided to stock up on food before the grocery workers were to strike.

Voices of Wisdom

“Those who would destroy or further limit the rights of organized labor - those who would cripple collective bargaining or prevent organization of the unorganized - do a disservice to the cause of democracy.”
“Those who would destroy or further limit the rights of organized labor - those who would cripple collective bargaining or prevent organization of the unorganized - do a disservice to the cause of democracy.”

- President John F. Kennedy, Labor Day, 1960

Polarized opinions on organized labor and unions in our country today often leave newcomers to the forum confused about a subject that should not be so difficult to decipher. When I first started exploring the world of unions, I was sifting through a plethora of information and commentary from both sides championing their respective movements. Drowning among acronyms and legislative terminology that meant nothing to me, with both sides presenting arguments that pulled my morals this way and that, the question came down to this: Who do I really trust?

Carmageddon got you down?

  • No worries! Here’s some fun tips to turn a would-be disaster into a fun Union Weekend

405_Traffic_II-767272"Carmageddon": the temporary closure of 10 miles of Interstate 405 for 53 hours this weekend in Los Angeles. Or as Stephen Colbert puts it, two off-peak days of increased traffic which means someone might have to walk someplace!

Despite predictions to the contrary, closing down the 405 will not stop your life, we promise. Think of it as just another weekend to experience all that L.A. has to offer…without having to drive. Not only is the event making us rethink our car-driven culture in the City of Angels, Carmageddon is actually a GOOD THING! It’s employing a lot of  people on this project … good middle class jobs that pay union wages and benefits. So let’s celebrate the hundreds of skilled union building trades members – particularly Laborers and Operating Engineers – who are working hard on the 405 make-over. Let’s show our support for them and our great city of LA by having a union weekend blowout!

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