As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Brought To You By The F%$#^n' Union

Marcy Wheeler has an amazing post up about that daring rescue of all those airline passengers in the Hudson River yesterday. Turns out that almost everyone involved in the rescue, top to bottom, was a union member. I'm going to borrow liberally from her post.

There's the pilot:

"What might have been a catastrophe in New York — one that evoked the feel if not the scale of the Sept. 11 attack — was averted by a pilot’s quick thinking and deft maneuvers,


On board, the pilot, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, 57, unable to get back to La Guardia, had made a command decision to avoid densely populated areas and try for the Hudson,


When all were out, the pilot walked up and down the aisle twice to make sure the plane was empty, officials said."

Sullenberger is a former national committee member and the former safety chairman for the Airline Pilots Association and now represented by US Airline Pilots Association. He--and his union--have fought to ensure pilots get the kind of safety training to pull off what he did yesterday.

Then there are the flight attendants:

"One passenger, Elizabeth McHugh, 64, of Charlotte, seated on the aisle near the rear, said flight attendants shouted more instructions: feet flat on the floor, heads down, cover your heads."

They are members of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. Yesterday's accident should remind all of us that flight attendants are first and foremost safety professionals--they should not be treated like cocktail waitresses.

There are the air traffic controllers:

"The pilot radioed air traffic controllers on Long Island that his plane had sustained a 'double bird strike.'"

They're represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Someday, they'll rename National Airport for the work these men and women do to keep us safe in the air.

There are the ferry crews:

"As the first ferry nudged up alongside, witnesses said, some passengers were able to leap onto the decks. Others were helped aboard by ferry crews."

They're represented by the Seafarers International Union. They provide safety training to their members so they're prepared for events like yesterday's accident.

There are the cops and firemen:

"Helicopters brought wet-suited police divers, who dropped into the water to help with the rescues."

They're represented by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association and Uniformed Fire Officers Association (IAFF locals).They're the men and women who performed so heroically on 9/11--and they've been fighting to make sure first responders get the equipment to do this kind of thing.

Nobody's saying that only union members call pull off rescues - but it sure helps when you have the membership, the ones who are on the ground, fighting for what's necessary to make them successful. Unions fight against right-wing budget cutters, who would reduce funding for emergency services, as an example. To those who demonize the labor movement, stop for a moment and say Thank You to one of these heroes today.

And then maybe you'll understand why all workers should have the free choice to join a union and have pride in their work.

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