Thursday, December 08, 2011

Still here, still fighting...

We all know about labor's struggle against its long, slow decline in membership. This fight, often against the relentless opposition of anti-labor business interests and also sometimes, sad to say, labor's own bureaucratic inertia, was compounded this year by the significant legislative assaults we have all grimly read about. But AUD is still being flooded with requests for help from people who know the importance of the labor movement, and want it to be there for themselves and others -- people working and risking to make sure this happens.

Each month, roughly 25,000 visitors browse AUD’s information-packed website, mine our storehouse of “how-tos” and links to relevant sources, and read stories from our Union Democracy Review and $100 Plus Club News. And if the web-surfer needs more, a call or an email to our office gets it -- last year we provided one-to-one help to a record number of unionists wanting to improve and strengthen their unions. And we are proud to know that our help has made a difference:

“Without your support, continued interest and writing of the struggles I sincerely doubt I could have kept the members interested through the long legal process....”
--Finn Pette, former financial-secretary, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 501

“I was forced to defend myself against the overwhelming power of a union that I depend on for my livelihood. With no one and nowhere to turn for help, I found AUD. They listened attentively and asked responsible questions. I was very impressed with their great intuitive insight into my problem when they offered sound legal direction. My appeal is now on good solid legal ground.”
-- electrician

“When we were embattled reformers aiming to make our nurses association a more effective union we faced repressive disciplinary retaliation from an abusive controlling officialdom, even possible expulsion. AUD steered us in the right direction in Federal court and publicized our cause in Union Democracy Review. With your help, we successfully defended our rights and won our battle. AUD continues to be an essential resource for our caucus in building a stronger democratic union for registered nurses in New York State.”
-- Pat Kane, Anne Bove, and members of the New York Nurses United caucus.

“I cannot remember who put me in touch with AUD, however, I’m grateful they did. AUD’s guidance, support and encouragement are what I needed to replenish my drive for justice. A complaint of mine has been proceeding through the slow hands of justice. This is why AUD is so important. Its distribution of information to union members gives us what we need to fight back when there are unfair practices in our unions. My struggle goes on. I’m certain that I will be victorious in my efforts. Nichiren Daishonin puts our struggle in context when he states, “Struggle purifies us and brings forth benefits in our lives. Justice or happiness without a battle is an illusion.” Thinking that happiness means a life free of hard work is fantasy. You need AUD and now, AUD needs you to become a member or give a little extra if you can.”
-- union member

AUD does need your help. We are facing a serious budgetary shortfall this year. Most of our support comes from rank and file unionists, who we understand are themselves more and more stressed. Nevertheless, we continue to count on you so that we can carry on the struggle to do what we do -- what we believe you know needs to be done. And we hope you can come through for us once again.

Please give today.

Your partners in union democracy,

Judith Schneider (President)
Herman Benson (Secretary-Treasurer)
Kurt Richwerger (Executive Director)
Matt Noyes (Internet Coordinator)
Rashida Atkins (Program Associate)
Joshua Gaston (Program Associate)