Solidarity. It is the single most powerful word in unionism. Without it there simply can be no union. Recently I have had the opportunity to see this word in action first hand and because of that, I know more than ever how powerful it is.
The first example that comes to mind is the effort made by a coalition of diverse labor unions during 2016 election cycle. Instead of each individual labor union fighting on its own to ensure that labor friendly candidates get elected, they have joined forces to form a united front. Unions such as the UAW, IBEW, AFGE, CWA, NALC, and the IAMAW came together to combine resources and rallied around common goals and issues to amplify their leverage in the fight to ensure that the most labor friendly candidates get elected.
The second example hits a little closer to home for all of us. The contract negotiations for American Airlines Fleet Service and Mechanic and Related are great example of the value and power of solidarity. While contract talks for these two groups take place simultaneously in separate rooms, on more than one occasion both negotiating committees have made it clear to the company that they stand with each other in solidarity while representing over 30,000 plus employees. It is this solidarity that makes us the largest union group at American Airlines and because of that we bring enormous leverage to the table to achieve the best terms possible for each and every one of us.
The solidarity that gives us our strength is derived from the common interests we all share. We all want to have a job that allows us to provide for our families to the best of our abilities. We all want a job with the safest possible working conditions so that we can go home to those families at the end of the day. We all want to be treated fairly and equitably at the workplace. We all want the same things! None of these things however are possible without solidarity.
So remember when you see a coworker from a different department or different classification, wearing a different uniform, that in spite of those differences, you both are one and the same in what you want from your job. The differences you have are small and irrelevant when compared to the very important interests and goals you share. Remember that and stand together in solidarity!