As we make our New Year’s resolutions, how about considering a new one. It has nothing to do with getting into better shape or eating right, although those aren’t bad ideas. It involves making the effort to remember what the Brotherhood means and why it came about.
Corporate greed and outrageous CEO salaries have made a comeback driving our economy to the brink, and leaving behind the dedicated working men and women who made their extraordinary profits possible. The robber barons who started railroads in the late 1800’s have not really changed that much. They have only found new ways to work around Federal regulations.
At times it seems we may have forgotten the strides made by our predecessors, who banded together, literally giving their blood, sweat, tears, and in many cases, their lives to create a safer work environment and living wages for those that followed. Our founding fathers had to meet in secret for fear of losing their jobs. And while many did lose their jobs, they forged ahead with resolve and unity dedicated to a cause much greater than any individual cause. They supported one another on the job and in their communities in the true spirit of Brotherhood. They united together, fully realizing that the strength of the Union is much greater than the individual components from which it is comprised, and that we are bound together by the principles of Brotherhood.
The insidious threat facing our members today is the loss of those unbreakable ties that bound railroaders together in solidarity to fight the untenable railroads they worked for. We must never allow complacency, ideologies or any personal differences to erode our resolve to protect and defend one another. There is no “I” in Brotherhood. It’s about all of us standing together, united as one, to make the Union stronger and everyone’s life a little bit better.
While we have made progress from those days of old when railroaders died on the job by the thousands while working for starvation wages, let us never forget that in times of peril it was our unity and spirit of Brotherhood that enabled us to survive and ultimately prevail. If ever there was a time in our history that demanded solidarity that time is now. There is no magic wand that will erase the problems, but through unity and adherence to the principles of Brotherhood we can manage the problems and collectively find solutions to such problems that will serve our members.
As we begin the New Year, let us reflect on the past and profit from our mistakes. Let us look forward to the future with renewed energy and strength dedicated to the principles of Brotherhood with total support of our Unionand its elected Leaders. We are, after all, our Brothers’ and Sisters’ keepers.