Unionizing—it’s so hot right now. Whether you’re a barista, a warehouse worker, or a package car driver, whether you work in Hollywood or higher education, the voracious corporate greed and exploitation workers across sectors are experiencing, and the wave of militant labor action shaking the US in response, shows why every worker needs to know their rights and why every workplace needs a union. Vince Quiles, lead organizer for Home Depot Workers United at Store 4112 in Philadelphia, breaks down the argument for why you and your coworkers should unionize, and what you can achieve together if you do.
Studio Production: David Hebden, Cameron Granadino
Post-Production: Cameron Granadino
The following is a rushed transcript and may contain errors. A proofread version will be made available as soon as possible.
Hey, everyone. This is Vince from The Real News Network. I’m also the lead organizer from store 4112 at Home Depot, and today we’re going to talk about why you should form a union at your job.
To start, as I’m sure you all know, we live in a capitalist system. And the way that businesses function within that system is to maximize their profit. It’s their goal at the end of the day. How do they do that? Minimize expenses. And I hate to break it to you guys, but they view you as an expense. Not me though. I think you’re beautiful. I think you’re amazing. I hope you’re having a wonderful day. And if not, I hope it gets better after this video.
But as your boss would say, “It’s not personal. It’s just business.” Well, what I’m imploring you guys to do is to reflect that same exact attitude towards them. Because in the end, generally what you want, it’s not going to be in their best interest. So I would say, “Hey, boss. It’s not personal, it’s just business. Me and my coworkers got to get together real quick.” Because at the end of the day, you can either hope that they give you what you’ve worked for and earned, or you can fight for it and take it.
To continue, the workplace is always changing. Roles are always expanding. The paychecks don’t. Doesn’t make sense. Anyway, without a union, you don’t have the ability to change that. Shoot. I know from talking to some homies at Home Depot as well as reflecting on some of my own experiences, you would go from having three coworkers in a department to somehow covering three departments by yourself. And look, this isn’t even just for the workers on this one. This is for you customers too. When you walk in and you say, “Damn, where’s everybody at? Can’t get any help.” Remember what I was saying before about maximizing profit and minimizing expenses? Another way you could look at it is they’re going to maximize your stress, minimize your experience. That’s how they get to walk away with the bag. Something else to consider on why you should organize.
You guys may have heard. Right now, UPS workers are getting ready to go on strike. And Carol Tomé and her goons poop in their pants right now. Why? Think about it, 340,000 workers getting ready to go on strike in the logistics industry. It’s going to cost them billions of dollars. You know what they call that where I come from? Power, la fuerza. That my friends is power. But it can only be garnered through organizing. So if you want to be able to have that kind of power, consider organizing.
I remember back during our organizing drive at Home Depot. So a couple words that just played in my head over and over again from somebody who I think is pretty great in this labor movement. He said, “If you don’t like what’s going on at your job, don’t quit. Organize.” It was something that really stuck with me, and for multiple reasons. You ever just feel like life is pointless? You’re running around in circles, you look at the economy, you look at your opportunities in life and just feel like they’re not there. Do you ever feel like you want to just do something that’s bigger than yourself, that you can feel good about, that when you run into an environment, you left it much better than when you first got there? It’s really what organizing is at the end of the day. I was at Home Depot. I wanted to quit. I wanted to leave. But I heard Chris say those words and they really, really stuck with me because it just hit me.
You guys, just like myself I’m sure, grew up watching superhero movies, watching Disney movies, watching movies where people did great and extraordinary and amazing things. And a lot of times in life, we get so enamored with those things because we feel we don’t have opportunities to live those values. Well, something I got to find out. I’ll be honest, it was a hard time. Definitely was a great time. Something that allows you to do that is organizing. You’re fighting for something bigger than yourself. That’s your opportunity to be Wonder Woman or Spider-Man or Batman or whoever the hell it is that you love. Luke Skywalker or whatever it might be, that’s your chance to do it. That’s your chance to fight for something bigger than yourself.
And the other thing that’s pretty freaking awesome about organizing, you see all these problems in the economy. You see how jobs are dead end, how they suck, how you got incompetent people running the place, all that stuff. Guess what can fix that? Organizing. Because in the end, organizing is this. It’s you and your coworkers getting together and taking all the best parts of yourself that you have to offer making that place a little bit better. And it doesn’t just make it better for you, makes it better for the next group of people coming along so that hopefully one day, we can actually have an economy that works for everyone.
Hope you guys enjoyed the video. I really enjoyed making it. Till next time. See you all later. Oh, before I forget, organizing is also your fundamental right As an American citizen. Google it. Check it out. Only you and your coworkers can stop workplace exploitation. All right, seriously, goodbye.