Sisters, Brothers and all,
Be a starfish thrower.
Thousands and thousands of starfish were washed upon the beach after a storm. A little girl walking along the beach sees the thousands and thousands of starfish and starts picking them up, one at a time, and begins throwing them back into the sea. An old man comes up to her and asks her, what are you doing? There are thousands and thousands of starfish on this beach. All these starfish are going to die. It’s just the nature of things. You’re not making a difference.
The little girl then bends down, picks up another starfish and throws it into the sea. She tells the old man, it makes a difference to that one.
As union members and activist we know making a difference to one - makes a difference to many. Be a starfish thrower. It does make a difference to that one person you can help.
Speaking of starfish throwers… The United Way of Tarrant County does great work in our community. Recently the TCCLC worked with the United Way of Tarrant County for the ‘Stuff the Bus’ campaign. Together we helped over 75 Tarrant county kids get the school supplies they will need for the upcoming school year. And… an educated kid grows to become an educated worker – and… an educated worker is more likely to be an educated union member. The United Way of Tarrant County helps to fund Meals on Wheels, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, after school programs and hundreds more community service organizations. Some members might think that the United Way sees Labor only as a cash cow and just a resource for volunteers. Thousands of members have donated millions and millions of dollars and countless hours to the United Way charities over the years. That’s what we do as union members. It’s ingrained in our DNA to help others. But beyond our union member’s charity and because of our volunteerism there is a relationship between the United Way and Labor that is more symbiotic.
The TCCLC and the United Way have a mutually beneficial relationship. As Labor, we are focused on fairness, equality, health and happiness for all workers. The United Way has the same goals: fairness, equality, health and happiness for all people. In our community there are issues that both organizations can work in unity to change community policy and government legislation that will have real world effects that will protect and benefit working families in Tarrant County and across North Texas.
I recently attended the United Way Labor conference in Portland. It was a great conference and learning experience on how Labor and the United Way can work together to move a mutually beneficial progressive agenda forward in our communities. Just one example that we could work with the United Way of Tarrant that would benefit our membership and working families, that we discussed in a ‘Common Sense Economics Workshop’, that I would like to see implemented as a project for the Labor Council, is pushing back on all the Payday Lending Businesses in Tarrant County. The way we as a CLC could push back against these loan sharks is at the legislative and government policy level. By continuing to work to get progressive pro-worker candidates elected to city councils, county government, state offices and beyond, we will capture the votes to change North Texas communities and government policy to more worker friendly. Which would mean anti-usury laws. Meanwhile the United Way of Tarrant County could offer workshops to educate working people about finances and how to manage money to avoid the vicious cycle of debt created by these usurious loan sharks. At the end of the day, it’s about helping working families.
The payday loan blight is just one example of how we could work with the United Way to achieve a common goal to protect working people. If you have ideas on how we might work on projects that further our ideals let the delegation know and let’s see how we could put it together with the United Way of Tarrant County. Labor is not just a cash cow for the United Way. We are very much in a help me - help you - help me relationship.
We as union members are the starfish throwers. So are the people at the United Way. Keep up the good work. Don’t think that you aren’t making a difference because it does make a difference to that one.
Thanks for all YOU do for Labor,