When did we start to vilify unions? Last time I checked, unions are what built this city. My dad is a retried State trooper. My brother is a sergeant on the Boston police. My sister is a Boston public school teacher. I am also married to a Boston firefighter. When I grew up here in South Boston, I lived next door to electricians, down the street from laborers and on the same block as members of the carmen’s union. It was a working class town and at the moment is still a working-class town. Being middle-class is not an easy task living in the city. The Boston public school system is sub-par, the taxes are high, real estate prices are at a premium and parking in South Boston has reached crisis mode. But we choose to stay because we love this city.
During the 1970’s, with the onset of forced busing, many families moved to the suburbs because the school situation was so dismal and life in many neighborhoods was less than ideal, but many working families chose to stay and raise families. Over the past three decades, we’ve seen our neighborhoods grow, change and evolve into the thriving city that Boston is. I am a proud member of a working class family that want to stay living in this city. My husband and I sometimes struggle to pay tuition, pay our mortgage, and make ends meet – like so many other working families. We feel the pressure that we are being squeezed out but we always manage to hang on.
We especially feel this pressure during election season when people rush to judgment and deem unions as a “machine” or “corrupt”. Don’t forget it is not just the “machine” that makes up the union – it is also your neighbors taking out their trash and moms picking up at school. It’s the firefighter rushing into a burning building. It’s the police that show up to a shooting in your neighborhood. It is the EMS worker that helps your father after he suffered a heart attack. It is the teacher who helps your child excel. It is the nurse who comforts you and puts you at ease. Unions fight for a fair wage and a decent working environment so we can keep working families in our city. When you vilify unions, you vilify the people who make the strong fiber of our communities – the fiber of Boston.
Tuesday is Election Day. Be informed. Get involved and vote.
Maureen Dahill, Editor of Caught in Southie, mother of three, and proud to be married to a Boston Firefighter, Local 718.