The following is an email I received from a good friend who I met during our days together at the Labor Relations and Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. This email is so positive and so inspiring that I feel compelled to post it here to show that no matter how many times we feel as though we’re in a never ending battle, positive change can and does occur.
I hope you enjoy, and, as always, welcome your comments.
It is rare that I get to write to you with news of a major victory, but I wanted to take a moment to share with you this great news. And it’s great for many reasons: over 16,000 exploited truck drivers at the Port of Los Angeles (the largest port in the country) will see their working conditions and pay improve as they gain long-sought employee rights; people living in the communities around the Port will start to see cleaner air as we get filthy, dilapidated trucks off the roads in favor of newer, cleaner trucks; and perhaps most importantly, we’re
seeing the fruits of a multi-year campaign that has forged essential new ties between the labor & environmental communities. We’ve gotten beyond the tired old dichotomies of jobs versus environment to a new place where we not only support one another, but where we understand that it is the same forces (of global capital) that hamper progress for all of us.
Attached below are a few links: to some of today’s press surrounding the victory, and also to our campaign website where you can read more background if you’d like to. (I should note that though yesterday was a major victory, much work remains to be done, and we will be focused on defending against the expected frivolous lawsuits and ensuring that everything is implemented properly. We will then work to make sure that the gains we’ll be seeing here in Southern California are replicated at Ports around the country.)
I’d urge you: in whatever corner of this movement you find yourself, building and strengthening these ties between different groups is going to be critical as we all move forward to build a more sane, sustainable and just society.
Yours in peace and solidarity,
Port of Los Angeles Plan Weighs on Shippers
, March 21, 2008
LA Port enacts clean air plan
, March 20, 2008