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November 30, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 37°F

Opinion

Editorial: Importance of unionization needs to be recognized

In the age of pestilence, death and sorrow, the most serious danger arises not from the loss of human life but the loss of what makes us human. In these times — times of crisis — we risk being divided by fear, fear induced by those in power, where the wealthy have no sympathy for the poor, and greed becomes a symptom of survival. Fear and greed weaken our social capital and drive our communities apart. It rips open what was already broken in our society: the mistreatment of U.S. laborers and the system that allows for their exploitation. Thus, it brings to light the importance of unionization; the rich cannot escape what the poor must endure.

Those who endure or reject this lack of humanity turn inward to more familiar bonding connections: assistance, reciprocity, information transparency, compassion and trust. This is the making of strong social capital where the working class unites. There is a reason 2021 saw an explosion of unionization efforts and labor strikes. The mid-pandemic American labor movement is a result of what can no longer be ignored in this country, and when we are forced to face our fears, movement occurs. Ithaca is currently a hub of such movement with a petition to form a labor union at the Meadow Street Starbucks location underway.

Unions promote higher wages and better benefits: workers deserve a good quality of life. Unions provide protection: workers should not be fired because they want to unionize. Unions stand up for women: workers on the line shouldn’t be forced to serve their stalkers. The time to support Starbucks workers and labor unions is now. As students at Ithaca College, we must remember we are not, and will not always remain, just a student: we are participants in the economic world. A majority of us are already members of the workforce. We must care that our basic rights are met, because when we don’t, we risk losing what makes us human.

The Ithacan can be reached at ithacan@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @IthacanOnline