Local 43 President Brings Union Message to Radio

Local 43 President Brings Union Message to Radio

“We must seize this moment and get our message out and do what we do best and start a movement. Power concedes nothing without a demand!”

–        Dorethea Brown-Maxey, NABET-CWA Local 43 President

Local 43 President Dorethea Brown-Maxey hosted a two-hour radio show on WDTK – 101.5 FM/1400 AM – in Ferndale, Michigan. The December 18 live radio broadcast for union members – unionmembersradio.com – also featured James Dennis, Vice President of CWA Local 4100; Attorney Richard Mack, Jr. of Miller Cohen, PLC; and Rick Blocker, President of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, who took calls from listeners.

            “I invited my fellow unionists on the show so they could explain the legalities of it all,” Brown-Maxey explained. “I thought it was helpful for people to hear it from them directly about labor law and workers rights, in order to get a full picture of what its like and what it should be like for a working class person in America to be respected, protected and to make a decent living.”

            The content of the show was left to Brown-Maxey’s discretion. “It was a wonderful opportunity for our Union and local to get our message and purpose out to union members and folks in the community who have little idea about who we are and what we do.”

            Listeners called in with questions about right-to-work laws and what unions can do for working class people. Michigan became a right-to-work state in March of 2013. As of January 7, 2017, when Kentucky passed its own law, there are 27 states with right-to-work laws in the United States.

            The show also gave Local 43 an opportunity to shed light on its contract talks with WDIV-TV (Graham Media Group). Negotiations with the company began on December 14, and there have been a total of six negotiating sessions so far. The contract expired on December 9, so the unit is currently working without a contract.

            “When I went on the air, we’d just gotten through two days of talks, so I wanted to get that out there and give people a well-rounded understanding about the fight of working class people,” Brown-Maxey said. With the appointment of several billionaires to the new president’s cabinet, Brown-Maxey feels that those in charge are more out of touch with the average working class person than ever before. “They could make it better by bringing in jobs, but I’m skeptical that that is their real purpose,” she said. “Trump said he was going to bring jobs back. I hope that they are good paying, union jobs – the type of jobs that folks can make a living on and support their families – and not more Walmart jobs.”

            Educating the younger generation is especially important, she said, because many don’t understand that the benefits they receive at work — good working conditions, overtime, healthcare and regular days off — are the result of labor’s past battles and not due to corporate generosity.

            “I’m hoping that people will someday realize the need for Unions, but I just hope that it’s not so far down the road that we can’t climb back up,” Brown-Maxey said of the decline in union membership and right-to-work trends. “People in unions are working class people who have the nerve to fight for what is right and what we deserve.”

            Brown-Maxey, who came from a union family, hoped to connect with the radio audience as a regular, working class person and help them realize that if they don’t own a company, they’re just like her – working for someone else. “I want people to realize that our work, health, and well-being is worth something.”

            She hopes that working people can come together to try and improve each other’s lives and build solidarity in the workplace and in the community.

            The show’s producers called the show “fantastic” and invited Brown-Maxey to come back anytime, saying, “If you have anything you want to say, you can certainly count on us to get the message out.”

 

You may hear the entire episode at:

Hour1: https://www.podbean.com/media/player/

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Hour 2: https://www.podbean.com/media/player/

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