My grandfather worked multiple manual-labor jobs for much of his youth, and finally “made it” when he got a job for NYC Transit as a token booth clerk. He bought a house and raised his son on that salary and sent him to college, the first one in the family. His son also got a job at NYC Transit, and raised two kids on that salary, and sent both of them to college. My grandmother, widowed for more than ten years, has a house to live in and decent health care because of her husband’s benefits. My father has a secure retirement because of those benefits. I have a decent job and a college education because NYC Transit paid a decent salary to my parents and grandparents.
There are lots of children out there who will not be able to say any of the above. Most of their parents work for private companies or other organizations that, like my employer, have hacked away brutally at retirement and medical benefits to the point that our old age will be less comfortable than that of our parents. Those children have already lost.
But the parents of some of those children are fighting right now to hold onto decent pay and decent benefits. The fact that many of us have long since given up that fight does not mean those workers are wrong, it just means that they’re the last ones standing. And the fact that they’re fighting for the things that my parents had, and that I benefited greatly from, means that I cannot in good conscience do anything but support them.