Solidarity Forever—Now’s the Time to Act
/ Author: Dennis Perrin
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Solidarity Forever—Now’s the Time to Act

By Dennis Perrin, Alberta Director

Solidarity is a term often held near and dear in the union movement. It has represented the collective struggle over centuries, and the need for workers to band together in tough times.

In history, that solidarity has often represented as much as what we’re against as what we’re for. In a quick Google search, I found the following on solidarity: “unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.”

Solidarity is needed more now than ever—both on the part of unions and for society as a whole. Banding together in what we support matters more than what we oppose.

I even witnessed an occurrence recently where two competing unions were working together for the health and safety provisions of their collective members. What a great example of how solidarity can work!

3 Practical Ways to Practice Solidarity

1. Do our part to flatten the curve.

This includes all the recommendations as given by our health experts. It’s everything from practicing social distancing, maintaining good hygiene such as frequent handwashing, not touching one’s face, and staying home as much as possible. Of course, this isn’t to suggest that those of us who are deemed essential not continue to work. It’s important to fulfill our employment obligations in the safest of manners.

2. Help each other.

This could mean offering to pick up groceries for your neighbour, shovelling their sidewalks (for those of us still stuck in Canadian winter), dropping off books or movies, and even just staying in touch. Phone calls and text messages have never been so important.

3. Be open to being helped.

Last week, I phoned my neighbours who are in their 80s, offering to give any help necessary. Their reply was that they were doing well, and wanted the same offer extended back to me. This took me aback in the moment as I’m more used to offering help than receiving it. The fact is many of us are going to require help from neighbours, friends, and family in the weeks and months ahead. Have the humility to accept it when offered.

As difficult as this time is and will be, we will get through it. Let’s do everything we can to not only survive but thrive. Solidarity will be essential for that to happen.

Let’s take up that call to action to be the best support we can be to each other and our entire society. We have it in us to do it. Now’s the time to act.

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