In an op-ed published in The Atlantic, the former first female lieutenant governor of Maryland Kathleen Kennedy Townsend applies lessons learned in the women’s movement to the current fight to preserve state and federal workers’ collective bargaining rights.
“Women still have unique challenges, but now it’s public servants who are in danger of being stereotyped and disenfranchised,” writes Kennedy Townsend. “ Just as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem once gave voice to millions, unions bring nameless federal workers out of the shadows. Just as the women’s movement supported individual women and girls (like me), unions give public servants their identity.”
Kennedy Townsend stresses the importance of working together to defeat right-wing efforts to take away middle-class wages, health care and pensions. “As de Tocqueville said, ‘A despot easily forgives his subjects for not loving him, provided that they do not love each other,’” she writes. “What’s really dangerous to a despotic governor is for the people to trust one another. Democracy works, for women and for men, when we support one another for justice, jobs, and our common future.”
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