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(This commentary piece also appears in THE VETERAN, Spring 2011 (Volume 41, Number 1).)

From the National Office

By Barry Romo

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We live in surprising times. Who would have thought that the Labor Movement would have been reborn in 2011.

The prior elections promised more of a turn to the right, a far right turn. The tea baggers thought they were the only movement in this country. But Madison, then Indianapolis, Ohio, the whole mid-west, Los Angeles and more showed the strength of the Unions, Labor and their allies. Not a flash in the pan, it has sustained and expanded.

VVAW and IVAW participated as individuals and as organizations; Vincent (IVAW) even led 30,000 in the Pledge of Allegiance in Indianapolis. IVAW and VVAW led 10,000 in Madison on March 19.

It is imperative now for us to hook up even closer with the labor movement.

My dad told me as I was growing up to belong to the union where ever I worked. He had joined the Meat Cutters in 1927 (a union that allowed Mexican-Americans in) went on strike during the depression and belonged until his death. I belonged to many unions, but spent 32 years in the Mail Handlers Union (31 as a Steward, Chief Steward and president) at the Post Office. I wish he lived to see this year.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the US using Agent Orange and other defoliants in Vietnam. Vietnamese are still being poisoned, children born with defects. The war ended but the Vietnamese and Americans continue to suffer. It is important that we continue to bring this up. 50 years later, lets finally end the war!

Barry Romo is a national coordinator of VVAW.

VVAW Security Force for IVAW Rally in Madison, Wisconsin.
Photo by Andie Wood.

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