Bread and Roses originated from a speech given by U.S. laabour union leader Rose Schneiderman; a line in that speech “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.” (appealing for both fair wages and dignified conditions) inspired the title of the poem Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim. It is now most often sung to the tune by Mimi Fariña popularised by her sister Joan Baez.
I mostly avoided history at school. Too much reading. I like reading. Modern poetry. Shortish novels. Brevity is the soul of wit. History had great heavy tomes. So when Clay asked me to speak on Labour Weekend, I thought, “Labour Day. Hmmmm. Samuel Parnell. What exactly?” I do believe in considering how the past has got us to here, but I’m often hazy on the details. Thank goodness for the New Zealand Dictionary of Biography. And Google. And before Google, thank goodness for the index. So I invite you to join me on a journey out of the haze. Continue reading From Samuel Parnell to the future: working in union→
E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga rangatira ma, tena koutou.
E te whare e tu ake nei, tena koe
E te whanau o Auckland Unitarians,
E nga manuhiri, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou
Ko tangata tiriti te iwi
Ko E tu, Ko te Kauae kaimahi nga uniana
No Tamaki Makaurau ahau
Ko Rachel Mackintosh toku ingoa
Tena tatou katoa
“Rape culture is a culture where we normalise sexual violence. We see this on a continuum – from rape jokes, ‘locker room banter’ and victim blaming, through to catcalling, non-consensual sexual photos, to sexual coercion and rape.” These are the words of Gill Greer, CEO of the National Council of Women. Continue reading Human rights. Whose rights? Our rights!→
“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde
In 2012, a woman called Kristine Bartlett had been working as a carer in the aged care sector for 19 years. Her pay rate was a whisper above the minimum wage. She had this in common with tens of thousands of care workers throughout New Zealand. So far, so ordinary.
She describes herself – in retrospect – as having been a quiet person at the time. She didn’t consider that she had too much to say.
When I was 10, I saw a terrifying programme on TV. I recall a scene outside a secondary school, kids milling around, in school uniform, jumpers, schoolbags, looking normal, waiting for their buses … kids living their lives, friendships, fears, jealousies, exams, misunderstandings, understandings, learning, growing up.
The programme was about how these kids, unlike their parents — who would have been in a scene pretty much the same at the same age — could expect to have trouble finding work when they left school. It was predicting unemployment. Continue reading The Future of Work→