My Hero, Richard Mead
by Donna Schoenkopf
I am a union maid. My children have been told to put "Union Maid" on my headstone. I think unions are the answer to the huge disparity of wealth in this country. If you look at our economic history you can readily see how unions contribute to economic justice and create a robust economy nationally. Unions spread the money around really well.
"Honor Labor" is my motto.
So when I read the article in the LA Times about an unnamed union guy talking to the Occupy Oakland folks who were wanting to shut down the port and how he eventually took them out to breakfast at a food truck (his treat) I was interested. This was a guy who had taken care of his union workers AND the Occupy Oakland peeps, a truly amazing Solomon-like feat, and nothing, NOTHING, about this guy in the paper. Or anywhere else.
Well, I'm setting it straight here.
His name is Richard Mead, and he is the president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. A little research has turned up the fact that he was one of very few union folks who stood up against the war in Iraq. He has put his union people to work -- literally cleaning up the neighborhood of West Oakland. He has worked with Oakland Mayor Quan on education, jobs, the environment, and economic development.
What a story! What a guy!
So, because I cannot let this hero go unrecognized, I am putting this picture of Richard Mead, Hero of the Working Man and Woman, here for y'all to see.