Why the Women’s March is a Beautiful Mess

Embrace the glorious mess that you are. ~Elizabeth Gilbert


It occurred to me as I stood, watching shivering participants in this year’s St. Louis Women’s March.

In some ways, the Women’s March is emblematic of the Democratic party and the progressive movement.

It’s well-intentioned. It’s equity-minded. It’s a little over-the-top.

And it’s a complete messy mess.

Organizers screw stuff up. The weather tanks (it’s in January, so of course). Nobody knows exactly what they’re doing and everyone thinks something should have been done differently … Terrible organizational fractures develop due to previously-unknown biases – from which others hopefully learn and grow.

But it all ends up being beautiful, nonetheless.

Maybe it’s because it’s a march of moms and daughters, grandmothers and aunts, but everyone seems to take the messes in stride and simply pitch in when help is needed.

Weather bad? Here are some gloves. (Literally, someone tried to give me an extra set of gloves that she had brought just to give away to someone who needed them.)

Drop something? Five women trip over each other and themselves to go grab it.

Fractures develop within the Women’s March national organization? Okay, we’ll have unaffiliated marches instead.

The obstacles all fall away, because what makes the marches special isn’t the route or the graphics or the marketing.

It’s the people.

And the people are beautiful.

On Saturday, a man stopped by a table I was working and said, “You know, I’m not trans. And I’m not a woman. And I’m straight. But I’ll march for everyone.” He looked over his shoulder at the marchers going by, and smiled. “And I know they’d all march for me.” He looked back at me and shrugged, physically discounting the symbolic nature of what he had just said.

But it stuck with me, nonetheless.

In an era defined by protest, the Women’s March is the ultimate symbol: protest through community. Through camaraderie, empathy and mutual support.

By joining together, we aren’t just showing the GOP that WE ARE STILL HERE.

We’re showing ourselves the same thing.

And right now, when so much is going wrong that the destruction can be overwhelming, it’s important to see and hear and feel the support that’s around us.

Trump’s ascendance was and is frightening – his administration is a non-fictional “American carnage.” But rather than meekly marking the date and moving on, we take to the streets en masse.

With shirts, and signs, and smiles.

And with each other.

And hey, maybe it’s a mess sometimes. That’s okay.

The people – people like you – are beautiful, nonetheless.

I’m glad to be among you.

Let’s get to work.


Actions:

Tuesday: Oppose the New Joint Employer Standard

Bottom line, the proposed changes to the joint employer standard are yet another example of the Trump administration working to benefit of big corporate interests to the detriment of workers.

Hang with me here, this is a little inside baseball and that’s why it’s not being covered more.

The National Labor Relations Board has proposed new rules that will loosen the definition of “joint employer.” “Under the proposed rule, an employer may be found to be a joint-employer of another employer’s employees only if it possesses and exercises substantial, direct and immediate control over the essential terms and conditions of employment and has done so in a manner that is not limited and routine.”

Still with me?

Here’s why that’s important.

The “joint employer” standard governs the status of employers that “share” control of employees. That kind of relationship is common in some industries, like satellite t.v. installers, where a subcontracting company is the direct employer, but the satellite t.v. company pulls quite a few strings in the background. (See Arnold v. DirecTV) But when the parent entity exerts a certain amount of control over the employees – by directing their scheduling and training, for example, it can be found to be a joint employer.

Why does it matter whether the employer is a “joint employer”? Because it impacts their liability for violations of Fair Labor Standards Act, Wage & Hour laws and the like.

The NLRB’s proposed rules make it significantly harder to find the parent company as a joint employer, and therefore to make them liable for violations of labor laws.

So big companies, like DirecTV in the example litigation above (there are more, DTV is just one of many), can hide behind subcontractors to keep their liability low and their demands high.

And that’s bad because when companies can hide behind subcontractors, it encourages bad behavior and lessens worker protections.

Eleven states attorneys general support keeping the current joint employer standard (press release here), and two members of Congress wrote to the NLRB asking them to retract the proposed change.

The notice and comment period ends on January 28, so take a few moments between now and then to comment on this rule. Please make your comment original (the government uses software to cull through comments, so cut and paste comments are not as effective), and focus on the need for more – not fewer – worker protections and the difficulty in holding employers accountable.

Comment here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=NLRB-2018-0001-0001

Wednesday: Join the National Call In

On Wednesday, Indivisible groups across the country will be joining in a national call to Senators to oppose the Trump shutdown. So, on Wednesday call your two Senators and let them know that you understand that this shutdown is the GOP’s shutdown. Tell your Senators that you see their role in this, and that you want them to use whatever leverage they can to pressure Mitch McConnell to put the House bills refunding the government up for a vote.

Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because my fellow Americans – and the Senators’ constituents – are hurting. This government shutdown does nothing for our state but make us less safe and hurt our economy. How long do we expect our TSA agents to work without pay? How long do we expect our Coast Guard members and their families to support us when we don’t support them? There are bills that were drafted and passed by the Senate last year that are just waiting to be passed. What is the Senator doing to get Senator McConnell to bring those bills to the floor? I want to know what the Senator is doing to reopen the government and support the people of our state!

Thursday: Help Local or National Groups Helping Furloughed Workers

With the shutdown having gone on for weeks – with no end in sight – it’s getting dire for many of our furloughed workers. While we work on Congress to reopen government, please do what you can to help your local communities get through the crisis.

GoFundMe and Deepak Chopra have teamed up to provide a one-stop-shop donation fund that benefits impacted federal employees; donations to their GoFundMe campaign will be split between a number of nonprofits that are working to help furloughed workers. (Groups like the National Diaper Bank Network and World Central Kitchen).

Feeding America (https://www.feedingamerica.org) is able to stretch their dollars further than you and I can by ourselves. For every dollar donated, they can feed 10 people. That means your $10 to Feeding America could feed 10 tables of 10 people. Not a bad return when one box of pasta is $1 on sale.

For anyone that has had a baby in the house, it’s no secret that diapers are expensive. Diapers for one child can easily cost $70-$80 a month. Add more than one kiddo in diapers and you’ve got an even more significant financial strain. Government safety net programs don’t cover the cost of diapers, so local and national diaper relief groups have to fill those gaps. And frankly, that’s tough even in regular times – now those groups are even more stretched for resources. Luckily there are ways for folks like us to help. The National Diaper Bank Network has a number of ways to get involved – from donating directly on their site to hosting a diaper drive. Go here for more information. Go here for a list of diaper banks in your area.

Friday: Be the Change – At Home

More and more studies are being released that show our dire environmental situation. While the Trump administration needs to be held accountable for loosening standards, we also need to hold ourselves accountable for what WE can do to make an impact (or, rather, to reduce the impact we make on the environment around us). The Green Education Foundation has a great resource with suggestions on how to use less plastic. Their suggestions are easy to implement, and hopefully some of them will spark some ideas on how you personally can use less plastic, or reuse the plastic that’s already in your home. http://www.greeneducationfoundation.org/nationalgreenweeksub/waste-reduction-tips/tips-to-use-less-plastic.html


P.S.: Yes! Some of you have asked if I write for a living, and the answer is “I sure do!” Visit www.mhornish.com to learn more.

P.P.S.: If you want to help support this work you can do so via Patreon at
https://www.patreon.com/smalldeedsdone or via paypal at https://www.paypal.me/smalldeeds
My deepest gratitude in advance.

P.P.P.S: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.

If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!

Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.

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