Support America’s workers and fill your holiday gift list all at the same time with one-stop shopping at the AFL-CIO’s The Union Shop Online.TM Start by checking out the great selection of holiday cards. For gift ideas, here are staff picks from the AFL-CIO online team.
Seth Michaels: There are a few great songwriters and musicians who have written about America’s workers and the everyday struggles they’ve gone through, but few have the long career, storytelling talent and appeal of Bruce Springsteen. Pick up “The Essential Bruce Springsteen” at The Union Shop OnlineTM for only $24.98, and you’ll find inspiration, heartbreak, joy and songs that don’t get old.
And if you’re up for supporting grassroots activism for social justice, why not do it in style? Get a Working America T-shirt!
Danielle Hatchett: Winters in the Washington, D.C., area aren’t quite as harsh as they can be in my home state of New Jersey. But as we saw on Inauguration Day 2009, for example, Old Man Winter can certainly make his presence known. I always have loved the feeling of fleece against my skin and the brand-new V-neck pullovers at $35 from The Union Shop OnlineTM will certainly keep me nice and toasty this fall and winter. On those particularly frigid days, I can layer it with a union-made hoodie, which happens to come in red, my favorite color—and proudly show my union pride.
Tula Connell: As our recent AFL-CIO “Young Workers: A Lost Decade” report made clear, the nation’s disastrous economy is putting at risk the livelihood of an entire generation of working people. Author Tamra Draut reported on this as far back as 2005, making Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-Somethings Can’t Get Ahead, more timely than ever. Reissued in paperback at $13.95, it’s a low-cost educational tool for those who wonder why their adult kids have moved back in with them—and a call to action for everyone who worries about our nation’s future.
As a stocking stuffer, your favorite unionists will enjoy this great new bumper sticker, “Green. Union. Vote. We’re green. We support unions. We vote” from The Union Shop Online.TM At $1.50 each, you can stuff a lot of stockings.
Mike Hall: If you ever saw my CD and vinyl collection—somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 from Francis Albert to Frank Zappa and most stops in between—you wouldn’t be shocked that I’m heading straight to The Union Shop Online’sTM music section. At The Union Shop Online,TM you’ll find well-known progressive, worker-friendly artists such as Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Dave Alvin and Pete Seeger, as well collections of traditional union songs, working class classics and civil rights anthems.
With my ties to West Virginia and coal mining, I’d be remiss if I didn’t steer you to Tom Breiding’s “Unbroken Circle: Songs of the West Virginia Coalfields.” The Wheeling, W.Va., native uses the experiences of his own family and other true coalfield stories for songs about labor struggles including “Union Miner,” “My Father’s Clothes” and “The Bull Moose Special” and memorials to mining disasters, such as “The Longest Darkest Day.” Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Tim O’Brien calls Unbroken Circle “Pure Americana.”
Like the best historical fiction, these true stories in song provide easy access to a culture whose trials and tribulations are too often ignored.
Donna Jablonski: In my office I have a framed version of the Working Families Unite for Civil Rights and Justice poster. It’s what I see every time I look up from my desk. The art is from a quilt by Adrienne Yorinks, a fantastic fabric artist, and it incorporates photos that celebrate the diversity of the union movement. The poster, only $15, is bordered by images of hands in all the shades of the earth’s people. Love it.
James Parks: My favorite item in The Union Shop OnlineTM is the Who Made Your Shoes? poster. The $16.95 poster clearly illustrates the reality that many of the things we take for granted in our consumer economy are made by people who don’t make enough to buy the things they make. And it reminds me of what the union movement is about: helping everyone live a better life.