WHY UNIONS WEAR RED SHIRTS
The modern tradition dates to 1989. Gerry Horgan, a Communication Workers of America Union Chief Steward for Westchester County in New York, was struck and killed while he worked a picket line. The vehicle, driven by a scab crossing the picket line, was the daughter of a manager and was never charged for his death. CWA members started wearing red shirts on Thursdays to remember him and the sacrifices made protecting the picket line. Shortly after the incident, the wearing of red was adopted by most unions to show solidarity and remember the blood shed for our fellow brothers and sisters in any strike. Red, a symbol of the violence workers can and have faced. In times of harmony, it is a symbol of remembrance of hard times. A sign of strength, courage, power, and resolve of the union to never back down. When a sea of red shirts greet management, it is a way to let them know that workers stand together. It is not anti-management; it is a positive statement of workers united. The wearing of red was established to show solidarity. Now, more than ever, it is important to show solidarity. Nearly half of non-unionized workers say they would like to be in a union. If we show pride in our union, it may help drive new membership.
All of this information was on UAW.ORG. Also, there is very interesting information on bls.org, a statistics site with past and present union info one might find enlightening.
Jared Johnson, Education Committee Chair
UAW local 218