There is a lot of passion right now on changing the names of those military installations named after confederate leaders.  But we have yet to hear from the unions that represent employees at these installations.  Their voices are particularly important for a few reasons.  First, they would represent the local residents rather than far away media, politicians and social activists.  Second, military protocol prevents the uniformed employees from speaking out as a group on the issue, leaving the civilian work force as the next best surrogate spokespersons. Third, if unions truly believe they are in business to promote the dignity of people then there is no better example of an institution that debased people. Fourth, there is a great alternative source of names for these installations that would actually boost the dignity of the bases. Here is a list of those installations where unions should be moving aggressively for name changes: 

  • Fort A.P. Hill – Virginia 
  • Camp Beauregard – Louisiana 
  • Fort Benning – Georgia 
  • Fort Bragg – North Carolina 
  • Fort Gordon – Georgia 
  • Fort Hood – Texas 
  • Fort Lee – Virginia 
  • Fort Pickett – Virginia 
  • Fort Rucker—Alabama 
  • Fort Polk –Louisiana 

But here is the soul crushing reason why unions must stand up and fight for these name changes—or admit they are pretenders in the fight for human dignity. 

Everyone knows that when people say the Confederacy was about fighting for states’ rights they are in deep denial over the INDISPUTABLE fact that it was really about preserving and expanding slavery.  Saying that the Confederates these installations were named after were merely fighting for some high-brow libertarian ideal is like saying Charlie Manson was about population control and Jeffery Epstein about providing young women a proper education.

And even the label of slavery is a whitewash because it hides what slavery in the Confederacy was about.  Society’s is turning the word into different parts of speech, e.g., slave over a hot stove, a slave joint, a slave to my vices, etc.  It was not merely employers refusing to compensate their workers.  Slavery in the Confederacy was riddled with sexual depravity, kidnapping, forced illiteracy, beating, mutilation, lynching, whippings, torture, branding, castration, burning, child abuse, etc.. That is what the Confederacy fought for.

It appears America is in a transitional moment with civil rights an ascending core value.  Many unions did not get behind the earlier civil rights surges of the 60’s and 70’s and it cost all unions severely in the court of public opinion. We have our fingers crossed extra hard that unions do not stand on the sidelines while this latest surge toward justice passes by.

And if anyone is worried about the names that would be chosen to replace those of American traitors how about pushing that Congress require that the name be chosen from the ranks of actual heroes, i.e., those who won the Medal of Honor and particularly those who died doing it.  There are men and women on those lists of all races and colors who did infinitely more for America than a Robert E. Lee.

This should not even be a close call for labor union leaders– local or national.

BTW, who knew that these bases were established with names of Confederate leaders as part of an extortion move by Southern politicians who threatened to boycott WWI unless their people were given a good reason to fight for America. Such a proud history.

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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