Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Tale of the Lonely Labor Website - A Personal Account

Today is Labor Day, 2011. I decided that New Labor Media: The Labor Union Guide to Social Media has been ignored long enough.

Why has this site been left to shrivel away? It is certainly not on purpose. However, my writings and advice led to new opportunities that eventually have eaten away at any free time I once had for this website. 

But stay tuned: I'm creating a more modern flash site for New Labor Media, which will be unveiled in 2012.

However, today - Labor Day - I am faced with a bevy of thoughts that have no outlet - except, perhaps, here. I am moved by what today represents, but also what yesterday represented as well - perhaps even more so.

Yesterday, a tremendous man and pioneer of the labor movement, died quietly in his sleep after a difficult surgery to remove a stomach tumor. He died in the same way he lived - bravely, honorably, and unselfishly. Victor Bussie was 92 years old, and had lived a long, beautiful life - one that he dedicated, with unwavering passion, to the labor movement.

Most of you who are reading this won't know who he is. He was a quiet man and didn't believe in self promotion. Yet his is a story that should be known by every labor activist in this country. Many of the "old timers" will know him - especially former state AFL-CIO presidents and politicians that reigned during the 2nd half of the 20th century. Mr. Bussie is also known widely throughout his home state of Louisiana, the venue in which he did so much good for so many people - sometimes at a great personal price.

When I first met this man, I had no knowledge of who he was, other than his title - President of the Louisiana AFL-CIO. To this day, it is hard to believe that a soft spoken gentleman with such composure, grace, manners and respect was the same man behind the stories I would eventually hear.

A year ago, the Louisiana Democratic Party honored Mr. Bussie with their first Lifetime Achievement Award. He stated during his acceptance speech that, "I'm 91 years old, and I'm not going to die until you take over this country again. I'm not going anywhere."

God had different plans. Rest in peace, sir.