As a former member of the American Federation of Teachers, I’ve been encouraged to see so many brothers and sisters taking direct action to improve their students’ lives and educations.

In West Virginia, public school teachers have built the largest, most dramatic job action that we’ve seen anywhere in this country in a number of years. They’ve been underpaid for a long time, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was the state passing along a crippling price hike for health insurance.

Closer to home, graduate students at the University of Illinois are picketing in order to preserve the tuition breaks that are simply critical for students pursuing Ph.D’s. (Believe me, I’ve lived this one personally at the University of Michigan, and it’d take me thousands of words to explain all of the phony baloney accounting on college campuses!)

There are a lot of politicians who oh-so-coincidentally discover the importance of organized labor during election years. I’m not one of them, because I’ve been in a union myself. I’ve walked picket lines to stand up for my *own* contract as a unionized worker, and that’s why I’ll work to grow and defend labor in Washington.