State of a Union

An Abecedarian in Support of Labor

almost instantaneously, anchors across the nation
broadcast updates as Biden, in a UAW baseball
cap, walks the picket line to
demonstrate solidarity with labor unions –

defiance defined by
equal parts eagerness and
frank assessment of need

“Each of you deserves fair wages for the good work you do!” —

footsteps pitch for workers’ rights framed in (as) headlines.

— fairytale endings often deceive, as
gross revenues and automaker profits seize new
heights and new seasons.

“Help is on the way,” Biden repeats (fist bump held high), then concludes
his historic visit. Cameras click. Another headline.

in and out, in thirty minutes time.

ignitions remain idle as news clips
jolt airwaves — the first president to
kickstart negotiations from the picket line.

“Listen carefully,” he says, and I do, as I drive to
my classroom, myself a member of a union.

“No pay, no parts!” mouths stream,

open wide. Hunger
persists. Slices of Wonder will not
quell desires for raises and fair working conditions before
resuming work amidst
sacrifices long forgotten (2008 — another
time, news cycles rinse and spin quickly).


verified truths track axles as
workers balance babies, rent, and inflation.
wheels without grease.
car frames supported by an x axle, the
x member supports a car’s front suspension
    operations suspended indefinitely —

yesterday isn’t soon enough. we need fair pay before there’s
zero fuel remaining

About the Poem

An abecedarian in support of labor

About the Author

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, works, and writes in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. Her most recent collection, 14 (plus) Reasons Why, by Free Lines Press, is now available. 

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