During Teen Vogue’s interview with Ally, her mom chimes in to share that the MNA has been “really supportive” of families on strike, holding food drives and collecting backpacks and school supplies. Going on strike might seem like a straightforward, virtuous decision, but the toll on families and individuals — and the kind of discipline and commitment it takes to maintain a strike — is impossible to boil down to a tweet or slogan.
Lorelai’s mom, who’d been working at St. Vincent since before Lorelai was born, has been given a leadership role as picket captain for the duration of the strike. Though she’s proud to have the position, Lorelai says, it hasn’t been easy. “A lot of pressure falls on her to kind of have everyone coordinated and answer questions and always know what's going on at that very moment, because things can change so quickly,” Lorelai explains.
“It was kind of hard just seeing her at the kitchen table at night breaking down because of things that are happening," Lorelai continues, "and me not being able to do much except hug her and tell her how proud I am of her. I don't know what it's like from her experience. I know what it's like from a kid's experience, but I don't know what it's like actually being the one on strike.”
The demarcation is significant. Even now, as people promote strike authorizations online and encourage a range of options to support striking workers, it’s difficult to understand the day-to-day effort that goes into coordinating and sustaining a labor strike. The misconception that workers go on strike for selfish reasons is a sore spot for Lorelai, who has seen her mom maintain her resolve through tired days and nights of picketing, meetings, and more for eight months straight.
“The people that are on these strikes — and not just the St. Vincent strike, strikes in general — they truly are fighting for what they believe in. It is so important for me to get that message across because of the fact that I see people saying that they just want to collect unemployment or sit around and do nothing all day — like, that’s so frustrating because it is totally the opposite of what is going on,” Lorelai explains. “Whether you see it or not, they're always planning. They're always working together. They're always talking to people, discussing things. No matter what you're fighting for, no matter what job you're striking at, it's literally a constant thing.”
Despite the stress, there has been one especially bright side: The strike has allowed Lorelai and her mom to spend more time together and build an even tighter bond. Nurses work on a very different schedule now, signing up for three-hour picketing shifts, multiple times per week. Lorelai says 6 a.m. Saturday picketing shifts are “pushing it” for her, but she says walking the line with her mom has been an eye-opening experience.
“Ever since I was little, she's always told me you have to stand up for what you believe in," Lorelai recalls. "That's why, when I partake in protests, I always have her in the back of my mind. Seeing her take her own advice, in a way, has been so cool.”