Big corporations, politicians and wealthy interests have rigged our economy and our politics against working people for decades. They have robbed Americans of the freedom to earn a decent living, have work-life balance, take a loved one to the doctor or attend a parent-teacher conference without fear of losing their job, and retire with dignity.
This Labor Day, workers are confronting the rigged system – and the politicians and corporations who prop it up – and putting unions front and center in the national conversation. As corporations and the wealthy continue to benefit from record wealth while working people find it harder and harder to make ends meet and provide for their families, joining together in unions gives workers a voice. When working people have the freedom to join strong unions and negotiate a fair return for their work, they win the power and voice they need to level the economic and political playing field.
Unions are the most effective way for workers to come together and counter the influence big money and big corporations have on our democracy. By forming strong unions, workers are able to negotiate wages and benefits that support their families and better working conditions, like safe staffing ratios in hospitals and safe and secure schools or smaller class sizes that help students to succeed. And we use our collective voice to advocate for policies that benefit all working people – like increases to the minimum wage, affordable health care, and great public schools for students – and elect politicians who will stand up for working people, not the wealthy and corporate interests.
Unions are critically important to fix a rigged economy that disproportionately hurts workers of color. Across the country, more than half of black workers and nearly 60 percent of Latino workers are paid less than $15 per hour.
If corporations and politicians eliminate our freedom to form unions, they’ll continue to drive down wages, kill jobs, defund our public schools and services, silence working people at the ballot box, and cripple the fundamental values of freedom and opportunity we hold dear as Americans.
Maybe you will be in the South to Collingswood Friday for union scholarship awards to students and a trip to the McGuire monument? Perhaps you about going up to Paterson next Sunday to march from the Botto House, national labor museum? Or will you make it to Newark on Labor Day Monday for a rally and march on Broad Street? If you are attending these or Labor Day events representing your union or participating with your local, let us know. We will try to get the message around and support events that celebrate unions and workers.