Letter: Honor labor leaders, union members on Labor Day
Since its earliest days the labor movement has sought to improve the quality of work life, create workplace democracy, and participate in employer/employee decision-making.
The many benefits and protections workers enjoy today never existed until unions fought and won them for working people.
Those benefits include the minimum wage, social security payments, an eight hour day and weekends off, overtime pay, safety standards, holiday pay, health and welfare protection, family and medical leave, grievance and arbitration procedures, pension plans, and the advancement of civil rights and human rights.
In the last few years, an unprecedented number of initiatives designed to lower labor standards, weaken unions, and erode workplace protections for all workers have been launched.
This policy agenda serves to undercut the ability of all workers to earn a decent wage. Such far-reaching and mean-spirited structural changes weaken the bargaining power and political influence of organized labor.
The strong coalition of anti-union ideologues, political operatives, and corporate lobbies will continue its relentless attacks on unions during the 2016 elections, which, if successful, will lead to a greater erosion of civic engagement, will further economic inequality, and will advance a greater political imbalance of power.
As we pay tribute to the worker on Labor Day, let us honor the labor leaders and union members who are committed to social justice and equal economic opportunity for all people.
With our voices let us show support of organized labor and necessary measures to strengthen unions. And in local and national elections let us cast our votes in support of those candidates who agree that it is not acceptable to treat workers as little more than obstacles in the path to bigger profits.