Workers are the backbone of our country, and labor unions continue to be the vehicle through which workplace standards are raised and workplace gains are achieved. It is fitting on Labor Day that we honor workers and their unions, which work together every day to create a better life for all.
Sure, some people like the Koch Brothers are trying to undermine our unions. But, a clear majority of Americans understand that labor unions uplift the middle-class, as a recent Gallup poll showed. That’s because the labor movement has been leading the way for progressive reforms benefitting all workers for more than a century. Gains like Social Security, civil rights, OSHA and public-sector bargaining would have been impossible without strong unions. We would not have seen a 40-hour work week or a higher minimum wage without unions leading the way. There is still much work to do.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is leading the fight for a better life by advocating for a statewide earned sick leave law, renewed funding for transportation infrastructure, living wages for all workers, project labor agreements, full pension funding, safe staffing requirements at our hospitals and nursing homes, and an end to the political gamesmanship that has backlogged needed hiring at our ports. Our circumstances underscore the need to pursue a progressive agenda that includes quality health care, the ability to retire with dignity and the means to provide a better future for our children.
The state federation is also investing in its future through our Young Workers program. Workers at the beginning of their careers are our future leaders. With the support and mentoring of our current experienced leaders, they are learning labor history, engaging in politics and being encouraged to unite into a cohesive force for the future. They understand that working families need a voice at work, and that can only happen when workers come together to form unions and bargain collectively.
On Labor Day and every day, working for a better life unites us all.