The diversity of the labor movement is our greatest strength, but in order to harness this strength, we must not be sidetracked by opponents that try to divide us. Rather than looking for ways to find fault with one another, we need to focus on the fact that we all share a progressive vision for New Jersey – to build our middle class, grow the labor movement, and recognize the value of all workers in our state.
When politicians or the media try to take our attention off of these issues, we move backwards. The anti-union politician who tries to pit union sector against union sector is no different than the union busting manager in an organizing campaign who tries to pit worker against worker. We have learned that to overcome these attacks we must educate ourselves, not be provoked by deliberate attempts to divide us, and remain united.
What we need to focus on are the values which unite us such as the right to collectively bargain, economic security opportunity for all workers, the ability to retire with dignity, affordable quality health care, stable employment, and the means to provide a better future for our children. Presently in New Jersey, unions are working together on several campaigns that reflect our shared values such as raising New Jersey’s minimum wage, funding critical school construction projects, voter registration, and job creation.
History confirms that when we all come together for a common purpose there is nothing that can prevent us from achieving our goals. This fact is reaffirmed as we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington which demonstrated how important it is to look beyond fear, intimidation, and oppression and maintain a focus on progress and improvement.
As a champion of union values, Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” We should all take time to reflect on this statement, and to consider that if we want others to respect our work, we must first respect one another.
Thank you for your continued hard work and support. We wish everyone a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.