New York City was home to the first Labor Day parade and rally. The year was 1882 and the place was Union Square, at that time the heart of Manhattan. We‰Ûªve been celebrating the American worker with a special day for 135 years.
Another Labor Day, another Labor Day Parade. Have you ever wondered if non-union workers enjoy Labor Day as a paid holiday? Research the history of Labor Day and you will learn that it honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country.åÊ
Recently however, we have utilized the march to raise our concern over the direction that the country has taken regarding organized labor. The corporate agenda is supported by bought and paid for elected officials who have shifted the balance of fairness and the economic well-being of America’s working men and women to new lows. The middle class in the United States was established because of the trade union movement and unfortunately has been disappearing. Low wages and the lack of employer-paid health care and adequate pensions have widened the disgraceful divide between the haves and the have nots. Those conditions are directly related to the weakening and elimination of unions in America.
First it was the private sector and now the public sector employees are under attack. Regardless of how productive or highly skilled unionized workers are, the corporate agenda seeks to lower their wages and standards as they shift the enormous wealth in America to those who are already wealthy. What has happened to America’s conscience?åÊ The working class is divided and will devour itself as people struggle just to survive. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.åÊ What about food, clothing and shelter?åÊ Just look at the residential construction market in NYC where multi-million dollar condos are built by exploited, underpaid non-union workers. Make no mistake about it, those workers need those jobs and unfortunately are happy to have them. The injustice is that the greedy developers are raking in exorbitant profits at the expense of the workers who are building those projects. The workers need to be organized and if they are not, our standards will be further reduced.
So, on September 9th we have an opportunity to raise our voices. We have the opportunity to show our children and all of New York City how to demonstrate and how proud we are to be union members. We are fighting for all workers, and we should know how important it is to demonstrate our collective strength. Our members have a responsibility to march and they should fulfill it. Every member on every job site should encourage their co-workers to be there with their families. It is not a lot to ask for and it is not a lot to give. Local 3 is one of the most respected unions in the country. Others look to us to lead. Let’s not disappoint them.
We also have the opportunity to publicly voice our disgust with Charter/Spectrum who is trying to starve our members who are on strike into submission. To force our members to give up their union medical and pension plans. Plans that every member knows the value of. Plans that these members have bought and paid for and have participated in for more than 40 years. There are scabs and strikebreakers taking their jobs. We are in a fight for our union way of life and make no mistake, your job could be next. If you’re not willing to stand up to fight for your own job, you don’t deserve it. Enough said. Be there on September 9th.