Labor Day is a lot of things: the unofficial transition from summer to fall, back to school, the start of football season, and so much more. Most importantly, however, Labor Day is a reminder of what Labor means to workers and families all across the country; the sacrifices, the victories, and the challenges ahead.
The Labor movement in the U.S. had been in decline for years but recently has seen some life. When Ronald Regan took office in 1981, more than a third of all American workers were members of a union. Today, that number is around 10% but the global COVID-19 pandemic highlighted what we have known for decades: America needs unions. Workers have been refusing to return to workplaces with substandard pay, benefits and working conditions and the recent fervor with unionization efforts at corporations like Starbucks and Amazon has sparked renewed interest in labor unions all over the country.
As we collectively begin to work toward making better futures for our families and communities, we must acknowledge and celebrate the victories that labor unions have won in the past: the 40-hour work week, overtime, safety conditions, victories against privatization, etc. For us here at 3299, we have fought to protect our pension, stopped a majority of layoffs during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and continue to fight for Equal Pay for Equal Work (SB 1364).
The fight never stops. Let’s continue to commit to rising to the challenges ahead of us because the “boss” is always evolving and adapting to usurp and take away our power. They treat us unfairly, treat us with a lack of respect and make us do more work by using favoritism to set schedules. They outsource our jobs at a lower pay rate so their contractors can make more money. The rising costs of living and housing are outpacing the money we earn and as a collective, we cannot allow that to happen.
So, this Labor Day, enjoy your day off (if you are able to do so) and reflect on all that we have accomplished over the years but let’s re-commit to fighting for our families, our communities and for each other on the road ahead. Si Se puede!