Richard Trumka: Working people deserve our fair share

A year ago, I sat down for a Labor Day breakfast with reporters and told them that working people were cryin...

Posted: Sep 3, 2018 2:15 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2018 2:15 PM

A year ago, I sat down for a Labor Day breakfast with reporters and told them that working people were crying out for change that would bring about a political system that lifts up our voices, an economy that treats us fairly and a society that values our labor.

I also cautioned that transformational change wouldn't be handed to us from the halls of power. It would come about when we stood together in unions and demanded it.

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In the year since, working people have been doing just that. From airports and hospitals to newsrooms and college campuses, workers are organizing on a scale that I haven't seen in decades. More than a quarter-million Americans joined unions last year -- three-quarters of them under 35. Half of nonunion workers say they would vote to do the same if given the chance, and Gallup has even pegged unions' popularity at a 15-year high.

It's no wonder why. Union members have always enjoyed a stronger hand than our nonunion counterparts. The right to a stake in one's economic future is the kind of self-determination that can only be guaranteed by a strong union contract.

With each freshly-printed union card comes another worker with the opportunity for higher pay, a safer place to work and a more secure retirement. And as our ranks grow, we're standing up and speaking out louder than ever against the injustice and fundamental indignities facing too many Americans at work.

Striking teachers captured the country's imagination, marching en masse for the fair treatment they deserve. Hotel workers in Chicago and Las Vegas are winning protections from harassment and assault and bargaining for a say in the future of work. The first Boeing workers in South Carolina formed a union, the first step toward pay equity with their counterparts in Seattle. And in communities across the country, we're demanding a fair return on our work.

This is a year defined by a movement of working people. A wave of collective action is sweeping the country, and we're hitting the streets in unprecedented numbers. And as elections approach, we're mobilizing our union brothers and sisters by doing what we do best: talking to each other.

We're not talking about personality debates or partisan labels, and we're not just showing up in the weeks before Election Day. The AFL-CIO and our affiliate unions have spearheaded a nationwide, year-round effort to engage our members in the work of building a brighter economic future. Street by street and person by person, we're having conversations about the issues that matter -- higher wages, better benefits, a secure retirement and a voice on the job.

What's more, those conversations have already yielded election victories for working people. Alabamans sent a bigoted judge into retirement, and Pennsylvanians sent a pro-union veteran to Congress. Sweeping an off-year election, we sent union members and allies to fight for us in Trenton and Richmond.

Just last month, working people in Missouri mobilized to overturn an egregious corporate-backed law that would have undermined their unions and slashed their wages. In the wake of a grassroots campaign that saw people knocking on more than 800,000 doors and dialing 1 million phones, two thirds of Missourians voted to send that anti-worker atrocity into the ash heap of history.

For decades, corporate interests have been hell-bent on chipping away at our most fundamental rights and freedoms. They have corrupted our public institutions and rigged the economy to work for the few at the expense of the many.

We aren't standing for it anymore. The story of 2018 has been one of power, solidarity and surging collective action. Working people are on the rise -- and we're just getting started.

We certainly have our sights set on the midterms this November, but our movement's ambitions are far greater than any single election. We won't stop fighting until the fundamental value of our labor is respected by those who benefit from it. We're demanding nothing more -- and certainly nothing less -- than our fair share of the immense wealth we create every day.

If that sounds fair enough to you, then here's my ask on this Labor Day: Be a part of this movement, and join a union!

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 95310

Reported Deaths: 2874
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7032159
DeSoto547759
Harrison380573
Jackson343069
Madison323386
Rankin322577
Lee265468
Jones245279
Forrest242571
Washington219772
Lafayette213739
Lauderdale2038125
Bolivar181366
Oktibbeha176350
Lamar165534
Neshoba1556104
Panola145527
Lowndes144958
Sunflower143946
Warren138450
Leflore138381
Pontotoc124916
Pike122450
Monroe120768
Scott117126
Copiah116633
Coahoma114428
Holmes109558
Marshall108516
Lincoln107553
Grenada107236
Yazoo104630
Simpson101844
Union98824
Tate96237
Leake94638
Adams92637
Wayne88821
Pearl River87053
Marion84535
Prentiss83417
Covington81322
Itawamba78721
Alcorn78611
Newton76723
Tallahatchie76421
George75913
Winston73519
Chickasaw66724
Tishomingo66738
Tippah65417
Attala65325
Walthall59525
Clay58518
Hancock57221
Clarke57045
Jasper56215
Noxubee54616
Smith52914
Calhoun50812
Tunica48213
Claiborne45916
Montgomery45820
Lawrence42912
Yalobusha42314
Perry41618
Humphreys37515
Quitman3735
Stone36512
Greene35917
Jefferson Davis33511
Webster33313
Amite32110
Carroll31412
Wilkinson30218
Kemper28815
Sharkey26513
Jefferson2449
Benton2232
Franklin1923
Choctaw1816
Issaquena1043
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 133433

Reported Deaths: 2349
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19306349
Mobile13233291
Montgomery8748177
Madison770978
Tuscaloosa7418116
Lee579261
Shelby578750
Baldwin514149
Marshall389244
Etowah340247
Calhoun340140
Morgan323926
Houston276423
Elmore259647
DeKalb237519
St. Clair226337
Walker225383
Talladega210628
Limestone203319
Cullman186818
Dallas175926
Franklin175229
Russell17322
Autauga171525
Lauderdale167333
Colbert162926
Blount158015
Escambia157725
Jackson154011
Chilton152431
Dale134644
Covington133427
Coffee12988
Pike11799
Chambers114442
Tallapoosa113885
Clarke107017
Marion95429
Butler91139
Barbour8517
Winston71812
Marengo70519
Lowndes65227
Pickens64514
Bibb63810
Randolph62713
Hale61928
Lawrence60522
Bullock59714
Geneva5864
Cherokee58315
Monroe5808
Clay5547
Washington55113
Perry5396
Conecuh53011
Wilcox53011
Crenshaw52732
Henry4835
Macon47920
Fayette4358
Sumter43219
Lamar3572
Choctaw34412
Cleburne3356
Greene30315
Coosa1673
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