Honoring our Essential Workers this Labor Day
This Labor Day, the workers who have supported all of us during COVID-19 are in my heart. The healthcare workers, janitors, delivery employees, truck drivers, farmworkers, teachers, postal workers and so many more are on my mind. The pandemic is still raging out of control, we are still grappling with a racial reckoning and economic downturn and these essential workers, the majority who are Black and Brown, immigrants, women and members of other communities pushed to the margins, are continuing to be asked to sacrifice for our communities’ safety and wellbeing.
Our friends in the Labor movement are out there fighting for these essential workers. They are fighting to keep them safe, so they can thrive by ensuring they have healthcare access, paid leave, PPE, unemployment insurance, increased wages, resources to teach our students, and so much more.
This year, the fight for a secure present for our families and communities is on the 2020 ballot. The Colorado Families First ballot measure would give voters the opportunity to vote for paid family and medical leave, and Florida for a Fair Wage will raise the minimum wage to $10 in 2021, and increase by $1 each year until it reaches $15 in 2026. Every worker deserves a job with good pay and benefits—all key components of what the Labor movement for generations has fought for.
This year, the fight for a prosperous future for our workers is on the 2020 ballot. In Arizona and California through the AZ Invest in ED and CA Schools and Communities First ballot measures, voters have an opportunity to make sure schools and teachers have the resources they need to provide for our students and raise wages for teachers when they are being asked to put their lives on the line for our students’ futures.
This year, we continue to fight against corporate attempts to go back to a world without worker’s rights. In CA, Prop 22 would create a subclass of workers and threatens the protections of app-based workers to have fair wages, paid sick leave as well as safety, anti-discrimination and sexual harassment protections. It goes even further by requiring a 7/8 majority to make any changes to the law, setting a dangerous precedent for representative democracy. We need to put people and our democracy before profits.
I am grateful for the powerful allies BISC has in the Labor movement and we remain committed to fighting for the freedom to come together in union and collectively negotiate.
Labor Day 2020 will look very different this year. While we won’t be gathering at parades and large community picnics and gatherings, we’ll make it clear that the fight for American workers won’t stop. As we reflect and celebrate, we must honor the working people who have lost their lives to this pandemic and systemic racism—and those who are still sacrificing daily so the rest of America can live in safety. Together, we can build an equitable and just world where we all live with dignity and thrive.
Chris Melody Fields Figueredo