On this Labor Day – The Continued Fight for Working People and Unions
On Labor Day last year, we honored our essential workers – the healthcare workers, janitors, delivery employees, truck drivers, farmworkers, teachers, postal workers and so many more – who supported us during an uncertain time. A year later, the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us and these workers remain and will always be essential. Every day they make sacrifices for our communities’ safety and wellbeing, they make sure we have food on our tables, and welcomed our children back to school. Thank you for ensuring we have the opportunity to thrive even during the most difficult of times.
The last 18 months have challenged all of us. We have lost a lot. Our friends in the Labor movement don’t just fight for these workers and their members, they fight so that all of us can live and work with dignity. I think it is important for us to remember that without the Labor movement we wouldn’t have any type of paid leave, employer-paid healthcare, 8-hour workdays, the weekend, wage increases, and countless other protections and benefits. AND they fight alongside us on climate change, defending our democracy, racial justice, and more. Thank you.
As we celebrate Labor Day, I want to express gratitude to our friends in the Labor movement who have not only been longtime supporters of BISC since our inception, but in the last year have been in deep discussions with us as we reimagine our partnership. We’re having important conversations and dreaming together on defending direct democracy, policing and restorative justice, and reclaiming the narrative and workers’ rights and unions. Thank you.
The Labor movement needs us, in the fights ahead for the freedom to organize and form a union and collectively negotiate. As we look to 2022, we must defeat a legislatively referred right-to-work ballot initiative in Tennessee while Illinois seeks to add a state constitutional right for employees to organize and bargain collectively. They need us as we continue to fight against corporate attempts to go back to a world without workers’ rights.
Two weeks ago we celebrated the California State Supreme Court ruling Prop 22 unconstitutional which created a subclass of workers and threatened protections of app-based workers. Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Attorney General cleared a Prop 22 clone to move forward days ago but the Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights is ready to fight back. We need to put people before profits.
There is so much work to be done. We still have to defend our 2020 ballot measure wins for workers in Colorado and Arizona which have faced legislative and court battles stalling implementation. These attacks are part of efforts to undermine our democracy and the will of the People. These historic ballot measures gave workers and families paid family and medical leave in Colorado and increased teachers wages and school funding in Arizona. Every worker deserves a job with good pay and benefits and schools need resources to educate our students, all key components of what the Labor movement for generations has fought for.
Our movement for equity and justice requires a strong Labor movement. As we reflect and celebrate Labor Day, we honor the working people and unions who sacrifice daily so the rest of America can live with dignity and thrive.
Chris Melody Fields Figueredo
Executive Director, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center