Labor Day: Standing for the fundamental values of freedom and opportunity we hold dear as Americans.
From fast food workers demanding $15 an hour to an educators' union advocating for the support and tools our students deserve, American workers are standing up. This Labor Day, American workers are speaking out. And we are calling on elected leaders and candidates running for office to publicly support the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions.
People are working longer hours for less money and fewer benefits, but are more productive than ever. It doesn’t make sense that working families are struggling to make ends meet, no matter how hard they work. But this is the reality we are facing.
Our students aren’t immune to the stress their parents are under. We see the effects on them every day in our schools and classrooms. That is why our union is critically important in giving educators a voice that allows them to advocate to ensure every student has the opportunity to receive a good education in a safe and supported public school.
Our union negotiates to keep class sizes down so children have one-on-one attention and modern tools to learn. Unions use our collective voice to advocate for policies that benefit all working people – like increases to the minimum wage, affordable health care, and great public schools.
And when the freedom to join together in strong unions is secure, other freedoms are likely to follow. Like the freedom to attend a parent-teacher conference or to take off work when a loved one is sick without fear of losing our jobs or pay for the day. Or the freedom to choose where to live because quality public schools are available to all communities, not just to those who are wealthy. Or the freedom to retire with dignity.
"The American Labor Movement has consistently demonstrated its devotion to the public interest. It is, and has been, good for all America."—John F. Kennedy
Not everyone agrees that unions have a place in our schools and our workplaces. Those against unionism want to use the legislature, the Constitutional Revision Commission and the courts to rig the rules against working people even further.
If they’re successful they’ll be able to keep driving down wages, killing jobs, defunding our public schools and services, silencing working people at the ballot box, and crippling the fundamental values we celebrate today.
We have to stop them. This Labor Day, we have to stand up for the freedom to join together in unions – the permanent, powerful organizations that we need to amplify our voices and give us a say in the decisions that impact our families.
Unions are needed now more than ever. We have to fight for our freedoms. America is a nation of fighters, and we won’t stop fighting for ourselves, our children, our communities, or our country.
Join me and working people across the country in supporting the freedom of working people to join together in unions and make their communities better.
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Joanne M. McCall, President
Florida Education Association
NEA, AFT, AFL-CIO
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