By Dennis R. Pierce
BLET National President
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, August 31 — With the Labor Day holiday upon us, it is an appropriate time to recognize unions for all they do for American workers and the nation’s economy.
The American economy benefits more Americans when unions are strong. It’s no coincidence that our middle class was strongest when more working Americans were members of a union. As pioneers of the labor movement, our Brotherhood has been fighting to strengthen the middle class since 1863.
Working people today want the freedom to join together and negotiate a fair day’s pay for fair day’s work. But increasingly, it is becoming more difficult for workers to join unions. The number of “right-to-work” states has increased in recent years. Some of our elected officials are hell bent on striking down labor benefits and workplace safety protections that negatively impact the very citizens who vote for them. The big money now in play in national politics makes it clear that these politicians are only working for the interests that give them the most money (i.e., Corporate America).
Wealthy corporations, CEOs and the richest 1% are rigging the rules. While corporate profits skyrocket, it’s harder for working people to make ends meet. Wall Street hedge fund managers and corporate CEOs keep wages low, strip benefits from working families and send jobs overseas in the pursuit of ever larger profits for wealthy shareholders. While this corporate greed may benefit the wealthy, it’s bad for the American economy as a whole. When workers have more money to spend, they buy more products, which creates more jobs and better wages for all Americans.
Organized labor is the one movement that has fought these corporations on behalf of working class Americans, and those efforts have contributed substantially to the highest standard of living and the highest levels of worker production the world has ever known. But our efforts are precisely why we are under attack. The national “right-to-work” act currently pending in Congress (H.R. 785) is intended as a death-blow to all unions throughout the United States. Wealthy corporations are leading this attack, and we must mobilize as the working class backbone of our great nation and let those who would harm the working class know that we will not allow their attacks to go unchallenged.
Part of the legacy established by our forefathers is to fight for what is right. One of the best ways to uphold that legacy is to become more involved in your union. On this Labor Day, I urge you rededicate yourself to our Brotherhood and to join the fight for what is right. If we don’t stand up for ourselves, who will?
On behalf of the BLET Advisory Board, I wish you all a happy and healthy Labor Day.
Thursday, August 31, 2017