Letter: On Labor Day, Remember the Sacrifices Made by Workers

A Message from the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO

As we enter Labor Day weekend, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by the workers who came before us. They fought for the fundamental rights and workplace safety measures we take for granted today: a 40-hour workweek, a living wage, and a voice on the job. They created a safer, and a more equitable workplace. For our union movement that work continues. We fight to balance the scales of economic and social justice to ensure the system works for working people.

This year reminds us that workers hold tremendous power when we come together and wield it collectively. We can accomplish amazing things. We know this to be true, despite companies spending millions to prevent it. Consider the most recent contract secured by our brothers and sisters in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 804, who work for UPS, as exhibit A. The members of SAG-AFTRA, the Writers Guild of America, and the UAW are all presently exercising their rights as union members, and patriotic Americans, leading the charge for real change on behalf of everyday people.

The victory at UPS, and the others we are working toward, are made possible by the solidarity and support of working people across the country. When we all come together to support one common cause—fighting corporate greed and ensuring workers’ rights are protected—we win. Solidarity is a verb. When we join our family on the picket line and at rallies, we send a clear message, a fight with one of us is a fight with all of us.

What we accomplish today matters tomorrow. The actions taking place this summer are an homage to those who came before us, and an example for those still to come. We must continue to hold the line for what is right and deliver the fair and just future that workers deserve.

Every job in America has value, regardless of where you work or what you do. It’s working people who move the country forward. We are the drivers of the economy, and with each passing day, folks need to be reminded of the essential nature workers play in the day-to-day lives of our larger community.

On this Labor Day, we want all working people to remember that you are appreciated for the difference you make in the lives of the people you serve. Thank you for what you do every day and for being an indispensable part of our union movement!

Happy Labor Day to you and your family!

John Durso is president of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

One Reply to “Letter: On Labor Day, Remember the Sacrifices Made by Workers”

  1. Sept. 4, 2023

    Oh sure I get it… it’s just too damn bad that when rail labor needed the support of lawmakers and our political leaders we didn’t get the type of solid support and commitment needed to resolve some of our most important issues. Including those that greatly impact safety. Instead, we were subjected to unfair bargaining practices and forced by Congress to accept an agreement that did not provide rail labor with an opportunity to negotiate for wages and benefits that should have reflected the enormous contributions and personal sacrifices made by railroad workers throughout the nation. It was rail labor that kept the economy healthy during a global pandemic. It was rail labor’s commitment that helped to protect our national security. It was rail labor’s focused efforts and energy that allowed all of the major rail carriers to achieve record profits year after year… and what did we get in return? Answer: An inferior, lopsided contract that was negotiated behind closed doors in Washington. We were used like pawns and tossed aside in a game that was fixed from the very beginning. So, not to seem ungrateful… but we could have done that much without the restrictions imposed by politicians who only pretend to support union labor. Sorry folks… but lip service and empty promises won’t pay the bills.

    Most Sincerely,
    Bill Schandelmeier
    Chicago, Illinois

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