I don’t remember the last time I was so moved by a speech as I was this morning when I heard Cecil Roberts speak at the NYSUT Representative Assembly. How fitting that it was also International Labor Day.
Roberts leads the United Mineworkers of America and spoke of course about the recent losses of life that remind us just how dangerous jobs can be, especially when employers resist unions and resist regulation.
Roberts didn’t focus only on miners, though. He spoke of the need for all of us to hit the streets, to march, to organize, and to stand in solidarity while demanding justice for all working people. His message was 20 minutes long and every minute counted but if I could boil it down to one minute it would be this one:
If you want to expand the middle class, join a union!
If you want more democracy in our country, join a union!
If you want a healthier workplace, join a union!
If you want a better economy, join a union!
If you want a voice at work, join a union!
If you want a better America, join a union!
If you want a stronger United States of America, join a union!