It’s Labor Day and, in light of the Janus decision, it’s worth remembering why unions are under attack and why it matters that we fight back with everything we have. This video from NYSUT, Ask yourself why?, does a good job of making all that clear:
You can also read AFT President Randi Weingarten’s Labor Day Message and view her video here. This is an excerpt:
This is the 10th year I’ve penned a Labor Day message. It allows me to honor the work of the 1.7 million educators, nurses and health professionals, and public service workers who constitute our union. But this Labor Day can’t just be a day to honor working people, or to march or picnic or go shopping or take those last deep breaths of summer.
Everything we’ve fought for and have attained is on the line right now—labor rights, civil rights, voting rights, educational opportunities and our democracy itself. Just as it fell to our founders who forged our unions long ago, it falls to our generations, millennials and baby boomers alike, to be the ones who stop the march toward a new Gilded Age and ensure everyone who calls America home has the freedom to secure a better life.
That’s what the labor movement does: We fight for voice and freedom at work and at the ballot box, just as striking teachers did this past winter and spring. Unions are the best vehicle for working people to secure a better life. Together, we make possible what would be impossible for individuals acting alone. We are the best hope for a fair and decent America.
The other side—Betsy DeVos, the Koch brothers—they know this. That’s why they’ve spent so much of their time and money trying to take unions out. They call it freedom, but, in reality, they want people to fend for themselves. Alone. They like the current system of winners and losers, and will use their money and power in our economic and political system to keep their power. What they didn’t expect is that working people would see through their facade and overwhelmingly rejected right-wing efforts to divide us and destroy unions.
Despite the Janus case and other court cases (there are now more than 40) designed to strip workers of their freedoms, despite the glossy mailings trying to convince people to drop their union, despite the TV ads and press campaigns to smear unions, the vast majority of educators, nurses, firefighters and other public workers have told DeVos, the Kochs and the other billionaires funding these campaigns: We’re sticking with our union.