Blogwatch

Labor Day Should Serve as Reflection on Worker Needs

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The last 18 months have been among the most challenging to hardworking Americans in this century. Many workers, including more than a million Teamsters, kept this country running through the pandemic despite the risks to themselves and far too many paid the ultimate price for their service. This Labor Day, we remember and honor them – and pledge to do better.

There has been real progress that has come out of these darker days thanks to President Biden, his administration and Congress. The passage of broad legislation in March that beefed up retirement security for more than 1 million Americans, expanded availability of personal protection equipment and infused funding for state and local governments to pay their workers and distribute vaccines were tops among the early gains.

And earlier this summer, the Biden administration proposed new “Buy American” rules that would ensure purchases made by the federal government support products manufactured and services provided by American workers, following through on a promise President Biden made when he first took office earlier this year.

But more help is still needed. Now more than any time in recent history, the need for stronger protections that allow working Americans to join together and advocate for safer workplaces and better pay and benefits is paramount. The Teamsters have joined with their union allies to push for passage of the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would restore fairness to the economy at a time when income inequality has stifled the ability of far too many hardworking Americans to earn a decent wage.

The PRO Act will strengthen the 86-year-old National Labor Relations Act so that workers seeking to organize a union and negotiate higher wages and better benefits will be protected. Workers deserve a safe workplace, the ability negotiate better working conditions, and to live a middle-class lifestyle.

Surveys show that workers want unions. However, there is a huge gap between the share of workers with union representation and those that would like to have a union and a voice on the job. So-called right to work is a big reason for that, but the PRO Act would override such state laws that have kept the wages of working Americans down.

For far too long, corporate America has raked in huge profits on the backs of the underpaid and overworked with little to face in consequences. Workers deserve to be rewarded for toiling the long hours they do that keep big businesses in the black.

On Labor Day, let’s not forget the struggle of millions while we barbecue. Instead, let’s ensure they get their fair share.