As always when we celebrate Labor Day, we have an important responsibility to honor the struggles and sacrifices of those sisters and brothers who secured the rights we enjoy today.
IAM members understand that child labor laws, safe work environments, health care and the eight-hour workday did not come from the benevolence of employers or government. These and many other worker protections are the result of many long hard fights. We must continue the fight to protect the rights those who preceded us secured for our benefit and the benefit of future generations. We have an obligation to pay it forward.
Right now, when we look at the actions of many corporations and right-wing politicians, it is obvious the fight for workers’ rights and human rights is far from over. Right-to-work (for less) laws are either on the books or proposed across the continent. Multi-national corporations are using their financial clout to push thinly veiled anti-worker trade deals, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, down our throats.
But the good news is that we are using our power and working with allies in government and working people everywhere to defeat them. We are mobilizing and engaging younger workers and community groups to join with organized labor to protect and expand the rights our predecessors struggle and sacrificed secured for us. When we are unified and ready to fight, we are capable of great things.
The 39th IAM Grand Lodge Convention is in full swing this Labor Day – there is no better or fitting time for us to gather together and confront the challenges we face. The delegates will be using their voices to send a clear and unequivocal message to those corporations and right –wing politicians who seek to roll back the clock on the middle class – “Not now, not on our watch.” The delegates will also bring a positive message about the future of the IAM to their local lodges, families and communities.
From my family to yours, please have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.