Executive Director’s Message: June 2018

This month’s message is the second in a series of messages that discuss the history of the Labor movement.

In last months message I asked the question, “have you ever asked yourself, why unionize?” and provided you with the simple basic answer, “workers were faced with many difficulties in the work place such as unsanitary working conditions, long hours, unsafe working conditions, low pay, injury on the job resulting in dismissal with no income and to make matters worse child labor” and provided a brief history of the Labor movement.

Throughout history there have been numerous accomplishments as a result of the labor movement and organized labor. None of these achievements would have been possible without the organization, hard work, countless efforts, and continued advocacy of our Sisters and Brothers over many years.

The following is a short list of major achievements over the past century resulting from organized labor:

  • An end to child labor
  • Establishment of the legal right of workers to form unions and collectively bargain over wages, hours, benefits and other terms and conditions of employment
  • Establishment of the eight (8) hour work day and paid overtime
  • Workers’ compensation benefits for workers injured on the job
  • Unemployment insurance for workers who lose their jobs
  • A guaranteed minimum wage
  • Improvements in workplace safety and the reduction of job fatalities
  • Pensions for workers
  • Social Security
  • Health care insurance for workers and their families
  • Paid sick leave, vacations, and holidays as standard benefits for most workers
  • The right for public sector workers to collectively bargain (MMLB)
  • The passage of the Civil Right Acts and Title VII which outlaws job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin
  • The passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act
  • The passage of the Family Medical Leave Act
  • Gender equality – equal pay for equal work – and the write to sue over the same

We must not forget the past and continually look ahead and work towards the future. The only way that is possible is if we band together and continue to seek fairness for all.