Since its earliest days the labor movement has sought to improve the quality of work life, create workplace democracy and participate in employer/employee decision-making. The many benefits and protections workers enjoy today never existed until unions won them for working people.
Those benefits include the minimum wage, Social Security payments, an eight-hour day and weekends off, overtime pay, safety standards, holiday pay, health and welfare protection, family and medical leave, grievance and arbitration procedures, pension plans and the advancement of civil rights and human rights.
In the past few years, initiatives designed to lower labor standards, weaken unions and erode workplace protections have been launched. Such far-reaching and mean-spirited structural changes weaken the bargaining power and political influence of organized labor.
As we pay tribute to the worker on Labor Day, let us honor labor leaders and union members committed to social justice and equal economic opportunity for all people. With our voices let us show support of organized labor and necessary measures to strengthen unions.
And in local and national elections let us cast our votes in support of candidates who agree it is unacceptable to treat workers as little more than obstacles in the path to bigger profits.
The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.