OPINION: When Labor unions win, working families prosper

Missouri House Minority Leader
Democratic candidate for governor

Growing up, my single mom worked double and sometimes triple shifts at the local diner to support me and my brother. I’d do my homework at the counter, help wrap silverware, fill ketchup bottles, and do whatever else I could. It wasn’t daycare, but it was a safe place for us when childcare was out of reach.

This is not really an unusual scene to many Missourians. It wasn’t until my mom married my dad and we had a second income from his factory job, that we were able to reach the Middle Class. It’s because of that factory job that I was able to be the first in my family to graduate from high school, and then graduate from college.

My family’s story is like so many other Missouri families. We know a good-paying job with good benefits can change the trajectory of a family. Labor unions have fought for decades to bring Missouri families those jobs. Here in Missouri, and across the country, we’re seeing workers across industries continuing the fight to live and work with dignity. Unions are standing up for  workers while multinational corporations are making record profits and paying stockholders, rather than rewarding those who are creating the company’s wealth.

When I think about what we’re fighting for, I’m thinking about all of the people who I’ve met on my trips to the picket line with UAW 2250 in Wentzville. The man who couldn’t get approved time off for all three of his children’s weddings. The man who told me that he was making more in 2009 when the Chrysler plant closed than he’s making now. The man who had to move from Ohio when his local factory closed and how it took four years for his wife to be able to follow him. These men and women are continuing the tradition of Labor unions standing up for workers, getting us the 40-hour work week, increasing workplace safety standards across industries, and holding accountable greedy CEOs who have lost touch with their employees trying to make it to the next paycheck.

Our Labor unions and their members are fighting for an economy that works for everyone, and we owe them our unwavering support.

I’m proud to be endorsed by the Missouri AFL-CIO in my race for governor, and I’m proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with workers because I know what it’s like to have to choose which bills to pay at the end of the month.

When healthcare workers strike for better pay and against staffing shortages, we all benefit with better care, better service, and more lives being saved.

When autoworkers say they want safer conditions in their workplace, they’re making workplaces across the country safer for all of us.

When UPS Teamsters won important wage increases and safety and health protections, our entire economy grew stronger because those drivers are being paid what they deserve.

Across the country, a new generation of workers are seeing what unions can do and the power of collective bargaining. Interest in unionizing workplaces continues to grow, support for striking workers is higher than ever and the momentum that Labor unions are building will make our state and our country a better place for all of us.

In 2018 Missouri voters showed how strongly they support Labor unions by soundly defeating the legislature’s attempt to make Missouri a so-called “right-to-work” state. Yet, those same politicians who pushed that disastrous idea are still in power today, including every other major candidate for governor – Bill Eigel, Jay Ashcroft and Mike Kehoe. Each of these men, time and again, has made clear through either statements or votes that they do not support the union rights of Missouri’s workers. We can’t sit back and let the momentum that’s been built, that continues to grow, be extinguished by anti-union politicians.

I grew up knowing what hard work looks like, I’m the daughter of a factory worker and a diner waitress, not the latest generation of a political dynasty. I’ll continue to support Missouri’s Labor unions as I always have, and I urge every working Missourian to do the same. When workers stand together, we win.

(Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) is the Missouri AFL-CIO-endorsed candidate for governor in next year’s election. To donate to her campaign and learn how you can help, visit secure.actblue.com/donate/quadewebsite.)

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