By PHILIP J. GRUBER
General Vice President, Midwest Territory
International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers
While you’re enjoying this long weekend in commemoration of Labor Day, can you do me a favor?
Before you and the family head out on that last road trip of the summer. . . Or perhaps while taking in all the sights and sounds of the local parade. . . Maybe after all those delicious hotdogs are off the grill and you and the family are at the picnic table just about ready to dive in. . .
Can you join me in taking a few minutes to say “thank you?”
Thank you to all those in which this day was intended to celebrate.
Thank you to all those whose contributions have no doubt played a vital role in the freedoms and liberties many of us so effortlessly enjoy: weekends, eight-hour workdays, health insurance, retirement benefits, paid sick days, the end of child labor, etc.
Thank you to the American Labor Movement.
While the American worker and our families have quite the road ahead until we can say we’ve achieved economic “justice and equality for all.” (Across the country, Americans are working longer hours for less money and fewer benefits, despite being more productive than ever. Many are finding it more and more difficult to get by and provide for their families, no matter how hard they work. All the while, a handful of CEOs and those who are already rich have seen their salaries and wealth skyrocket.)
Still, there is much to be celebrated.
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST
‘RTW’ IN MISSOURI
In Missouri, a battleground for workers’ rights, we have withstood unprecedented attacks while under the tyrannical reign of Governor Eric Greitens.
From the so-called “right-to-work” law to the rolling back of the minimum wage, Missouri’s working families are fighting for workplace rights, benefits, and protections on behalf of themselves and those who have yet to experience the benefit of being in a union.
Today is a day to honor and to remember.
Enjoy your much-deserved holiday, but let’s not forget. . . the fight goes on.
Let’s not forget that although the working people of Missouri have successfully moved the state one step closer to overturning Gov. Greitens’ attack on workers and their right to join together. . . the fight against so-called “right-to-work” is far from over.
Working families must continue to stand in solidarity.
FIGHTING FOR A HIGHER
The same holds true in the fight for a higher minimum wage.
Justice and fairness in the workplace is a freedom rarely given. It is often fought for.
On this Labor Day, we must pledge to continue to fight.
THIS DAY IS ABOUT MORE
THAN VACATIONS AND PARADES
We must educate our significant others, children and friends about this day. Teach them that today is about more than just vacations, parades and hot dogs.
It’s about acknowledging the significant role of labor unions in our nation’s history.
It’s about recognizing our past and fighting like hell for our future.
It’s about your right to a good job and the ability to provide for you and your family.
It’s about your right to join a union.
Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day.
(Philip J. Gruber is the Midwest Territory General Vice President of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers (IAM). The IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America and represents more than 12,000 Missourians in the automotive industry, Boeing, GKN, ATK, Harley-Davidson and Honeywell. Visit goIAM.org for more information.)