Happy Labor Day Weekend!
September 3, 2021
For me, this holiday is a time of reflection and gratitude. My mother passed away when I was young, and my father was put on disability soon after. But because of his union pension, my sister and I continued to have healthcare, a roof over our heads, and food on the table. Without this support as a child, I would not have been able to take advantage of the opportunities that allowed me to be successful today. And thanks to unions and the labor movement, we have weekends, 40-hour work weeks, paid time-off, healthcare, retirement benefits, child labor laws, and occupational safety laws. The reality is that progressive values are human values.
But such benefits have been eroded as Kerry Benninghoff and the GOP press on with their decades-long assault on workers’ rights, championing “right-to-work” laws that undermine the power of working people and directly leading to lower wages, fewer benefits, and greater economic inequality. The percentage of American workers represented by a union has declined by half since the 1980s. And so, despite huge increases in wealth and prosperity for corporations and stockholders, working families face an even greater income disparity thanks to an inability to effectively organize and bargain collectively. We deserve more from our representatives.
I am also reminded that just a month ago, on August 6th, Richard Trumka passed away. A fierce and lifelong advocate for working families as head of the AFL-CIO and United Mine Workers, Richard knew that strong labor unions make a strong America. While his fight has ended, ours must go on. One of my foremost legislative priorities in Harrisburg will be supporting the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and workplace safety.
So on this Labor Day, let us dedicate ourselves to leveling the playing field by strengthening and expanding workers’ rights in Pennsylvania.