As we celebrate the important contributions of union workers this Labor Day, I am reflecting on the vitality displayed by our members and the energy of the labor movement this past year. I am reminded of how the unified voice of labor continues to make powerful differences in our communities.
It is a collective energy that is evident on picket lines, in organizing drives and in the solidarity and persistence that makes a real impact whether it is dealing with the lingering effects of COVID-19, reimagining work in an era of new technology or reminding elected officials how we are all lifted by social and economic justice.
Since the last Labor Day, our own union has won a historic organizing victory to represent 17,000 academic workers in California. Most recently, UAW Local 140 organizers in Region 1 won an election at Dakkota Integrated Systems in Hazel Park, Michigan with 100% of the workers voting UAW Yes! It is equally heartening – but not surprising — to see that recent polling has found that 71% of Americans view unions favorably. People are remembering just what gives them a fighting chance at maintaining the workplace gains that lead to the middle class.
Our elected officials have shown increasing support for the issues our active and retired members care about. The recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act as well as the CHIPS and Science Act will both directly benefit UAW members. The Inflation Reduction Act lowers prescription costs and extends health care, invests in climate, energy and manufacturing and taxes corporations and the superrich. CHIPS keeps our members working by addressing the severe semiconductor shortage that has plagued too many of our sectors. It is our union’s advocacy that keeps the elected officials accountable, and we have a President in the White House who both listens and then acts to improve the lives of active and retired UAW members.
This year we also celebrate the 87th birthday of our great union. A union that has endured a World War, multiple changes in technologies, corporate bankruptcies, recessions, and far too many anti-union U.S. Presidents. Despite these and other challenges, our union endures and continues to make a difference in the lives of so many. The events of the past few years have cast a dark shadow over our union, but we are emerging – stronger, more transparent, and more unified than ever. I am excited by the promise of the days ahead.
These are important considerations as we celebrate Labor Day. It is the considerable toughness shown by our members and working men and women everywhere that really make it something to celebrate today and every day.
Have a happy and safe Labor Day!
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