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 — Social Security, an eight-hour workday and weekends off, overtime pay, safety standards, holiday pay, health and welfare protection, family and medical leave, grievance and arbitration procedures and pension plans. Organized labor has also served to advance civil rights and human rights.
The dramatic decline in union membership in the recent years — in large part the result of deliberate, effective and often illegal tactics by employers — has a substantial negative impact on the welfare of all American workers. Today, the crisis for unions is a combination of direct threats from Trump’s agenda and politicians who are hostile to the interests of working people. During the last 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.
Organized labor not only protects and strengthens the rights of union workers, but it is the most powerful voice for fair treatment of all employees and the most effective check on corporate influence in Congress and legislatures across the nation. Just as we paid 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 that it is unacceptable to treat workers as little more than obstacles in the path to bigger profits.
James Kimes, Prescott Valley
Debbie Lesko robocalls
The article by Debbie Lesko championing banning robocalls made me laugh out loud. During the last election cycle, every single day I got a robocall from Ms. Lesko. Finally I called the number back, and of course I got an answering machine. I left a message asking her to please stop robocalling my phone number, as any politician who did that would never get my vote. The following day my phone rang again from Ms. Lesko with the exact same robocall. Perhaps she should practice what she preaches.
Bryan Mihalek, Peoria