This post originally appeared at Labor's Edge.
With Labor Day around the corner, the California labor movement came together to launch a brand new campaign to help set the record straight on unions. The Working People Standing Together video tells it like it is: Our middle class is stronger when working people have a seat at the table.
How do we know this? We’ve seen the union advantage in California. Working people have access to paid sick days, paid family leave, higher wages, safe buildings built by well-trained union members and a voice in our political process. Not to mention decades of research, including a study on the middle class’ share of income in our nation showing that as union membership decreases, middle-class income shrinks right along with it (as seen in the graph to the left). We know that the times in our nation’s history that have seen economic booms have always been when the middle class is stronger and union representation is high. Our nation suffers when the middle class suffers.
Perhaps at an even more visceral level, we know the middle class today is feeling the pinch. Far too many working families are still struggling to get ahead in today’s economy while billionaire CEOs continue to profit off of soaring income inequality. Our retirement security is under attack. We pay more and more out of pocket for our health insurance and prescription medicine. Young workers are saddled with thousands and thousands of dollars in unprecedented student loan debt. Our nation’s economy may very well be on the mend and reaping in huge profits for the 1%, but working people are being left behind in this recovery.
What’s to be done? It’s simple, really. Working people need a chance to have their voices heard. We need a seat at the table to negotiate with our bosses so that we all share in the profits we help to create. Our unions are the answer. There’s no shortage of examples throughout history. In order to create balance and lasting change in our economy for working people, we need unions. It should be easier to join unions and harder for bosses to bust them. Working people need to feel safe to stand up and demand better working conditions.
One of the ways we can start increasing the number of working people in unions is to spread the word about what unions really are: working people standing together. We need to stop allowing the very people who benefit from a weakened middle class to dominate the conversation about unions.
This Labor Day, take a few minutes to watch and share our video. We may not have a billion dollars in our back pocket to blanket the airwaves with this important message, but we have the same advantage our grandparents had: We have strength in numbers. Show you support working people and their right to a union.
Share the video! Use the hashtag #UnionStrong so we can see and share your posts.
Happy Labor Day, friends!