Political extremism has become the norm in America. Constant conflict is cheered and polarizing ideas are reinforced, while conscience-driven compromise is dismissed as weakness. Defamatory mistruths and repugnant rhetoric are hurled from every direction and echoed across social media. We simply don’t listen to each other.
Hateful and divisive rhetoric spewed by too many politicians has created an atmosphere where the abhorrent has become almost mainstream, paving the way for ideologically driven, fatal violence across our country.
This complete and utter breakdown of civil discourse in America is a threat to our very democracy, and it must stop.
The labor movement has a special responsibility to challenge and reject the current state of affairs. Our movement was created more than 130 years ago by a small group of workers looking to create systemic change at work and more broadly in society. Throughout our long history, we’ve used our position as America’s diverse coalition of working families to beat back attempts to divide and destroy us. Unions bring people together.
The labor movement pledges to be the leading voice out of this dark period in our nation’s history. We pledge a commitment to real social dialogue. Our country has reached an inflection point. We must navigate the enormity of this challenge wisely, and working people are determined to be part of the solution.
We understand better than anyone the urgency of this moment. We are on the front lines, healing the wounds and picking up the pieces. We show up in times of crisis and celebration. From disaster relief to philanthropy, from education and skills training to civic engagement, we are the community. We are inherent uniters, bringing people from all walks of life together around the issues we all have a stake in: better wages, quality, affordable health care, safe workplaces and a voice on the job.
Our values are American values. We set the standard for passionate disagreement that ends in principled compromise. Every day, employers and union workers in America sit across from each other and negotiate a mutually agreed-upon solution. Neither side gets everything it wants, but the exercise itself strengthens our common bonds and shows there is more that unites us than divides us.
As members of our unions and our communities, we pledge to help drive America forward. We pledge to appeal to “the better angels of our nature,” as President Lincoln taught us during our movement’s founding era. We pledge to show every corner of our beloved country that the value of solidarity can lead us all to a better place and a better future.