Speech | Labor Law · Corporate Greed

Redmond's State of the Unions Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

Washington, D.C.

Thank you, Che’Maiah, for that introduction. And thank you all for being here and for all of you joining the livestream. Welcome to the House of Labor as we kick off Labor Day weekend.

It’s a holiday I look forward to every year.

It’s a day rooted in resistance. The labor movement marched and sacrificed to end child labor. We challenged inhumane working conditions. We created safety standards. We transformed grim, dangerous jobs into good, family-sustaining careers. Industry by industry, unions helped build the middle class.

It’s also a time of year we can reflect on the recent progress working people have made transforming our communities and our country by standing together in unions. 

And it’s a time to take stock of the American labor movement.

When President Shuler and I were tasked to lead this federation two years ago we wanted to create an open and inclusive movement.

A labor movement that was able to connect with all workers—in every sector and in every community in this great country.

A labor movement with women and people of color at the center of everything we do. 

And with working people at the center of the economy and national policy.

We envisioned a movement that would resonate with workers at the start of their working lives, with workers at the end of their careers, and everyone in between.

And President Shuler will be sharing some incredible findings, in just a minute, on how that movement is growing.

Every day more and more working people are finding out that the labor movement is the solution to low wages and unsafe workplaces, to inequality and discrimination. 

That the labor movement is the only institution in America that has the infrastructure and reach to address and vanquish oppression in all its forms…

That working people—standing together and standing up for one another – are an incredible force for progress...at work, in our unions, in our economy and in our democracy. 

President Shuler and I know first-hand the power of a good, union job. It lifted both of our families from a life of poverty and put them on a path to a solid middle-class life.

Those union jobs changed their lives, and changed ours. 

And we want every person to know the power of a good, family-sustaining union job.

That life truly is better in a union. 

Thank you again for joining us today and now it is my pleasure to introduce the president of the AFL-CIO, Liz Shuler.

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