For generations of Americans, building strength and power through unions made the American Dream a reality. But after decades of attacks by anti-worker politicians and the big corporations who pay them, that dream has become harder and harder to reach.
Now, our union contracts are more important than ever. In our rapidly changing economy, factory jobs are being replaced by healthcare jobs, but many of them don’t pay enough for working people to support their families. Just like factory workers made their jobs good jobs by building strong unions to bargain fair contracts, we have to make all healthcare jobs good, family supporting jobs by standing together in our union.
“Nearly all my co-workers have recommitted to our union by signing a new membership card and COPE contributions,” said Stephanie Cole, a CNA at Hamilton Arms nursing home in Lancaster, Pa. “Having a strong union makes sure we are heard; that issues important to us as healthcare workers and nursing home workers — like cuts to Medicaid — are being discussed by our legislators. Other states have passed laws to take away unions. It’s real, it’s happening, and we’re next if we don’t stand up and fight.”
America needs unions — it’s the only way working people have ever gotten ahead in this country.
That’s why thousands of union members here in Pennsylvania — from Pittsburgh to Wilkes-Barre to Philadelphia — turned out in record numbers to take back Labor Day and show our strength. And to make sure we’re heard loud and clear, tens of thousands of SEIU members and Fight for $15 workers pledged to volunteer 40 hours of our time — to symbolize the work week workers won through unions — ahead of the 2018 elections in an unprecedented effort to engage our friends and neighbors who have given up on the political process and turn them out in support of candidates who back a progressive social and economic justice agenda.
“All working people are under pressure from big corporate bosses and anti-worker politicians who want to intimidate us and divide us so they can call all the shots,” said Lou Berry, a housekeeper at UPMC Montefiore in Pittsburgh. “That’s why it’s so important that we were out all over the country on Labor Day. Showing that there are more of us than there are of them and we aren’t scared. We know we’re stronger when we stand up together than when we’re alone.”