Brothers and sisters,
For many Americans, Labor Day simply signifies the end of summer, beginning of the school year or is viewed as a day off from work. For those of us involved in organized labor, it means more. However, and whenever you are able to celebrate Labor Day, I ask that you take time to educate those around you of how this country’s labor movement impacted the working conditions for EVERYONE in this nation.
What this holiday is emblematic of is the celebration of the core values of SMART-TD and all Americans who built this country’s blue-collar middle class. The contributions of the labor community keep that dream alive in this country today. Labor Day is a chance to reflect on the achievements of our predecessors whose efforts provided the pathway to lives where the work you are willing to do ideally reflects your quality of life. With that in mind, we ask that you and your family recognize that the fight is never over and intensify your support for those engaged in labor fights.
Today has been made better by the men and women who came before us. It’s a disservice if we take the inroads they made for granted. This holiday weekend, I ask that we commit as union brothers and sisters to do two things.
First, we should reflect on these men and women who fought before and are fighting now. It strengthens this union and labor as a whole when we take the time to learn about labor history. Perspective is a powerful tool. The collective power of union solidarity is as important to our lives today as it was to workers in the 1800s. The stands we make against the greed of management are the same fights that have gone on for hundreds of years.
Second, this weekend is an opportunity for us engaged in the struggle to take inventory of whether our commitment to our union is proportionate to what those who laid the groundwork before us have done. Child labor laws, minimum wages, the sanctity of healthcare being part of the compensation for our labor WERE NOT GIVEN TO US. Blood was spilled to make these things possible.
Paying monthly dues provide membership in a union, but getting involved and living as good stewards of this legacy is what ignites and creates a community. These communities are what establish world-changing action.
Will you join the fight? Your union and our country need your voice and your talents. We are facing a large-scale resurgence of class warfare that threatens to erase the historic gains and protections the labor movement has earned.
The world we live in provides many challenges to all of us in the labor movement. We need every one of our proud members to be engaged in order to better the lives of all. Let us keep the trails that were blazed by our predecessors clear, open, and accessible to all. Be sure that the path to prosperous working-class lives is not enveloped by greed and exploitation.
Please stay safe this holiday weekend!
Jeremy R. Ferguson,
President, Transportation Division