Photo By: 

Happy Labor Day from the UCOMM Family

Union leaders explain the importance of Labor Day to their members

Kris LaGrange's picture
Aug 29, 2019

Below are some messages that union leaders from a variety of crafts put together for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. These messages resonate no matter what you do for a living so its worth the read.

From our family to yours, have a safe and Happy Labor Day and always keep this holiday's true meaning in both your thoughts and speech. In Solidarity- Kris LaGrange

Happy Labor Day from the Plainedge Federation of Teachers

As we once again look forward to enriching the lives of a new group of children, I would like to take a moment and reflect on the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.
Labor Day is the only holiday we celebrate in this country to honor the achievements of working people. For most Americans, it is also the last long weekend off before the end of summer. It's a day to spend time with family and loved ones, as well as an opportunity to gather before the new school year starts. If you happen to be a union member, it's a day to rejoice about our many career benefits that have been fought for over the years through the power of collective bargaining. Unfortunately, for too many Americans, Labor Day is a reminder of how they are working harder, spending more time away from their families, for less money.
A recent survey conducted by the AFL-CIO found that union membership is a key factor in whether a worker has paid time off. One of the major findings of the study was that union members are much more likely to receive overtime pay compared with their nonunion counterparts. For example, 66% of union members report receiving overtime for working on Labor Day, compared with only 38% of nonunion members. Furthermore, the survey found that 79% of union members enjoy access to paid vacation, compared with 68% of nonunion members. Finally, 75% of union members have access to paid sick leave, compared with only 64% of nonunion members. It's clear that by joining together in a union, working people are able to create more family time and have the resources necessary to care for them as well.
As we all enjoy barbecues, parades, and other festivities this upcoming weekend, it's too easy to lose sight that our political and economic adversaries continually push the false narrative that our country can't afford unions. They say that labor unions and collective bargaining are the problem with this country, but we certainly know better. Unions helped build America's middle class, are the voice of hard-working Americans, and keep our economy strong. We are and always will be part of the solution. Please take a moment this Labor Day Weekend to let your voice be heard loud and clear on social media, that you support the rights of workers and are a proud union member!
For all their economic and political advantages, the one thing our enemies will never be able to destroy is our solidarity!
I hope that everyone enjoys their Labor Day weekend!  In unity! - Perry Fuchs, President, Plainedge Teachers Federation (PFT)

Happy Labor Day from  SCCEA
Although summer officially ends this year on September 23, Labor Day traditionally marks the unofficial end to summer.  Vacations are over and the kids are going back to school.  Labor Day is more than just part of another three day weekend, however.  It is a day when we celebrate the labor movement.

The labor movement in the United States grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers. For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable work hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired.

Believe it or not, the earliest recorded labor strike occurred in 1768 when tailors from New York protested a reduction in their wages. Today, some 250 years later, labor continues to fight for the working people. We are blessed to be the beneficiaries of what the labor movement has accomplished over the last 250 years but the fight for the rights of the men and women of labor continues. Big business (led by the Koch brothers) and some Government leaders are doing all that they can to strip away what labor has accomplished through their blood, sweat, and tears. The anti-labor movement is very strong and growing.

Currently, for example, there are 27 Right to Work (anti-union) states in the United States. Another recent blow to labor was the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court Decision which abolished agency shop fees. Lastly, in New York State we have a legislature trying to push a single-payer health care system that will do away with Health Insurance Plans provided for by the Employer, eliminating a benefit that was collectively bargained for. These are just a few examples of the anti-labor sentiment that can be heard and seen throughout our country.

This Labor Day I urge all of our members to take a moment to think about the men and women who fought the good fight for labor over the last 250 years. I also ask you to consider getting more involved with your union so that we can continue to fight the good fight with our brothers and sisters of labor nationwide and around the state. It was that solidarity that led to the defeat of the Constitutional Convention movement a couple of years ago. Do not be apathetic, become more informed, come to membership meetings, come to our dinner dance, know what your benefits are and learn more about your union. Together we are UNION STRONG. -Bill Dobbins, President of the Suffolk County Court Employees Association

Happy Labor Day from IBEW Local 97

I would like to take a minute to wish all of our Local 97 members a Happy Labor Day. On Monday, we celebrate the workers, those who show up each and every day to do their jobs. While Labor Day is often celebrated as the end of summer and the beginning of school, it is also a good day to remember those who fought for our rights. Good pay, good benefits, and strong safety standards weren't given to us by a benevolent boss, rather they were fought for by generations of union members like yourselves. For decades, IBEW members have fought hard to transform our dangerous jobs into a career that provides a middle-class lifestyle for our members.

As IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson said "From the start, the IBEW has led the battle for rights and dignities of workers in the United States and Canada. Not just for our wages, but also for our benefits and retirement. This gives us a stronger middle class and helps create the kind of lives we all deserve to live. On this holiday, let's salute those who came before us, and remember, it's up to everyone in the IBEW to keep that spirit alive."  
On Monday, as you are celebrating with your kids, your family, and your friends, take a moment and let them know that this is all possible thanks to the hard work of union members both past and present. I hope that everyone has a Happy, Safe, and Fun Labor Day, you deserve it. -Ted Skerpon, Business Manager IBEW Local 97 Syracuse

Sign up for our e-Newsletter!