Today is seen by most Americans as the end to their long summer holiday season, with the return to major work projects and their children's new school terms right around the corner. But many of us forget to salute the brave workers and their unions, who fought and died for what we now consider normal workplace existence. The 8 hour day was a huge and bitter fight, the weekend off was the same, any kind of grievance procedure, protected wages and benefits - all these were hard fought gains made by folks just like you and me. who decided the time had come to fight back against excessive greed and exploitation. Many victories were won and we enjoy the fruits of those victories even today.
This remains true even after several years of direct assault on workers and their unions by a hard-core right wing partnership between huge employers and their Republican puppets in Congress. These ignorant and often lazy elected officials have spent the last eight years blocking every single pro-worker effort by the Obama administration, healthcare obviously being the main effort. We have seen the GOP repeatedly attempt to repeal Obamacare and now we see their corporate partners, like Humana and Aetna, trying to harm the American people by doing their best to damage this historic program to bring healthcare to millions of working Americans who had not been previously able to see a doctor due to the expense.
Workers and union members must remain vigilant in not only protecting workplaces that have already been unionized, but must continue the Fight for $15 nationwide, as well as directly organizing workers in every single workplace we can. Data from several academic studies in the past weeks has shown that the corporate/right-wing attacks against unions and workers has had a devastating effect on the earnings and economic well-being of the 99%. This must be reversed in order for a real, long-term, widely distributed economic recover to take place.
As we get ready to launch our 6th season of the Workers Unite Film Festival, we are thrilled with the films and the efforts we see all over the world to build worker consciousness, to build worker power and to make all workers understand that it is not somebody with different colored skin, or a different religion, or different sounding last name that is the cause for their feeling powerless and cast aside in this increasingly high tech society. It is directly because of a concerted attack by the 1% ownership class on their existing legal rights to organize into unions, to fight for what is fair and equitable at work and to live lives with dignity and respect for that work, that they have fallen so far behind where they expected to be.
Please send in your films and screenplays so we can keep telling the world about your brave and courageous efforts to fight back against injustice and greed. We have several special events planned for this season - a mobile phone film contest for students and over a week of community outreach with a powerful and touching multi-media production, Every Fold Matters.
More on these projects soon. Enjoy your day off and see you on September 10th at the NYC Labor Day Parade!