It's Time to March! A Message from New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO President Vincent Alvarez
Labor Day is a time to reflect on who we are as working people, what we’ve achieved together, and the challenges that lie ahead. When we organize, we make it possible for workers to demand family-sustaining wages, health care, retirement security, and a meaningful voice in the workplace. In doing so, we raise the floor for all workers, both union and non-union.
But today, our nation’s labor movement is under attack by those who would like to see us silenced.
There’s no doubt we’ve seen setbacks, including recent Supreme Court decisions that were the result of a decades-long effort by corporate elites to destroy the infrastructure of the labor movement, and protect an economic system that leaves working people out of the prosperity we help to create.
Why are these powerful groups, including the Koch-funded Freedom Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, so desperate to stop organized labor? It could be because they know that 62% of Americans approve of unions, and that most Americans would join a union if they could.
Maybe they can’t sleep knowing there’s been an upswing in union membership in recent years, with tens of thousands of workers choosing to join unions in just one week last spring.
Or maybe it’s even more terrifying to them that workers age 35 and under are the main component of that surge in union membership. Last year, nearly 860,000 workers under 35 were hired, and nearly a quarter of those were union jobs.
They have good reason to be concerned. When workers stand together and fight together, we can’t be stopped. We’re fighting back now. Unions across New York City are engaging their members in new and innovative ways, developing tools to recruit and support new member leaders, and building worker power from the inside out.
Just as importantly, we’re harnessing the grassroots energy that’s risen in response to these attacks, and channeling it into canvasses, phone banks, and other mobilization efforts in support of candidates who will fight for workers’ rights and build an America that works for all of us.
This is a critical moment for the labor movement, and how we respond will shape the lives of working people for years to come. We believe that New York City unions and working families are up to the challenge, and tomorrow, we’ll march together in the nation’s oldest and largest Labor Day Parade to show the world that New York City is, has always been, and always will be a Union Town.
We'll see you on 5th Avenue!