Monday, September 04, 2017 1:00 am
Take Labor Day to reflect on workers' protections
As Labor Day nears, I'm reminded of the freedoms and security that being a member of the Communications Workers of America Local 4900 provides for me and my family.
Recently, my father had a debilitating surgery. Because of the freedom that my union and others have fought for, I could take the necessary time off from my job to care for him.
Regretfully, I'm also reminded that corporations ship our jobs overseas while they accept tax incentives from our communities.
Folks may recall last winter that United Technologies in Huntington announced it will ship 700 jobs to Mexico. This real-life example is a reminder that my job could be next.
This Labor Day, working people are standing together to say that's not right. If we unite together, we can rewrite the rules of the rigged system so that our benefits stay strong, our workplace is safe, our retirement is secure, and the freedom to negotiate a fair rate of return on our work is guaranteed.
Veronica R. Thomas
Loss of labor rights hit city workers hard
We've all seen or felt economic struggle in the past few years. While working families fought to make ends meet, CEO pay skyrocketed. In 2016, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio was an obscene 347 to 1. I thought I was among the lucky because I work for the City of Fort Wayne.
For 34 years, I served this community in my job at Water Maintenance Services. My coworkers and I are the folks who ensure that our drinking water is safe and maintain fire hydrants so they are ready when firefighters are called to serve. You may have seen one of us working into the night to fix a water main break so our schools can open on time.
We are proud to be of service to this community, and we are grateful for the work.
We thought city leaders respected our efforts, and until 2014 we worked together to negotiate a fair rate of return on that work. We had the freedom to unite to ensure we have the right to take time off to be with family when needed or make our voices heard regarding retirement planning.
Thanks to John Crawford and others on City Council, we no longer have those rights. According to Crawford, our workplace freedoms were costing the city millions of dollars, and as it turns out he can't even prove that.
This Labor Day, please stand with us as we ask that City Council re-evaluate this decision. We are only asking for the freedom to provide a secure future for our families.
A day to celebrate working families' freedom
This Labor Day, I'm excited to celebrate the achievements of organized labor.
I've been a proud member of Sheet Metal Workers for 30 years. Standing together in union with my brothers and sisters in the trades gives us the freedom to negotiate a fair return on our work and create a better future for our families.
Union membership is on the rise in Indiana and across the country. We've witnessed members come together to fight for the security that comes with union membership. It's been inspiring to see more and more people take collective action to reclaim their freedom to unite.
It's important to keep this momentum going – to keep pushing for state-of-the-art training at no cost to the members, livable wages, some of the most reliable retirement plans available nationwide, job site safety and rights on the job for all – because for too long, working people have been on the losing end of a rigged economy.
As you celebrate today, remember to take a moment to honor those who have fought for the freedoms of working families that we all enjoy.