This Labor Day, a year and a half into a global pandemic, twelve years into a minimum wage of $7.25 and decades into growing income inequality in this nation. Isn’t it time?
Isn’t it time to not just honor the workers who make our society work with a holiday but also with better wages and working conditions that create a more just community?
During the last year and a half, we have seen things get worse for working people. Frontline workers have had their health and safety put at risk while the top 1% have seen their wealth grow by billions. (Inequality and Covid-19 – Inequality.org)
There is a lot of talk about “building back better” and a “just recovery” but does that include building an economy good for workers? We have the opportunity to build an economy that is more just and sustainable coming out of this crisis. We can’t let another Labor Day go by without taking action to support working people.
We can start by making our voice heard about three federal public policies that are foundational to a recovery that begins to truly recognize and meet the needs of the working class.
- We must Raise the Minimum Wage. The minimum wage has been $7.25 for twelve long years, while the cost of living has risen significantly across the nation and the cost of housing alone has nearly doubled for many. Check out this video about the federal Raise the Wage Act and take action to raise the minimum wage here.
- We must pass the Pro Act. The voice of and for workers has been continually drowned out and undervalued. We must do better and honor the dignity of all workers by lifting up their voices. The Pro Act is a federal policy that removes barriers to joining a union and having the voice of workers heard. You can view a one minute video about the PRO Act here and take action here.
- Finally, if this year and a half has taught us anything, it has taught us that we need to care for each other better, and we need Paid Family Leave. We all need time off from work when we have a severe illness that extends beyond our typical sick time, when it is time to care for a child after birth or adoption, or to care for a close family member during a severe illness. We are closer than ever to joining every other industrialized nation in the world besides one in adopting some form of paid family leave. Check out this video and take action here to raise your voice about paid family leave.
This Labor Day, let us stop for a moment and take a look around. Let’s recognize all of the people that make our life work, from our grocery store clerk to our doctors, from our children’s teachers to our postal clerk or delivery driver. Let us take time to truly see our neighbors and honor the work they do. Let us also take action and be a part of building the type of economic community where all work is honored and all people are valued. It is past time and we can’t wait anymore.