On behalf of the OPCMIA General Executive Board, I want to wish all OPCMIA members and their families a Happy Labor Day.
I hope you’re able to celebrate the holiday with your loved ones, friends and neighbors. And I also hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on what the labor movement has done for our lives—and for our two great nations.
Everything we often take for granted today—the 40-hour workweek, the weekend, paid holidays, health and pension benefits, workplace safety standards, earn-while-you-learn apprenticeships, the prevailing wage—is thanks to the OPCMIA and the labor movement we are proud to be a part of. As is often said, the labor movement built the middle class—and the stronger unions are, the more the middle class will grow.
Today, the labor movement is more vital—and more popular—than ever. Organizing is taking place at a record pace. Workers are rising up and going on strike when needed to secure their futures, as the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA are doing. And labor is more popular than it has been in more than a generation. For example, a just-released AFL-CIO poll found that:
- More than seven in ten Americans support unions—and this transcends party lines. Some 91 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of Independents and 52 percent of Republicans approve of unions.
- More than three-quarters of Americans support “workers going on strike for better wages, benefits and working conditions.”
- Two-thirds of Americans report having experienced problems in the workplace related to salary or pay, healthcare or retirement benefits, hours or schedule, workplace culture, workplace safety, or discrimination or sexual harassment—and of those, 90 percent say a union could help solve one or more of these problems.
- A majority of voters believe more workers in unions would benefit society at large, compared to just a third saying it would not be better off.
- And perhaps most important, young Americans back unions in record numbers—a whopping 88 percent of people under 30 view unions favorably. That means labor’s future is brighter than ever.
So our job is to turn public opinion into workplace reality. For OPCMIA, that means recruiting more young workers into our apprenticeship programs and aggressively organizing the non-union sector of our crafts at every level. For any and all workers who are underpaid, overworked, undertrained, and unprotected in our crafts, OPCMIA is the answer.
So let’s enjoy Labor Day—and then get out there and make the promise of our union and our movement a reality for thousands upon thousands more!