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Lincoln Daily News
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The labor movement (unions) brought us Labor Day

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To the editor:

For many of us in the labor movement, Labor Day is a time to have picnics and rallies and be with the family. It is also a time to reflect on the sacrifices of those U.S. workers who came before us, especially those who lost their lives in the fight for justice at the workplace.

In 1893, New York City workers took an unpaid day off from work to march around Union Square in support of a national Labor Day. Then President Grover Cleveland signed legislation making the first Monday in September Labor Day.

Labor unions are made up of working people working together to solve problems, build stronger workplaces and give working families a real voice. Unions give workers a voice on the job about safety, and to negotiate their own pay and benefits, like health care and pensions, and the best way to get the work done. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for year 2010, union workers earned 28 percent more each week than nonunion workers.

The union wage benefit is even greater for minorities and women. Union women earn 34 percent more than nonunion women. African-American union workers earn 31 percent more than nonunion women. Latino union workers earn 51 percent more than nonunion women.

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Union workers are 84 percent more likely to have health care benefits, compared with 64 percent of nonunion workers. In addition, 78 percent of union workers are more likely to have a defined benefit pension, compared with 19 percent of nonunion workers.

Unions give working people a voice in government. They represent working families before lawmakers and make sure politicians never forget that working families voted them into office.

The record is 100 percent crystal clear that labor unions are great for America. The proof is in the statistics. Therefore, join a union. Thank God for labor unions, because they help bring the lower-wage income families into the middle-class income families. Let us never forget that the labor movement (unions) brought us Labor Day!

In solidarity,

Rick Vitatoe
Executive officer
Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union
and Indiana State AFL-CIO vice president

[Posted September 04, 2012]

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