A Labor Day Message from Your President
Every year on the first Monday in September, we celebrate Labor Day. It’s a day that gives us an opportunity to reflect on how far working people have come, where we are, and where we need to go to get to a place where everyone who works for a living can afford to live in dignity.
Throughout US history it has been organized labor that has led the way on economic and social justice. We’ve fought against sweatshops and child labor and for the right to collectively bargain over wages, benefits and working conditions. We stood for civil rights in our communities and continue to battle racial, gender and sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. This is the legacy we celebrate on Labor Day.
As state workers in the most populous state in the country, we hold a unique place in the story of labor. We provide quality public services to almost 40 million California residents each and every day. We often are the model for other states with regard to labor standards and workplace practices. By striving to live up to our purpose statement, to give all Californian’s the opportunity to live in sustainable communities and enjoy the fruits of social and economic justice, our efforts have helped our sisters and brothers working in low wage industries fight for better wages, benefits and union representation.
We still have a long road ahead. For the last 50 years middle class workers have seen their wages stagnant as the super wealthy have taken more for themselves. As income inequality has gotten worse, we’ve seen attacks on retirement security, collective bargaining and other workplace rights that created and sustained workers and their families in the past.
This labor day, as you take a chance to celebrate the history of labor, also take a minute to think about what you can do to meet the challenges that lie ahead for all workers in the future.
Yvonne R. Walker
SEIU Local 1000