Strong unions empower working people to fight for justice, fairness, dignity and respect. No matter the challenges that we face, your solidarity will ensure a strong and enduring labor movement for generations to come.
In the New Jersey State AFL-CIO’s new video, "Stay Union, Stay Strong," union members Alicia Abrams, Office and Professional Employees (OPEIU) Local 153; Pat Paradiso, AFT Local 857 president; and Dave Protomastro, Plumbers and Pipe Fitters (UA) Local 24, start the conversation about the importance of unions in the face of the Friedrich’s v. California Teachers Association case, which the U.S. Supreme Court will hear this winter.
To say that the labor movement is under attack underestimates the threat that we face. The Koch brothers and their network of wealthy donors spend hundreds of millions of dollars to influence public policy, contributing heavily to the campaigns of politicians who will do their bidding. The Koch brothers will spend an estimated $889 million in 2016 alone. Their not-so-secret goal is to eliminate unions.
With unions in their crosshairs, the obscenely rich Koch brothers and their allies have contributed to those behind the Friedrichs case, which could undermine public employee unions by limiting their ability to collect dues from the workers they represent. An adverse decision will hurt every sector of the labor movement.
That is why we must stand united to counter the threat of the Koch brothers and moneyed interests. While we cannot underestimate the power of the rich, we must never forget that our collective voice will prevail.
A Koch brothers’ economy would lay waste to a middle-class standard of living, creating a country of the rich for the rich. The labor movement brought us the weekend, safe working conditions, the eight-hour workday, health and retirement benefits and fair pay for a hard day’s work. These are standards we value as union members and must fight to defend.