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Local 494: Remember union contributions to the middle class this Labor Day

Dean Warsh is business manager and financial secretary of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 494

On Labor Day, we pay tribute to the working Americans who are the backbone of our economy and the foundation of our strength.

Men and women over generations have built the middle class and advanced progress and prosperity for hard-working families, fighting to secure the 40-hour workweek, fair wages and overtime, workplace safety, family leave and the right to collective bargaining. We are also proud of the workers at Colectivo who voted to unionize. Across our country, working people are coming together and demanding change. Workers are organizing in unions for safety, respect and fundamental rights on the job.

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act will finally level the playing field and empower working people. The delays and obstacles to forming a union that Colectivo workers faced demonstrate the need for the U.S. Senate to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to modernize our labor law. We need to have the PRO Act passed, to strengthen collective bargaining, give workers the power to override ‘right to work’ laws, and stop employers from meddling in union elections.

I ask that as you celebrate this Labor Day, take a moment to remember all those generations of Americans that this day was created to recognize. All those workers who have made a country that remains a beacon of accomplishments and as importantly, all those ready for the next big job as we move America forward. As Joe Biden has said, “I believe that the middle class-built America, but I know who built the middle class; unions. Unions built the middle class.”

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