Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This year, we’ve seen unprecedented efforts by working people across California, whether it’s workers fighting for the right to unionize their workplaces or workers striking for fair wages, improved working conditions, and a better future for their families. As we get ready to celebrate Labor Day, check out the various Labor Day events and actions happening across California tomorrow!
We have a special opportunity to show up and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are fighting for fair contracts at the bargaining table and on the picket line. This Labor Day, we invite you to be part of a movement that’s stronger when we’re all standing together as one, fighting rising income inequality, fighting the attacks on our retirement security, fighting the bosses and politicians that want to replace our jobs with robots, and demanding basic dignity and respect for all workers.
As we come off the heels this Hot Labor Summer, there’s no denying—it’s truly a new day for Labor. UPS drivers recently secured a historic contract, successfully rolling back two-tier provisions. Autoworkers at the Big 3 demonstrated their commitment by voting overwhelmingly (97%) to authorize a strike if a fair contract isn’t reached. Starbucks baristas winning union elections and urging their company to abide by labor laws and come to the negotiation table. Meanwhile, hotel workers in Los Angeles are taking to the streets to demand wages that enable them to live in the very communities they serve. Amazon workers continue their battle with the world’s wealthiest corporation, advocating for the right to collectively bargain. In the entertainment industry, unions are standing strong on the picket line, fighting to preserve good jobs in a fast-changing industry.
For decades we have seen politicians reluctant to stand with workers or be seen as pro-union. Today, the hottest place to be seen is on the picket line. Strikes have always been about justice, not popular opinion, but strikes are polling off the charts. The public overwhelmingly sides with the writers and the actors against the studios and sees unions as a force for good.
While strikes may demand significant sacrifices, workers should never have to endure hunger, homelessness, or bankruptcy due to temporary unemployment. Right now, California prohibits striking workers from accessing unemployment insurance benefits that they’ve rightfully earned. It’s high time we change this draconian loophole. Other states, such as New Jersey and New York, have already taken this crucial step.
Employers are well aware that their economic advantage peaks when striking workers deplete their savings. They hope that economic desperation will force workers to give in, returning to work without substantial gains. A studio executive, speaking anonymously to Deadline, openly admitted to this strategy, stating, “Allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.” California, however, does not need to empower bosses to pursue such a cruel agenda.
The California Legislature has the opportunity right now to support legislation #SB799 to provide striking workers with unemployment insurance, but corporations across every industry are working to block this important bill from moving forward. Post on social media why YOU support striking workers receiving unemployment benefits with the hashtags #WeEarnedIt and #SB799.
This Labor Day, let’s fight for our fair share and demand our elected representatives stand working people, rather than siding with the bosses.
Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher