Carry the Spirit of Labor Day Throughout the Year
As the BBQ smoke clears, here's some practical advice for supporting the labor movement with your everyday choices.
Union Iron Workers celebrate Labor Day on a custom made parade float -- Justin Merriman/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Last Monday, America took the day off to celebrate worker’s contributions to the strength and prosperity of our country amid a growing sense of urgency. Labor Day is more relevant than it has been in decades. A revived labor movement is gaining momentum (according to Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, over 320,000 workers have participated in Labor Actions this year). The recent wins provide plenty of reasons to celebrate. But as the BBQ smoke clears, we look towards the challenges ahead.
What can everyday people do to help? A lot. Here are some practical steps you can take to carry the spirit of Labor Day throughout the rest of the year.
Educate Yourself and Others
Familiarize yourself with labor issues. Follow and subscribe to publications that report on these issues. Start with our newsletter. Ignorance allows the Fat Cats to continue exploiting workers and consumers alike. For example, in New York City, a lack of awareness about the disparity in quality between union-built and non-union built buildings has caused a race to the bottom that harms everybody.
Choose Union-Made Products
Whether you're buying a pair of shoes, a bottle of booze, or high end real estate, make a conscious choice to buy items made by union labor. There are tools that list companies and products made by union workers, making it easier for you to vote with your dollars.
Ask Your Realtor “who built this building?”
If you’re in the market for a new home, ask your realtor “who built this building?” Making union-built construction a selling point not only benefits you by ensuring you get the highest quality construction, it also sends a message to developers about consumer priorities.
Support Union Shops and Contractors
Next time you're in the market for a renovation or repair, hire a contractor that employs union labor. You will get the highest quality work from craftsmen at the top of their trade. And you may save money at the same time.
Support Political Candidates Who Advocate for Union Rights
Labor-friendly politicians like Jessica Ramos, Francisco Moya and Leticia James are critical to crafting and passing legislation to benefit unions and workers. Some recent examples include Carlos’ Law and The Wage Theft bill. During election seasons, lend your support to those candidates who actively support unionization and workers' rights.
By supporting union labor in your everyday decisions, you are contributing to a future where everyday is a celebration of workers' rights, fair pay, and quality craftsmanship. That's how we honor the spirit of Labor Day—all year long.
Mark Colangelo is a writer and blogger.
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