By Philip Hamilton on August 30, 2017
While for many it’s an extended weekend, we must not forget that Labor Day is the time to continue our push for worker rights, and the rights of vulnerable communities in the United States. Across the country UUSC partners, pro-worker organizations, and communities are coordinating events and actions to celebrate the contributions of low-wage workers and to call on elected officials to support worker rights.
With the election of Donald Trump, many low-wage workers are facing increasing discrimination and attacks on their rights in the work force, which makes this Labor Day weekend even more important. From the spread of right-to-work laws, that seek to undercut funding for unions, to employers reporting employees advocating for their rights to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), there have been numerous instances of efforts to undermine workers organizing and increasingly criminalize communities of color.
In this context, UUSC’s Economic Justice Program is responding by partnering, as part of Love Resists with grassroots worker centers and worker-led organizing groups in rural parts of the country where immigrants, Latinx individuals, Muslims, and other people of color are particularly at risk.
Here are just a few of the actions that we’re keeping our eye on this Labor Day weekend:
UUSC’s partner Make the Road PA is helping to organize four marches/direct actions across Pennsylvania on Monday, September 4 to demand an economy that works “for the many, not the few.” The events are aiming to push back against efforts to crack down on worker organizing, as well as the worker movement to improve wages and working conditions, and calls on people to march with the workers organizing “for their rights and future”. These rallies will be taking place in Allentown, Erie, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre, Penn.
If you live in the Boston, Massachusetts-area, a group of organizations including Raise Up Massachusetts, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, and others are hosting a rally and march to Copley Square on Monday, September 4. The rally and march are calling not only for a $15 per hour minimum wage, but also for union rights, as the action aims to center the demand for unions in the national dialogue.
No matter where you live, you can support the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) in your community and congregation through their Labor in the Pulpits resources. Their Labor Day worship resource guide includes information including supplemental readings, background on the Fair Food Program campaign, and sermon talking points so you can show your support for CIW in your congregations this Labor Day weekend.
In addition, you can take part in Alliance for Fair Food’s (AFF) Wendy’s Boycott pledge by downloading the photo template and uploading them to your congregation’s social media with the hashtag #BoycottWendys. If you participate in the photo boycott pledge, send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org to share your photos with the national AFF network.
If you are participating in or hosting a Labor Day weekend action in your community or congregation, please tag UUSC on social media to show your support for worker rights and economic justice!