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Cause for optimism on Labor Day

There’s cause for fresh optimism this Labor Day as working people increasingly stand up for their rights. Photo credit: Terrell Hasley
By Lee Saunders ·

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt of a column published in Newsweek. Read the full column here.

Working people have been through the wringer these last few years. A devastating public health crisis has demanded more and more of us, but we’ve very often gotten less and less in return. As we prepare for Labor Day 2022, however, there is cause for hope and optimism.

The hardships of the pandemic have lit a fire under working people, who are organizing with momentum we haven’t seen in years. From Amazon to Starbucks, from women’s soccer players to some of the nation’s most prominent museums, in the private sector and in public service, workers are standing up to the boss and demanding justice, refusing to be intimidated and building power in numbers.

This energy is coming from the bottom-up, often led by young people in workplaces that haven’t traditionally been organized. In many cases, workers are overcoming ruthless union-busting campaigns to claim their voice on the job and seat at the table.

Growing numbers of people are discovering the union difference – the way it increases your paycheck, secures your retirement and strengthens your community. Public approval of labor unions is on the rise, reaching 71% according to a new Gallup poll — that’s the highest level since 1965.

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