Monday, September 2, 2019
Good Afternoon Sisters and Brothers of the Plainedge Federation of Teachers,
It's always amazing how fast the summer goes by! It seems like only yesterday I was wishing you all an enjoyable vacation, and now, in less than a week, we will be returning to school. As we once again look forward to enriching the lives of a new group of children, I would like to take a moment and reflect on the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.
Labor Day is the only holiday we celebrate in this country to honor the achievements of working people. For most Americans, it is also the last long weekend off before the end of summer. It's a day to spend time with family and loved ones, as well as an opportunity to gather before the new school year starts. If you happen to be a union member, it's a day to rejoice about our many career benefits that have been fought for over the years through the power of collective bargaining. Unfortunately, for too many Americans, Labor Day is a reminder of how they are working harder, spending more time away from their families, for less money.
A recent survey conducted by the AFL-CIO found that union membership is a key factor in whether a worker has paid time off. One of the major findings of the study was that union members are much more likely to receive overtime pay compared with their nonunion counterparts. For example, 66% of union members report receiving overtime for working on Labor Day, compared with only 38% of nonunion members. Furthermore, the survey found that 79% of union members enjoy access to paid vacation, compared with 68% of nonunion members. Finally, 75% of union members have access to paid sick leave, compared with only 64% of nonunion members. It's clear that by joining together in a union, working people are able to create more family time and have the resources necessary to care for them as well.
As we all enjoy barbecues, parades, and other festivities this upcoming weekend, it's too easy to lose sight that our political and economic adversaries continually push the false narrative that our country can't afford unions. They say that labor unions and collective bargaining are the problem with this country, but we certainly know better. Unions helped build America's middle class, are the voice of hard working Americans, and keep our economy strong. We are and always will be part of the solution. Please take a moment this Labor Day Weekend to let your voice be heard loud and clear on social media, that you support the rights of workers and are a proud union member!
For all their economic and political advantages, the one thing our enemies will never be able to destroy is our solidarity!
I hope that everyone enjoys their Labor Day weekend! I look forward to seeing you all throughout the school year at our many PFT events. In unity!