When unions put up a fight, all workers benefit

June 19, 2017

This letter to the editor originally appeared in the Boston Globe at www.bostonglobe.com. To read the article there, follow this link.

When unions put up a fight, all workers benefit

By Tyrék D. Lee Sr.
June 18, 2017

WHEN JEFF Jacoby criticizes labor unions as obsolete, he misses a vital point: Organized labor is different today than it was in the 1950s and ’60s (“Sorry, class warriors, but unions aren’t coming back”). Yes, the American workforce is changing. But so are labor unions. Unions represent a diverse workforce in some of our fastest-growing industries.

Workers benefit from organized labor whether they are in a union or not. That’s because we fight for issues relevant to all workers — paid sick time, a living wage, a healthy climate, and affordable health care. As we face an increasingly divided nation, where a handful of Americans take far too much of the economic pie, the people who do the real work need a collective voice to build stronger and more equitable communities. That’s why 1199SEIU is not only Massachusetts’ largest health care union, but also its fastest-growing.

Income inequality is a serious threat to the American dream. The answer to closing this escalating gap isn’t to turn away from unions. Instead, it’s to embrace the economic and social justice issues that we fight for — a sense of basic fairness that benefits all American workers.

Tyrék D. Lee Sr., executive vice president

1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East