Labor Day Message
Happy Labor Day!
The famous adage to call for solidarity, “an injury to one is an injury to all,” is most often used by labor unions in times of struggle, like a dangerous or unfair practice by the boss or during strike. These times of struggle have been occurring across the country. My own home state of Minnesota saw the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Professionals strike last spring for improvements to better meet the needs of students and strengthen their professions and the Minnesota Nurses Association Is on the verge of a strike 15,000 MNA members strong for better patient care. These unions, and those the AFL-CIO identify on their national strike map, have seen injuries on the job, from physical injuries that may come from unsafe staffing in a hospital to damage large class sizes, teacher shortages, and disrespectful pay for paraprofessionals do to teaching and learning. Unions, like these, see that “an injury to one is an injury to all” wraps up both patient and nurse, or educator, student, and family—the kind of common good bargaining the Shanker Institute continues to support.
However, the excitement and work for progress isn’t just coming from these more legacy unions as anyone with any familiarity with Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s, or REI knows. Workers at these companies join workers who write for online and print publications, technology workers, and more in creating a new energy around the right to a collective voice at work, with more than “an injury to one is an injury to all” in mind. The unprecedented contemporary popularity of labor unions, suggests that more workers recognize the truth in a familiar refrain from the late Minnesota US Senator Paul Wellstone, that “we all do better when we all do better.”
As the 2022 Gallup poll measuring the popularity of unions at 71% grew again from the 2021 Gallup poll, which had unions at 68%, this energy and effort to “all do better when we all do better” shows no sign of slowing down. We at the Shanker Institute are here for it. Since our founding, a core priority of the Albert Shanker Institute has been to improve and strengthen the contributions of unions—and build public support for their essential role in a democratic society—as organizations that offer employees a voice, lift living standards, enhance the quality of the institutions they serve and provide the best mechanism for working people to improve the goods they make and the services they deliver.
We will continue to amplify the voices, stories, and collective power of working people through the work we do.
-the ASI Team