On this Labor Day, 2023, the Shanker Institute reposts AFL-CIO President and Shanker Board Member Liz Shuler's "Inaugural State of the Unions Address" as prepared for delivery on August 29, 2023.
Good morning, everyone!
To our union family and friends here in the House of Labor, and everyone watching along: Thank you for being part of this new Labor Day tradition.
Every year, we’re going to come together and talk about where working people stand in this country.
The story we’re going to share with you today, at this inaugural State of the Unions, is our story as working people. It’s the story of a number — 88% — which I’ll come back to in a few minutes.
But first I want to reflect on what we just heard from our speakers here today.
Every day, I travel this country and I talk to workers — workers in unions, of course, but also working people who aren’t yet part of a union. And this is what I hear from them:
I don’t feel good about my future.
I need to make more money. I need a stable job. I wish I could afford a home. I wish I had some power over my work and my life right now.
There is a reason that song, Rich Men North of Richmond, is the number one song in the country right now. For a long time, working people in this country have felt powerless. They’ve been powerless.
But here is the truth we’re going to talk about today:
Working people are reclaiming our power.
Working people are taking on the companies that have exploited us for a long time now.
The State of the Unions is on the rise.