Turning Emotion into Action: Our Fight Back
We are all experiencing a range of emotions as we continue to process the outcome of the election and the reality that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. As Thanksgiving approaches we have an important moment to spend time with family, friends and neighbors to understand and share with those close to us what this outcome could mean for our lives.
When we think back to what we heard from President-elect Trump during his campaign, we anticipate attacks on our ability to join together in unions to have a voice at work and low wages for millions of workers already struggling to make ends meet for our families no matter how hard or how long we work. Millions of families, seniors, and people with disabilities could see their healthcare taken away by a President-elect who promises to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid which also puts millions of healthcare jobs at risk. Communities of color face increased criminalization and disenfranchisement and millions of immigrant families fear being tracked and torn apart. Entire communities of Muslims, refugees and others are living with the very real threat of a having to sign-up for a registry and being blocked from entering the US. Communities that already struggle to breathe and thrive in the face of climate change and pollution emitted by unchecked greedy corporations could see all of their protections taken away.
These new threats come as working families and our communities already face a decades-long attack in the face of corporate greed that has kept wages low — despite record profits — and blocked opportunities for working people, our families and our communities to get ahead. Jobs that were once good paying, middle-class jobs — like those in airports or higher education — no longer are because of government deregulation and de-unionization of entire sectors of our economy.
At a time when the threats are so real and those that make them have all branches of federal power on their side, we can find strength in the power that we still have, a power that can never be taken away, the power of collective action and joining together to make the seemingly impossible possible.
We are not strangers to fighting back in the face of painful set backs. Our union was born almost 100 years ago by flat janitors who believed in the power of joining together. And now almost a century later, we are two million strong and together we have made change and improved our families’ lives. Just think about what we have done in the past four years alone through the Fight for $15 movement. Together, we have made $15 a national standard, helped more than 10 million workers win raises, moved cities and states to a $15 minimum wage and punctured the national consciousness around the wide-spread unjust practice of large corporations under-paying their workers which keeps our economy and society from thriving.
We know many Americans are hurting, angry and anxious in an economy that still is not working for so many of us. The reality of continuously shrinking avenues to join the middle class and increased stifling of opportunities to work hard and get ahead, is the same fervor that has fueled the Fight for $15 and a Union. Underpaid workers are coming together to take on the corporate greed that has pushed wages down for all of us. They know that acting out of hate, creating division and scapegoating immigrants, Muslims, and others doesn’t drive up our economy it only keeps all of us down. That is why on November 29th, through the Fight for $15 movement, we will take our first steps together to fight back for our families and communities.
By bringing together our movements for change in collective demonstrations nationwide working people and our communities, who are frustrated and demanding economic and political change, will let low-paying greedy corporations, President-elect Trump, and the right-wing extremists across government hear loud and clear that it is time for them to face our economic and democratic reality. More than 80 percent of today’s jobs are service sector jobs. There is no reason these jobs cannot be good jobs. It is time to turn service and care jobs in every industry into good jobs now and for the next generation. And it is time for them to address the state of injustice in the same communities struggling from poor wages perpetuated by the same bad actors who seek to limit opportunities for communities of color, immigrants, and all families living and working near pollution centers to thrive.
Together our movements will continue to fight for the opportunity to build a better life for our children and future generations, and we will not stop until corporations and politicians deliver justice on all fronts — economic, racial, immigrant, and environmental — in community across America. We will continue our fight back until corporations and politicians deliver good jobs with good pay, the most inclusive middle class in our nation’s history, and an economy and democracy where all families and all communities have the chance to thrive.