By Dwight Evans
I grew up in a working-class family in a working-class neighborhood of Philadelphia.
My pop had a job with a moving company, my mother was a waitress, and my grandmother was a seamstress. For my entire family, their work was about more than a paycheck — it was about contributing to their communities and supporting their families.
My pop was a member of the Teamsters at the Quaker Storage Company. Thanks to the union and management working together, he had a secure job for over 30 years, and thanks to the unions who fought for the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in 1970, my pop and his coworkers had real protection from workplace hazards.
While my mother wasn’t a member of a union, she was able to take breaks during her long shifts on her feet at the restaurant because of rights won by organized labor on behalf of all workers.
My grandmother was a member of her local seamstress union. And thanks to the support of union members, and those that helped pass the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967, she was able to pursue her passion on the sewing machine.
My family took pride in how their work revolved around the community and were surrounded by everyday Philadelphians who shared the same values. Back then, many of the people who lived in my neighborhood had good jobs, and many of them were in labor unions who fought for the rights of workers in our community and beyond.
Thanks to the organizers and workers who came before us, we have weekends without work, Social Security, anti-discrimination laws, protections against child labor and many more rights that just a few generations ago didn’t exist.
I’m proud to stand with labor unions, workers, and businesses who understand that we must continue the fight for a living wage, equal pay for equal work, safe working conditions for all Americans, and employment practices that are free of discrimination — no matter what you look like or who you love.
That’s how we build an economy that works for everyone.
Have a great and safe Labor Day weekend.