WASHINGTON – Seema Nanda, executive vice president and COO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the former chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Labor in the Obama administration, released the following statement in advance of Labor Day:
“As we prepare to celebrate Labor Day and America’s workers, it is important to remember our brothers and sisters in the labor movement who helped build the foundation of our economy and the middle class. We owe them a debt of gratitude for organizing to enshrine better pay, increased workplace safety, and improved benefits that are sometimes overlooked or taken for granted. In our current drive for livable wages and closing income disparities, union jobs are more important than ever.
Every day, millions in America go to work to earn a decent wage, provide for their families, and put something away for retirement, but the deck is increasingly stacked against workers. While the economic progress of the last eight years has continued, we have seen an unprecedented assault on important protections to make our economy and our society fairer.
In eight short months, the Trump-Pence administration has blocked a requirement for large companies to show how their pay differs by race or gender, delayed the restoration of overtime protections for millions of middle class workers, and erased any data on workplace deaths from government websites, all while pushing for massive tax cuts for billionaires and huge corporations. And in the states, we’ve seen ideological governors and legislators do the bidding of big business by actively blocking minimum wage increases for which the public voted.
This Labor Day, it is clear that we must rededicate ourselves to fighting for working people and the middle class, and those who seek to join the middle class. We applaud the changing landscape of the labor movement, where two-thirds of those represented by unions are women, people of color, or both. We must keep fighting for an increase in the minimum wage, paid family and sick leave, ensuring that equal work means equal pay, and the right to organize. If we do, The Leadership Conference is confident that we can build a country for future generations that is as good as its ideals.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.