Our cause is the cause of human justice,
human rights and human security
Organizing the unorganized has always been the driving spirit behind the labor movement.
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In earlier years, workers who tried to form unions were beaten by company thugs or shot at by government troops. Union organizers risked -- and sometimes gave -- their lives to win the fight for dignity and justice on the job.
It is because of the sacrifices of these heroic men and women that American workers enjoy the standard of living we have today.
As we start a new decade, organizing continues to be the labor movement's vital mission. The anti-union attacks take different forms, but they are just as intense and brutal as in the early days of the labor movement.
Union-Busters now carry brief cases instead of brass knuckles, but their aim is the same: to divide and demoralize workers, to prevent them from having a voice on the job and in society.
Despite the setbacks, trade unionists today are no more willing to give up the struggle than were our predecessors.
Workers know that hazards on the job maim and destroy thousands every year. Workers know that discrimination and favoritism rob people of opportunities for advancement. Workers know about the lack of dignity that exists when people are denied a voice in their working lives.
And trade unionists understand that everything we have achieved can be taken away if we don't continue to organize. Employers pit one group against another, demanding concessions in order to be competitive. To be strong, we must be united.
Organizing is the job of every single union member. It is the responsibility of all of us to educate our friends and neighbors about what a union really is.
That a union is more than just a collective bargaining agreement. It is more than the improved wages and benefits that come with a union contract. A union is more than the leadership and staff -- the lawyers, negotiators, educators, economists -- who assist us.
The union is the people themselves, joining together in a triumph of hope over fear, standing up together for justice.
Unions have led the fight for the 40-hour work week, eight-hour day, minimum wage, occupational saftey and health laws, fair standards act, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, and the banning of child labor